Results tagged ‘ Marlins ’

The Nightmare at PNC Park Continues

After a dismal, 12-inning, 2-1 loss to the Pirates last night, the Phillies are now a frightening 12-31 lifetime at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.  They simply cannot win in this ballpark.  Could it be cursed?  This place is like a haunted house of horrors for the Phils.

 
Even with the entire line-up together for the first time all season, the Phillies still looked like zombies out there.  Shane Victorino came off the DL and with the whole gang all together again, one might think it would break the sleep spell on this dreadful offense.

That simply did not happen.

The biggest victim of the night was pitcher Cole Hamels.  This poor guy left it all on the field, pitching eight innings of one-run ball.  And what did he get to show for it?  Nothing.  His team left him hanging.

The offense came out of 12-innings of play with a measly six hits.  And two of those six hits were courtesy of the pitcher, Hamels.  So they gave Cole only four hits and one run to work with.  This should be a criminal offense ;o}

Let us count the 0′fers:  Victorino, 0-for-5.  Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Domonic Brown, Carlos Ruiz…all 0-for-4.  As a team, they complied 40 at-bats, six hits and left seven men on base.  Disgusting.

Last year, in a similar slump, the Phillies fired hitting coach and all around nice guy, Milt Thompson.  So is Greg Gross next to go?  Because if this keeps up, the team is going to be looking for another fall guy.  But they only one to blame are the players themselves.

No one seems to be getting too worked up over all this as they are still in first place, thanks to the pitching.  But the Marlins and Braves are creeping up closer and something is going to hit the fan when the Phillies drop out of first because they cannot score more than one or two runs in a game.  As I gaze into my crystal ball, I see the disaster coming.

But the disaster can easily be averted.  This team need to get back to the basics.  Stop swinging for the fences, stop swinging at bad pitches and for heaven’s sake, would someone please inform this line-up that they need to adjust their swing when a pitcher is tossing all kinds of off-speed crap at them?  They cannot just stand up there and pray for a fastball.  Pitchers have this teams’ number now and they need to adjust.

In the league, the Phillies rank #2 in fly-ball outs.  If there was a stat specifically in short pop-ups, I am pretty sure they would be #1 in all of baseball.  Also of note, they rank 19th in the majors in runs scored and batting average.  For a first place team, this is pathetic.

So the house of horrors continues tonight.  Kyle Kendrick will start and game time is 7:05pm.  Bust out your four-leaf clovers, rabbit’s foot (artificial, of course), horseshoe, crucifix, #7 pendant, voodoo doll, lucky jersey or whatever you have and start praying for the curse to be lifted!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Cliff Lee Imposter Tanks Against Nats?

Who was that pitcher on the mound for the Phillies Tuesday night?  Certainly it could not be Cliff Lee.  At least not the one we are used to.  He must be an imposter!

 After a careful review of the statistics, the mystery Lee went only 5.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits to a last place Nationals team.  He also walked three batters and gave up two home runs.

Upon witnessing this disastrous outing, I can come to only one conclusion: Cliff Lee has been abducted by aliens.  They are conducting a number of probing experiments on him in order to clone the near-perfect pitcher.  This totally explains why an imposter was sent in his place to give up six runs in less than six innings.

Perhaps many do not agree with my assessment.  However, I assure you that the alternative is much more difficult to swallow.  Cliff Lee had a horrible game?  Against a crappy team??  No way.  Aliens…I tell you, it must be aliens.

On the other hand, many pitchers sucked without alien intervention.  Danys Baez has been returned to earth after a spectacular five innings in last week’s 19-inning marathon.  On this night, Baez coughed up three runs in just one inning.

And then lefty Mike Zagurski, called up to take Vance Worley’s roster spot, walked the opposing pitcher, gave up one run and another walk in just one inning.  Zagurski has been given a plethora of chances in the Bigs over the years.  But each time, despite doing well in the minors, he tanks as soon as he is called up.

The offense took the night off as well, apparently refusing to play with imposter aliens.  The only excitement was when Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. smacked back-to-back homers in the fifth.

