Results tagged ‘ MLBlogs ’

Do NOT Put JA Happ In The Bullpen!

I have been campaigning for JA Happ all year and tonight, he pitched a 4-hit complete game shut-out against the Rockies in a 7-0 win.  It was his second complete game shut-out this year.  On top of that, he hit a double in the game as well.  What else do the Phillies need from this kid? 

P4190940 Happ SM.jpgWith Pedro Martinez lurking in the wings, one of the starters will likely have to go in the pen.  Rumor has it that the Phillies will not do that to Jamie Moyer because of his status in the league; Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton are locks.  So JA Happ appears to be the odd man out when Martinez arrives from his rehab starts, unless they go with a 6-man rotation.

I have the solution.  Go with what I am calling a 5 ½ man rotation; you start Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ and on day 5, tell Moyer and Martinez that they will get 4-5 innings a piece and rotate who actually “starts” in the 1st inning each time around the rotation.  With the advanced ages of these two guys, they will benefit from the shortened starts.  This will mean fewer pitches, less fatigue and fewer opportunities for opponents to make adjustments on each of them.

Plus, this gives the Phillies wiggle room if someone gets hurt or if either Moyer or Martinez starts off the game badly.  Pull him out and put in the 2nd guy.  They will always be on the same 5 day schedule so no worries about messing up their rhythm either.  And there will be less stress on the bullpen as they should get used a bit less.  Moyer has gone less than six innings four times in his last 7 starts.  This rotation solves that problem.

Especially after tonight’s performance, there is NO way the Phillies can justify putting Happ in the pen.  They need a solution and here it is.  Now if only someone would actually listen….

Ok, more photos!  I have posted the non-baseball photos from my San Francisco trip on Facebook.  Photo Album #1 contains Alcatraz, the Golden Gate & Bay bridges, the Aquarium and city photos.  Photo Album #2 covers the Farallon Islands whale watch, Marine Mammal Sanctuary, Marin Golden Gate National Park, the Pier & Sea Lions in the city, Seal Rock and the San Francisco Zoo.  Enjoy!

Photos by Jenn


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


Phillies – Giants Series Photos

I have finished the Photo Albums from the 4-game Phillies – Giants series in San Francisco.  The first one covers all around AT&T Park, inside and out.  The second album is of all 4 games.  Here is a quick summary of what you will see:

Game 1, July30th: Police Appreciation Day; Rodrigo Lopez starts for the Phillies and Jonathan Sanchez for the Giants.

Game 2, July 31st:  Cliff Lee’s first game with the Phillies vs. Ryan Sadowski for the Giants; Aaron Rowand’s 1,000 career hit.  There is also a photo of an A’s World Series Ring that appears to be a very good replica.

Game 3, Aug. 1st: Giants Family Softball Game; Dog Days at the park; Olympic Gold Medalist Peggy Fleming in a pre-game ceremony; Joe Blanton starts for the Phillies and Tim Lincecum for the Giants.

Game 4, Aug. 2nd: Cole Hamels starts for the Phillies and Barry Zito for the Giants; there is one photo of the Phillies tour group looking very unhappy in the stands.  FYI – I was not on the official tour; I went on my own but did talk to many people on the tour who had a great time, except for all the losses :O(

I will be posting more photos from the non-baseball events in a few days and will put up a link to that when it is done for anyone who wants to see the sights from San Francisco.  It will include whale watching, the zoo, aquarium, sea lions, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, different areas in the city, Sausalito, a few parks and more.

All photos by Jenn


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


Review of San Francisco

The following is a review of the Giants ballpark in San Francisco, the fans and the city overall.  Yesterday, I took a tour of AT & T Park before departing for home.  The park, like most, has its ups and downs.  The first thing that strikes you is the view.  Sitting on the San Francisco Bay, the water backdrop and city lights behind it make for a stunning effect.  The Coke bottle, which is actually a slide inside, and the giant glove in centerfield add to the aura.  The photo below of the whole stadium was taken from the upper deck during Fantasy Batting Practice where fans can pay to hit the ball around the field; another nice option at this stadium.att park.jpg

The murals and tributes to players of the past all around the stadium are a very nice touch as well.  Quotes from TV, movies, broadcasters and ballplayers line the walls too, which add to the interesting design.

