Results tagged ‘ Michael Stutes ’

Comedy of Errors Turns Into a Win For the Phillies

It was not pretty, but the Phillies pulled out at 6-4 win over the Mets on Friday night.  The Phillies committed three errors and the Mets had two.

 The real circus act occurred between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.  With two outs in the fifth inning, a pop-up to short center turned into a small disaster.  Utley was over-aggressive and crossed past his side of second base, slamming into Rollins and the ball dropped between the two of them after a little juggling.

Then in the seventh inning, it appeared a throw-over was put on by the bench.  Michael Stutes turned and threw to second, but no one was covering.  Either Rollins or Utley missed the call.  That blooper cost the Phils another run.

Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt saw his pitch count rise as the Phillies error’s extended his day.  He went six innings, allowing one earned and one unearned run.  He also hit an RBI-single in an attempt to keep pace with the hitting of Cliff Lee in the previous game.

The game was tied 3-3 by the eighth inning, but the Phillies bounced back against the Mets closer, Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Historically, the Phillies have had no success against Rodriguez, never scoring a run against him.  But in a non-save situation, they finally got to K-Rod.

Five singles and a sac fly later, the Phillies jumped to a 6-3 lead.  Domonic Brown and Placido Polanco both hit key RBI-singles that inning.  Brown went two-for-two after coming into the game in the eighth, although one hit was a gift from Mets first baseman who missed the easy grounder.  And Rollins collected three RBI in the game.

John Mayberry Jr. continues to impress as well.  He had a hit, a walk, a stolen base and scored two runs.  And his defense in center while standing in for the injured Shane Victorino has been outstanding.  Mayberry’s long strides make difficult balls look easy to get to.

So although the game was a real adventure, a win makes all the mistakes fade away.

Cole Hamels will pitch tomorrow in game two with the Mets which starts at 7:10pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Offense Still Missing; More Injuries

I will start with the good news.  Roy Oswalt looked good Tuesday night and had some speed on his fastball.  Through five innings, he allowed only one run, which could have been avoided if third-string catcher, Dane Sardinha knew how to tag anyone at the plate.

And now the bad news….the Phillies offense is still missing in action.  The Phillies collected only six hits, two of which were from rookie Michael MartinezRyan Howard struck out three times and left three men on base, which is unusual for him in his hometown of St. Louis.  Howard normally rakes when he is home.

All together, the Phils left 10 men on base and the only run they scored was unearned after Tyler Greene dropped a routine Jimmy Rollins pop-up.

And now for the ugly…Danys Baez came into a tie 1-1 game in the ninth and proceeded to load the bases before recording an out.  J.C. Romero was in next and he threw only one pitch.  That one pitch went deep center field, handing the game to the Cardinals for a two-game sweep.

And now for the “Oh crap!” moment of the game…rookie reliever Michael Stutes tossed three pitches in the sixth before signaling to the bench that he was hurt.  He left the game with a strained a right side muscle.  No word yet on how serious it is, but this is just one more disaster that the Phillies cannot afford.

The offense has been so bad for this team, I am finally out of words to describe it.  If the Phillies do not find a way out of this slump fast, they will find themselves plummeting down the ranks of the NL East.  The Marlins are only 1/2 game behind them and the Braves are 1.5 games back.  Ugh.

Friday the 13th Was Good Luck For The Phillies

Friday the 13th turned out to be a reversal of fortune for the Phillies, on a day that is traditionally known for bad luck.  It was also a day where some very young, unproven pitchers were tossed into the fire and emerged unscathed.

Cole Hamels was to start the game, but before he took the mound, Ryan Howard blasted a three-run homer to give him a nice lead to work with.  And although Hamels gave a run back to the Braves in the first inning, it looked like he was on cruise control after that, at least until the fifth inning.

A single and two straight doubles by the Braves in the fifth tied the game at 3-3.  In the sixth, Hamels uncorked a wild pitch with a runner on third to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.  After six innings, Hamels had allowed four runs on eight hits while both Hamels and Placido Polanco committed errors in the game.

It was starting to look like a real Friday the 13th nightmare until Shane Victorino hit an RBI-single in the seventh to tie the game again.  But as quickly as things began to look up, they went downhill again fast.

Relief pitcher J.C. Romero started the bottom of the seventh and got into big trouble quickly.  Martin Prado doubled; it seemed like he could not fail to get on base after doing so four straight times in this game.  After a sac bunt that moved Prado to third, Romero walked the next two batters to load the bases.

