Results tagged ‘ Michael Martinez ’

Hamels Sharp in 1st Game Off the DL

The Phillies began a stretch of 33 games in 31 days today in Cincinnati against the Reds.  With the schedule shuffling due to Hurricane Irene, the Phils lost their final off-day of the regular season and also have two doubleheaders in September.

Today was an especially important day for pitcher Cole Hamels.  It was his first start since coming off the DL with some shoulder soreness.  Hamels did not skip a beat as he began quickly mowing down Reds hitters.
 

Hamels was perfect through three innings when an outfield blunder ended the streak in the fourth.  Hunter Pence overran a routine fly ball, then slipped and fell trying to go back to make the catch.  The hit was recorded as a triple, which gave the Reds a 1-0 lead soon after.

Probably mortified my the mistake, Pence looked for redemption early with a single to start the fifth.  Carlos Ruiz then singled and Wilson Valdez drove Pence home with a very timely double.

Hamels was able to shake off the earlier mistake and with a 1-1 tie game, he continued pitching very well.  Through six innings, Hamels allowed just the one run on two hits and struck out seven.

The pitchers battle continued as the Reds’ Homer Bailey kept confusing Phillies hitters.  Valdez seemed to be the only one able to hit Bailey and he started the eighth off with a single.

Michael Martinez was then sent up to bunt, which was a minor disaster.  I sincerely hope this is the last time Martinez will be counted on to lay down a bunt, because he looked like he had no clue what he was doing.  He bunted two balls straight up into the air; the first was foul and the second was caught for a very ugly out.

Lucky for Martinez, Shane Victorino stepped up to the plate and finally saw a pitch he liked.  One hanging curve ball  later and Victorino had himself a 2-run homer.  The Phillies then had a 3-1 lead.

That lead dwindled a little in the bottom half of the inning as the struggles of Michael Stutes continued.  He gave up one run on three hits, cutting the lead to 3-2.

In that inning, Placido Polanco missed a hard hit ball and made a throwing error.  Polanco also struck out three times at the plate, which is very out of character for him.  Normally a contact hitter, Polanco did not look like himself today both at the plate and in the field.  This leave one wondering just how badly he is being bothered by the sore hip and back.

After that odd inning, the Phillies were unable to score again.  That meant the game was in the hands of Ryan Madson with a miniscule 1-run lead.  Coming into this game, Madson was 23 for 25 in save opportunities.

Unlike Polanco tonight, Madson was on top of his game.  After allowing a lead-off single, he buckled down and recorded the final three outs of the game.

Tuesday night, Roy Halladay will finally take the mound after getting pushed back with all the crazy weather and game cancellations earlier this week.  Game time is 7:10pm.

 

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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*

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*

Jimmy Rollins Headed to the DL

In last night’s Phillies loss to the Nationals, shortstop Jimmy Rollins was lifted from the game early after an injury.  I tweeted a photo collage of J-Roll from the 2nd inning where he did a 360 move from catch to throw on a grounder, after which he was seen grimacing in pain.

It turns out the initial injury occurred as he ran to first base in the 1st inning.  Rollins tweeted me back with this information:

 

And then shortly after, he received the results of his MRI which led to these tweets:

 

So Rollins is on the DL with a grade 2 groin strain.  This is sad news :O(  Rollins has been having a very good year so to see him shut-down now is disappointing.

Placido Polanco is expected to come off the DL today, so the two players will most likely be swapping spots with no additional roster moves.

This also means continued playing time for both Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez, who have done a fantastic job filling in at third base.

I wish J-Roll all the best in his recovery; hopefully, he will be back very soon!

 

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

Two Blown Saves In One Game Cost Phillies the Series

The Phillies had not lost a series since July 26-28 coming into this 3-game series with the Nationals.  But three blown saves in two of three games would change that.

Roy Halladay’s outing was cut short after five innings of work due to yet another rain delay.  It was the third game in the last four that involved a weather stoppage.  Before the storm, Halladay had a rough first inning, allowing two runs.
 

After that, he seemed to settle in, but it did not matter.  Here comes the rain again…

After a pretty spectacular display of lightening and a downpour, the game resumed 1 hour and 11 minutes later.

The delay turned into an opportunity for rookie Michael Schwimer who made his major league debut in this game.  But two pitches into the game with a 3-2 lead, Schwimer tossed a rookie cookie to Danny Espinosa who sent the ball out of the park to tie the game.  That was blown save #1.
 

Schwimer did extremely well though after the rookie blunder and went three innings with just the one run and two hits allowed.