ATT Park 2.jpg
Walking around the stadium is a bit odd, however.  The area behind home plate from 1st to 3rd is completely enclosed so you cannot see what is going on outside.  There are a plethora of plasma TV’s all around though so you can watch the TV feed of the game.  But once you cross into the outfield sections around the concourse, hold on to your hat!  The wind gusts are strong enough to carry a small child out to sea.  And it is like that all the time.

You would also expect a relatively new stadium to have real bullpens.  No such luck in this ballpark as the throwing area is practically on the field and each team needs 2 “lookouts” to protect the guys in the pen from foul balls.  I asked about this and was told that when building the park they “ran out of room.”

Lack of space is also why the Home Dugout and clubhouse are on the 3rd base side.  That is the more spacious side of the park.  The Visitors’ clubhouse is cramped, narrow and looks a bit like it was built in the 1970’s.  The unevenness of the park even shows in the seating area.  I sat just to the 1st base side of home plate for a few games and my knees were up against the seat in front of me with the cup holder leaving a really fun mark.  The exact same seat, same row and location on the 3rd base side had plenty of room; about 6 inches were open in front of my knees.  Weird.

DSCF3858 Suite.jpg
The Luxury Suite area is very, very nice.  Each suite has comfy chairs, couches, a sink and full cooking area.  The only complaint from some fans was that you could not purchase Garlic Fries on that level as management did not want the smell wandering about under the rich folks noses.  But if you can live with that, and have about $7,000 to blow, the Suites are the place for you!

And finally, the seat Nazi’s – yes, the staff at this ballpark are serious about people staying in their area.  In fact, there is a very unfriendly and unattractive metal railing that runs between the middle of the lower section of seats from 1st to 3rd base.  If you do not have a ticket in those first 20 or so rows, you cannot even venture down to watch batting practice.  Even Yankee Stadium lets you watch BP from wherever you like, so I was not impressed with that at all.  It’s 2 hours before the game, the stadium is empty, but I cannot watch BP up close?  Not cool.  Of course, I did sneak my way down one day :O) 

That whole front section is difficult to navigate as well.  There are only TWO ways to get back up to the rest of the stands the entire way from 1st to 3rd.  Either that or you have to go through an underground tunnel to change sections or climb over many very annoyed people.  This is a very bad design.

So, you be the judge.  At & T Park is a nice place to visit, very nice views, but a bit unfriendly overall.  As for the fans, some were nice, some not nice, like you expect most places.  However, I was not expecting some to be as rude as they were; I mean, this is not New York.  But still, I would be standing around quietly minding my own business and some grown man would run over, get in my face and scream, “Phillies suck!!!”  But I guess you find those idiots wherever you go.

City of San Francisco – The Good

I have been all over the United States and traveled though 4 Continents, but San Francisco has the weirdest and most interesting topography I have ever seen.  This is actually both good and bad.  Good, because it is visually a very fun place to see.  Bad, because driving up and down all those hills is only fun during car chases in the movies.  It is not so much fun while you trying not to wreck a rental car.

But the location on the water is gorgeous and the opportunities to see wildlife is wonderful.  There is a lot of very unique architecture around the city, as well as wooded areas and huge, towering trees just outside of the city. 

And you will never run out of things to do, if you have the cash.  Especially if you love to shop; this place is a shopper’s paradise.  From Chinatown to the Union Square upper class stores like Tiffany’s and Louis Vitton, you can literally shop until you drop.

City of San Francisco – The Bad

Everything is very expensive in San Francisco; you know the song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”?  Well, I do not know about that, but I am pretty sure I did leave my wallet there.  Parking is a nightmare and you will pay around $30 in a garage for just a few hours.  But on the street is worse; ever tried to parallel park on a steep hill?  Yikes!  And then you find out that the meter takes only quarters and costs $3.00 for 20 minutes.  The parking garage does not sound too bad after that.

