Results tagged ‘ MLBlogs ’

Lidge Must Go

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I have very little to say today; Brad Lidge blew another save today as the Phillies lost to the Braves, 3-4 in what should have been a 3-2 win.  Yes, the offense should have scored more runs.  However, what is a closer for if not to save tight games? 

Lidge has proven that he cannot get the job done this year; it is time for a change.  In the words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.

Phillies Win A Close One

Lidge saved a game?  Whew!  Please excuse my sarcasm…Brad Lidge, who has been just awful this year, saved a very close game tonight.  With 2 men on base, Lidge got the final batter out on a long fly ball to left field.  Another nail biter, but the 3-2 win over the Braves is ultimately what counts.

Shane Victorino had an interesting game as well.  P9213031 Shane.jpgWhile Victorino only had 1 hit in the game and popped up with 1 out and a man on third, he made up for offensive outage with 2 amazing catches in deep centerfield.  On the first one, he jumped in the air and shot backwards into the outfield wall as he saved an extra base hit.  The second one was equally impressive as he caught the ball behind him while running at full speed.  Nice job Shane!  Those two grabs absolutely saved the game for the Phillies.

The only real offense in the game was a 2-run homer from Chase Utley in the 4th inning to tie the game up.  After that, things got eerily quiet for a long time.  But Ryan Howard broke the silence, and the tie, with a solo home run to lead off the 8th inning.  That turned out to be all the Phillies needed.

But the pitching was the real story; Joe Blanton continues to amaze as he went 7 strong innings with only 1 earned run allowed.  The other run was unearned after a Pedro Feliz error at third base, his 11th error of the year.  Ryan Madson pitched the 8th and only needed 6 pitches to silence the Braves.  And you already know how Lidge did.

But frankly, Lidge is still a BIG concern for this team.  He cannot get through an inning without base runners and without getting hit hard.  He got out of it tonight, but again, it was not pretty.  With 7 blown saves on the season and the highest ERA among NL closers, Lidge makes everyone’s tummy turn.

But all is well that ends well and this one did just that.  The Phillies have a huge opportunity here to BURY the Braves and end their season if they can get at least 2 out of 3 in this series.  The battle continues tomorrow at 4:00pm.  Go Phillies!

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Heavenly Sweep Of The Cubs

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Then God said, Let there be Lee: and so Lee was deposited into the lap of the Phillies.  And God saw Lee, and it was good.  Then on the seventh day, he created a sweep of the Cubs; and it was also good.  He then rested and boarded a flight to AtlantaLee in heaven3.jpg

A little Biblical humor for you; however, I am sure the Cubs saw nothing funny about the 3-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies.  Cliff Lee, who may indeed be a gift from the heavens, pitched 8 full innings of 1 run ball in the finale this afternoon.  And just to put an exclamation point on the win, he struck out 8 batters and went 1 for 3 at the plate with a double; it was Lee’s 2nd double as a Phillie.  In fact, Lee now has 3 hits as a Phillie and has given up a total of only 3 runs in 24 innings pitched.  Stick a halo on the man’s head – he is officially an angel.

The bats continued their bid for sainthood today as well; even Ryan Howard has been resurrected and is beginning to hit again.  Today, Howard went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI on a home run in the 4th inning.  And after showing off his new speedy moves yesterday when he hit a triple, today he continued to amaze as he stole a base.  Howard’s 5th stolen base of the year is a career high for him, and an impressive sight to behold from such a large and cumbersome looking man.

Pedro Feliz looked like he had his bat blessed by a higher power as well; Feliz had 3 hits in the game and 2 RBI, including a solo homer.  Chase Utley and Shane Victorino had 2 hits each and are now hitting .299 and .311 respectively.

Can the Phillies offense continue to perform like they are playing on hallowed ground?  A trip to Atlanta will give us the answer.  Tomorrow night Joe Blanton will face the man named after a lotion, Jair Jurrjens (or is it Jergens?), who is a slippery opponent and generally, the Phillies hate facing him.  The weekend series begins at 7:30pm.  Go Phillies!

