Results tagged ‘ Mets ’

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*

Doc Helps Cure Phillies Losing Streak

After losing eight straight games since clinching the NL East, the Phillies sent Roy “Doc” Halladay to the mound today to operate on the Mets.  Thanks to six scoreless innings from Doc, the Phillies had a shot at a win.

But the ailing offense would also need to find a cure for their disease.  Manager Charlie Manuel decided to shuffle the line-up around to see if that band-aid might stick.  Chase Utley was moved to the 2-hole, Hunter Pence to the 3-hole and Shane Victorino 5th behind Ryan Howard.

Whether it was the new line-up or just the agony of losing 8 straight, something worked.  The Phillies came out swinging and scored 3 runs in the 1st inning, 2 of which came off a Pence homer.  By the end of 4 innings, the Phillies had piled on 9 runs.

Every starter in the line-up had at least one hit, including Halladay.  Carlos Ruiz was absolutely on fire going 4-4 with 2 RBI and a walk.  Pence made up for yesterday’s blunders by going just a double short of the cycle and driving in 3 runs.  Jimmy Rollins also collected 3 hits.

The only negatives in the game came out of the bullpen.  After claiming that lefty Antonio Bastardo had been tipping his pitches which was the cause of his recent struggles, Manuel put Bastardo into the 7th inning to test the theory.  News flash – Tipping his pitches was not the issues.

Bastardo struggled with control and missed his spots.  In just 1/3 of an inning, he gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks.  It was not good.  As the only lefty in the bullpen, if Bastardo cannot find his control again, this will be a huge issues in the playoffs.

Vance Worley also ran into trouble in his return to the bullpen.  He closed out the 7th for Bastardo just fine, but the 8th was not as easy for him.  Worley gave up one run to bring the score to 9-4.

The win gives the Phillies 99 for the season with 3 games to go against the Braves.  Beating the Braves could still give them the franchise record in wins, but it may also be a catch-22.  If the Braves do not get the Wild Card, it will probably go to the Cardinals.  The Phillies may then wind up facing the Cards in the NLDS.  They won only 3 of 9 against the Cards in the regular season.

Game 1 against the Braves is Monday night at 7:05pm; Cliff Lee will pitch.

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Halladay head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

One Huge Error, Two More Losses as Phils Drop 8th Straight

Game one of today’s doubleheader against the Mets was highlighted by a superb performance from Cole Hamels, more crappy offense and a failure of basic math skills.  Hamels went seven strong innings, allowing just a solo homer.  Sadly, the homer was hit by Val Pascucci who had not hit a long ball since 2004.  Pascucci spent 2008 spring training with the Phillies.

The Phillies offense sucked again against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.  I am not sure what the R.A. stands for, but I am going with “Really Annoying.”  Mr. Annoying had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning when Shane Victorino finally ended the humiliation with a double.

Before that, the only base runner for the Phillies was Carlos Ruiz who worked a walk in the 6th, although the home plate umpire tried really hard not to allow it.  On ball 4, Ruiz trotted to first as ump John Hirschbeck called him back, swearing it was only ball 3.  Everyone else in the ballpark had apparently passed 1st grade math and knew it was ball 4.  The umps actually had to hold a meeting to convince Hirschbeck that he sucked at basic math.  It was yet another shiny, happy moment for MLB umpires everywhere.

Moving on, Ryan Howard played in his first game since having a cortisone shot in his left ankle.  He singled in that same inning to score Victorino, which was the only offense in the game for the Phillies.  Howard also made a sliding grab on a foul ball where his right foot smashed into the wall along the first base line.  The right foot…not the left…whew!

After that little adventure, Brad Lidge gave up the go-ahead run to the Mets in the 8th, spoiling the day for Hamels.  The Phillies took a 2-1 loss for their seventh straight.  This team is giving me a headache.

But why stop there?  More sucky baseball was yet to follow.  In game 2 of the doubleheader, Joe Blanton pitched two good innings to start off, giving the false illusion that the Phillies might actually have a shot to win a game.

