Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Ugly Loss As Madson Blows 2nd Save

So it is only one game, but last night’s Phillies loss to the Nationals was very bad on a number of levels.  First, the inept Nats staff decided to start the game with a huge storm nearby.  That lasted all of five minutes as four batters into the first inning, the game had to be stopped due to heavy rain.

For the second straight night, the Phillies had to endure a rain delay of more than two hours.  It was 2:17 on Thursday and 2:22 last night.  The game probably never should have been started last night, which put the Phillies into another jam with their starting pitchers.

While the Nats starter Livan Hernandez went back out after the delay, Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt was held out as a precaution due to his bad back.  Oswalt had not even thrown a single pitch in the game, but because he warmed up and then cooled down, the Phillies moved Kyle Kendrick up a day to start.

So the game resumed with a 1-1 count on Ryan Howard who drew a 2 hour, 22 minute walk.  That has to be some kind of record or at least an amazing exercise in patience ;o)

In their last outing against Hernandez, the Phillies could not hit him at all.  This time it took until the third inning, but they finally started to figure him out.  With one out, Jimmy Rollins doubled and then John Mayberry Jr. tripled to start the scoring.  That was followed by a parade of hits, including a Chase Utley double.

By the end of the inning, the Phillies had scored four runs.  In the meantime, Kendrick was pitching well and made it through six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk.  Considering the short notice and extreme circumstances, Kendrick did an outstanding job.

The offense tried to tack on, but to no avail.  So they took a 4-2 lead into the ninth inning, where it all fell apart.  Ryan Madson had only blown one save this year, but it was clear after a 10-pitch at-bat to Jayson Werth where eventually Werth singled that Madson was not himself.

 

Three singles, two of which were softly hit bloops into no-man’s land, plus a bunt and a walk later, and Ryan Zimmerman came to the plate with the bases loaded and a tie score.  Madson fell behind and soon after it was a full count.

Madson knew he had to throw a strike or he would walk the winning run home.  Zimmerman knew this as well and was ready.  He smashed the pitch into deep left field for a walk-off grand slam.  Ouch.

This was a tough loss to swallow as under usual circumstances, the 4-2 lead would have been as close to a sure win as you can get for this Phillies team.  But Madson was off his game and the blown save wasted a great performance from Kendrick.

While it is just one game, this one stung.  Hopefully, the Phillies will have a little extra motivation tonight to get revenge.  Game time tonight is 7:05pm and since he did not pitch last night, Roy Oswalt will get the start.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Down Four Starters, the Phillies Rise Above Both the DBacks & the Rain

The Phillies began the game against the Diamondbacks last night without four of their starting players.  After pleading his three game suspension down to two games, Shane Victorino began that suspension last night.  And then Ryan Howard sat out with a sore hand and Carlos Ruiz was benched with a sore groin.  And of course, Placido Polanco is on the DL.

But the lack of star power in the line-up had little effect on this Phillies team, which is strong from top to bottom.  Rookie Vance Worley started the game and pitched three very solid innings before the rain began.  He did not allow a run and gave up only one hit.

The offense gave Worley support early, scoring one run on a Wilson Valdez double in the 2nd.  Then in the 3rd, John Mayberry Jr. came up big again with a monster 2-run homer.  It was Mayberry’s 10th homer of the year, which in limited at-bats, is very impressive.

Then suddenly the skies opened up and flooded the stadium as the grounds crew rushed to cover the field.  What appeared might be a short, 30 minute rain delay turned into two and a half hours.

By that time, Worley could not go back out and pitch so David Herndon took over.  Herndon has been given a lot of grief from the fans this year after he got off to a rocky start.  But in his last 22 games going back to May, Herndon is pitching at a 2.00 ERA.  He figured out why he was having issues in April and made the adjustment.

In this game against the D-Backs, Herndon pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.  In the 5th inning, he struck out the side.  Herndon has really improved his game.  Michael Stutes, on the other hand, is watching the scales slowly tip downward and out of his favor.

 

Stutes gets all the praise because he got off to a very good start, unlike Herndon.  Plus it does not hurt that he is adorable, right ladies?  So Stutes has gotten a pass in situations that Herndon has not.

