Results tagged ‘ National League ’
Phillies fans were singing in the rain tonight as Roy Halladay drown the Marlins. Sprinkles fell throughout most of the game, but had no effect on Halladay’s performance. He went through 8 innings, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 4 batters. Halladay’s home debut was exactly what fans had looked forward to seeing, minus the rain, of course.
The Phillies offense had another spectacular game as well, scoring 8 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks. Every position player except Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez collect at least 1 RBI and everyone, except Ibanez, had at least one hit in the game. Even Halladay knocked a single. The big fish of the day however, turned out to be Juan Castro; he had 2 hits for 3 RBI while filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins.
And of course, Chase Utley hit yet another home run, passing Albert Pujols for the most in the National League with 6. It was also Utley’s 4th game in a row with a homer. Clearly, Utley is in the zone, where we hope he will stay for a long time.
What looked like an easy win, turned into a near disaster in the 9th inning. With an 8-2 lead, rookie relief pitcher David Herndon allowed 4 runs on a bunch of ridiculously unlucky dribbling infield hits by the Marlins. Ryan Madson had to be brought in for the save. A huge sigh of relief overcame the fan as Madson got the last two outs and the Phils went home with an 8-6 win. Whew! Tomorrow, they will start Jamie Moyer, a notorious Fish killer, in the 7:05pm start.
Here is a quick injury update as well: JC Romero made a rehab start for the AAA Iron Pigs tonight and pitched a scoreless inning. He threw 17 pitches, 13 of which were strikes. He is inching closer each day to a return to Philly. This is very good news for a bullpen that appears to be struggling without him.
Starter Joe Blanton threw a bullpen session today and is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for single-A Lakewood on Tuesday. Kyle Kendrick will continue to fill in as a starter until Blanton returns, despite two very bad outings so far.
Brad Lidge is working towards his return, which looks like it may be at the end of the month. His pitch speed has improved, but he still has a lot of work to do. Cross your fingers… ;o)
The afternoon started out sunny, with the Phillies receiving their National League Championship rings before the game against the Nationals. While it was a tad anticlimactic when compared to last year’s World Series ring unveiling, it was still a nice celebration of a very good 2009 season. The ring is made of 14 carat white gold with rubies and diamonds, showing the NL trophy on one side and 2008, 2009 pennant flags on the other side. A baseball diamond on front has the Phillies script logo across it. Charlie Manuel’s ring is seen here to the right.
Today’s game was started by JA Happ who still seems to be struggling with his pitch location, although he only allowed 1 unearned run over 5 1/3 innings. But his pitch count was mounting as he had issues throwing strikes and fell behind a lot of batters. He should be going deeper into games; expect this to improve over his next few starts. In all, he got the job done by keeping runs off the board.
The Nationals pitching staff kept the red hot Phillies offense at bay for most of the game.
They did manage to score 3 runs in the 6th inning thanks to a Juan Castro 2-out, 2-run single. Castro had 3 hits on the day and is doing an admirable job filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins. Greg Dobbs drew a bases loaded walk later that same inning. And earlier, Chase Utley hit a solo home run in the first inning; it was his 3rd homer in 2 games.
So with a decent 4-1 lead going into the 7th inning, the Phillies would have to rely on the bullpen. This was their first real test of the year with a small lead and sadly, they failed. Antonio Bastardo gave up 1 run in the 7th, but the real damage came in the 8th with Danys Baez on the mound.
Baez gave up a solo homer to Adam Dunn on one pitch to start the inning, which was not a good omen. He got one out, but then walked a batter and allowed a 2-run homer from pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman. Those 3 runs put the Phils in a 4-5 hole. Ryan Madson tried to hold the Nats to just the one run lead in the 9th, but he too faltered, giving up 2 more runs.
Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the 9th with a solo homer, giving the Phils hope. Placido Polanco then got his 2nd hit of the game to give them a base runner. But Chase Utley struck out and then Ryan Howard flied out. Jayson Werth was their last chance and he flew out to center, sending the crowd home very unhappy with a 5-7 loss.
All of the recent wins and big numbers being put up by this Phillies offense have spoiled us a bit so this loss is tough to swallow. I am feeling a bit annoyed about it, frankly; this is the second time the Phillies have lost a game to the Nationals that they should have won. And this is also very bad news for the bullpen; if they cannot hold a lead against the lowly Nats, how will they perform against a real team? Ugh.
But tomorrow is a new day… (she said with a tinge of sarcasm ;o)… and Roy Halladay will make his Philly debut against the Florida Marlins. Game time is 7:05pm.
Castro photo by Jenn
The chance to pull off the most amazing feat in baseball is upon us: The repeat! Can the Phillies become the new Big Red Machine? We will see.
The 10-4 win over the Dodgers tonight had a multitude of highlights. Here are just a few:
– Jayson Werth smashed not one, but two home runs! Those homers accounted for 4 RBI. Oh, and he hit a single too, just for good measure.
– Shane Victorino, who has been sick with a nasty cold all week, had 3 RBI in the game including a 2-run homer and a double.