So the Phils went down in flames by a score of 10-2…against the Nationals.  Ugh.  Well, tomorrow is another day and with any luck, the aliens have returned the real Cliff Lee and maybe will visit the Marlins or Braves next. ;o)

 

Lee Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Halladay Loses With a Complete Game

Here is something that should never, ever happen.  Roy Halladay pitched a three-run, complete game against the Braves today and took a loss.  With the rate at which Halladay and other Phillies pitchers, like Cliff Lee, are being hung out to dry by this offense, it may be time to take more drastic measures.

The Phillies were the only team in the majors to not have a starting pitcher lose two games in a row.  That streak ended today as Halladay got his second consecutive taste of how bad this Phillies offense sucks right now.

Just because it is Superman himself, Roy Halladay, on the mound, does not mean that he will toss a shut-out every time out.  The movie Superman managed to turn back time by rotating the earth backwards on its axis, but do not think he will accomplish this feat whenever he feels like it, even in the movies.  There needs to be some basis in reality to keep our attention.

The Phillies batters, however, seem to be hanging around, just waiting for another Halladay or Lee miracle.  Tim Hudson pitched for the Braves today and was almost pulled from the game in the fourth inning with a sore hip, but he managed to go seven innings anyway.  This means that the Phillies managed only four hits off a Grandpa (in baseball years) with a bad hip!

The only reason that Grandpa lasted seven innings was because the Phillies got themselves out.  They swung at bad pitches and were not patient when Hudson began flinging balls all over the place, two feet over their heads or straight into the dirt.

Three of the four hits in the game were from the bench players, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez and John Mayberry Jr. who accounted for the only score with a two-run homer.  Mayberry played center in place of the ailing Shane Victorino.  Both he and Orr each stole a base as well.

So while the bench guys keep trying to resuscitate this team, where are the starters?  Where are the bats of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez?  Come out, come out, wherever you are!  This game of hide and seek is getting old.

The 3-2 loss gave the Braves the series win, 2-1.  The Braves are now only 3.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East and the Marlins are two games back.

The Phillies will travel to St. Louis for a short, two-games series next.  Cliff Lee pitches tomorrow, unless he decides to go on strike.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Will Injuries Derail The Phillies Season?

As of May 13, 2011, the Phillies are 25-13 and two games ahead of the Florida Marlins for first place in the NL East.  However, Phillies players are dropping like flies.  Can they maintain this pace in spite of all the injuries?

So far the Phillies have lost their starting short stop, both catchers, two starting pitchers, a bunch of relief pitchers and more.  Starter Joe Blanton came off the DL but looks like he needs to go back as he is still in pain and losing speed on his pitches.  Starter Roy Oswalt is coming back this week, but also looks like he is not 100% after a rehab start on Thursday.

Then in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Braves, centerfielder Shane Victorino left the game early with a hamstring pull.  It ended his 15-game hitting streak.

The Phillies anemic offense managed only three hits in the game, a trend which has continued throughout the season so far.  The pitching has helped the Phillies win games, but the loses due to a lack of hitting are starting to pile up.

At the same time, the pitcher’s are now coming up lame.  If the injuries continue and the Phillies wind up with both weak pitching and weak hitting at the same time, this spells trouble.

Here is a look at the injuries so far this year:

 

If Victorino winds up on the DL, the Phillies may have been able to fill the roster spot by calling Domonic Brown back up since he has recovered from hand surgery.  However, earlier in the week, Brown sprained the thumb on the same hand he had surgery on and is unavailable to play right now.

Currently in right field, Ben Francisco has been terrible in the month of May.  He is hitting just .071 since May 1.  Ryan Howard is hitting .217 in May.  Placido Polanco’s May numbers are down as well, hitting .234.  Brian Schneider’s bat was starting to heat up when he got hurt and was sent to the DL.  Carlos Ruiz is back, but rusty, and he is still looking for his first hit this month.

The bench players have filled in admirably where they are able to.  But if this trend continues where the offense slumps and the pitching can no longer bail them out, the Phillies could lose their grasp on first place quickly.

The Phillies season is at a crossroads now.  Either they will be able to continue to battle through the injuries or they will not.

But this is an issue they have dealt with for many years running now.  This Phillies team knows how to carry on when star players hit the skids.  Hopefully, knowing that they have overcome injuries in the past will be enough to propel them into the future as a winning team.

Late Rally Pulls Phillies Ahead of Marlins

As the lack of run support curse for Cliff Lee and other pitchers continues, the Phillies are somehow still winning games.  Wednesday night, the beat the Marlins by a score of 5-3 and lee wound up with a no-decision.