But last night Stutes was visibly upset after allowing a home run in the 8th inning to the first batter.  Charlie Manuel was seen in the dugout consoling Stutes, patting him on the back as he held his head in his hands in defeat.

Why is Stutes so upset after a solo homer?  Because he too recognizes that things are beginning to go downhill for him.  In his last 12 games, Stutes is pitching at an ERA of 5.17.  His ERA has risen every month since ending May with a 2.38 ERA.  His total ERA is now up to 3.40.

Stutes, like a lot of rookies in the same position, is starting to struggle.  It could be a combination of many factors like a lack of experience, teams knowing better what to expect from him and being slightly overworked.  Stutes has pitched a lot and, especially for a rookie, this can take its toll.

Hopefully for Stutes, he can make an adjustment and work his way back, like Herndon has done.  But in the meantime, he may spend a lot of time being frustrated until he figures it out.

The one run Stutes allowed was the only run of the night for the D-Backs and the Phillies went on to win by a 4-1 score.  The Phillies, still holding the best record in baseball, became the first team to reach 80 wins on the season.

And the reason why the Phillies continue to have success is simple.  Like I mentioned earlier, they are solid in every aspect of the game.  More importantly, role players like Mayberry, Valdez and Herndon, continue to come through in big situations.  So even with four starters out and a rookie pitcher, they continue to win.

It is a good time to be a Phillies fan.

The Nationals are up next; game time tonight is 7:05pm with Roy Oswalt pitching.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Phillies Swat the Nats with Some Big Sticks

In his second start back since coming off the DL, Roy Oswalt looked healthy and in control.  Thanks to an early lead given to him by the offense, he was able to relax and really settle back into the rotation.

Through seven innings, Oswalt gave up three runs on six hit and a walk for a quality start.  While Oswalt pitched, the Phillies offense did more than their share to help out.

Ryan Howard continues to rip the cover off the ball.  Tonight he went 2-for-4 with four RBI, including a 2-run homer.  That puts him at 95 RBI on the year, which leads the league.

 

Also with a multi-hit night, Shane Victorino shows no signs of slowing down.  He is now batting .313.

The Phillies scored runs in a variety of ways tonight, taking advantage of Nationals errors, running the bases well and taking walks.  Oswalt walked twice, and one of those forced a run home.  Pitcher John Lannan lasted only three innings, allowing seven runs, six of which were unearned due to Nats bloopers.

By the eighth inning, the Phillies has the game well in hand, leading 8-3.  Only, there was still one issue.  Hunter Pence did not yet have a hit.  And as has been the trend since Pence joined the team, if he does not hit, the Phillies do not win.  Pence alleviated all worries of a Nats comeback with an RBI-single in the 8th.  Whew!

Michael Stutes pitched the final two innings to secure the Phillies 11-3 win over the Nats, splitting the series at one game apiece.

The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 1:35pm which is to be preceded by the unveiling of the new fan-funded Harry Kalas statue.  However, the weather is calling for a lot of rain, threatening the game.  Cross your fingers!  If the rain holds out, I will return with photos.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Phillies Snooze & Lose In Opener Against Nats

Seriously, this was a really boring game.  The Phillies mustered only six hits against the Nationals and two of those came in the final inning.  Livan Hernandez watched the Phillies batters whiff at his 68mph curve balls so he kept right on throwing them.

In the words of Pedro Serrano, ” I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats.”  Well, Jobu did not show up and neither did the Phillies bats.

 

To make matters worse, Cole Hamels had a very bad day.  At one point, it was questionable that he could even thrown a strike with no outs and the bases loaded.  Hamels clawed his way through five innings after walking four batters and allowing three runs on six hits.  Afterwards, it was revealed that Hamels has a sore shoulder.  It does not appear to be serious so far.

 

But once again, a trend continued for the Phillies.  Hunter Pence did not get a hit and the Phillies did not win.  It will be fun to see how long this continues to be the case.  In 13 games, the Phillies have won 11 where Pence had a hit and lost the two where he did not get a hit.

The 4-2 loss is clearly not the end of the world, but it was still disappointing.  The real highlight of the day though was the induction of John Kruk into the Phillies Wall of Fame.  The pre-game ceremony included a variety of Phillies alumni including Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Dick Allen and Darren Daulton, among others.