David Herndon quickly tried to stomp on all our hopes of a positive evening when he put two runners on base in the 3rd.  However, a long fly ball with two outs looked liked the savior of the inning.  But Hunter Pence put a quick end to that silly dream as he dropped the ball and two runs scored.

Pence was already having a bad day in his first start since being rested with knee issues.  In the first inning, he hit into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded.  The Phillies did not score.

As the 3rd inning disaster continued, Herndon walked another batter and Kyle Kendrick had to be brought in.  Kendrick did little to help the situation, giving up two straight hits and 3 more runs.  The total for the inning was 5 unearned runs gift wrapped for the Mets.  And all that happened right after the Phils offense scratched and clawed for 3 runs combined in the 2nd and 3rd innings.

Kendrick, not having sucked badly enough, gave up one more run in the 4th, making those 3 Phillies runs seem totally useless.  The 6-3 lead handed to the Mets would stick for the final score as the offense basically gave up after that horrid 3rd inning.

The Phillies have now lost 8 straight since clinching the division title.  But these games don’t count, right?  Some fans says, no worries, it does not count.  Other say that bad baseball can become a habit, which will be heard to break going into the playoffs.  So, after sucking pretty badly this past week, can the Phillies just flip the switch come playoff time next Saturday?  There are four regular season games left, so I guess only time will tell.

 

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Howard photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

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

666 – 6 Runs Allowed in 6th Straight Loss with 6 Games To Go

For the first time in 2 seasons, the Phillies have dropped 6 consecutive games.  The 6-1 loss to the Nationals on Thursday completed a 4-game sweep, making the Phillies the final MLB team to suffer a 4-game sweep that had not previously done so this year.

Oh yes, all sorts of records were set last night, and not all of them were good.  The Phillies also became the 1st 98-win team to drop 6 straight since the 1904 Giants.  That’s right, more than a century ago.  They also became the first team EVER to lose 6 straight after clinching their division.  What this means is that the Phillies have delivered bad, sucky baseball in historic proportions ;o)

So it was no surprise that the Phillies final regular season home game ended with a chorus of boo’s.  Fans did not pay their hard earned money to watch the Phillies basically lay an egg on the field.  For “Fan Appreciation Night,” it was more like Fan Un-appreciation Night.  Like I always tell my kids, it is okay to fail as long as you go down putting up a fight.  And that, more than the losses, is what bothers me about these 6 games.  Not that the Phillies are trying to suck, but their hearts do not seem to be in it right now.

The one good sign to come out of the game was Roy Oswalt finally getting some life back on his fastball.  He hit 95mph on the gun and stayed in the low to mid nineties most of the night.  The 6 runs he allowed could have been avoided had certain defensive plays been made.

The Nats first run of the game scored when Chase Utley and John Bowker nearly collided in right field chasing after a pop-up.  The miscommunication resulted in a dropped ball, which literally rolled off Utley’s mid-section:

Bowker also made an awful throw to 2nd later in the game and went 0-2 at the plate.  To recap, since coming to Philly, Bowker is 0-11, he nearly killed Utley and has contributed little more than a bad throw.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here is one GOOD play by Pete Orr:
 

Utley and others did not have a good series either.  Joining him in the debacle were Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.  All three Phillies stars combined at the plate to go 0-36 in the 4-game series with no RBI’s, not even a sac fly.  As a team, the Phillies scored only 9 runs over all 4 games.  The offense was simply non-existent, except Carlos Ruiz with 3 hits.  Those who always complain about Ryan Howard striking out a lot should stop and take a look at how the Phillies play without their #1 RBI machine.

Last night’s game was so horrid, that even Phillies Elvis was more entertaining:
 

And even more exciting than that, the Phillies pre-game ceremonies, which included Cliff Lee getting his pitcher of the month award and then addressing the crowd.  Shane and Melissa Victorino also shared a cute moment as they celebrated the re-opening of the Victorino Foundation funded Nicetown Boys & Girls Club.  And PA Announcer Dan Baker was greeted on field by his family to celebrate 40 years with the Phillies.