The offense, which had two home runs early in the game from Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley, had a rough 2nd part to the game.  But in the ninth inning when it mattered, Michael Martinez came through against the team that dumped him into the Rule 5 draft with an RBI-single.

 

The Phillies had the lead again, but not for long.  In the bottom of the ninth, closer Antonio Bastardo looked unstoppable.  He mowed down the first two Nats quickly and then had a 1-2 count on Ian Desmond.  Yes, he was ONE strike away from what looked like an easy save.

The Phillies fans were on their feet in anticipation of the win.  But Desmond ruined the day, tying the game up at 4-4 with a home run to left.  And just like that, all the air went out of the balloon again.  It was blown save #2 on the night and #3 in three games.

 

The Phillies did not score in extra innings and Brad Lidge was sent in to pitch the 10th.  And like a bad case of deja vu, Lidge imploded once again.  Without recording a single out, Lidge loaded the bases.  He did strike out one batter after that, but to no avail.  Because Jonny Gomes and his magical mohawk stepped to the plate and Lidge pelted him with a pitch to walk home the winning run.

This loss was about as ugly as they come.  And losing two out of three to the Nats is a tough pill to swallow.  The only possible good news is that the Mets come to town tomorrow.

The bad news, besides the loss, is that Jimmy Rollins was pulled from the game early with a strained groin.  He will have an MRI tomorrow.  Here is the entire play which it is believed did the damage:

 

As for my game photos, here is the full Photo Album which includes shots from inside the Diamond Club at Nationals Park. 

 

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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*

Close Game Turns Into a Blow-Out in Phillies Win Over D-Backs

In their second game against the Diamondbacks, the Phillies spent seven innings embroiled in another tight pitching battle.  Cliff Lee was outstanding through seven, allowing only three hits, although one was a two-run homer.  After the home run though, the D-Backs could not get to Lee at all.

The game was tied 2-2 after a Jimmy Rollins lead-off homer and a John Mayberry Jr. RBI single.  But in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies suddenly began smacking around the D-Backs pitching staff.

The Phils scored three runs in that half inning, with the big hit coming from third baseman Wilson Valdez.  With two men on base, Valdez hit a long, 2-run double that went all the way to the centerfield wall, giving the Phillies a two-run lead.

Valdez has not gotten much playing time lately.  Michael Martinez was on a good streak for a while and did most of the filling-in for the injured Placido Polanco at third.  So in case you have forgotten who Valdez is, here is a quick breakdown by the various types of “Wilson’s” you may know:

 

Valdez was once asked by a reporter why he did not have gloves with his name on them like the other players.  He said he did not need to get any specially made because his name was already on the glove; yes, his name is “Wilson.”

After Valdez put the team ahead, the runs kept on coming.  Rollins ended the day with two hits, two RBI and a walk.  Hunter Pence went 2-for-2 with two walks.  And Mayberry, another player who has not gotten a lot of playing time, had an outstanding day at the ballpark.  He led the team with three hits and an RBI.

Lee was pulled for a pinch hitter in the seventh so the bullpen finally got some work.  Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson pitched the eighth and ninth, respectively.  By the time Madson pitched, he had a 9-2 lead to work with.  The game was over quickly at that point.

Before the game today, Polanco was put on the DL with a groin strain, retroactive to August 7th.  RHP Michael Schwimer was called up to take his roster spot.  Schwimer has been amazing in Triple-A action, posting a 9-1 record with 10 saves and a 1.88 ERA.  He did not get into the game today, but with any luck, we may get a look at him soon.

Carlos Ruiz sat out today as well after getting hit with a ball in the groin yesterday.  The official report says he has a “Left Testicular Contusion.”  Ouch!  Poor Chooch…he is day to day.

Game 3 with the D-Backs is Thursday night at 7:05pm; Vance Worley and his fabulous red spectacles will be 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*

Halladay Gives Up Lead in 9th As Phillies Fall to the D-Backs

The Phillies began a 3-game series tonight with the Arizona Diamondbacks who currently hold first place in the NL West.  As expected, it was a very tight game between two very good teams.

With Roy Halladay coming in to the game with two extra days of rest due to a rain out and an off-day, things looked good for the Phillies.  But while Halladay was solid through eight innings, he was unable to hold down a slim 2-1 lead in the ninth.

Halladay has completed so many games and held down so many leads in the past, it probably seemed right to hand him the opportunity again.  But with no outs in the ninth, Halladay gave up two straight singles.  Then Lyle Overbay, in only his second game with the D-Backs, smacked a bases clearing double to take a 3-2 lead.  Overbay was a one-man wrecking crew, going 3-for-4 in the game with 3 RBI.