– The Phillies bullpen which has been through the ringer this year, came through again this post-season with 4 2/3 innings of 1-run ball. Chad Durbin was spectacular! Chan Ho Park had 1 good inning but got into trouble in the next inning; Ryan Madson bailed him out. And Brad Lidge pitched the 9th; it was a non-save situation but he got the job done.
– The Phillies batters finally figured out Vincente Padilla; 6 runs were charged to Padilla on 4 hits and 2 walks.
– With this win, the Phillies have scored 55 runs in 9 post-season games. Nice.
– Even better, the Phillies are now the first National League team ever to record 16 wins in 20 post-season games. The only AL team to do it is the Yankees and it is likely that the Phils will face the Yankees in the World Series; they are up 3 games to 1 over the Angels so far.
The not so great news from this clinching game was Cole Hamels, who still cannot seem to remember how to pitch. Hamels lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing 3 solo home runs to the Dodgers. Two of those homers came after Hamels had 2 strikes on the batter which is the really disturbing part. With 2 strikes, why is tossing cookies right down the middle of the plate? Hamels clearly cannot be counted on this year; it will be very interesting to see what Charlie Manuel does with the rotation for the World Series.
But I do not feel like thinking about that right now…it is time to celebrate! Put on your party hat and have a drink! The Phillies are going back to the World Series!!!
Fireworks photo by Jenn
After being shut-out 1-0 on Tuesday, the Giants were looking for revenge and they got it in the form of new acquisition, Brad Penny. Penny struggled with the Red Sox and had an ERA near 6.00, but the move to the National League seems to be the cure. Phillies hitters looked ridiculous all night long and managed only 5 hits in the game, all singles.
But this is nothing new; the Phillies have been in an offensive slump for a while now and there are no signs that it will end anytime soon, especially with Tim Lincecum pitching for the Giants tonight. When things are going bad, a Cy Young winner is the last person you want to see. But they have no choice and will need to figure out where the bats have disappeared to.
JA Happ has pitched well all year, but is getting no run support at all. Happ has the third lowest run support of any pitcher in the NL with more than 100 innings and he has still has managed a 2.77 ERA and a 10-4 record. Last night, he made a few mistakes, including allowing back-to-back homers in the 6th inning which tallied 3 runs for the Giants. Happ still pitched a good game with just the one bad inning that did him in; but again, no runs = no win.
And while it is always nice to see Aaron Rowand back in Philly, he did hit one of those home runs. And what was this all about exactly? See Carlos Ruiz pointing?
Sorry, could not resist. It does kind of look like he might pee on the plate, but he hit a home run instead. Just as effective, I suppose.
Here are few non-offensive shots from the game:
Charlie Manuel needs to start smacking some heads together in that clubhouse. The inability to score runs, especially those in scoring position, is becoming a major issue in what is usually a breakout month for this team. Raul Ibanez has not been able to hit the side of a barn since the All-Star break, after what was an amazing first half. Now, Ibanez is hitting into double plays all the time which is killing the offense.
But everyone is guilty; since the Atlanta series, Shane Victorino has 2 hits in his last 20 at-bats; Jayson Werth is 4 for 16; Jimmy Rollins is 4 for 20. And just for fun, Ibanez is 1 for his last 21 at-bats. Ugh. Someone please find the offense…now!
On to more fun topics: Before the game, Cole Hamels was awarded with the Roberto Clemente award for his community service. His wife Heidi joined him on the field and if you were not sure before if she was pregnant, it is pretty obvious now. How cute are these two with all their aspirations to adopt like 500 African babies, plus popping out a few of their own? All together now…”Awwww!”
Here is a Photo Album with more pictures from last nights very depressing game. It was Latino Heritage night and there are some shots from that as well as the pre-game activities. Enjoy!
Photos by Jenn
After the oddities involved in yesterday’s Phillies-Mets match-up, including a game-ending unassisted triple play, the circus act continued into the beginning of today’s game. Yesterday, the Phillies hit two 3-run homers in the first inning; today, they only managed one 3-run homer in the first inning, but still an amazing feat. Ryan Howard provided the power after Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch and Chase Utley walked. Victorino also stole second and then wound up on third base after a throwing error that same inning, leaving the Mets looking like a pack of clowns.
But the spectacle got even weirder in the bottom half of the 1st; Chase Utley must have taken up juggling in his spare time, because that is exactly what he did with a routine pop-up from the first hitter for the Mets, Angel Pagan. Utley dropped the ball as Pagan sped around the bases and then proceeded to join the Mets clown troop by throwing the ball away into left field. The double error allowed Pagan to round the bases and score. Pagan is the same Met who wound up with an inside-the-park homer in the 1st inning of yesterday’s game after Victorino became confused over the Citi Field ground rules and did not field a ball that got stuck under the outfield wall padding.
Next, Jayson Werth put on his clown suit as he over ran a ball to right field, stumbled around trying to catch it on a hop and looked absolutely ridiculous doing it. Gary Sheffield wound up with a triple and eventually scored. And this was only the 1st inning.
Oh yes, the circus has indeed come to town. But Sheffield, despite his triple, was next in line to receive his badge of silliness as in the 2nd inning, he too dropped a routine pop-up which came off the bat of Phillies catcher, Paul Bako.