 

Another record-breaking moment came when the final season attendance was posted.  With 45,064 at the game last night, the Phillies total attendance for the year wound up at 3,680,718, a new ballpark record.  The game also marked the 204th straight regular season sell-out.

With 6 games to go, the Phillies travel to New York to play the Mets starting at 7:10pm tonight.  Let us all hope they snap out of this funk and get hot going into the playoffs!

Here is the full Photo Album from Thursday’ game, including pre-game ceremonies and more Elvis.

 

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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*

Two Blow-Outs and a Blow-Up

On Monday, the Phillies blew-out the Mets in a 10-0 shut-out victory.  Then after Tuesday’s east coast earthquake, the Phillies shook the Mets down with another big win, 9-4.  But on Wednesday, the earth stopped shaking things up, and so did the Phillies.

With a big error only nine pitches into the game, Michael Martinez set the tone.  He bobbled a ground ball, putting two men on base with no outs to start the game.  After that, pitcher Kyle Kendrick imploded.

Although the four runs the Mets score in the 1st were unearned due to the error, Kendrick had a chance to pitch out of the jam with little damage but was unable to do so.  Through four innings, Kendrick gave up two more runs on seven hits and a walk.

The Phillies rallied in the 2nd, scoring three runs.  And four players had multi-hit games, including Chase Utley with three.  But all together, the Phillies left 12 men on base and were unable to capitalize on opportunities.

The Phillies still won the series 2 games to 1, but a sweep sure would have been nice when you look at the way the Braves are playing.  The Phillies lead in the division, once at 9 games, has dwindled to 6.  And with a win tonight, the Braves can cut it to 5.5.

With an off-day tomorrow, the Phillies will have a chance to recharge their batteries before the weekend Marlins series.  So, get some rest guys.  There is still a ways to go before claiming the division.

Also, FYI: Jose Contreras is having surgery on his elbow…he is done
for the year :O(

 

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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*

Cliff Lee is Effortless in Rout of Mets

After losing two of three to the Nationals and enduring three rain delays in four games, seeing the Mets come to town had to be a relief for the Phillies.  And they wasted no time taking out their frustrations on this fourth place team.

Pitcher Cliff Lee continued his incredible month of August by tossing seven innings of shut-out ball.  The Mets managed only three hits off the lefty and struck out seven times.  Those K’s put Lee well above his career high 185 strike-outs in a season; he now has 191 with 36 games to go, which is about seven more starts.

Lee also had some fun at the plate.  He singled in the second inning and hit two other balls very hard that missed going out of the park by only a few feet.  Lee was having so much fun with the bat, that manager Charlie Manuel actually let him hit in the bottom of the seventh instead of a pinch hitter, knowing he was not going back out to pitch the next inning.  There is something you do not see every day.

Of course, having a 10-0 lead made giving Lee another at-bat an easy decision.  Because prior to the seventh inning, the Phillies offense smacked around Mets pitching like they were a minor league team.

Both John Mayberry Jr. and Hunter Pence hit two-run homers in the game.  Mayberry led the team with three RBI.  Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino had two RBI apiece as well.  And in his first game back off the DL without making a single rehab start, Placido Polanco had two hits and a walk.  The only starter without a hit was Chase Utley, who was taken out of the game before the seventh along with Ryan Howard to give them some extra rest.

The Phillies held onto the 10-0 lead with David Herndon pitching the final two innings. And the Mets tread wearily back to the clubhouse, knowing there were still two games to go in this series.

Injury Update

Rollins and Polanco swapped spots on the DL Monday night.  Also, Mayberry played left field on Monday because Raul Ibanez had a sore groin.  This prompts the question, what exactly is going on with all the groin injuries?

Rollins is out with a right groin strain.  Polanco had a sports hernia, also related to the groin area.  Now Ibanez has a sore groin too?  And let us not forget poor Carlos Ruiz who sat out several games after getting hit with a foul ball in the groin.