With one out and the bases juiced, the rookie Michael Stutes took over, looking like fresh meat tossed into a pack of wolves.  Stutes was not rattled and he struck out Dan Uggla, making it look easy.  Antonio Bastardo was up next and before you could blink, the count was a scary 3-0.  But the young lefty refocused and came back to strike out a very frustrated Freddie Freeman, who began slamming equipment to the ground.

The Phillies were able to retake the lead in the eighth after Howard doubled and Raul Ibanez singled to score him.  With a very slim 5-4 lead, another rookie would be called upon to hold the Braves down.  Vance Worley took the mound and on one pitch, gave up a single.  Still not shaken, Worley got the next three outs, including Prado, who failed to reach base for the first time all night.

Ryan Madson closed out the game and is now 6-for-6 in save attempts.  But the best news of the night was seeing a very young group of bullpen pitchers pass the biggest test of their budding careers.  Stutes, Bastardo and Worley were outstanding and there can be no question now that they all have what it takes to pitch in the majors.

Game two with the Braves is at 1:10pm Saturday and Joe Blanton will pitch.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Homers Hurt Hamels; Offense Cannot Bail Him Out

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Howard Makes History Again As Phillies Beat Braves

With Roy Oswalt sent to the DL, the Phillies needed a spot starter tonight against the Braves.  They went with Kyle Kendrick and the move paid off.

Kendrick has been in the bullpen all year, so his pitch count was limited.  But he managed to get through five innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out two.

The Phillies offense came up with a few key hits to give the team a 3-0 lead through those five innings.  Pete Orr played second and had an RBI-fielder’s choice in the second for the first run of the game.  The second run was a historic one.

Ryan Howard smashed his career 260th home run in the fourth, passing Del Ennis for 2nd place in Phillies career home runs.  Mike Schmidt is in first place with 548 homers.  Howard has a long way to go to match Schmidt, but 2nd place is very impressive.

 

Ennis’ widow Liz, an avid baseball fan, called the Phillies after the historic homer and had them leave a note of congratulations for Howard.  It was a very classy move.  During the game broadcast, announcer Tom McCarthy noted that Liz made the call after realizing the telegram was no longer being used.  :O)

Anyway, run #3 in the game came from a Shane Victorino triple in the fifth.  Earlier in the day, Victorino was in the Majestic Clubhouse Store at the stadium signing copies of his new book, “Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian.”  He must have been really pumped up after the turnout.  I heard from a source outside the ballpark that fans who showed up an hour early for the signing were told the line was already cut-off and they were turned away.

I am totally off topic here, but I have one last note about the book.  In the next week or so, I plan on writing a review of the book.  I will also reveal some personal conversations I had with Shane’s parents and also his wife, Melissa, many years back about one of the main talking points of the book, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  I was very glad to hear Shane shared this in the book as I am sure it will help many people suffering from the disorder.  So, stayed tuned for that…

Back to the game…by the sixth inning, this turned into a battle of the bullpens and a 3-0 Phillies lead.  Coming out of the pen for the Phillies was J.C. Romero, Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson.  Each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the Phillies win.

With so many questions surrounding the Phillies bullpen this year, it is very good to see everyone stepping up.  Especially for young pitchers like Stutes and Bastardo, their performances so far this year have been outstanding.

The series is now split 1-1.  Tomorrow the Phillies will send Cole Hamels to the mound as they try to win the series with the Braves.  It is another dreadful ESPN 8pm start on a Sunday; the second Sunday in a row.  I will be there and return with photos.

 

FYI – The MLBlogs conversion to WordPress has been postponed until next weekend, 5/13-5/16…shocking, I know.  Anyway, just keep stopping by and if there is yet another delay, I will let you know.  Thanks!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Worley Wins While Howard Homers

After Joe Blanton was sent to the DL yesterday, Vance Worley was called up to fill in against the Mets.  Worley definitely proved that he has what it takes to pitch in the majors.

And the Phillies certainly challenged him in the first inning.  Both Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins committed rare errors in the first to extend the inning.  But Worley did not get rattled and eventually coaxed a double play ball to end the inning.

That inning increased Worley’s pitch count, but he still managed to go six innings while allowing only two hits.  Despite four walks, Worley shut-out the Mets and got his first major league win of the year.  Worley also singled in the game, which was his first major league hit.