Kruk’s speech was touching and infused with humor that only Phillies fans could appreciate.  He spoke about the 1993 season and noted, “We killed a lot of brain cells.  But you were right there with us and you all killed a bunch too.”

 

But the best part was when Kruk addressed everyone who knocks Philly for being a hard place to play.  He said, “To those people I say, ‘You didn’t have the guts to succeed here.”  And that is exactly why we love John Kruk.  Congrats to John…it is a well deserved honor!

Here is the full Photo Album from Friday night.  And here is a fantastic breakdown of Michael Stutes’ rookie gear:

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Phillies Overcome 6-Run Deficit To Sweep Dodgers

Before today’s game against the Dodgers, the Phillies rookie pitcher Vance Worley was hearing his name tossed around in the same sentence as “Rookie of the Year.”  But after allowing five runs in the first inning, Worley looked more like a regular rookie than an award-winning one.  The Vanimal lost a bit of his bite today.

Still, Worley picked himself up after the disastrous 1st inning and went back to pitching like usual.  He surrendered one more run in the 3rd, but for the most part, he settled down.  Being able to bounce back in the face of adversity  is a very good sign from a very young pitcher.

In the 3rd inning, Worley helped his own cause with an RBI-single.  The Phillies cut the 6-0 lead in half that inning, scoring three runs with the Worley hit and a Hunter Pence 2-run homer.

After four innings, the bullpen took over and so did the Phillies offense.  The Phils kept tacking on runs and the Dodgers scored one more off Kyle Kendrick.

But in the 6th, Chase Utley came through big to tie the game with a 2-RBI single.  The next batter, Ryan Howard, put an exclamation point on the inning with a 2-run homer to give the Phillies a 9-7 lead.

The Phillies took the lead into the 9th inning where, for the second night in a row, Ryan Madson tried to give us all heart failure.  After the first batter got on base, a run scored on a force out.  With two outs and one on, Madson, for the second night in a row again, struck out ex-Phillie Rod Barajas to end the game.

This 3-game sweep of the Dodgers gives the Phillies a 9-1 record on the 10-game road trip.  It is the first ever 9-1 road trip for the franchise.

This has been an amazing run for the Phillies and especially for Hunter Pence.  In 12 days and 12 games with his new team, Pence has lost only one game and that was also the only game he did not have a hit in.

The energy Pence has brought with him is a huge boost for an already outstanding Phillies team.  And while it is unrealistic, this run gives the Phillies a feel of being almost unstoppable.

So enjoy the off-day tomorrow!  The Nats come to town on Friday; game time is 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

More Injuries & a Blow-Out Loss

This has not been a good couple of days in the injury department for the Phillies.  Here is a quick look at the damage:

- Jose Contreras was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season with elbow inflammation.  Lefty Juan Perez was called-up from the Triple-A Iron Pigs to take his roster spot.  Perez played for the Pirates in 2006 & 2007 for a short time, but has spent most of his seven-year career in the minors.

- The Phillie Phanatic suffered an injury as well.  While entertaining atop the first base dugout at an Iron Pigs game, the Phanatic was hit in the neck with a foul ball.  For the Phanatic’s best friend Tom Burgoyne, the neck area was actually Tom’s face.

The Phanatic went to the hospital; I am not sure whether they called a doctor, a veterinarian or an environmental biologist, but the Phanatic will not be joining Contreras on the DL.  He should be ready for the weekend series at CBP.

- And finally, Roy Oswalt was pulled from today’s game against the Cardinals after two innings where he allowed four runs.  After about one out in the second, Oswalt began teetering sideways off the mound after his delivery.  It got worse as the inning went on, where he began hopping and stumbling after pitches while grabbing his lower back.

Why no one else saw this is curious.  I was screaming at the TV, but sadly, no one heard me ;o)  Oswalt was left in to finish the inning and reports are that he has back spasms.

I suppose the spasms are no surprise; Oswalt has a history of back issues and has been on the DL once already this season with the same issue.  In his last four starts, Oswalt has allowed 15 runs in only 21.1 innings.

As for the new bullpen piece, Perez pitched the seventh and walked two batters, but did not allow a run.  Kyle Kendrick pitched the 3rd-6th innings and gave up two runs, adding to Oswalt’s four.

