Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

How to Win Brunch for 6 with Mike Schmidt & Garry Maddox

The Youth Golf & Academics Program, a nonprofit organization founded by Garry Maddox, is sponsoring a raffle to win brunch for 6 with Garry & Mike SchmidtThe brunch will take place on August 11th at 10:30am, right before that afternoon’s Stephen Starr-Garry Maddox Barbecue Challenge.  Tickets are $10 apiece, and all proceeds benefit the Youth Golf & Academics Program.

Visit Garry’s BBQ Challenge web site for details and a link to purchase tickets.

And in case you missed it (and be glad if you did), the Phillies got swept by the Braves today :O(  No need to dwell on that right now, so go buy some tickets for a chance to meet Mike Schmidt & Garry Maddox instead!  That is a much happier thought, don’t you agree?

The Phillies are off tomorrow and then on to Washington on Tuesday.  In the meantime, keep your ears open as the trade deadline looms…

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Phillies All-Stars Contribute to NL Shut-Out Win Over the AL

In an 8-0 win over the American League, 3 Phillies All-Stars made big contributions for the National LeagueCole Hamels pitched a perfect 7th inning, probably driving up his free agent value a little bit more.  Carlos Ruiz caught the final 4 innings and had one at-bat, a fly-out to left field.  And Jonathan Papelbon recorded the final out of the game, sealing the NL victory.

Here are a few MLB photos from the game:

And this next set of MLB photos show Ruiz holding his glove and then the glove R.A. Dickey gave him to use in order to catch his crazy knuckle balls.  That glove is almost as big as Chooch!  There is also a nice shot of Papelbon and then more adorable Chooch getting a hug from the Nationals teenage rookie, Bryce Harper:

Melky Cabrera of the Cardinals got the MVP award for the game.  He had 2 hits, including a homer, and 2 RBI.  Some rare events occurred during the game, including 3 triples, 5 rookies playing in the game, and the first shut-out during an All-Star game since 1996, when the game was played in Philadelphia.

The biggest blunder of the game came from 19-year old Harper who lost a routine fly ball in the outfield, which eventually landed behind him.  He also got caught leaning too far off base in a fielder’s choice and was tagged out.

So now we wait until the Phillies return on Friday to see if they have any gas left to rescue their dreadful season.  Roy Halladay will make a rehab start tomorrow so, hopefully, that means he will be back very soon.

In the meantime, here is a fun blast from the All-Star past.  These are a few of my favorite All-Star photos from 2008.  The top one will never get old…it is Dan Uggla goosing Chase Utley to the surprise of many around them, as you can see by my marker edits.  Below that is Utley and Brad Lidge, who appear to be trying to club David Wright. And then there is Mike Schmidt standing up in a moving vehicle (next to Utley) during the All-Star parade to point me out and say hello.  I was one Phillies jersey in a sea of Yankees jersey’s so I was easy to spot and he was clearly excited to see a Phillies fan!  Utley yelled out to me right after that as well.  And yes, that was one of the highlights of my simple existence ;o)

By the way, I am hoping to have my video interview with Ryan Howard posted in the next few days, so stay tuned for that!

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2012 photos by MLB; 2008 photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Pitching a Fit Over Phils Pitching

At the start of the season, everyone was worried about the Phillies offense being strong enough to carry a solid starting pitching staff to wins.  Now that the offense is slowly piecing runs together, the entire pitching staff has fallen apart.  Let us examine the grisly evidence:

Roy Halladay is on the DL.  Vance Worley is pitching will bone chips in his elbow.  Cliff Lee has no wins and is recently making a habit of blowing leads.  Cole Hamels has been hit or miss.  Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton keep see-sawing between okay and downright horrible.

As for the bullpen, 5 out of 7 pitchers have little big league experience.  4 of those are rookies in their first (3) year or second (1) year in the majors.  Chad Qualls, a veteran, has basically been a bust.  And their $50 million closer hardly ever pitches because the save situations are slim and they are afraid to use him in non-save situations.

Last night in a horrible 11-7 loss to the Twins, 3 of 4 bullpen guys who pitched combined to allow 5 runs.  Kendrick started the game allowing 6 runs in only 4 innings.  He was beyond awful.  Meanwhile, closer Jonathan Papelbon has not thrown a single pitch since 4 days and 3 games ago.

Making matters worse, Hunter Pence has officially lost his mind in right field.  He only has 3 official errors on the year, but if you add in the mental mistakes and plays that he clearly should have made despite not being an “official” error, he probably has at least 10 by now.

