Results tagged ‘ Mets ’

Career Day for Wigginton Leads to Phillies Win

After a rough day on Sunday with a loss to the Cardinals and Roy Halladay pulled early due to shoulder soreness, the Phillies needed a serious lift.  Seeing Carlos Ruiz scratched from today’s line-up with a sore hamstring was also not the good news this team was looking for.

But with Cole Hamels on the mound, you had to think the Phillies had a shot against the Mets.  Hamels delivered again with 4 runs allowed in 8 innings.  Technically Hamels’ worst outing of the season, this would have been a great day for most other pitchers.

Still, 4 runs has been no small challenge for this Phillies team and their up and down offense.  But one guy came through in the clutch; Ty Wigginton.  With a career high 6 RBI in the game, including a 3-run homer and a double, Wigginton put the team on his back and carried them to a victory.  Wiggy was also walked twice and went 3-for-3 overall, putting him on base in all 5 at-bats.

John Mayberry Jr. also had a multi-hit day with a single and a 2-run homer.  Wiggy and Mayberry combined for all 8 of the Phillies runs in the 8-4 win.

Going forward, the starting rotation still has some question marks.  Halladay will be examined when the team returns to Philly later this week.  And Vance Worley, although still on the DL, appears to be making progress.

Joe Blanton is another question mark as he has allowed 13 runs in his last 2 starts.  If he can bounce back Tuesday night against the Mets, that would be a big relief for everyone concerned about the starting pitching right now.  Game time is 7:10pm.

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

From Extreme Highs to Extreme Lows

This has been an up and down year so far for the Phillies; feast or famine.  And we never know which one is coming and when.  They win 6 in a row, lose 4 in a row and then win 4 in row.  Up, down, up down…repeat…

Someone needs to stop the roller coaster and  let me catch a break.  This has been exhausting.

On Saturday, another extreme high occurred when Kyle Kendrick pitched his first career complete game shut-out for a 4-0 win over the Cardinals.  Kendrick’s season has mirrored the team as a whole; some ups and some downs.

But after winning that 4th straight game, Sunday brought on another extreme low.  Roy Halladay got blown up in the first inning against the Cards with a grand slam, putting the Phillies in a quick 4-0 hole.  But worse than that, after just 2 innings of work, Pete Orr suddenly appeared in the on-deck circle to bat for Halladay. This left many scratching their collective heads…

As it turns out, Halladay was pulled for having “right shoulder soreness.”  There has been no word yet on what exactly this means or how serious it may be.  However, one can surmise based on Halladay’s last several outings, that this is not a new issue.  Halladay has not looked right for some time now.

After a 1.95 ERA in the month of May, Halladay pitched to the tune of a 6.11 ERA in May.  Obviously, something is going on.  But with the cloak and dagger routine the Phillies brass has employed this year in regards to injured players, like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, we may never know the full truth.

And as if that was not enough drama for one day, Utley got hit with a foul ball while sitting in the dugout during the 7th inning.  It appears to have hit his hand and then knocked his sunglasses off his face.  No one looked terribly concerned afterwards, so we shall assume for now that he is fine….aside from 2 bum knees, of course.

The Phillies walked away with an 8-3 loss today, although they did win the series 3 games to 1, which is the good news.  But as has been the case all season long, what lies ahead next is anyone’s guess.

A 3-game series with the Mets begins tomorrow in New York.  The Memorial Day game time is 1:10pm; Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

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Photoshopping and head shots by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Hitting Rock Bottom

You may have thought that the Phillies hit rock bottom days ago.  It was hard to imagine things getting much worse.  And yet, it did get worse.  After getting swept in 3 games by the Mets yesterday, I think we can officially say, here it is; rock bottom.

And it is not because they were swept by the Mets that this is rock bottom.  It is because of the manner in which they were beaten, or slaughtered, if you prefer a stronger term.  Murphy’s Law even entered the equation last night.  Anything that could go wrong did.

Through the first six innings, we saw a glimmer of hope.  The offense was hitting, Cliff Lee was pitching well in his first start off the DL; he even collected an RBI for himself.  But not wanting to push Lee too hard in his return, he was pulled after 6 innings.  From the time the 7th inning began, it was clear that the Phillies bullpen would pull out all the stops to LOSE the game.