Through six innings, Lee allowed three runs, although a few of those may have been due to defense and field positioning.  At the plate, Lee smacked a single that should have scored Brian Schneider.  But as he rounded third base, Schneider grabbed his leg and limped back to third base.

Adding to already long list of Phillies injuries, Schneider was lifted from the game and may end up on the DL.  The good news is that Carlos Ruiz should be coming off the DL and the two can swap places on Friday before the Braves series.

 

The Phillies were down 3-0 going into the seventh inning.  But a the Phillies bench came to the rescue just in time.  Pete Orr was the star, hitting two doubles, one in the seventh and one in the ninth.  A home run by Shane Victorino tied the game in the eighth and also extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

As Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate in the ninth with two outs and two men in scoring position, I held my breath.  Rollins had come to the plate three times with two outs in this game already and made the last out each time, leaving men stranded on base all three times as well.

In this case, the fourth time was the charm.  J-Roll singled, which scored two runs and gave the Phillies the 5-3 lead.  Ryan Madson closed the game out and is now 5-for-5 in save opportunities.

The Phillies are off on Thursday as they travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves Friday night at 7:35pm.

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Tough Loss For Halladay With No Offensive Support

Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels probably looked and Roy Halladay after Tuesday night’s unwarranted loss to the Marlins and thought, “Welcome to the club.”  What club is that?  The one where they each pitch a great game and come out with a loss due to a lack of offense.

Halladay outpitched his opponent, Josh Johnson, going eight innings with only one earned run allowed on five hits and still lost the game.  Halladay did make one mistake; he walked a pitcher for the first time in his career.  That walk turned into a run for the Fish.

But the Phillies offense had the bases loaded twice, in both the second and third innings, and did not score.  The worst offender was Dane Sardinha who had bases loaded with no outs in the second.  Knowing the pitcher was on deck, he could not even make contact.  Even a double play would have scored a run.  Instead, he struck out.

In the eight, another crucial error gave the Marlins the 2-1 lead that eventually won the game for them.  Jimmy Rollins bobbled a ground ball and threw offline to Ryan Howard, pulling him off the bag.  A ground out advanced the runner and a single scored it.

This lack of offense is becoming a running theme with the Phillies, which is magnified as a serious issue when you have pitchers going eight innings, allowing one run and still losing the game.  That should not happen.

Perhaps the starting pitchers should get together for their first “club” meeting and decide on how to proceed.  They cannot really go on strike, but maybe they could take turns smacking each of the starters around while yelling, “Wake up and score me some freaking runs!”  Too much?  Just a thought ;o)

The Phillies have one more game in Florida tonight at 7:10pm.  Cliff Lee is coming off a loss where he struck out 16 batters.  Now there is a solid oxymoron for you.  Perhaps he should carry a picket sign out to the mound with him…just in case.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Win A Wild One In Miami

Call it a game if you must, but tonight’s Phillies – Marlins match-up looked more like batting practice for both teams.  It featured the Phillies worst starter, fresh off a DL stint, in Joe Blanton and the Marlins worst starter, Javier Vazquez.  As hitters walked to the plate, they were literally salivating like a pack of ravenous hyenas standing over a fresh kill.

No one was more excited than Ross Gload, who has gotten very little playing time as a bench player this year.  With a rare start in right field, Gload finally had an opportunity to do some damage.  He took full advantage with two hits and two RBI.

A lot of Phillies had multi-hit games against the struggling Vazquez and some of the Marlins’ bullpen.  Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and even Raul Ibanez came up with at least two hits in the game, along with Gload.

The pitching was another story.  Knowing he had the youngster Vance Worley nipping at his heels, Blanton must have been in a rush to get back to the team after going on the DL.  He did not even pitch in a rehab game.

In his race to get healthy, Blanton looked like a guy seriously out of practice.  But the defense bailed him out a number of times and he wound up with five innings, three runs allowed, two walks and eight hits.

Worley did wind up pitching in the game, taking over in the sixth.  He got though two scoreless innings and then in the eight, allowed a solo homer to Gaby Sanchez.  After Worley’s three innings of work, the score was then 6-4, surprisingly low for the number of hacks taken during the game.

The Phillies went on to win by the same score, with Ryan Madson collecting the save.  Roy Halladay will pitch Tuesday night.  Game time is 7:10pm.