Prior to this, the Phillies had given away many opportunities on offense, which really put them into this jam.   While most Phillies struggled at the plate, Halladay contributed two hits, including his first career extra-base hit with a double to right.  But both times, Halladay advanced to third and was left stranded.

Chase Utley had three hits, but two of those came with two outs in the inning and all three times either Ryan Howard or Hunter Pence struck out after each of his hits.  Pence left the bases loaded in the third inning for what was the Phillies best shot at breaking the game open.

In the bottom of the ninth, Carlos Ruiz walked and Michael Martinez bunted him over to start the inning for a potential comeback.  But pinch hitter Ross Gload, who has not had a hit since July 28, struck out.  Jimmy Rollins then struck out to end the game with a 3-2 loss.

Halladay has come through for this team too many times to be counted.  It was a real shame that his teammates could not bail him out the one time he needed the help.

The Pence streak was also broken today.  Previously, if Pence did not hit the Phillies did not win and vice versa.  Tonight, Pence had a hit, but the Phillies did not win.  Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Before the game today, the Phillies unveiled the new Harry Kalas statue outside of Harry The K’s at the ballpark.  The unveiling was originally scheduled for this past Sunday, but the game was rained out.

 

Jimmy Rollins and former Phillies ace, Steve Carlton, presided over the unveiling.  The memorial sculpture was requisitioned by and paid for by Phillies fans and given as a gift to the Phillies in Harry’s honor.   It features Harry holding a microphone while leaning on a baseball bat and he is wearing his 2008 World Series ring.

The statue is a testament to how loved and respected Kalas was in Philadelphia and the impact he had on many lives.  While he will always be missed, this sculpture is a beautiful way to keep Harry in both our hearts and in the ballpark, right where he belongs.

 

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Photo: Phillies.com

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

43 Games to Go

After Sunday’s rain-out, the Phillies have 43-games to go in the regular season, including the make-up game on 9/20 at 1:05pm as part of a split-doubleheader.  As of today, the Phillies still lead all of baseball with 78 wins and are nine game in front of the Braves in the NL East.

With all of the injuries suffered by the Phillies this year so far, it is even more impressive that they have been this dominant.  Four starting position players, two starting pitchers and three relievers have all spent time on the DL and some of them made multiple trips.

They have also used four different closers because of the injuries and two spot / replacement starters.

 

And while Placido Polanco, the starting third baseman, is not technically on the DL right now, he has not played since August 6th due to a sports hernia.  After receiving an injection, Polanco is expected to decide by Tuesday whether or not to have surgery which could put him out nearly the rest of the regular season.

Still, the Phillies keep finding ways to win.  Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels have been terrific on the mound.  While the pitching seems to have carried the team through the first half of the year, the recent addition of Hunter Pence has jump-started the offense.  And once again late in the season, Ryan Howard is heating up.

By the way, am I the only person without a Pence jersey or tee-shirt yet?  The ballpark has been stacked with them in all varieties.

Jimmy Rollins is having his best year since the 2008 season.  And while hitting .265 is not spectacular, he is taking more pitches, drawing more walks and has been healthy all year.

And since coming off the DL with major knee issues, Chase Utley appears to be back to his old self…almost.  Shane Victorino is also having a great year despite two trips to the DL, batting .313.

But the younger role-players have also been key to the Phillies success so far.  Michael Martinez, Wilson Valdez and John Mayberry Jr. have all made big contributions filling in for injured players.  The young pitchers Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes and Vance Worley have been slightly overused for guys at their level of experience, but they have all responded very, very well.

The point is, this team is winning and shows no signs of slowing down.  This is a very special time to be a Phillies fan.  We could very well be witnessing something historic right now.  The season is far from over, but I like their chances.

While the team is off today, think about it.  Sit still for a moment and soak it all in.  Then, take a deep breath.  Can you smell it? 

…43 games to go.

 

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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 Missed Opportunities = First Series Loss Since Mid-June

The Phillies took an awful loss to the Giants Wednesday night, only scoring one run for Cole Hamels who was outstanding.  Still, no win for Hamels.

This also put the Phillies in an unusual position, having to face Tim Lincecum on Thursday night with a chance to actually lose a series.  They had not lost a series since mid-June.  That streak would end against Lincecum.

Spot starter Kyle Kendrick would take the loss, although he did not deserve it, much like Hamels.  Kendrick pitched well through six innings, allowing just two runs.  But a lead-off walk and an error by third baseman Michael Martinez added one earned and one unearned run to Kendrick’s final statistics.

The Phillies offense had some opportunities to score as Lincecum walked four batters, but they did not take advantage.  Chase Utley alone left five men stranded on base as he popped out once and struck out twice against Lincecum.