Then there is the weather; cold, wet and soggy.  Yuck.  The constant mist in the air makes it bone-chilling cold in 55 degrees.  The fog, which wanders in and out, is thick and scary and blocks many of the nice views around town.  Not to mention, it causes tons of car accidents.  My first day in town, I saw three major accidents over a 10 minute drive.

City of San Francisco – The Ugly

Again, I have been all over the world.  I grew up 40 minutes south of New York City.  I have seen many, many things in my lifetime, but never have I seen so many homeless and destitute people in one place before.  It was truly depressing.  You walk out of the stadium and are instantly barraged by anywhere from ten to fifteen homeless people begging for food and money.  And that is just on one street corner.  Keep walking; there are more at the next corner.  It does make you thankful for what you have, but my heart simply could not take seeing that every day.  I really do not know how people who live there handle this, but better them than me.

So, San Francisco is an interesting place with activities for all tastes, but bring your wallet, hire a driver and do not wander too far from the tourist spots.

I am putting together a Photo Album from the 4-game series with the Giants and shots of the ballpark now.  Hoping to have that done later today.  Check back for that.

Photos by Jenn


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



Slaughter in San Francisco

So much for the presence of Cliff Lee taking some of the pressure off Cole Hamels; you can officially take that theory and flush it down the toilet.  And down the toilet is exactly where this four game series went today as Hamels was destroyed by the Giants in a 7-3 loss.  The Phillies lost 3 of 4 here in the city by the bay.

Thumbnail image for P8024045 Hamels.jpgIt all began to unravel in the 5th inning when, with 2 outs in the inning, Giants pitcher Barry Zito nubbed a good luck broken bat single up the middle.  Instead of taking it for what it was, a stroke of luck, Hamels let the hit get into his head and chaos ensued.  3 runs later, the Giants moved onto the 6th inning with Hamels still annoyed about the previous disaster and 3 more runs scored in that next inning. 

Hamels is looking more and more like a mental patient on the mound instead of an MVP.  Can someone please call Dr. Phil?  This guy needs a serious sit down.  It does not matter how good a pitchers arm is; if he cannot handle the pressure, he will crack.  And Hamels is cracking to the point of breaking.  Let me ask you this; when Pedro Martinez arrives and one of the starters is going to get bumped to the bullpen, can the Phillies justify doing this to JA Happ when he has outpitched Hamels?

Think I am nuts?  Look at the numbers:  Hamels has a 7-6 record with a 4.68 ERA.  Happ, in 17 fewer innings due to a season start in the pen, has a record of 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA.  Hamels is averaging 5 2/3 innings pitched per game for the season; Happ is averaging 6 2/3 in his last 10 starts (could not use games he pitched from the pen, so went with last 10) and therefore, going deeper into games. 

Is Cole the staff “ace”?  Supposedly.  And there is no denying the job he did last season.  But why hurt the team while he gets his head on straight?  Brett Myers knew that was the wrong thing to do last year when he accepted a minor league assignment in order to straighten himself out.  Will Hamels ever follow suit?  That is doubtful.  Then it is up to the manager to make the decision for him.  I am not saying he should be demoted to the minors, but Hamels needs to show this team that he can handle pressure and adjust in tight situations.  If he cannot turn things around, I think a “spanking” of some sort is in order here.

And there is my Hamels rant for the day.  The rest of the team did not do much this series to help out either.  The offense was lacking and defense was sloppy, as evidenced by a Ryan Howard goof today that cost the team another run.  In fact, the biggest hit of the day, besides a Jimmy Rollins solo shot, was a double off the bat of Eric Bruntlett that went deep into left field.  When the standout star of the day is Eric “I am batting below .150″ Bruntlett, you know it is going to be a very bad day.

080209.jpgAside from the blunders, the best entertainment of the day was watching Pedro Feliz try to wrestle the Giants mascot, Lou Seal and then Jayson Werth stole the poor critters hat:

But tomorrow is another day and the Phillies are still in first place.  A three game series with the Rockies may be just what the doctor ordered Tuesday night beginning at 7:05pm. 