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Homers Hurt Hamels; Offense Cannot Bail Him Out

In two out of three games in this Braves series, the Phillies bats left their pitchers hanging.  They did not score at all for Cliff Lee on Friday.  On Sunday, they got some hits for Cole Hamels, but only two runs.

 

The 12 hits from the Phils offense was certainly better than two on Friday.  However, the hits were not timely and caused little damage.  Here is just one frustrating example.  Wilson Valdez smacked a two-out double in the second inning with no one on base.  Later in the sixth, with runners at the corners and one out, Valdez hit a weak ground ball for an inning-ending double play, leaving a runner stranded on third.

Hitting without clutch hitting is practically useless, especially in a close game.

And Hamels really could have used some clutch hitting.  He went seven innings, striking out nine batters, but allowed three runs on two homers.  Still, it was a quality start and one that he should expect to win.

 

The youngsters in the bullpen did not help the situation either, which is the opposite of what happened in Saturday’s win.  Michael Stutes entered the game not having surrendered a run in 6.1 innings this year.  But in 1/3 of an inning on Sunday, he walked two batters and allowed a two-run homer.

Stutes looked like he had never even heard of a strike zone.  He was that far off, throwing only two strikes to three batters.  This was also the first time the Phillies used him in back-to-back games.  You can be sure they will not do that again anytime soon.

 

As for Scott Mathieson, he took over for Stutes and gave up a hit, but exited the inning unscathed.  But then to start the ninth, Mathieson began to unravel.  After a hit, a sac bunt and two walks on five pitches each, Danys Baez was brought in to bail Mathieson out.

When your savior for the night is Danys Baez, you know you are having a very bad day.  Baez has been unreliable at best since last season, but on Sunday night he was able to coax an inning ending double play.

I will say this for Baez; he is always great with the fans and a very nice guy.  Last night, he was headed to the clubhouse after warm-ups and an elderly lady next to me over the dugout asked him to sign a ball.  Most players are in full-out game concentration mode at this point and do not stop.  But Baez smiled, had her toss the ball over the dugout and he signed it for her and even waved to everyone standing there.

So with no ninth inning rally in sight, the Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 5-2 and lost the series 2-1.  Heading to Miami tonight, first place in the division is on the line for this series as the Marlins are only two games back now.

Joe Blanton is back on the roster and will pitch tonight at 7:10pm.  Carlos Ruiz was put on the DL yesterday, so no one had to be bumped to add Blanton back.  The DL move was backdated to 4/28, so Ruiz could return in about five days or so if his back is feeling better.

Also, Sunday was the Phillies annual Mother’s Day celebration where a players has his mother flown in for the weekend at the Phillies’ expense to spend time with their son and see him play.  A different player is chosen each year, although there were two in 2010.  I have attended these particular games every year since 2006 so here is a photo gallery of all six years with the player, mom and sometimes other family members as well.  The only person I cannot remember is who is in the 2006 photo.  I think it is Jon Lieber, but I am not sure.  If you know, please let me know :O)

 

And here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s game.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Role Reversal; Blanton Is Hot, The Offense Is Not

Like they did in their last two games, the Phillies jumped out to an early lead Monday night with a run in the first inning against the Brewers.  But also like the previous two games, after scoring in the first, the Phillies offense went to sleep.  So the question is, who put the Ambien in the Gatorade?

The  offense was off to a very good start early in the season.  But suddenly, the bats have vanished.  Pitcher Joe Blanton had the opposite start to the season; he was awful in his first two starts.

Now, the roles are reversed.  Blanton finally looked sharp tonight, throwing 7 solid innings where he allowed just two runs on seven hits and a walk.  The Phillies could not have asked for more from him.


sleepy Phillies ambien.jpgBut Blanton should have put in a request for some offense.  Because the red-hot bats have gone stone cold.  The one run they did score came off a Brewers error which allowed Jimmy Rollins to reach base on what should have been an inning-ending double play ball.  Ryan Howard knocked Rollins in with a single and then, it was nap time.

Both Howard and Placido Polanco had two hits each, but no one else really looked conscious.  In the seventh, they squeaked out one more unearned run after another Brewers error.  That tied the game at 2-2.  A freak double play ended the inning as Polanco hit a low line drive that no human being should have been able to catch.  The ball ricocheted off the pitcher’s back, flew up into the air and somehow, Yuniesky Betancourt snagged it, doubling Michael Martinez off second.