Let me begin by saying I have never been impressed with Kyle Kendrick as a pitcher.  I am sure he is a fine human being, but his pitching usually leaves a lot to be desired.  He is inconsistent, he gets rattled easily and he wanders about with that awful, sad puppy look on his face.

And last night, he managed to impose the sad puppy face upon every Phillies fan watching the game.  With a 4-2 lead to start the inning, before he recorded a single out, Kendrick gave up a double, 2 walks and then hit the 4th batter to force in a run.  By the time the inning ended, the Mets had 3 more runs and a 5-4 lead.

But Kendrick was not done yet.  He gave up 2 more runs in the 8th without recording an out.  Jose Contreras helped him out and added a run of his own.  Then Brian Sanches gave up a solo homer in the ninth.  That is 8 runs out of the bullpen, 7 of them earned runs, which led to an embarrassing 10-6 loss.

The defense added to the humiliation as Shane Victorino dove for a ball which wound up flying right by him.  And Hunter Pence dropped an easy fly ball that was right in his glove.

Manager Charlie Manuel was so disgusted after the game, he finally ripped into the team.  Manuel said they needed to play better and prepare better.  The preparation bit is what was alarming.  Are these guys just strolling into the ballpark without getting ready physically and mentally?  That sure is what it seems like.

That would also confirm my theory that this team is not focused and an overall sense of complacency has set in.  Complacency or apathy could be occurring for a variety of reason including past success, arrogance about one’s abilities, off-field distractions, making a ton of money and the fact that many of these guys have already won the big prize.

While I would hate to think that about this Phillies team, the reality is that all of those factors may be playing a part.  As an example, you know who is the opposite of complacent?  A guy like Freddy Galvis, who is working his behind off.  Galvis was a homer short of the cycle last night, plus his defense and intensity are off the charts.  Why?  Because he has something to prove.  He is trying to stick in the majors, make a good impression and someday, get his payday.

Look around this team.  Are there guys who look a bit less focused than others?  You know how they say hitting is contagious?  Well, so is complacency.

I would say a number of changes are coming this team’s way in the very near future.  They have already sent reliever Joe Savery back to the minors.  Michael Schwimer went as well.  Here is what I think they should do:  If someone is not doing their job, like the entire bullpen, for instance, then bring in someone who will get it done or at least give you a complete effort.

I do not care if they stock this team full of rookies.  Because if they are going to suck, I’d rather see players out there who are giving it 100% and living up to their potential.  This team has spent way too much money on talented players to be this bad.  They need a shake up…fast.

Thursday is an off-day, which many of the players will spend at a Chase Utley charity event this evening.  But on Friday, the Padres come to town and they need to be ready.  Cross your fingers…

 

 

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Player photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Dead Last

I am not sure which word in my article title is more disturbing; “dead” or “last.”  If you haven’t looked at the NL East standings lately, take a moment to prepare yourself for the worst.  The Phillies are dead last and the only team in the division that is playing under .500 baseball.

At the start of the year, we all figured they might snap out of it but that is just not happening.  They just plain suck.  And that fact was no more evident than last night against the Mets in a 7-4 loss after leading by 4 runs at the start of the game.

Here is what we have learned about this Phillies team recently:  They cannot hold a lead.  The bullpen stinks.  The offense is schizophrenic; you never know what might happen next.  Wikipedia defines schizophrenia as “…disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction.”  That about sums it up.

The Phillies took a quick 4-run lead in this game, thanks in part to a Hunter Pence 2-run homer.  John Mayberry Jr. had 2 hits and is starting to find his swing.  But that is where the good new ends.

Joe Blanton left the game with 2 outs in the 7th inning and 2 runners on base.  Then Chad Qualls punched him in the gut by allowing both runs to score.  Adding to the disaster, Pete Orr botched a play at second base, which led to the Mets to taking a 5-4 lead.

Late in games, a one run deficit seems almost impossible to overcome for this team.  So as if that were not bad enough, reliever Michael Schwimer added 2 more Mets runs in the 8th.  That was the nail in the coffin.

You could not even change channels last night for some relief. The Flyers lost and were ousted from the playoffs.  The Sixers lost and have to play again on Thursday.  There was no escape…it was a very bad day for Philly sports.