So with 6 runs, the Cardinals were ready to run away with the game as the Phillies offense was lulled to sleep.  It did matter too much though as Danys Baez put the game well out of reach for the Phillies in the 8th inning.  He walked in a run, gave up a 3-run homer and ended up with six earned runs handed over to the Cards.  You could say he added insult to all the injuries.

The Phillies went down in flames by a score of 12-2.  They travel back home tonight to go back to Interleague play.  The Athletics are first on the schedule; Vance Worley will pitch at 7:05pm.

An NL East Update

This has been a weird week overall for the NL East.  First, the Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez suddenly quit after the Fish went on a real bender, losing 18 of 19 games in the month of June.

Not to be outdone, the Nationals manager Jim Riggleman one-upped Rodriguez.  After the Nationals WON 11 of their last 12 games, the opposite of the Marlins month, Riggleman gave the Nats an ultimatum.  He told his GM in a meeting they needed to extend his contract then and there or he would not get on the bus for the Nats next game.

Riggleman quit, just like that.  And just like that, he will probably never work in baseball again.  Who in their right mind would hire a guy who just quits when he does not get his way?  It was unprofessional and just plain stupid.  I do not care how disrespected he felt that his contract was not extended sooner.  If the team felt it should wait until the end of the year, then he should have just waited it out.  Abandoning his team like that is just wrong.   Nats fans should be livid.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Good News? Anyone? Bueller?

If you ask Phillies fans today if they can pass on any good news about this team right now, you will have a difficult time getting an answer.  So, good news?  Anyone?? …

Let us quickly recap all of the BAD news:

- The Phillies have now lost FOUR games in a row for the first time all year.

- Two of those losses  were against the last place Nationals (NL East) and two more against the fourth place Pirates (NL Central).

- The Phillies have scored three runs or less in all four losses.

- Since coming off the DL, Chase Utley is hitting .195.  He ended tonight’s game by flying out with the bases loaded.

- Ryan Howard suddenly looks like an automatic out at the plate.  He hits into the shift next to first base on a regular basis.  He hit there again tonight with an inning-ending double play with a man on third.

- Jimmy Rollins was removed from the game early with a patellar contusion.  He fouled a ball off his kneecap in the first inning.

- Brian Schneider suffered a “setback” in his rehab.  The Phillies say he is basically having to start all over.

- Brad Lidge had a setback of his own; he has stiffness in the shoulder he is trying to rehab.

I could go on, but that was depressing enough.  So here is the only bit of good news I have for you:  You can enter to win an admission ticket to the Phillies Phestival right here!  Entries will be accepted until Wednesday at 6pm.  Enter today!

Unproductive Phillies Offense Leads to Series Loss

The month of June did not start off as the Phillies may have hoped.  After a win on Monday, the Phils went on to lose two straight to the lowly, last place Washington Nationals by a score of 2-1.

Domonic Brown was almost the hero as he blasted a shot to left center that should have scored the three runners on base at the time.  But the Nats left fielder, Laynce Nix, ripped the Superman cape right off Brown’s back, put it on himself and literally flew through the air to snatch the ball out of no-man’s land.  Nix won the tug-o-war battle.

That catch will be on highlight reels all week.  Nix also hit the go-ahead home run off pitcher Roy Oswalt.  He was a one-man wrecking crew.

Oswalt had a descent game, allowing just the two runs.  He was pulled early after five innings in order to send Brown in with the bases loaded, after which Brown was robbed of that big hit.

The real disappointment, however, was watching the Phillies offense revert back to old habits.  They had only five hits in the game, went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 9 men on base.  Ryan Howard had two of the five hits.  No one collected an RBI as the lone run scored after a Nats error.

Chase Utley is another concern.  He is hitting only .194 since coming off the DL.  And although he appears healthy, his swing is simply not there.  That is especially concerning when you remember that the only thing Utley was able to do the entire time he was injured was hit.

The Phillies have a day off tomorrow to lick their wounds, but things do not get much better on Friday.  They are headed to Pittsburgh and recent history shows the Phillies have a rough time there.  Despite the Pirates fielding fairly awful teams over the years, the Phillies simply play badly in Pittsburgh.  They better hope that changes.

