Results tagged ‘ Michael Stutes ’

Come From Behind Win After Slow Start For Phillies Offense

The Cubs pitcher, Matt Garza, had a no-hitter going against the Phillies into the 5th inning tonight.  The only Phillie to get a hit through two outs in the 7th inning was Domonic Brown, who hit Garza twice with a double and a single.

In all, Garza only allowed four hits and one run, with the help of his bullpen who allowed the run to score after he was pulled.  It was yet another disgusting, impatient and painful performance from the Phils offense.

In the meantime, Cliff Lee had a rough start to the game, allowing a 2-run homer in the first.  But after the first few innings, Lee settled down and was his usual, amazing self.  But for the second straight Lee start in a row, his biggest problem was the Phillies offense.

In two starts, all Phillies players combined, except for Lee, did not score a single run while Lee was on the mound.  The only run in the last game was a home run, which Lee hit himself.

Only after Lee was pulled for a pinch hitter and Michael Stutes pitched the 7th, did the offense decide to score.  In the 8th, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Martinez singled, then Chase Utley drove them in with a double.  Utley later got thrown out at the plate and the game was left in a 2-2 tie.

This anemic offense is frustrating to watch, especially when you know the potential of the hitters who are simply not living up to expectations.   With that in mind, here is a short list of annoying things that I would rather be doing instead of watching the Phillies offense suck:

- Play the movie “The Sound of Music” over and over and over.

- Ride the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney World with the demonic puppets that sing like nails going down a chalk board.

- Clean the litter box.

- Watch Jose Reyes of the Mets do the home run trot while signaling “#1″ with his finger.

- Eat peas.

- Spel thungs rong on porpuse.

That last one was painful, much like watching the Phillies offense.

Back to the game…Stutes wound up pitching both the 7th and 8th innings and kept the score tied.  But while the pitching hung in there, what would the offense do?

Lucky for me, they finally decided to stop sucking, thereby saving me from having to perform one of the annoying tasks on my list.

With two outs in the 9th, Ben Francisco and Rollins hit back-to-back singles.  And then, saving the day once again, Martinez doubled to score both runners for a 4-2 lead.  And although he was thrown out going to third, Martinez is still the hero.

Antonio Bastardo served as the closer again, as the Phillies are still taking it slow with Ryan Madson since coming off the DL.  And again, Bastardo was lights-out for his 7th save of the year.

With the win today, the Phillies have a chance to win the series now.  Game three with the Cubs is Wednesday afternoon at 2:20pm; Vance Worley will pitch.

 

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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*

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*

Philadelphia Phillies 2011 First Half Report Card

Having ended the first half of the season with a 57-34 record, the best in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies have much to look forward to in the second half.  And although many injuries and questions still loom in the background, the first half of play was very successful for this team.

What makes the first half even more remarkable is that the Phillies were able to win despite injuries and missed time from a bucket-full of All-Star caliber players including Chase Utley, Roy Oswalt, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco.

In the bullpen, the Phillies are currently on their fourth closer of the year as the first three all went on the DL.  First Brad Lidge, then Jose Contreras and finally, Ryan Madson.

The rest of the pen has been run primarily by rookies and inexperienced players over the last several month.  But these players have stepped up and are keeping hope alive.

The following  is a look at the Phillies 2011 First Half Report Card.

Starting Pitching:  A+

The Phillies ended the first half with the best ERA in baseball at 3.02, the fewest earned runs allowed with 279 plus 11 complete games and 13 shut-outs, both of which are also the most in baseball.

Both Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels have earned 11 wins each and their ERA’s are 2.45 and 2.32, respectively.  Those numbers have prompted talk of a Cy Young award for one of the two pitchers.  Cliff Lee has been outstanding as well with a 2.82 ERA and nine wins.

The starters have suffered some major injuries, including Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton, both of whom are on the DL.  But the rookie Vance Worley has filled in admirably with an occasional spot start from Kyle Kendrick.

Bullpen:   B+

The Phillies bullpen has had some real challenges this year, including a plethora of injuries.  But thanks to some very young, very solid talent, the pen has endured.

What was thought to be a major team weakness at the start of the year has turned into a strength in many ways.

Lefty Antonio Bastardo has been outstanding and probably should have earned an All-Star nod.  In 33 innings, Bastardo has allowed only three earned runs and has a microscopic ERA of 0.82.  He has also gone 5-for-5 in save attempts since the Phillies sent their first three closer to the DL.

Michael Stutes and Juan Perez have also been very nice surprises.  If Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson can come back healthy in the second half, the bullpen will only be that much stronger.

Offense:  C-

The Phillies offense for the first half ranks 20th in all of baseball and 10th in the National League with a .250 team batting average.  Statistically, this puts them below average.

But their 377 RBI moves them up the list a little, ranking 11th among all teams and 10th in on-base percentage with .323.