This is a disturbing trend.  Perhaps an investment in some iron underwear would help?  Or maybe the Phillies need to call a witch doctor to exorcise the demon that has seemingly cursed the Phillies’ groins.

Ok, so it is likely just a weird coincidence and groin strains are a common sports injury.  It is just odd to see them all happen in the span of only two weeks.  With any luck, Rollins and Ibanez will be feeling better very soon.

 

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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*

Hamels Returns to Dominance on 80′s Retro Night

After a horrible start in New York where he gave up seven runs in 4.1 inning, Cole Hamels needed a bounce-back game.  And there was no better time to bounce-back than in a throw-back, 1980′s retro night game.

Wearing the maroon pinstripe uniform from 1984, Hamels found his old-self against the Padres.  Through eight innings, Hamels gave up only one run on three hits while striking out 10 batters.  It was 120 degrees on the field at game time, but the Padres biggest issue was the heat on Hamels’ fastball, not the heat on the field.

Some of the 1980′s player intro’s also added to game intensity:

 

Chase Utley was hot on the scoreboard and hot at the plate with two hits tonight.  Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry Jr. added an RBI-double each which, along with one unearned run, was plenty for Hamels to work with.

To close the game, Ryan Madson came out in the 9th for his first save attempt since returning from the DL.  He sent the Padres down in order to record the 3-1 victory.  It was Madson’s 16th save and Hamels’ team-leading 12th win of the year.

Earlier today, the Phillies activated pitcher Brad Lidge from the DL; he is expected to be broken in slowly in non-crucial situations until he gets settled in after missing the entire first half.  A roster move had to be made and that wound up being Danys Baez.  If Baez is not picked up by another team, he will likely play for Triple-A.

Many fans celebrated the move, as Baez has been inconsistent and mostly ineffective both this year and last.  His 6.25 ERA over 36 innings was not helping his case.

But while this was clearly the best business decision for the team, Baez was well-liked in the clubhouse and is an all-around nice guy.  He is the only player I have never seen ignore a fan or refuse an autograph.  Baez had a smile and for everyone, despite what must have been a really tough year for him.  In that respect, it is a bit sad.

Charlie Manuel also had a difficult time with the decision as he has know Baez for a long time.  He said in an interview on SportsNite that Baez came to his office a week ago to talk about his situation and Baez all but offered himself up.  He told Charlie he would understand if he needed to make a move for the betterment of the ballclub.  So while his pitching was not great, I am impressed with the way he has handled himself and wish him all the best.

 

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Photos from Comcast SportsNet Broadcast

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

Phillies Win Mets Series After 8th Inning Adventure

After getting spanked by the Mets on Saturday in an 11-2 loss, the Phillies needed a win today.  Kyle Kendrick, sometimes a starter, sometimes a reliever, came through for the team and pitched very well.

Over seven innings, Kendrick allowed only one run on six hits and three walks.  He did not strike anyone out, but got ground balls when he needed to, keeping the Phillies in line for a win.

Kendrick was also one of four Phillies who had a multi-hit game today.  Kendrick’s two singles matched two hits from Brian Schneider and Raul Ibanez with Jimmy Rollins adding three hits of his own.

But the big bang came off the bat of rookie Michael Martinez who hit his first major league home run against Mets pitcher Mike Pelfry with two men on base.  He added a fourth RBI later with a sac fly, so it was a big day for Martinez.

The emergence of Martinez has been great timing for the Phillies.  They will need to lean on him a lot in the coming weeks as Placido Polanco is still having back issues and no one is sure when he will return.  The more Martinez plays, the more he hits, which may force Charlie Manuel to keep putting him out there.

The Phillies kept adding on until they had an 8-1 lead after the top of the eighth.  But in the bottom of the eighth, things got a little hairy for the Phils.

Lefty Juan Perez loaded the bases with Mets on three straight walks without recording an out.  Ryan Madson was called in to clean up the mess.  Madson got two outs, although two runs did score as he gave up a few hits and a walk.  The Phillies wound up bringing Antonio Bastardo in to get the final out and also to pitch the ninth.