But after the 2nd inning, things began to calm down and Cliff Lee was amazing, yet again. Ignoring the shoddy defense at the start of the game, he buckled down and pitch 7 solid innings, allowing 6 hits and NO earned runs. Both Mets runs were unearned due to the Utley errors. Lee is now 5-0 as a Phillie and has yet to even walk a batter! Lee is the anti-clown; just amazing.
Howard hit another homer (say that 5 times fast) in the 3rd inning and the 2-run shot plus the 3-run shot earlier was all the offense Lee needed to notch the win. But just for fun, Raul Ibanez knocked in one more in the 9th inning on a double to left that scored Utley.
Chan Ho Park and Brad Lidge took the 8th and 9th inning respectively and shut down the Mets. Lidge looked good which is excellent news, especially considering he went into a non-save situation and still got the job done cleanly.
Player of the Week
Jayson Werth has been on fire! Whatever has been lit under his backside recently has earned him Player of the Week honors for the National League. Werth led the majors with 5 home runs and 29 total bases plus he hit .440 for the week. Today, he did not have a hit in the game, but did walk three times. Congrats to Jayson!
Eric “I am only hitting .158” Bruntlett has been asked to send his jersey to the Hall of Fame. Yesterday, Bruntlett turned an unassisted, game-ending triple play after a horrible start to the inning where he committed 1 official error and bobbled another ball that was eventually scored a hit. But redemption is sweet as Bruntlett not only saved the game, but he made history in the process.
This will actually be the 2nd item for Bruntlett in the Hall; last year, he donated his “Elmer Fudd” cold-weather, ear-flap cap from the World Series.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh to begin a 3-game series with the Pirates tomorrow. Joe Blanton will take the mound for the Phillies; game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn
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
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:
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
The curse continues for the National League as they lost their 12th consecutive All-Star Game tonight against the American League. And poor Charlie Manuel became the first Phillies manager in history to lose the All-Star game :O( Phils now hold a record of 6-1. No worries Charlie…just bring us another Championship and all will be forgotten :O)
The first inning did not exactly kick the game off right for the National League as Tim Lincecum struggled and allowed one earned run. An unearned run also scored in the inning after an error. Yes folks, as Albert Pujols booted a ball at first base, an angel lost its wings…and the American League took a 2-0 lead. It’s ok though…we still love Albert :O)
The NL battled back and scored 3 in the 2nd inning thanks to hits by David Wright, Shane Victorino (yeah!) and Yadier Molina. After that, offense all around was fairly quiet until the 8th inning. Curtis Granderson tripled, Victor Martinez was given the intentional walk and then Adam Jones hit a sac fly to score Granderson and give the AL a 4-3 lead. The NL got their shot in the bottom half of the inning; Ryan Howard was sent in to pinch hit with 2 outs and 2 on in the 8th and he went down on strikes to end the threat. Ugh. The ever-adorable Mariano Rivera closed out the game for the AL in the 9th and so, the curse goes on.
As for the rest of the Phillies, Chase Utley went hitless, but had several stellar defensive plays. Victorino ended up 1 for2 with a run scored; Jayson Werth struck out after a great at-bat against Jonathan Papelbon and later, made an amazing running catch in centerfield; and Raul Ibanez went 0 for 2, but looked thrilled anyway just to be playing. It was his first All-Star appearance in his 14th major league season at 37 years of age. Congrats to Raul for finally getting there!
As for the broadcast, FOX was annoying as usual. I think I heard more about Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza than I did about the game. And while it was nice to hear the President Obama in the broadcast booth, was it really necessary to see him? Don’t get me wrong; I love Obama and all that, but I already know what he looks like. I’d have been just as happy to hear him speak while the game was showed in its entirety on the TV screen, instead of the annoying flashes back and forth from individual pitches to a visual of Obama in the booth.
Pedro – Say It Ain’t So!
Much to the dismay of Phillies fans everywhere, Pedro Martinez passed his physical and has been signed by the Phillies. Pedro will get 1 million plus another possible 1.5 million in incentives. He will need about 3 weeks of rehab and minor league work to be ready. The good news is that the price is cheap; however, we are all familiar with the saying “you get what you pay for.” If Martinez has some magic left in that arm, then this deal will turn out to be a real bargain; if not, at least they did not overpay.
Personally, I worry more about the clubhouse chemistry being disrupted than anything else. Martinez is notorious for his sandpaper-like personality and penchant for creating controversy. If he does not pitch well, no biggie. It was a small investment. But if he wreaks havoc on the peaceful and serene Phillies-vibe, then the deal will not have been worth the risk. We shall see how it goes…
A Day Without Baseball?
So no baseball tomorrow…except for the Double-A All-Star Game in Trenton, NJ. I will be risking life and limb as I venture into Trenton, the dregs of Jersey, but will be attending the game anyway. ;O) Four Phillies prospects will be in the game, with Michael Taylor participating in the Home Run Derby. I will return (I hope) with photos and all body parts still in place. Wish me luck :O)
Photo by Jenn