Lee photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Pedro Wins, Offense Explodes & Beer Is Wasted

While many of us are more offended by the waste of a good beer than anything Pedro Martinez might have done last night against the Cubs, the main story was still pitching.  P8094647.jpgMartinez put forth the effort that many expected; he had 4 very strong innings in his Phillies debut and began to tire in the 5th inning.  But even though he loaded the bases with no outs, Martinez did manage to work out of the jam with only 2 runs scoring. 

Overall, Martinez’s fastball velocity was very good, ranging from 88-93mph and he had good movement on the ball.  With a variety of pitches working as well, it looks like Pedro is here to stay.  The more he pitches, the stronger his arm will get and that means he may be able to go further into games, which is the ultimate goal.  The final line was 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 5 strikeout’s and 1 walk, which was in the 5th and to the opposing pitcher.  And the final score was 12-5 after Chad Durbin gave up a few runs in the 9th.

The offense did their best to impress Mr. Martinez with their bats.  After a LONG hitting drought, the bats finally exploded last night to the tune of 12 runs on 14 hits including home runs by Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Rauuuuuuul Ibanez!  Every staring position player had at least one hit in the game, with Chase Utley leading the pack with 3 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.  Rollins & Ibanez each picked up 3 RBI on their homers. 

The other star of the game was Chan Ho Park; coming in to relieve Martinez, Park pitched a mini-no hitter of 3 innings in length :O)  As bad as Park was at the beginning of the season as a starter, he has been the polar opposite in the bullpen.   Kudos to Park for continuing to thrive in his bullpen role!

And then the moment you have all been waiting for – the beer.  It always makes me laugh when people criticize Phillies fans and then I see something like this; check out the VIDEO.

Yes, a retarded Cubs fans threw a full beer in the face of Shane Victorino right as he was catching a fly ball in deep centerfield.  To the idiot’s credit, he had perfect aim and timing.  But what an awful, unsportsmanlike and just plain stupid thing to do; I think the man should be thrown in jail, tied to a chair and forced to watch Cirque de Soleil videos all night long while also having buckets of ice water thrown down his pants by a large, hairy man named Gus.  Cubs – feel free to use that idea.  You have my full permission.

Phillies will go for the sweep of the Cubs this afternoon at 2:20pm – hopefully, beer free.

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Lidge Blows Another, Phillies Win Anyway

This week in Phillies-land has been anything but dull.  After getting swept by the Marlins, a trip to Chicago was in order.  Coming off his second complete game shut-out with 127 pitches thrown, JA Happ looked a bit tired on the mound last night, but he got the job done.  P8094580 Happ.jpgHis composure and inability to lose his cool makes him extremely effective.  In 6 innings, Happ only allowed two runs despite a plethora of base runners, as he worked in and out of trouble all night.  It was another great job from the rookie who continues to show why he belongs in the starting rotation.

Even with the Phillies offense still in a coma, they entered the 9th inning with a 3-2 lead thanks mostly to a Jimmy Rollins 2-run homer in the 6th.  Ryan Madson did his job to shut the Cubs down in the 8th and then Brad Lidge stepped to the mound in the 9th for the save.  Adding more fuel to the fire of Phillies fans everywhere, Lidge blew another save; his 7th blown save of the year.  And when you look at his ERA, which is a disgusting 7.29, I know many people are praying for Brett Myers to return.

Here is what I think:  Stick a fork in Lidge; he is done. 

Last night was the final straw for me.  The Phillies kicked and scratched to stay in that game and then Lidge came in and demoralized the team.  Earlier that day, Lidge threw a bullpen session to work on his fastball command.  Sorry, but it is the middle of August.  If he needs to work on his fastball command, he needs to do that in the minors – just like Myers did last year.  And boy do we wish Myers was healthy right about now.