I will be taking a tour of AT & T Park tomorrow morning and flying home tomorrow evening.  I hope to post a review of San Francisco, both the city and the ballpark, sometime on Tuesday.  I will also be posting a Photo Album from the entire West Coast trip and all 4 games with the Giants.  For now, let’s see if the Phillies return home can spark some offense!  Go Phillies!


Photos by Jenn


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


Phillies Mowed Down By Cy Young Winner

P8013596 TL.jpg

Yesterday, our Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee, stole the show.  Today, it was the Giants turn.  Tim Lincecum looked like he was yielding a weed whacker as he mowed down Phillies hitters and pitched his team to a 2-0 win.

The Phillies had their shots at him though.  They even left the bases loaded at one point.  But every time runners got on base, the usual heroes like Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard either struck out or nubbed a slow grounder.  It was not a pretty site.

P8013608 Blanton.jpg
Joe Blanton
held up his end of the deal and matched Linceum through 4 innings.  But Blanton ran into trouble in the 5th when he booted a routine grounder which extended the inning and turned into a run for the Giants.  Aaron Rowand slid into home past the tag of catcher Paul Bako on a Juan Uribe sac fly.  Uribe hit another sac fly in the 7th to give the Giants an extra run.

But no blame can be placed on Blanton; he went 7 innings and allowed only those 2 runs on 7 hits and did not issue any walks.  It was a well pitched game overall; now, the Phillies just need to find some offense going into tomorrow’s finale.

Before the game, fans were entertained by the Giants Family Softball Game; it was also Dog Day at the park.  The cute quotient was sky high:

giants pregame.jpg
So, at least I had some entertainment tonight.  Tomorrow’s afternoon match features Cole Hamels for the Phils and Barry Zito for the Giants.  Youth vs. Age; or, a bit nutty vs. totally insane?  If you do not know what I am talking about, check out
Barry Zito’s Twitter page.  My favorite tweet is, “What would you do with a Klondike bar? At this hour I can think of a few things, what gets melted ice cream out of the carpet anyways?”  This guy has serious issues.  Anyway, game time is 4:05pm EST.  Enjoy!

Photos by Jenn


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


In Phillies Debut, Lee Pitches Complete Game

P7312943 Lee.jpg

We can all get over the disappointment of no Roy Halladay.  Cliff Lee has filled the rotation spot admirably.  In his first start for the Phillies, Lee went the distance, allowing only 4 hits over 9 innings and claimed a 5-1 victory.  Even more incredible, Lee went 2 for 4 at the plate with a single and a double.  He is now batting .500 in the National League :O)

 As for the offense, I am a true believer in Karma.  I ran into Jayson Werth today in downtown San Francisco and said hello; he actually paused and said hello back.  Then before the game, Werth spotted me in the crowd and waved hello.  He then proceeded to hit a solo home run in the 2nd and also drove in two more runs in the 7th.  So, because Werth was kind to little ole’ me, he had a very nice game.  That is what I think anyway… :O)

Oh, I also saw the newest Giant downtown today; Freddy Sanchez was acquired from the Pirates earlier in the week and today, he was wandering around checking out his new home town.  I did not speak to him though and we all see how that worked out for his team :O)

One other Giants note for the day; Aaron Rowand, former Phillie who I am still pathetically very attached to, hit his 1,000 career hit in the game tonight off Lee.  I believe that deserves a short photo montage:

A Rowand 1000.jpg
Congrats to Aaron!

So tomorrow Joe Blanton will face the Giants ace, Tim “I am so adorable you want to pinch my cheeks” Lincecum.  And yes, I am told that is his official nickname ;O)  Game time is 9:05pm.  I will be there again, freezing my backside off in chilly San Francisco.  Think warm thoughts for me :O)

Photos by Jenn


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


Comedy of Errors

While it was not very funny, the Phillies committed 3 errors in a 7-2 loss to the Giants tonight.  That, combined with a serious lack of offense for the second consecutive day, contributed to the loss.  Myself and many other Phillies fans endured harassment from the Giants crowd who were more than pleased about their team running all over the defending World Champs like a 16 wheel tractor trailer.  It was an ugly night in San Francisco.  Let us recount the errors:

1st inning:  Jayson Werth misses what should have been a routine fly ball.  He misjudged it, ran the wrong way and could not recover.  That error led to a run for the Giants.