But the drama continues tonight as the Phillies will attempt to salvage one lousy game from the lousy Mets.  Ugh.  Cliff Lee will come off the DL and pitch starting at 7:05pm…he is our only hope for a win :O(

 

 

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The Downhill Trend

Things have been headed steadily downhill for the Phillies this season.  A loss to the Mets last night by a 5-2 score simply added emphasis to that fact.  Roy Halladay had a solid start, allowing just 2 runs in 7 innings.  But the offense left 10 men on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

In a tie game in the 9th, closer Jonathan Papelbon gave up a 3-run homer to a rookie, Mike Nickeas.  It was his first major league hit.  You cannot pin the loss on Papelbon, however, I am tired of the excuses for closers in a non-save situation.

I understand the mental part of the game, the lack of adrenaline in a non-save situation, yada, yada, yada… Whatever.  But for the amount of money these guys get paid, I personally feel I could overcome any mental obstacle thrown my way.  These guys want an adrenaline boost?  Tell them to look in their checkbooks before taking the mound.  That would certainly fire me up.

Before the game, Cole Hamels was suspended 5 games for hitting Nationals rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch and then admitting he did it on purpose.  Let me get this out of the way: Hamels was honest, but it was the wrong thing to do for his team.  Entertaining maybe, but still wrong.

However, as wrong as he was, many others added to the pile of wrong-doing afterwards as well.  Nationals GM Mike Rizzo blasted Hamels saying, “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball.”  Really?  Isn’t publically calling someone a classless, gutless chicken via the media just as classless and gutless?  Be a man and tell it Hamels’ face.  Rizzo is just as “fake tough” as he proposed Hamels is.

And how about the retaliation when pitcher Jordan Zimmermann hit Hamels with a pitch?  Was that not also childish, classless and gutless?  Zimmermann refused to admit he did it on purpose, so he did not get suspended.  But everyone involved knows the truth.

These guys are like children in a sandbox.  And all of them are wrong.  Their mama’s must have missed out on teaching them some important lessons.

So just for fun, here is the conversation I imagine between Hamels & Rizzo, spoken solely in “old school” parental clichés:

Hamels:  If you keep frowning, your face will get stuck like that!

Rizzo:  This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.

Hamels:  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Rizzo:  You bit off more than you can chew.

Hamels:  No use crying over spilt milk. 

Rizzo:  One bad apple spoils the bunch.

Hamels:  You are full of piss and vinegar.

Rizzo:  Revenge is a meal best served cold.

Hamels:  Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Rizzo:  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Hamels:  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Goodbye.

 

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Cain vs. Unable: A Total Waste of Lee’s Performance

The Phillies awful offense was unable to scratch out a single run for their pitcher who battled through 10 innings of work against the GiantsCliff Lee became the first pitcher to go 10 shutout innings in a losing game since Brett Saberhagen of the Mets lost to San Diego in 1994.  I am pretty sure this is not a record he was interested in setting.

But against Giant’s pitcher Matt Cain, the Phillies offense seemed uninterested in hitting.  They managed just 4 hits.  They had a shot to score in the 10th after Carlos Ruiz doubled and was sent to third with a sacrifice bunt by Freddy Galvis.   But Jim Thome struck out and John Mayberry Jr. grounded out.

Lee was finally pulled after 10 innings and Antonio Bastardo took over in the 11th.  After Bastardo coaxed what should have been a double play ball out of Brandon Belt, Ty Wiggington at 3rd fumbled and everyone was safe.  Then Melky Cabrera did what the Phillies could not all series long; take advantage of a mistake.  His single scored the only run in the game for a Giants win.

You cannot blame Wiggington for the loss, although he did not help.  But why was Placido Polanco not put in for defense this late in a game where the starting pitcher put in such an amazing effort?  And where were the bats?  Lee deserved a better effort than this.

The Phillies have now lost 2 straight series and continue to dig themselves a huge hole early in the season.  As for the National League East, the Phils are dead last.  Looks like it is going to be a long season…

 

 

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Hamels Wins as Phillies Find Their Offense

When Cole Hamels allowed two runs in the first inning of today’s game, you could almost hear the collective, “Here we go again…” spilling from the minds of everyone present at the ballpark.  But as it turned out, that was all the Mets would score for the entire game.

In 7 innings, Hamels collected 10 strikeouts and allowed just 6 hits and one walk.  The defense stayed strong behind him as well.