In fact, my favorite moment of last night’s game was a comment by announcer Tom McCarthy.  After Pence failed to field a routine hopper in the 5th inning, turning a single into a triple, McCarthy said, “I think it is safe to say he needs to stop doing that.”  He hit that nail on the head.

Right now, the Phillies are a very BAD team.  Now 9.5 games back of the Nationals in the NL East, they do not have time to wait for Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to return.  If they do not turn it around right now, this season is over.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Wikipedia Appears to Side With Ruiz on Ejection

In last night’s 5-2 loss to the Nationals, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was thrown out by umpire Gary Cederstrom in the 3rd inning for looking at him.  According to reporter Jim Salisbury, Ruiz did not cuss, yell or even say anything offensive.

Manager Charlie Manuel stated, “[Ruiz] said he just told the umpire, ‘That was a strike,’ and when he looked up at him he threw him out of the game,” Manuel said. “When I went out there, the [umpire] said, ‘He was looking at me and I threw him out.’ “ So, he was tossed for making eye contact?  Does Cederstrom think he is the Queen of England or something?

Apparently, the nice folks at Wikipedia seem to agree.  If you look at the screen shot below, the line at the bottom says, “On May 22, 2012, Cederstrom threw Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz out of the game for arguing balls and strikes because everybody paid good money to see Gary Cederstrom throw people out.”

I added the screen shot because I was not sure how long it might be before Wikipedia decides to take the comment down.  Or perhaps everyone there has a great sense of humor and will let the record stand as it is?  It is pretty funny.

Roy Halladay also commented on the issue, as noted in Salisbury’s article. “I didn’t see anything wrong with what [Ruiz] did,” Halladay said. “He didn’t get in his face. He didn’t use obscene language. He simply said it was a strike. I’ve never seen one like that before. It’s unfortunate. He’s our best player and he got run out of the game for saying a ball was a strike. I’ve never seen that before.”

These umpires and their mega egos are simply out of control.  This behavior is, or at least it should be, totally unacceptable.  Will MLB respond?  Doubtful.

As for the game, it sucked just as bad as the previous one.  The Phillies offense went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 9 men on base.  And Halladay had another bad game, giving up 5 runs in 6 innings.

The clock is ticking…if this team does not find a way to win really quickly, they could wind up buried in ahole they cannot climb out of.  Game 3 with the Nats starts at 7:05pm tonight.  It will be a Cole HamelsBryce Harper reunion ;o)  Joy.

UPDATE: I was correct; Wikipedia has taken the comment off the page.  Good thing I took the screen shot ;o)  Funny stuff!

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The Base Path Ball and Chain

In recent days, the Phillies seem to keep finding new ways to lose.  After a 6-game winning streak, the offense went back to sleep and the team has lost 3 in a row.  A 2-1 loss to the Nationals Monday night was the worst of the bunch.

While Kyle Kendrick started out shaky, filling in for the injured Vance Worley, he did settle in and keep the Phillies in the game.  Kendrick allowed only 2 runs over 7 innings, which is more than was probably expected of him.

But again, the offense let Kendrick down and did so in every way they could have imagined.  At the start of the year, no one was hitting.  Now, they are hitting but not scoring.  It actually appears as if Phillies hitters get on base and then are somehow magically chained down to the base path via an evil, invisible force.  Because they just cannot seem to get as far as home plate.

Last night, they left 10 men on base and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.  All by himself, Hunter Pence left 7 men on base, including a ground out with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 3rd.

Even Carlos Ruiz, who has been the hottest hitter this year, left 5 men on base.  But the hitting alone was not the only issue.  The Phillies managed to make several base running blunders to add to the chaos.

In the 6th, with no out and runners on 2nd and third, the Phillies again failed to score.  Placido Polanco froze at third on a fly ball to center and did not tag up.  Then in the 9th, John Mayberry Jr. also got chained to 3rd base and failed to score twice, once on what should have been a sac fly and then again on a wild pitch.  He did finally score on a sac fly after that, but then Mike Fontenot found himself super-glued to second and did not advance to 3rd on the play.

With the base path ball and chain in place, the Phillies were “bound” to lose.  Bound, tied and chained; in the world’s oldest profession, that may sound like fun to some of you.  But in the world of baseball, it is not fun at all.  And even worse, we are not getting paid to watch this crap!

Random Updates

- Pitcher Vance Worley has sought out a second opinion on his sore elbow, which appears to have a bone fragment floating around in it.  No word yet on whether he will opt to have surgery.

- Congratulations to Jimmy and Johari Rollins!  Johari gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday night.  She is their first child :O)

- And if you can stomach it, Game 2 with the Nationals starts at 7:05pm tonight.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

An UnbeLEEvable Let Down

So this is what I get for being optimistic…a clunker from Cliff Lee.  Ugh.  The Phillies lost the 3-game series to the Red Sox today with a 5-1 loss.  Lee still does not have a win on the season, although the previous losses were not his fault.