We all appreciate and admire the job Lidge did last year, but this is 2009 and he is not the same pitcher, for whatever reason. 

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He needs to get his act together, screw his head back on straight and learn how to pitch again.  It is either that, or fans are going to take the Lidge bobblehead doll that will be distributed at the game on Wednesday the 19th and use it for target practice.  As much as I would hate to see the poor, innocent Lidge doll decapitated, maybe that is the jolt he needs to wake up?  Honestly, I love Brad and it pains me to see him struggle like this, but he cannot be allowed to continue to hurt the team when the division is clearly not in the bag, by any means.

But even with the blown save, the Phillies kept at it and tried to pull out the win.  With a 3-3 tie in the 12th inning, Ben Francisco threw the team up on his shoulders and hit a game-winning home run.  Chad Durbin nailed down the save and all is well in the world again.  By the way, could someone please tell Mr. Francisco to use two hands when catching fly balls in the outfield?  As pleased as we all are with his bat skills right now, he is making me very, very nervous out there with the glove.  A bit of foreshadowing?  I hope not.

So the circus continues…Pedro Martinez will make his Phillies debut tonight!  Jamie Moyer has a Pedro voodoo doll ready to go so he can get his job back, but still hoping for a win ;o)  Of course, I am joking…Jamie is a true professional and will always root on his team, even if he is unhappy with the situation.  I am still voting for my split game, 5 1/2-man rotation idea to keep Jamie in the game, but MLB just hates creativity ;O)  Well, let’s see how Pedro does!  Go Phillies!

Happ Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Martinez In, Moyer Out

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Pedro Martinez will be given his first shot at redemption tomorrow night against the Cubs as he enters the Phillies starting rotation.  Jamie Moyer, on the other hand, has been relegated to the bullpen while the Phillies take a look at Martinez.  Moyer is a professional and took the news in stride.  While it is sad to see Jamie bumped from the rotation for sentimental reasons, for baseball reasons, it was necessary.  Holding the highest ERA in the National League among starters, Moyer has not had the year the Phillies hoped for.  However, if Pedro fails to perform, there is no reason Jamie cannot be moved back in as a starter again.

The injury bug has left the bullpen thin over the last month so Moyer may be able to help out in a game where a starter is pulled early.  Another member of the pen, Chad Durbin, is just back from his back injury and Rodrigo Lopez was, as expected after several bad outings, sent back to the minors to make room for Durbin.  Also recovering still is JC Romero who had an MRI on his forearm which showed no ligament damage.  Romero has a slight tear in the muscle which should heal with rest and hopefully, we will see him before the month is out.

The Phillies will have their hands full tonight facing the Cubs and Rich Harden who has a 1.80 ERA in his last 5 games.  JA Happ is coming off another complete game shut-out, which is great, except that he threw 127 pitches.  Hopefully, the extra work will have no effect on him tonight.  The game kicks off at 8:05pm in Chicago.

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

A Low Point

 

While the season is not over yet, today was definitely a low point for the Phillies thus far in 2009.  They hit rock bottom by getting swept by the Marlins in spectacularly bad fashion; today’s final was 12-3.  Right now, the Phillies are playing very, very bad baseball.

Jamie Moyer did a decent job and got through 5 innings of one run ball.  He ran into trouble in the 5th and was pulled.  The bottom of the 6th is where things began to unravel.  Ryan Howard was up with 2 outs and 2 men on; ball 4 came across the plate and umpire Ed Rapuano, whose strike zone had been all over the place all day long, called the ball below his knees a strike and rung Howard up to end the threat.  And that blown call kicked off a crap-storm of epic proportions.

Still with a 3-1 lead into the 7th inning, Rodrigo Lopez came in to pitch and the strike zone began wandering all over the place again as Rapuano’s brain must have been fried in the heat.  With an 0-2 count on the batter, Rapuano called a ball that again, looked like a strike.  Shane Victorino, in centerfield (yes, 400 feet away) lifted his arms and put them down in what appeared to be disgust at the call.  He did not say anything and even if he had, no umpire could have heard him all the way out in center.