Now all the Phillies needed was some offense, which has not been easy to come by recently.  And through the first 6 innings, things were not looking good.  But in the 7th, Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence hit back-to-back singles and then advanced to 2nd and 3rd on a wild pitch.

And then, a small miracle occurred.  Ty Wiggington hit a long sac fly to score Rollins and tie the game 2-2.  And then Laynce Nix doubled in Pence.  This was monumental on a number of levels.  First, the Phillies had not seen an extra-base hit since Friday.  Also, it was Nix’s first hit as a Phillie.  Whew!  Bet he was glad that is out of the way.

Once the Phillies took the 3-2 lead, better things started to happen.  The Phils hit two more doubles in the 8th and scored 5 more runs.  Pence got an RBI walk with the bases loaded.  And Wiggington smashed a bases-clearing double, ending his game with 4 RBI, another small miracle.

This was a very nice win for the Phillies who needed a serious self-esteem boost after losing 2-straight to the Mets.

By the way, if anyone is wondering why every uniform number is 42, it was Jackie Robinson salute day.  If you did not notice, feel free to go on with your life as planned… ;o)

But do not plan on getting any sleep this week…the Phils start a West Coast swing tomorrow in San Francisco.  Game time is 10:15pm (yikes!).

And here is the Photo Album from today’s game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Sad Phillies drop Two Straight to the Mets

Against the Mets today, pitcher Vance Worley looked less like the “Vanimal” and more like a sad puppy.  He allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks over six innings.  Worley’s usual bite was tamed today.

But what is worse than a sad puppy on the mound?  Sad pandas in the batter’s box.  They are adorable and you want to love them, but ultimately, they will rip your heart out.  Introducing… the Phillies pathetic offense.

They did Worley no favors today.  Despite having the lead-off runner reach base in three innings, the Phillies were still unable to score.  And all 6 hits they collected were singles.

For the Mets, David Wright played with a broken pinky finger and still had 3 hits, including a homer.  That is exactly half of all the Phillies’ hits combined.  And Wright is a pretty boy.  That’s right; the Phillies got spanked by a pretty boy.  I am so depressed…

Obviously, the Phillies have gotten off to some bad starts in the past.  But this year, only 8 games old, seems somehow more alarming.  Maybe it is because there is more on the line.  They have the largest payroll in team history, the best pitching they could possibly have and this is the result so far?  Ouch.

Cross your fingers that they can salvage a win tomorrow before going on the road.  Game time is 1:35pm and I will return with photos.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Friday the 13th Phillies Nightmare

When one of your ace pitchers gives up 3 runs in the first inning, you know it is going to be a bad day.  Add to that having the Mets in town, the 3rd anniversary of Harry Kalas’ death and the fact that it is Friday the 13th and things look pretty grimm.

Not that Cliff Lee pitched too badly.  He made a few mistakes and the Mets lowered the ax.  Making matters worse, the Phillies knuckleballing nemesis R.A. Dickey was pitching for the Mets.  Although, the Phillies did collect 11 hits; they just failed to score.

The one happy moment in the game came when rookie Freddy Galvis smashed his first major league home run.  Grinning in the dugout afterwards as the team gave him the silent treatment, Freddy did not have to wait too long for some congratulations.  Jim Thome strained to keep a straight face and was eventually the first to give Galvis a bear hug.

But after that, the nightmare continued for the Phillies.  On his 29th birthday, Hunter Pence received the gift of going 0-for-4.  And although Jimmy Rollins had 3 hits, he made a huge defensive blunder in the 9th inning, bobbling an easy double-play ball.  Rollins did not recover and both runners were safe.  That mistake led to another run for the Mets.

The Mets had their share of goofs as well.  Daniel Murphy collected a fielding error and catcher Josh Thole did something I have never seen before.  In the 2nd inning after hitting a single, Thole ran to 2nd on a Dickey sacrifice bunt.  Then unexpectedly, Thole, who was safe at 2nd, began trotting back to 1st base as if the bunt never happened!

Before Thole realized his stupidity, the Phillies tagged him out on his way back to 1st.  This will be a classic for the MLB blooper reel.  Maybe Thole was trying to make the record books with an unprecedented “reverse steal?”  Whatever the reason, he does win the award for dumbest baseball play ever.

But even that bit of entertainment cannot soften the blow of a sad 5-2 loss to the lowly Mets.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day.  Better than that, tomorrow is NOT Friday the 13th.

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

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