But then Ryan Madson finally had a bad game and gave up the first run of his season.  The Brewers jumped ahead 3-2 in the eighth inning.  Could this sleepy Phillies offense bail him out?

The short answer is no.  Although Pete Orr smacked a game-tying RBI-double in the ninth, pitcher Kyle Kendrick killed any chance at a win.  The game went extra innings and in the 12th, Kendrick had a Murphy’s Law inning.  Anything that could go wrong did.

Kendrick walked the first batter on four pitches and then proceeded to screw up in every conceivable way.  He made an errant throw, a wild pitch, hit a batter and walked two more intentionally.  The only thing he did not do was break down and cry like a little girl, although he probably wanted to.

Three runs later, the Brewers sealed the win at 6-3 as the offense still refused to wake up.  It was a sad loss.

 

Injury Updates

On Sunday afternoon, Chase Utley was running the bases during batting practice.  Today, he was doing sprinting drills.  The fact that he followed a day of running with a day of sprints means he suffered no ill effects from the running.  That is very good news.

Utley has been able to take batting practice and do some infield drills as well throughout the rehab process.  If he can run full speed without pain, he may be on the field soon that expected.

As for Domonic Brown, his broken hand is healing well and he went 2-for-3 in an extended spring game today. 

Roy Oswalt says he feels fine after some back spasms on Friday which caused him to leave the game against the Marlins early.  While no official decision has been made, it appears he will make his next start on Thursday.

J.C. Romero left the game in the ninth after getting the first two outs.  As he lunged for a ground ball, he began hopping and limping.  He has a strained right calf and will likely go on the DL.  And MRI is scheduled for Tuesday.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phils Win A Close One Over The Fish

The Phillies celebrated the Phanatic’s birthday today.  Afterwards, they got to celebrate a win as well.  In a very close 3-2 victory over the Marlins, the Phillies saw their season record improve to 10-4 in front of the second largest regular season crowd since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.

All 45,716 people were treated to a birthday party for the Phanatic before the game began.  Local Philly mascots and some mascots from other MLB teams joined the party too.  The ZOOperstars also attended and yes, there was a cake made entirely of Tastycakes:

 

041711 Phanatic.jpg

As for the game, Placido Polanco got the Phillies off to fast start with a solo homer off Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez in the first inning.  A single by Raul Ibanez later knocked Jimmy Rollins in for a 2-0 lead.

 

041711 misc.jpg

And that is how the score would remain for five innings as Cole Hamels looked very sharp.  He finally bent in the sixth, allowing two runs, but finished seven full innings without giving up a big inning.


041711 Hamels.jpgHamels’ performance was what kept the Phillies in the game as the hits were not coming easily.  Polanco would up with three hits and Ben Francisco had two.  That accounted for five of the Phillies eight hits total.

There were some odd and sloppy plays throughout the game by both teams.  Ibanez made a spectacular running catch in the fourth inning (see photo below).  But the next inning, he missed basically the exact same ball.  And Shane Victorino stumbled while on first base and got picked off in the fifth:


041711 errors.jpgThe third run for the Phillies was courtesy of a Marlins goof in the eighth.  Ryan Howard hit a fly ball to left and Logan Morrison somehow missed it as the sun appeared to interfere with his vision.  Francisco took advantage and singled and then Ibanez moved Howard to third on a ground out.  Carlos Ruiz put the RBI on the board with a sac fly, giving the Phils the 3-2 lead.

In the ninth, Jose Contreras did his best Brad Lidge imitation and scared the crap out of everyone in attendance with a circus-like save.  He walked the first batter and a few ground balls moved the runner to third.

As if this were not frightening enough, Contreras then walked Chris Coghlan, who then stole second base.  But Omar Infante then grounded out for the third out and Contreras got his third save of the year, although it was not pretty.

The Phillies split the 2 games with the Marlins as Saturday’s game has been rescheduled for 6/15.  On Monday night, they begin a 3-game series with the Brewers.  Game time is 7:05pm and Joe Blanton will pitch.

The full Photo Album from today’s game, including batting practice and the birthday bash, will be posted tomorrow afternoon.  Check back for that.

 

 

Photos 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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