The first couple months were rough without Chase Utley, who is hitting .280 since his return.  But other top team hitters like Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco have missed time with injuries as well, making it difficult for manager Charlie Manuel to post any sort of consistent line-up on a regular basis.

Ryan Howard is tied for the league lead in RBI with 72, which has helped carry this weakened offense.  But with so many rookies in the line-up because of injuries, the other veteran players will need to step up in the second half.

Defense:  A-

Statistically, the Phillies have the best defense in the National League and are around fourth best in all of baseball with 45 errors and a .987 fielding percentage.  Many teams have similar numbers, but looking at the major categories, I would put them in about fourth place.

Among position players, Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard have the highest fielding percentages on the team with .996 and .995, respectively.  Howard has improved his defense greatly over the past couple of years.

This team has a very solid defense.  There were a few games this year where sloppy play brought that into question, but they are humans, not robots.  Overall, it was a very good first half for the defense.

Attendance:  A+

The Phillies ended the first half on Sunday with their 172nd consecutive home sellout.  They are also first in total attendance for all of baseball with 2,228,630 fans so far this year, according to ESPN.  The Yankees were second with 2,173,619 fans.

The Phillies keep winning, and the fans keep the party going. 

1st Half MVP:  Roy Halladay

Because their numbers are very similar, I was tempted to go with Cole Hamels on this one.  But with six complete games and the most innings pitched in the National League, I am giving the first half MVP to Roy Halladay.

This man is a beast.  In Tuesday night’s All-Star game, Brian Wilson of the Giants called Halladay a “Cyborg.”  That seems fitting.

There is nothing Halladay won’t do to help his team win.  With 11 wins, a 2.45 ERA and team-leading 138 strike-outs, Halladay is the MVP.

Most Memorable 1st Half Moment:  Tie, Wilson Valdez & Cliff Lee

This one had to be a draw, because both players provided Phillies fans with some amazing memories this year so far.

First, watching Wilson Valdez tow the rubber in the May 25th 5-4 win in 19 innings over the Reds was simply unforgettable.  The Phillies ran out of pitchers and Valdez volunteered.  He pitched one perfect inning and the Phillies won the game in the bottom of the 19th as a result of his effort.

Before this win by Valdez, the last player to start a game in the field and get the win as a pitcher was Babe Ruth in 1921.  But the best part was hearing Valdez joke after the game that he could have gone three or four more innings if needed.

And then this past Saturday, pitcher Cliff Lee provided another memorable moment.  In the third inning, after a 10-pitch at-bat and six foul balls, Lee smashed his 1st career home run off the Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson, who watched in disbelief.

Lee spent most of his career in the American League, with few chances to hit.  But Lee has remarked on many occasions that he prefers the National League because he loves to hit.  And that joy was all over his face as he rounded the bases in front of thousands of screaming fans who gave him a standing ovation.

Watching a man who truly loves the game of baseball be rewarded in a way that is rarely seen was a real treat.  Pitchers do not hit many home runs and it is even less common among pitchers of Lee’s caliber. 

That was a moment that both Lee and all of the Philadelphia fans watching will not soon forget.

 

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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’s 1st Career Homer Only Offense in Phillies Loss

Saturday’s Phillies game against the Braves featured Cliff Lee doing it all and everyone else, not so much.  Lee pitched eight very solid innings of one run ball, allowing only three hits and striking out nine batters.  he even made a few diving plays on the field.

But the Braves starting pitcher, Tommy Hanson, matched Lee.  He also allowed just one run.

 

And that one run was something very special.  After a 10-pitch at-bat and six foul balls, the Phillies pitcher, Cliff Lee, smashed his 1st career home run off Hanson in the third inning.  Yes, the man really can do it all.

 

Lee ran the bases smiling and even looking a little giddy as fans went wild, realizing the importance of the moment.  It is not every day we see a pitcher hit a home run.  And for a guy like Lee, who gives it 110% every time he is on the field, it was especially rewarding.

While Lee did everything he could to help the team win, sadly, the rest of the team did not join him.  Of course, they were facing an amazing pitcher so most expected this to be a close game.  But the Phillies had some opportunities to score and did not execute.

 

John Mayberry Jr. doubled in the sixth, but then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th.  Ryan Howard went 0-5, leaving two men on base in the sixth, including Mayberry.   And Raul Ibanez, the hero of Friday night’s 10-inning win, made the last out Saturday in the 11th with a fly ball.

In extra innings, the Phillies leaned on the same bullpen pieces as they had the night before, only in a different order.  Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez pitched a scoreless the 9th and 10th.  And then Michael Stutes gave up three runs in the 11th.

 

A foul ball pop-up made the 11th interesting as Howard dropped the ball, but it was a very tough play in and out of the shadows.  Overall, the defense was solid, but that one, plus a walk to start the inning, turned out to be important later.