And then the truly unbelievable happened; umpire Rapuano EJECTED Victorino all the way from home plate!  For throwing his arms up!  Never in my life have I seen such a ridiculous, self-indulgent, asinine call from an umpire.  Victorino ran in to defend himself and catcher Paul Bako tried to restrain him.  Howard ran in for back-up and subdued Victorino before he was able to get at Rapuano and possibly get a suspension.  Charlie Manual argued the ridiculous call, but after that, all hell broke loose.

The crowd, myself included, boo’ed every move that the umpire made after that.  Chants of “Victorino!” echoed throughout the stadium in support of Shane who was the obvious victim of a BS call and personal attack from a childish umpire.  Rapuano should be ashamed of himself; not only did he call an awful game, but then he cannot handle the pressure and act like a professional.  Instead, he throws what amounts to a temper tantrum and gives a bad name to umpires everywhere.  Disgusting.  See the Video for yourself.

The Phillies did themselves no favors after that and the Fish blew the game wide open.  Jayson Werth was forced to enter the game to replace Victorino and committed 2 errors that same inning.  Lopez surrendered 6 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks and only made it through 2/3 of the inning.  With the blow-out in order, Brad Lidge was sent to the mound for the 9th just to get some work and he gave up 3 runs, 2 of which came on a homer.  And thus, the disaster was complete.

With a day off tomorrow and a road series set to begin in Chicago in Tuesday, the Phillies had better get some rest, regroup and come out swinging.  They are still ahead in the division by 4 games, but with new life awarded to the Fish and the Braves not far behind, this is the time to forget and move on.

Here is a full Photo Album from the disaster today and also shots from the Alumni Batting Challenge which was won by Ricky & Ricky – Botallico & Jordan.

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Hamels Flounders Against Fish

The Phillies had a very unique opportunity this weekend to bury the competition in the NL East.  Note I said “had.”  The Nationals, although they have won 7 in a row putting the Phils to shame, are too far back to catch up.  The Mets have buried themselves.  And the Braves are bouncing up and down, but so far, posing no real threat.  So, with three games against the Marlins who are closest in the division to the Phillies, this was the time to fry them for good.  But that is simply not happening and the Phillies have just made their lives a lot more difficult.

The 4-6 loss last night was a nightmare for several reasons.  After dropping these two in a row against the Fish, the Phillies have given them hope.  And going into game three today, that is not a good thing.  Add to that the slow and painful destruction of Cole Hamels, our former MVP, and a lot of heads in that clubhouse have got to be hanging low right now.  Hamels was only able to get through 5 1/3 innings while allowing 4 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks.  While he had a wicked curve ball working, he seemed hesitant to throw it more often.  And with his fastball command still being way off, his changeup was less effective.  The hesitation on the curveball leads one to wonder if his elbow is still bothering him or if it is just a mental thing, where he is afraid to reinjure the elbow.  The only one who really knows is Hamels and he is not talking.

Island.jpgThe offense continued its slumber as the few runners the Phillies managed to get on base looked like they were stranded on a deserted island with no hope of rescue.  Although Ryan Howard emerged from his recent slump and went 4 for 4 with a walk, he scored only 1 time as his teammates could not find the life raft and get him home.  Shane Victorino had 2 hits in his first start back after nursing a swollen calf, but he also became part of the 11 men left on base.  Jayson Werth was moved up a spot in the line-up to break up the left-handed bats, but he went 0 for 5 and may as well have stayed where he was in the 6-hole.  The Marlins even played sloppy defense, had 2 errors in the game and still, the Phillies could not capitalize.

And now the really unfortunate situation is here; the Phillies will try to salvage one win, but to do so, they will have to hit the Marlins best pitcher, Josh Johnson.  And even though Jamie Moyer usually does well against the Fish (13-2 lifetime), he will have to be near perfect to give this sleepy offense a chance to wake up.  I will be at the game this afternoon and return with photos and a recap.  Wish me luck!