However, most of the fireworks at the plate were provided by Ryan Howard who is now tied for 2nd with Del Ennis for Phillies all-time home runs.  Howard’s 259 home runs are second only to Mike Schmidt who ended his career with 548.

It took Howard two homers to match the record tonight.  The first shot went into the second deck in right field for 2-RBI.  The second was a grand slam in the sixth inning, which is the 10th slam of Howard’s career.

Howard Rollins fireworks.jpg

Howard came up again in the seventh with the bases loaded, but back-to-back slams were just not meant to be.  Sadly, he struck out.

But Ben Francisco helped out in the game as well with two hits and two RBI in the game.  And Rollins had another two-hit game, officially announcing his emergence from an early season slump.  Raul Ibanez, on the other hand, has not had a hit in 30 consecutive at-bats.

Another record was set tonight as well.  Polanco recorded his 39th hit in the month of April, setting a new Phillies team record.  Chase Utley held the previous record with 38 hits in April of 2008.  And Polly is not done yet…still one more game to go in April.

The bullpen, including newcomer Michael Stutes, held down most of the Phillies huge lead and they went on to win by a score of 10-3.  Game two is Saturday at 1:10pm and Roy Halladay will pitch.

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Sweeps And Strikeout’s Cannot Hide the Stench Of Phillies Offensive Offense

It has been an interesting few days for the Phillies.  On Sunday, they finished off a four-game sweep of the Padres, scoring only 12 runs total in all of those games.  An inside-the-park homer by Shane Victorino helped seal Sunday’s sweep.

That same day, closer Jose Contreras was sent to the DL with a strained right flexor pronator tendon in his elbow.  As a result, Michael Stutes joined the club to fill the roster spot and made his major league debut on Monday.

Also on Monday night, the Phillies five-game win streak ended with a 0-4 shut-out loss to the D-Backs.  Cliff Lee pitched an odd game where he struck out 12 batters but still allowed four runs in seven innings.  However, Lee’s performance was basically rendered obsolete as the Phils offense did absolutely nothing to help out.

The three-hit shutout by the Diamondbacks Ian Kennedy where he struck out 10 batters and did not issue a walk, matched a team record.  Only two other pitchers in team history tossed a shutout while allowing three or fewer hits with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks.  One was Curt Schilling on April 10, 2001 against the Dodgers (2 hits allowed, 10 SO) and the other, Randy Johnson, when he pitched a perfect game on May 18, 2004 at Atlanta (13 SO).

While that feat by Kennedy is very impressive, the Phillies offense certainly made it a little easier on him by swinging at bad pitches and watching good ones fly by.

The Phils offensive offense has not scored more than four runs in 14 consecutive games this season.  They currently rank 28th in baseball for runs scored since April 9th.

The worst offender amongst the starters has been Raul Ibanez, who is hitting just .179.  He should be benched in favor of John Mayberry Jr. until he figures things out.  Maybe at almost 39-year old, Ibanez needs to be in a platoon with Mayberry to get him more rest.

Team leader Jimmy Rollins is also not producing.  He got off to a hot start and has seriously cooled off.  Rollins has not had a multi-hit game since April12th.  He has batted .182 since that time.

 

11A.jpg

But a few players are not to blame.  The entire team is just not hitting, as if they all caught the same virus at once.  If the disease continues to spread, who will be the fall guy?  Last year it was hitting coach Milt Thompson.  Frankly, the players themselves need to be held accountable.  Play the bench guys until the starters find their swings.

While the bench is solid, it is not the long-term solution.  However, maybe benching a few guys will light a fire under them.  Because the Phillies have few other options.

Their payroll is maxed out.  The Phillies will never be a team that decides to pay the luxury tax along with the Yankees.  So as far as getting new blood into the line-up, they are out of options.  Besides, it is only April and no teams are ready to trade anyone yet.

Then again, it is only April.  The team is still winning, despite the offense, thanks to a solid starting staff.  But even the pitchers are going to get weary of the lack of support very soon.

So choose your most relaxing yoga pose and just keep telling yourself, “It’s only April.  Its only April…”

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

The Final Decisions Before Opening Day

After a few additions and subtractions, the Phillies Opening Day roster is set.