 

So the Phillies lost 4-1 and go into today’s game with a chance to win the series.  Game time is 1:35pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.  Derek Lowe is scheduled to start for the Braves.

Here is the full Photo Album from the Photo Day event and also from the game.  I will have photos from the Sunday game hopefully later today.

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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*

Walk-Off Win After Long Rain Delay

It has been a long while since Phillies fans have been able to shout, “RAUUUUUUUL!” with any real gusto.  Raul Ibanez is hitting just .239 with a .287 on-base percentage this year.  But Philly still loves Ibanez, and last night, he gave them extra reason to cheer.

After a two-hour rain delay, multiple roll-outs of the tarp on the field and double warm-ups for both starting pitchers, the Phillies – Braves series finally got under way.

So it took almost five hours total, 10 innings and one Ibanez walk-off homer for the Phils to defeat the Braves.  Roy Halladay battled Brave Brandon Beachy (say that three times fast) on the mound.  The battle ended up in a draw as both pitchers allowed two runs and left with a tie game.

It was then up to the bullpens, where it seemed the Braves had the advantage.  But Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez combined for three scoreless innings to keep the Phillies in the game.

 In fact, Perez, a newcomer to the Phils, accomplished a feat that has not been done in 20 years of Phillies history.  He struck out the side in the 10th on exactly nine pitches, the bare minimum; nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs.

Ibanez rewarded Perez by smashing the game-winning homer in the bottom of the 10th.  The 32-year old lefty earned his first major league win thanks to Ibanez and the nine-pitch inning he tossed.

So the Phillies 3-2 win puts them in a great position for the rest of the weekend.  I will be at both games Saturday and Sunday and return with photos and, hopefully, two more wins.

Game time today is 4:10pm and Cliff Lee will pitch.

 

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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*

No Sweep As Phils Stumble Against the Fish

On Tuesday night, the Phillies pounded the Marlins to the tune of 14 runs, their highest run total for a single game this year.  The Phils played solid baseball while winning the first two games of this series.  But tonight was a different story.

Sloppy play and mental mistakes highlighted Wednesday night’s game.  Chase Utley got caught in a run down after wandering too far off first base after getting a hit in the first.  John Mayberry Jr. dropped a ball in center that hit the webbing of his glove.  Domonic Brown let an easy ball bounce right past him in left, allowing two runs to score in the third.  And Michael Stutes made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt in the eighth.

In the midst of all the errors, Brown was called out after a triple; the umpire says he did not touch the base.  In the replay, it looks like the umpire, who did not get in proper position to make such a call, screwed up.  Frankly, if the ump is too lazy to get into position, he has no business making these calls.

There were still a few highlights.  Mayberry had his first multi-home run game of his career with two homers and three RBI on the night.  Jimmy Rollins hit a homer as well  and has six hits in the last two games.

But the pitching tonight was not great.  Even with six runs scored, the Phils could not hang onto the lead.  Kyle Kendrick gave up three runs in five innings; David Herndon allowed two runs in 2/3 of an inning.  Then Andrew Carpenter collected a blown save in the seventh, allowing the Fish to tie the game, 6-6.  And the final blow came from Danys Baez who allowed a game winning homer in the 10th to Mike Stanton.

The Phillies have Thursday off to get their heads back on straight before facing the Braves on Friday.  That will be a huge series as the Braves are right on the Phillies heels for first place in the NL East.

Neither Shane Victorino or Placido Polanco are available to play right now either, which complicates the situation.  Victorino has a mild thumb sprain and Polanco is going to see a back specialist.  More on that later…good night, all!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Phillies Offense Sleeping with the Fish; Young Pitching Bails Them Out

The Phillies started a 3-game series tonight with the Fish and both offenses seemed to be floundering.  If you had decided to take a nap and did not wake up until the seventh inning, you would have missed practically nothing.

Vance Worley started for the Phillies and was very sharp.  He pitched seven innings total, allowing only two hits, two walks and no runs.

But while Worley held his own, the Phillies offense could not seem to manage any action.  Domonic Brown was the only hitter with a big night that included two hits and he scored the Phillies’ only run on a Michael Martinez single in the seventh.

As for the scoring, that was it.  Worley had a chance to move runners on first and second over with a bunt in the seventh, but he struck out.  Worley seriously needs to work on his bunting.

So the bullpen took over after that.  Michael Stutes was fantastic as usual, pitching a scoreless, hitless eighth.  And then Antonio Bastardo saved the game, winning by a score of just 1-0.  It was a combined 2-hitter for three rookies / young players in Worley, Stutes and Bastardo.  The fountain of youth takes one for the team…nice.

Game two with the Marlins kicks off tomorrow night at 7:10pm.