Shane Victorino should be back for the series, which will hopefully be a nice boost for the offense.  However, who will be sent down to make room?

My feeling is that John Mayberry Jr. has to stay, as he is the only suitable center field back-up who can match Victorino’s defense.  Brown should be here to stay.  Michael Martinez is a Rule-5 and the Phils do not want to lose him.  But Ross Gload is injured.  He can hit, but cannot run or play the field.  If it were up to me, he’d be going on the DL to make room.

Another option is pitcher Mike Zagurski, but it seems like the Phillies want an extra pitcher around.  However, Zagurski still has not shown he is a major leaguer.

It is a tough decision.  Glad I do not have to make it :O)

 

Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Cliff Lee Imposter Tanks Against Nats?

Who was that pitcher on the mound for the Phillies Tuesday night?  Certainly it could not be Cliff Lee.  At least not the one we are used to.  He must be an imposter!

 After a careful review of the statistics, the mystery Lee went only 5.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits to a last place Nationals team.  He also walked three batters and gave up two home runs.

Upon witnessing this disastrous outing, I can come to only one conclusion: Cliff Lee has been abducted by aliens.  They are conducting a number of probing experiments on him in order to clone the near-perfect pitcher.  This totally explains why an imposter was sent in his place to give up six runs in less than six innings.

Perhaps many do not agree with my assessment.  However, I assure you that the alternative is much more difficult to swallow.  Cliff Lee had a horrible game?  Against a crappy team??  No way.  Aliens…I tell you, it must be aliens.

On the other hand, many pitchers sucked without alien intervention.  Danys Baez has been returned to earth after a spectacular five innings in last week’s 19-inning marathon.  On this night, Baez coughed up three runs in just one inning.

And then lefty Mike Zagurski, called up to take Vance Worley’s roster spot, walked the opposing pitcher, gave up one run and another walk in just one inning.  Zagurski has been given a plethora of chances in the Bigs over the years.  But each time, despite doing well in the minors, he tanks as soon as he is called up.

The offense took the night off as well, apparently refusing to play with imposter aliens.  The only excitement was when Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. smacked back-to-back homers in the fifth.

So the Phils went down in flames by a score of 10-2…against the Nationals.  Ugh.  Well, tomorrow is another day and with any luck, the aliens have returned the real Cliff Lee and maybe will visit the Marlins or Braves next. ;o)

 

Lee Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

A Hot Win In D.C. For The Phillies

Hot may not be an accurate word to describe the Phillies day in D.C. where they beat the Nationals by a score of 5-4.  Perhaps scorching, boiling or searing would be appropriate terminology.

But despite the 95 degree heat, Roy Halladay kept pushing for a win.  He did not have an easy time either.  Through seven innings, Doc gave up four runs, three of which were solo homers.  But this time, the offense helped Halladay out.

 

Balls went flying off the bats like grenades in the sweltering heat:

 

The Nationals kept pace as the Phillies gained and lost the lead in the game like a see-saw.  But not even ex-Phillie Jayson Werth could stop this Raul Ibanez homer.  Ryan Howard hit one as well.  The other photo is Werth striking out, just for fun:

 

The Phillies also showed a lot of hustle on the base paths.  Although Placido Polanco is out by just a step in the photo below, he ran the play out hard:

 

And Chase Utley was all over the field.  It looks like he is going full throttle at second, jumping, leaping and diving to make plays.  One of the key defensive plays in the game came in the seventh.  Halladay had put runner on first and third with no outs and managed to pick off Alex Cora, who wandered too far off third on a fielder’s choice.

That play probably saved the game for the Phillies.  And here are a few other nice ones as well:

 

Once Halladay was out of the game, the bullpen did a nice job holding the 5-4 lead for him.  Antonio Bastardo and Jose Contreras took the eighth and Ryan Madson closed it in the ninth:

 

Here is the full Photo Album from the game Tuesday afternoon.  It includes a lot of nice pre-game shots, the President’s race and more. 

Game two with the Nats is Tuesday night at 7:05pm.  Cliff Lee will pitch.

Also as a side note, Vance Worley has been sent back to Triple-A to get more innings under his belt.  No word yet on a replacement, although it is possible that the Phillies add a bullpen piece and use Kyle Kendrick as a starter.

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