Howard photo by Jenn

 

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

 

No Fish Fry Tonight

Entering tonight’s game, the Phillies had won 2 in a row and the Marlins had just been swept in 3-games by the Nationals.  But none of that mattered as the game quickly went down the drain for the Phils.  Mistakes and missed opportunities sent them away with a 2-3 loss. 

One of those missed opportunities took place in the 2nd inning when the Phillies had runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs and failed to score.  Managing only 2 hits in the game through 6 innings, the Phillies batters looked like they were swatting at flies…and missing.


Thumbnail image for ben fran.jpgThe only offense in the game came from a recent addition to the Phillies.  Ben Francisco started in right field tonight while Shane Victorino gave his bum knee a rest; The Frisco Kid tried to play cowboy in the 7th inning and wrangle the Fish.  First, he threw out a runner at home plate to end the 1st half of the 7th.  Then, when he stepped to the plate for the 2nd half of the inning, Francisco hit a 2-run homer, putting the Phillies within 1 run of catching those slippery Fish.

But Francisco could not play hero in the bottom of the 9th, as he struck out to start the inning in what was still a very close game.  Greg Dobbs hit a long fly ball to left for out #2.  Then, Matt Stairs put on his cowboy hat and stepped to the plate.  He kicked his spurs, reached back and….grounded out softly to 1st base to end the game :O(

Before the game, Harry Kalas was honored and officially inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.  As his three sons watched, the Phillies introduced previously inducted members of the Hall to the field by playing Harry’s voice, using previously taped announcements for each of those former players.  Mike Schmidt seemed especially moved upon hearing Harry call him to the field one last time.  The entire ceremony was very touching and a genuine tribute to the man who represented Phillies baseball for almost four decades.  Too bad the Phils could not pull out a win for Harry, but that is baseball.  Tomorrow is another day…

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

Lee Greets Philly Fans With A Win

Cliff Lee was welcomed to Philadelphia today by the fans.  In his second start for the team, his first at home, Lee pitched extremely well.  He went 7 innings and allowed only 1 run on 6 hits and 1 walk.  While not as spectacular as his first start in San Francisco where he went a full 9 innings, today’s start was more than acceptable and exactly what the Phillies were hoping to get out of the 2008 Cy Young winner.

Lee had some help; Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4 at the plate and was just a home run short of the cycle.  J-Roll also scored 2 of the 3 Phillies runs.  Paul Bako, the Phillies back-up catcher, hit a solo home run in the game; it was his first homer since June of last year.080609a.jpg

There were also several miscues in the game including an error by Lee, a ball missed by Ryan Howard that should have been an error, but was not scored as such, and J-Roll also missed a ball up the middle that he normally gets to.  On top of that, the young Ben Francisco drew a walk in the 7th, only to get himself picked off at 1st base.  Whoops!  But through all the blunders, Lee remained calm and pitched through it.  That, more than anything else, was very impressive.

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Happ-Y Days

Earlier today, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that JA Happ will stay in the rotation.  How this will happen has not been disclosed, although Ruben did mention getting “creative” to solve the dilemma.  Could “creative” mean he likes my 5 ½ man rotation idea??  Hmmmmm…..

Whatever the case, good news for Happ!  Likely what happens next is Jamie Moyer starts against the Marlins this week and after that, the real fun of juggling these guys begins.

Up Next

The Fish are coming to town!  Tomorrow’s 7:05pm game start time has been pushed back to 7:35pm in order to hold a special ceremony to induct our beloved Harry Kalas into the Phillies Wall of Fame.  It is sure to be an emotional day for all as Harry’s sons, friends and family of fans pay tribute to a Philly legend one more time.  We still miss you, Harry!

And finally, here is the full Photo Album from today’s Phillies – Rockies match-up and Cliff Lee’s 2nd start.

Photos 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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