By the way, Happy Fourth of July everyone!  Enjoy your evening :O)

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Worley Shows Big League Stuff in Win Over the Red Sox

The rookie Vance Worley faced a difficult task this evening against the Red Sox.  Not only was he pitching against a great offense, Worley also had to follow an amazing performance from Cliff Lee the night before.  Not to mention, Worley is a young, inexperienced pitcher who had yet to go more than six innings in a major league game.

Worley got the job done.  He even pitched a full seven innings for the first time in the majors.  The only run Worley allowed was knocked in by the opposing pitcher, John Lackey, who surprised everyone with an RBI-double.

But Worley maintained his composure throughout the game.  His final line included only five hits, two walks and one run.

The offense did little to help Worley out, scoring only one run through the sixth inning on a Raul Ibanez RBI-single.  With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh, Ibanez finally gave the Phillies the lead with a solo homer.  This also put Worley in line for the win.

It would be up to a very young bullpen after that to hold down the slim lead.  Fans got a sneak peak at what the near future holds for a pen with three closers on the DL.  Michael Stutes served as the set-up man in the eighth inning and sent the Sox down in order.

After the Phillies were again unable to score in the eighth, Antonio Bastardo stepped onto the mound in the ninth as closer #4 on the year for the Phillies.  He quickly disposed of the Sox batters to earn the save and award Worley with a win.

The Phillies have taken the first two games of this series, which is very good news.  They play the final game tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm with Cole Hamels on the mound.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Hamels Shines While the Offense Bombs

Cole Hamels must be wondering what he ever did to offend his teammates.  Because they just cannot seem to score any runs for him.  Then again, this Phillies offense has been fizzling on a regular basis without regard to the starting pitching.   Tonight’s game against the A’s was no different.

So, where has the offense gone?  Are the bats hiding or have they been kidnapped?  Maybe Charlie Manuel should make flyers and post them around town to see if anyone can find them.

The Phillies scraped out only one run in this game, thanks to a Carlos Ruiz RBI-single in the second inning.  As a team, they had only four hits.

Poor Hamels pitched another gem, allowing just two runs in eight innings.  He more than earned a win but again, he did not get one.

And then Michael Stutes finally had a bad day.  In the ninth inning, he gave up two runs on two hits and a walk.  The 2-1 deficit was suddenly increased to 4-1.

Another issue which we may hear more about later was rookie Domonic Brown lolly-gagging his way to first base on a ground ball that he assumed was an out.  The lack of hustle cost him as the A’s second baseman bobbled the ball.  Had Brown been running full-speed, he may have beat the play.

Manuel will likely address this with Brown later on, as he should.  This is not a good habit for a rookie to get into.

So the Phillies lost the game by a score of 4-1.  The good news is that Roy Halladay pitches tomorrow. However, this is only good news if the Phillies can find their bats.

I will be there and return with photos.  Game time is 1:35pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Polanco’s Grand Slam & 100th Homer Help Halladay Win

Third baseman Placido Polanco smacked his 100th career homer in Friday night’s Phillies – Cubs game.  The grand slam not only marked a significant career achievement, it also helped the Phillies win the game.

Roy Halladay was his usual awesome self on the mound and it looked like he would not need much assistance.  Domonic Brown hit a two-run homer in the second inning to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead.  Then Polly’s slam made it a seven run lead in the seventh.

So after seven innings of no-run ball for Halladay, manager Charlie Manuel decided to give him a little rest and use the bullpen for the final two innings.  That almost wound up being a disaster.

Jose Contreras and J.C. Romero nearly blew the seven run lead, which was especially scary considering how hard it has been for the Phillies to score any runs lately.  Contreras walked two of the first four batters he faced, loaded the bases and had given up two runs by the time he was pulled after recording only one out.

Things got worse when Romero entered and proceeded to walk the first batter he faced on four pitches.  Then back-to-back singles scored three more runs for the Cubs.  Without having recorded an out, Romero was lifted from the game.  The seven run lead had turned into a 7-5 ballgame quickly.

Rookie Michael Stutes was called upon to stop the bleeding, which he did.  Stutes also started the ninth inning  where a strike-out, throw-out double play with a strong toss to second from catcher Carlos Ruiz retired two Cubs in one shot.  Antonio Bastardo then struck out lefty Carlos Pena to earn the save.

While the Phillies won the game 7-5, the performance from Contreras and Romero is raising eyebrows.  Contreras is still struggling with his command since coming off the DL.  Hopefully, time and getting some more work in will correct the issue.  Romero seems healthy, but he is still having serious issues throwing strikes.

The outlook for these bullpen pieces remains to be seen, but it does appear that the back-end of the pen is in the midst of a youth movement.  Both Stutes and Bastardo have outpitched the more experienced Contreras and Romero and will likely be transitioned into the later innings role for the foreseeable future.

Game three with the Cubs is this afternoon at 4:10pm.  Cliff Lee will pitch.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

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