#

Pitchers

#

Infielders

55

Danys Baez

6

Ryan Howard

58

Antonio Bastardo

19

Michael Martinez

56

Joe Blanton

60

Pete Orr

52

Jose Contreras

27

Placido Polanco

34

Roy Halladay

11

Jimmy Rollins

35

Cole Hamels

21

Wilson Valdez

57

David Herndon

#

Outfielders

38

Kyle Kendrick

10

Ben Francisco

33

Cliff Lee

7

Ross Gload

46

Ryan Madson

29

Raul Ibanez

44

Roy Oswalt

15

John Mayberry

16

J.C. Romero

8

Shane Victorino

#

Catchers

#

Catchers

51

Carlos Ruiz

23

Brian Schneider

 

Most notable, Luis Castillo was released yesterday.  After showing up two days late for a very short try-out, the odds of him making the team seemed slim.  And although he did get on base quite a bit, the players already in camp were just as good and much better defensively.

So Wilson Valdez will start at second base in place of Chase Utley with Michael Martinez (photo), who also made the roster, helping out.  Pete Orr, who smashed a triple and showed off his speed on the base path yesterday, also made the roster.  Delwyn Young was sent to the minors.

As for the bullpen, the injury to Brad Lidge’s shoulder left a spot open which will be filled by David Herndon who beat out Michael Stutes for the last roster spot.  Jose Contreras will close for Lidge, who may be out until May or June.

Yesterday’s final exhibition game was a tad sleepy, but having players wandering around the ballpark was neat.  Here is hoping the Phillies make this a new, year-round tradition for the On-Deck series in the future.

Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the 3/30/11 On-Deck game with the Pirates.

The Injury Bug Begins To Nibble

The timetable for closer Brad Lidge to return may have just been pushed back.  After multiple off-season surgeries on both his knee and elbow, Lidge is still experiencing pain in the elbow, although no structural damage has been found.  As a result, he was given a cortisone shot.  His doctor reports that the elbow inflammation is unrelated to the surgery.

 

While the team and Lidge are downplaying the seriousness of this issue, a cortisone shot is not a good sign.  The fact that the pain is “unrelated” to the surgery could mean that this is a new issue; either that or they are just not giving us all of the facts.  In addition, the frequency of injuries that Lidge seems to suffer from does not inspire confidence.  Here is a quick review of Lidge’s injury history.

 

- Lidge missed parts of his first four professional seasons with a variety of injuries, including a torn rotator cuff, right shoulder tendinitis and a broken forearm that almost ended his career.

- 2002: strained intercostal muscle near the rib cage

- December 2003: arthroscopic surgery on his left knee

- June – July 2005: shut down with elbow issues

- May 2007: bone bruise on his right femur near his knee

- June – July 2007: left oblique strain

- October 2007: surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee

- February 2008: tore the meniscus in the same knee he just had surgery on during his first pitch off a mound in Spring Training.

- June 2009: sprained right knee and a sore elbow (his flexor pronator tendon).

- January 2010: surgery on both the elbow and the right knee again.

- March 2010: the elbow is still an issue and Lidge gets a cortisone injection.

 

Based on the evidence, are we to conclude that Lidge is made of glass?  Fans grumbled when he came to Philly because of the injury history, but all was quickly forgotten when 2008 turned into the Perfect Season for him.  2009 was a disaster for Lidge and now, 2010 is not looking good either.  Let the grumbling begin…

 

P7306516_Blanton_cr.jpgAnother key Phillies pitcher has recently joined the injury parade; starter Joe Blanton strained his left oblique muscle while throwing in the bullpen on Wednesday.  He has been placed on the 15-day DL, which puts his earliest return around April 20-28.  This type of issue tends to drag on and take a while to heal, which is not good news for the Phillies. 

 

Although, this is good news for Kyle Kendrick who will probably join the rotation now.  And that leaves one bullpen spot open as well.  Pitchers B.J. Rosenberg and Michael Stutes will travel north to Philly tomorrow for the last two exhibition games and it is likely that one of them may make the team now.

 

In other recent pitching disasters, Roy Halladay faced his former team for the first time yesterday.  The Blue Jays, knowing their old teammate well, took advantage and nailed Halladay for 4 runs in the first inning including a 2-run homer.  Halladay recovered and finished off the next two innings without incident.  So maybe not quite a disaster….just another Spring Training game so no one really cares ;o)

 

The Phillies will face the Pirates today and then return to Philly tomorrow for the last few games before Opening Day on Monday in D.C.


  

 

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Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

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