The offense kept letting Lee down.  Today, it was Lee’s turn :O(  The first batter he faced smacked a home run to center, which was not a good omen.  Through 7 innings, Lee surrendered 5 runs, all of which came in the first 3 innings.  Lee found his groove after that, but it was too late.

The offense simply stunk again.  Lee created the most excitement at the plate with a double in the 3rd.  But while there was plenty of action at second base, the Phillies could not seem to find home plate.

Hunter Pence had two hits in the game and missed what may have been a third hit except that it was lined sharply to first.  I do not know why the Red Sox were belly aching about having less defense with David Ortiz at first base due to National League rules, because Big Papi snagged every ball that came his way.  He was quite annoying.

But Big Papi also had a little fun with rookie Freddy Galvis when they met at first base.  Galvis had one hit in the game and played amazing defense, like usual.  And now, he has been officially baptized in the majors as Ortiz appeared to razz him a bit.  Although the look on Galvis’ face in the photo to the far right below says about all you need to know about how this game went…

But do you want to know what the real problem with the Phillies offense is?  For starters, Jimmy Rollins has been quietly having an awful year.  He is batting .229.  Shane Victorino is not far off with a .253 average.  Essentially, all of the regular starters (meaning, those not on the DL) are underperforming while the “bench” guys or secondary starters are doing most of the damage.

Oh, and the other issue.  A photo is worth a thousand words (see photo to the right)…need I say more?

In the “good news” column, Jake Diekman appears to be back on track after one bad outing.  He was really sharp as he struck out the side in the 8th inning.

The Phillies squeaked out one run in the bottom of the 8th, but left the bases loaded…again.  They seem to be allergic to home plate.  Benadryl, anyone?  Ah-chooo!

And just in time, when the offense has begun to stink again, here come the Nationals…Game 1 is Monday night at 7:05pm.

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Hamels Returns to Help Phillies Win Series

The 5-game suspension Cole Hamels received for smacking Nationals rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch last week turned out to be sort of a joke.  With the off day on Thursday, the Phillies were able to rearrange the rotation, pitching Roy Halladay yesterday and Hamels today.  So as it turns out, Hamels did not even miss a start.

And the Phillies are sure glad he did not.  Hamels was solid in the 3-2 win over the Padres, allowing just 1 run and 5 hits over 7 innings.

The offense was a little stale, as usual, but they managed 3 runs.  This time, that turned out to be enough.  Jimmy Rollins got it started in the 1st with a leadoff homer.  Brian Schneider gave Carlos Ruiz most of the day off and helped out with 2 hits and an RBI.  Juan Pierre collected 2 hits, 1 RBI and continues to be the Phillies best hitter with a .351 average.  I am not sure anyone saw that coming when he won a spot on the team out of spring training.  But we’ll take it.

Hunter Pence, on the other hand, continues to struggle.  Pence looks lost at the plate.  He is still swinging at bad pitches, although he showed a little more patience today.  But he is pulling off balls; his body goes one way and the bat goes another way…it is very awkward.  And it is more awkward than his usual approach, which is almost hard to believe.

The bullpen finally held a lead in this one, although Jose Contreras did give up a run in the 8th making the situation very tenuous.  But Antonio Bastardo got him out of the inning without further damage.  And Jonathan Papelbon finally got to pitch for a save; it was his first save attempt since May 1st.

Before the game, the Phillies celebrated Mother’s Day.  Pierre’s mom, wife and son were greeted on the field and Pierre coddled and played with the infant, which was adorable.

And luckily, the warm fuzzies before the game translated into a win as the Phillies took 2 of 3 from the Padres.

The schedule for the remainder of May gets a little weird now.  The Phils will play 2 against the Astros then fly to Chicago for 2 games with the Cubs and return home again to face the Red Sox and Nationals before hitting the road again.  Game 1 with the Astros starts at 7:05pm Monday night.

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game and pre-game warm-up’s and ceremonies.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

The Downhill Trend

Things have been headed steadily downhill for the Phillies this season.  A loss to the Mets last night by a 5-2 score simply added emphasis to that fact.  Roy Halladay had a solid start, allowing just 2 runs in 7 innings.  But the offense left 10 men on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

In a tie game in the 9th, closer Jonathan Papelbon gave up a 3-run homer to a rookie, Mike Nickeas.  It was his first major league hit.  You cannot pin the loss on Papelbon, however, I am tired of the excuses for closers in a non-save situation.