P7302126 copy.jpg4th inning:  Former Giant, Pedro Feliz, fielded a ground ball that he should have tossed to first base; instead, he tried to get the lead runner going to 2nd and threw the ball away.  That led to a 4-run inning.

7th inning: Chase Utley committed an error, but no harm was done that inning.

Utley did have an interesting game though.  He took exception to Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, throwing a pitch at his head.  Utley had words for Sanchez and then proceeded to tick off the pitcher by stepping out of the batters box and shortly after that, hitting a home run.

But the bigger story here was the lack of offense and failure of the Phillies hitters to make good contact with the ball.  In the 3rd inning, Jimmy Rollins was left stranded on 3rd base with no outs; Utley struck out; Werth popped the ball up; and then Ryan Howard grounded out softly.  This sort of play is not going to win games, obviously.

Lee Francisco.jpg
Tomorrow, Cliff Lee will make his Phillies debut.  I got a few shots of Lee in his new red uniform during batting practice today.  I also took a few shots of new Phillie, Ben Francisco who filled in for Shane Victorino tonight.  Shane is day to day with swelling in his knee.

And let me just say this about San Francisco; it is COLD here, people!  Yikes!  Hoping for warmer weather tomorrow!  Start time is 10:15pm EST again.

FYI – I will be posting a Photo Album from my entire trip when I get home; stay tuned for that next week :O)


Photos by Jenn


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


Cliff Lee Joins The Phillies


No more worries about Roy Halladay, trade deadlines and who is going where…the Phillies sealed the deal today with Cy Young award winning pitcher, Cliff Lee.  Lee comes to the Phillies from the Indians sporting a 7-9 record and a 3.14 ERA; his record is tainted though due to lack of run support from a struggling Indians team.  And last year, Lee won the AL Cy Young.  Without giving away either JA Happ or Kyle Drabek, the Phillies made the trade and also received outfielder Ben Francisco who will likely take John Mayberry’s spot on the bench and help to relieve Raul Ibanez.  Off to the Indians are pitcher Carlos Carrasco, catcher Lou Marson, infielder Jason Donald and pitcher Jason Knapp. 

While I am thrilled with this deal, and even more thrilled that we did not lose Happ or Drabek, I will miss Marson and Donald.  I had the opportunity to chat with them both over the last few years and they are really nice, down to earth guys.  Not to mention, they are both adorable :O)  Ok, so I guess I will get over it. ;o)

A few more reason this is a GREAT trade; Lee will cost considerably less than Halladay next year; his option is 9 million, where Halladay’s is 15.75 million.  In addition to keeping Happ and Drabek, the Phillies also retained top prospects Dominick Brown and Michael Taylor.  Essentially, the farm system will not suffer.

And a few more odd reasons this is a good trade:

         Lee’s name is easy to spell.

         Cole Hamels will get less attention from the media, thus, we do not have to hear as many weird things come out of his mouth.

         Our bullpen will have someone new to play with :O)  Not sure who that will be yet…

         Lee looks good in red.

         Lee is from Arkansas!  Actually, I am not sure why that is good, but maybe he knows President Clinton?  Just a thought…

The final game of the D-Backs series is about to begin…Go Phillies!



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


The Old Hamels Is Back; The Old Lidge Is Still MIA

P7098599 Hamels.jpgCole Hamels
returned to MVP form last night against the Diamondbacks in a 4-3 win.  Everyone was a little nervous in the 1st inning when Hamels allowed a solo home run, but after that, he settled in and did not allow another run.  Even better than that, Hamels pitched all the way through 8 full innings, allowed only 4 hits and struck out nine batters.  Welcome back, Cole!  We missed you.