Bastardo got out of a wild eighth inning, but wound up allowing a run in the ninth.  It was the first run he allowed since May 25th.  And although the lead was cut down to 8-5, Bastardo finished the game, earning the save.

The Phillies will travel to Chicago next to play three games against the Cubs.  The first is Monday night at 8:05pm with Roy Halladay 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*

Mets Massacre Phils In 11-2 Spanking

On paper, the Phillies have the best team in baseball.  But on the field today, they basically sucked.  The Phillies took an 11-2 spanking from the Mets who played without four of their regular starters, three of whom are All-Star caliber players.

The massacre began in the first inning when a horrible mistake caused pitcher Cole Hamels to lose his cool.  With two outs in the first inning, Hamels allowed a double but then coaxed an infield pop-up from David Murphy to get out of the inning…or so he thought.  Ryan Howard apparently called Chase Utley off the pop-up and then had a brain freeze as the ball dropped between them with Howard looking confused.

Hamels was visibly upset and, if you can read lips, it looks like he yelled, “Oh come on!” and followed it up with a few indistinguishable unhappy words.  You cannot blame Hamels for his annoyance, as a run scored and the pop-up was scored a single since no one touched the ball.  However, after that incident, Hamels was just not the same pitcher.

Manager Charlie Manuel had to pull Hamels from the game after only 4.1 innings where he gave up a career-high seven runs on eight hits and four walks, including a walk to the opposing pitcher.

The Phillies had a chance to catch up in the seventh inning, but Jimmy Rollins coughed up a double play ball with no outs and the bases loaded to kill the rally.  The Phillies scored only two runs despite the hits and multiple fielding flubs by the Mets.

And then Danys Baez put the nail in the coffin in the bottom of the seventh.  Baez began the game with a 5.35 ERA but apparently, he did not feel that was horrible enough.  After he gave up four runs on four hits, including a 3-run homer, Baez seemed more satisfied with the 6.25 ERA that followed. (Editor’s note: The previous paragraph involved “sarcasm,” in case anyone missed it.)

The Phillies still have a chance to win the series tomorrow, however, since Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are getting some extra time off, they will have to win with Kyle Kendrick on the mound.  Game time is 1:10pm.

 

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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 Open Second Half With a Win Over the Mets

Although the day began with the Phillies placing Placido Polanco on the DL, it ended well.  Polanco, battling back pain, should be back around July 20.

All of the recent injuries have given many young players big opportunities.  Michael Martinez started at third again and John Mayberry Jr. started in center and had a huge day at the plate.  In the 7-2 win over the Mets, Mayberry accounted for five of those runs with a single and a bases-clearing double.

Having struggled in his last trip to the majors earlier this year, it looks like Mayberry has finally made the adjustments he needed in order to get his swing straight.  If Mayberry keeps up this pace, the Phillies may not to need any further for a powerful right-handed bat.

Vance Worley also had a nice day on the mound.  He allowed only one run through 5.1 innings.  The only issue was that Worley walked four batters and had a high pitch count early.  He still has some work to do, but so far, Worley is fitting right in to this rotation.

When Worley was called back up today, Ryan Madson joined him as well, coming off the DL after dealing with a bruised hand.  The two roster spots were cleared by Polanco’s DL trip and Scott Mathieson was sent down.

Madson pitched the seventh inning and it appears that he has not skipped a beat.  His command was good and he had zip on his fastball.  Michael Stutes, on the other hand, looked rusty after the All-Star break and he gave up a homer in the eighth.

One other item of note today was the performance of Raul Ibanez.  His bat is suddenly on fire and as a result, he was named the National League Player of the Week.  The week before the All-Star game, Ibanez hit .310 with three homers and 13 RBI.  He hit another home run tonight and also singled.  Congrats to RAUUUUUUL!

Game 2 with the Mets is Saturday afternoon at 4:10pm.  Cole Hamels will pitch with Kyle Kendrick on Sunday.  The top two aces, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, are getting a break after pitching almost two innings each in the All-Star game on Tuesday.

 

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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*

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