I understand the mental part of the game, the lack of adrenaline in a non-save situation, yada, yada, yada… Whatever.  But for the amount of money these guys get paid, I personally feel I could overcome any mental obstacle thrown my way.  These guys want an adrenaline boost?  Tell them to look in their checkbooks before taking the mound.  That would certainly fire me up.

Before the game, Cole Hamels was suspended 5 games for hitting Nationals rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch and then admitting he did it on purpose.  Let me get this out of the way: Hamels was honest, but it was the wrong thing to do for his team.  Entertaining maybe, but still wrong.

However, as wrong as he was, many others added to the pile of wrong-doing afterwards as well.  Nationals GM Mike Rizzo blasted Hamels saying, “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball.”  Really?  Isn’t publically calling someone a classless, gutless chicken via the media just as classless and gutless?  Be a man and tell it Hamels’ face.  Rizzo is just as “fake tough” as he proposed Hamels is.

And how about the retaliation when pitcher Jordan Zimmermann hit Hamels with a pitch?  Was that not also childish, classless and gutless?  Zimmermann refused to admit he did it on purpose, so he did not get suspended.  But everyone involved knows the truth.

These guys are like children in a sandbox.  And all of them are wrong.  Their mama’s must have missed out on teaching them some important lessons.

So just for fun, here is the conversation I imagine between Hamels & Rizzo, spoken solely in “old school” parental clichés:

Hamels:  If you keep frowning, your face will get stuck like that!

Rizzo:  This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.

Hamels:  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Rizzo:  You bit off more than you can chew.

Hamels:  No use crying over spilt milk. 

Rizzo:  One bad apple spoils the bunch.

Hamels:  You are full of piss and vinegar.

Rizzo:  Revenge is a meal best served cold.

Hamels:  Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Rizzo:  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Hamels:  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Goodbye.

 

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Hamels Hammers Nats

The Phillies were in serious need of a win last night after dropping the first two games of the series with the Nationals.  And they had exactly the man on the mound who could get the job done.

Through eight innings, Cole Hamels allowed only one run on five hits.  He also showed his team he wasn’t afraid to get his delicate hands dirty by drilling rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch in the 1st inning.  After the game, Hamels told the media, “I was trying to hit him.”  Hamels was not looking to injure, but the message was sent.

Of course, Harper sent a message of his own by stealing home that same inning, which was the only run the Nats would score.  Then Hamels was hit with a pitch in his first at-bat in retaliation, which Hamels fully expected.

In addition to the hit by pitch, Hamels also earned a walk and a single in the game, doing damage at the plate as well as from the mound.  He could be seen in the dugout between innings laughing and joking with teammates.

The lighter mood finally rubbed off on his teammates who scored 3 runs in the 4th and then exploded with 6 runs in the 9th.  Placido Polanco lead the team with 3 hits and Hunter Pence collected 4 RBI on 2 home runs, finally showing some power.

The Nats “Take back the Park” campaign wound up being a big joke.  Phillies fans still showed up in droves.  At least in the final game, they were rewarded for their efforts.

Another downer for the Nats was watching ex-Phillie Jayson Werth go down with a broken wrist in last night’s game.  It is the same wrist that Werth injured back in 2005 that almost ended his career.  Werth will be out for at least 6 weeks and miss the May 21-23 rematch with the Phils.

The Mets are up next, starting tonight at 7:05pm in Philly.  Welcome home, Phils!

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Nagging Nats Pound the Phillies

As if Friday night’s gut wrenching loss was not enough, the Phillies stunk up Nationals park again today.  With only 5 hits in the game, the lone RBI came off a sac fly from Carlos Ruiz in the 4th inning.  If you fell asleep after that, you missed nothing.

By the 5th inning, I found myself wishing I had taken a nap instead as pitcher Vance Worley had his first really bad outing of the year.  The Nats pounded him for 5 runs on 11 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.  The worst damage was done by former Phillie Jayson Werth who touched Worley up for a 3-run homer.  Werth sure did look a lot better in a Phillies uniform…

Joe Savery added 2 more runs in the 7th as the Nats kept on hitting.  Gio Gonzalez pitched for the Nationals and went 7 innings allowing just the one run.  Gonzalez is a former Phillies prospect that got traded away for Freddy Garcia before the 2007 season.  We all know how that trade worked out…Garcia won a single game and sat out the rest of the year enjoying the $10 million the Phillies paid him.

As most of us suspected earlier this season, the Phillies are in real trouble here.  Now 5.5 games behind the Nationals, if they fall too far behind, they may never recover.  And the Nats show no signs of going away anytime soon.

Game 3 starts at 8:05pm Sunday night.  Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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