Shane Victorino led the offensive attack with 3 hits, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.  The D-Backs helped out the Phillies offense as well with 2 key errors in the game, much like they did on Monday night.  But those errors and the extra run the Phillies scored because of the errors turned out to be the difference in the game.

Going into the 9th with a 4-1 lead, the Phillies sent Brad Lidge to the mound and he immediately got into big trouble.  Lidge walked the leadoff batter and then gave up a 2-run homer to the next batter to cut their lead to 1 run.  By what must have been some act of God, Lidge managed to get the 3 outs and end the game without blowing the save.

But fans everywhere are now officially worried about Brad Lidge.  No one expected perfection like last season, but a record of 0-4, 6 blown saves, 24 walks in 38 innings and an ERA of 7.11 was not expected either.  The Phillies will not go far in the playoffs with a closer posting these numbers.  Either Lidge needs to get his act together, or could Brett Myers return to the closer role in August, which is when he may return after hip surgery?  Does this seem farfetched?  Maybe.  But Lidge cannot continue to hurt the team.  Last night, he got lucky.  Going forward, it will not always be the case.

And is this some sort of weird Phillies curse?  You get a great season out of a guy, like Lidge in 2008; you sign him to a huge contract and mayhem ensues.  Remember Pat Burrell?  Burrell had a breakout season in 2002; then in 2003, the Phillies gave him a monster contact of 6 years, $50 million dollars and guess what happened next?  Burrell struggled for years and did not fulfill his true potential until he led the Phillies to the playoffs in 2007 and then to the World Series in 2008.  But from 2003-2006, it was not always pretty.  Is Lidge suffering from the post-contract blues?  Whatever the case, with 3 years invested in Lidge, the Phillies need to get him back on track and fast.

The Phillies have one more game against the D-Backs tonight at 9:40pm with JA Happ on the mound.  I am in San Francisco right now awaiting their arrival on Thursday for a 4-game series against the Giants.  And while I am very excited to see Giants pitchers like Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito, disappointment set in this morning when it was announced that Randy Johnson has a torn rotator cuff and will be out for at least 3 weeks.  Johnson is a future Hall of Famer, so I was hoping to see him pitch.  I even tried to see his 300th win in DC back in June, but the game was rained out and I could not go the next day.  And such is my luck…oh well!  I still get to see my Phillies and hang out in California for a week, so it’s all good :O) 

Off topic, I would like to send out my condolences to the family and friends of former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson.  Johnson lost his battle with cancer yesterday at the age of 68.  May he rest in peace.

Photo by Jenn


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


D-Back Series Starts With a Win

P4137079 jmoyer.jpg

Last night, the Phillies took game 1 against the D-Backs in Arizona with Jamie Moyer pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings.  They were not easy innings; Moyer worked his way in and out of trouble again and again.   But Moyer has been doing this a long time and knows how to make adjustments when he needs to. 

The offense took a while to wake up after the long haul out to the West Coast, but finally in the 4th, Ryan Howard got things rolling with a 2-run home.  Raul Ibanez had 2 hits and 1 RBI in the game as well. 

Ryan Madson did allow 2 runs in the 8th, but the Phillies still went on to win 6-2.  With the 6 hits and 4 walks allowed by Moyer, the D-Backs left 11 runners on base and committed 2 errors in the field.  You have to wonder if ace pitcher Dan Haren was looking on and wondering what it might be like to play in Philadelphia?  Haren is one of 3 pitchers that the Phillies are rumored to be interested in adding to the club and he will face Cole Hamels tonight in the 2nd game of the series at 9:40pm.

However, the most likely names on the horizon as the trade deadline approaches are Roy Halladay of the Jays and Cliff Lee of the Indians.  The Jays reportedly rejected an offer from the Phillies which included JA Happ, Michael Taylor, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald so, it is looking less and less like a deal for Halladay may be realistic.  But, stranger things have happened.

The countdown to July 31st continues!  Go Phillies!

Photos by Jenn


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




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 466 other followers