The Phils managed one run off the Giants bullpen, but again, missed opportunities were the plague of the day.  As a team, the Phillies recorded only five hits in the 4-1 loss.

This was a disappointing loss for the Phillies who will have to face the Giants again in only one week in  San Francisco.

Friday night’s game will feature Roy Halladay against the Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton.  There has been some talk recently about how Halladay and Morton look alike, but personally, I do not see the resemblance:

 

Oh, wait a second….now I get it:

 

Twins, for sure.

Game time is 7:05pm on Friday.

 

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

Vance Worley Needs To Stay in Philadelphia…For Now

In Tuesday night’s 7-2 victory over the Giants, Phillies pitcher Vance Worley earned his seventh win of the year and lowered his ERA to 2.02.  It was also the rookie’s first career complete game.

In 11 starts for the Phillies this season, Worley has just one loss and a WHIP of 1.09.  He has also shown steady improvement between starts and gotten much better at keeping his pitch count down.

Filling in for the injured Joe Blanton, Worley has been outstanding.  As for Blanton, a recent report from Matt Snyder at CBS Sports indicates that Blanton has nerve damage in his elbow and he may be done for the year.

Once Roy Oswalt returns to the rotation, the Phillies will be using Worley as the fifth starter.  Kyle Kendrick is also available, but he has been more useful in a long relief role.  In nine starts, Kendrick has a 3-2 record and 3.97 ERA.  In relief, his ERA drops to 2.49.

Arguments to trade Worley include his rookie status, which some think gives him an edge as most teams have not faced him.  If that is the case, it is thought he may not be as good next year so the Phillies should trade him now.  J.A. Happ encountered the rookie curse after being traded to Houston where he has performed very poorly since a sparkling rookie campaign.

If Worley is traded now, while he is performing well, certainly he will be worth more.  However, if Worley continues to excel from now until the end of the season, he will be worth just as much in a trade during the offseason, before he has a chance to suffer from the sophomore slump.

With this in mind, it makes sense to keep him for the year, especially with the news on Blanton.

The Phillies could use an upgrade in the form of a right-handed bat, but losing Worley seems to steep a price right now.  If the Phillies could get Hunter Pence, Domonic Brown would be a better trade piece, along with some prospects.  Pence would be under team control, like Brown is now, and both the defense and offense would improve.

There are a number of other possibilities as well.  But if Worley goes in exchange for a right-handed bat, where would that person play?  Brown needs playing time if the Phillies plan on keeping him and developing him.  The rest of the positions seem pretty well set for the year, barring further injuries.

There is another option as well.  The Phillies do not have to make a trade if the right situation does not present itself.

The offense has improved since the All-Star break and bench players like John Mayberry Jr. and Michael Martinez have shown promise.  Mayberry is a power right-hander and Martinez is a switch hitter.  Also, Ben Francisco is batting .353 as a pinch-hitter.

Whether the Phillies decide to make a move or not, hopefully, Worley will be staying in Philadelphia…at least for now.

 

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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*

Lee Pulled Early In Tough Loss Against the Padres

Monday afternoon’s Phillies – Padres match-up brought about a disappointing end to a five-game Phils win-streak.  A very un-Lee like performance from pitcher Cliff Lee put the Phillies into an early hole from which they could not escape.

Pulled for a pinch hitter after only four innings, Lee had allowed five runs on 10 hits as the Padres pounded him.  Not only did Lee not have his good stuff on the mound, he looked slightly disoriented as well.  In the second inning, he lackadaisically lobbed a ball to first base, allowing a runner at third to steal home.

While Lee did not have his head screwed on quite right today, the offense tried to battle back for him.  But mistakes held them back.  After a Shane Victorino double in the first that scored one run, Ryan Howard was sent home to try for two.  But going first to home with a slow runner like Howard is usually a very bad idea.  Howard was out at home to end the inning.

Victorino had three hits on the day and Raul Ibanez had two with an RBI.  But the Phillies squandered many opportunities, like when John Mayberry Jr. singled to start the bottom of the seventh.  Jimmy Rollins bounced into a fielder’s choice and then got picked off stealing second.  Michael Martinez then flied out to end the inning.

The real bummer with this loss is that it ended a nice win-streak and good momentum for the Phillies right as the World Champion Giants come to town.  This will be a tough 3-game stretch for the Phils who do not have their top two aces in line to pitch.

Tomorrow, the rookie Vance Worley will have to compete with Giants ace and 2-time Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum.  It could go either way, but if the Phillies cannot offer Worley some run support, it will be a long night.

Game time is 7:05pm; I will return with photos :O)

 

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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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