Results tagged ‘ NL East ’

Oswalt a Little Rusty in Return from DL

Pitcher Roy Oswalt made his first start back from the DL today in the series finale against the Giants.  Looking a little rusty, Oswalt allowed three runs, although it could have been worse.  Over six innings, Oswalt gave up 12 hits, but still stranded 10 runners.

For the Giants, Tim Lincecum was his usual, amazing self, limiting the Phillies to just one run on seven hits.  However, someone should inform the baby-faced Lincecum that he does not need to attempt to grow the world’s smallest goatee in order to be intimidating.  Although, it is awfully cute.

Watching the Phillies score only one run was not so cute.  Chase Utley had the lone RBI.  And for the first time as a Phillie, Hunter Pence did not have a hit in the game.  So both Pence’s hit streak and win streak ended on the same day.

The Phillies win streak as a team ended at nine; with Pence, they won eight straight.  And as it turns out, Pence does not hit, the Phillies do not win.  Pence must feel like he has entered the Twilight Zone, finally losing  a game with his new team.

There were a few interesting moments in the game, aside from the lack of offense.  Carlos Ruiz made two great plays, giving up his body to get outs.  In the 4th, Ruiz dove to tag out Aubrey Huff by smashing him right in the face with the baseball (see photo).  And then in the 5th, Ruiz ran down Jeff Keppinger who wandered too far of third and jumped on top of him right before he reached third to get the out.

Later in the 8th, Utley was clearly distracted by Lincecum’s adorable baby facial hair as he fouled off a ball and his bat went flying to the mound, hitting Lincecum in the knee.  Utley went to check on little Timmy to make sure he was ok and Timmy handed him the bat back, indicating he was fine.  It was a nice display of sportsmanship by both players.

The 3-1 loss leaves the Phillies still with a wide margin in the NL East, leading the Braves by 8.5 games.  Plus, taking 3 of 4 games from the Giants is very big for their momentum and confidence as the leaders in the league.

Monday night, the Phillies begin a 3-game series with the DodgersRoy Halladay will pitch and game time is 10:10pm.

 

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Photos from Getty Images

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

Victorino to DL as Braves Come to Town

Only 2.5 games ahead of the Braves in the NL East, this weekend series is a big one for the Phillies.  And now, one of their biggest offensive threats will not be joining them.

Earlier today, centerfielder Shane Victorino was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Monday, July 4th.  He would be eligible to return on July 19th.  This is his second trip to the DL this year.

This move comes one day after Victorino was voted into the All-Star game by the fans.  Obviously, he will now not be participating in the All-Star festivities due to the sprained thumb.

The injury occurred after Victorino stumbled on the astro turf in Toronto this past Sunday.  Initially, it looked like Victorino twisted his ankle:

 

Later, it was revealed that he jammed his thumb during the fall.

Pete Orr has been recalled from Triple-A to take Victorino’s place on the roster.  Still, this is a huge blow for the Phillies who also have Placido Polanco in limbo with an aching back.  Polanco was supposed to see a specialist yesterday, but there is still no word on the outcome.

So the Phillies will enter this important 3-game series with five veteran pitchers on the DL, their centerfielder on the DL and third baseman in limbo.  On top of that, the Braves have a very good team and a much better bullpen then the Phillies.

Buckle-up Phillies fans; this is going to be a long, crazy weekend.

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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*

Lee’s Dominance Results in Clean Sweep of the Marlins

The last time the Phillies won seven games in a row in the month of June was in 1982.  In 2011, they have done it again…finally.  And they also swept the Marlins in a four game series.

 Cliff Lee was on fire today, only in a good way, not in a call the fire department way.  He was no-hitting the Fish until Mike Stanton singled with 2 outs in the 5th.  Still, Lee wound up pitching a complete game shut-out in the 3-0 win.

In addition, Lee was hot at the plate as well.  He had two hits in the game, the second of which was an RBI-double off the right-center field wall.  He missed a home run by only a few feet.

And that one run, the first of the game, turned out to be all Lee needed to win the game.  But just for good measure, Ryan Howard added on with a solo homer in the 5th and Jimmy Rollins knocked in the third run in the 6th with a double.

The Phillies are now on their way to Seattle where they will begin a 3-game series with the Mariners Friday night at 10:10pm.  Roy Oswalt will pitch and Cole Hamels will start on Sunday.

Due to the doubleheader yesterday, the Phillies were in need of a spot starter for Saturday, which is going to be rookie Vance Worley.  That brings us to the sad news of the day…

To make room for Worley, the Phillies chose to designate J.C. Romero for assignment.  They have 10 days to trade him, release him or place him on waivers.  Romero could be offered a minor league deal if no one takes him, but the odds are slim that he would accept that deal.

While Romero has struggled since having elbow surgery before the 2010 season, the emergence of lefty Antonio Bastardo has also made it difficult for Romero to get innings.  Romero will always be remembered in Philadelphia for his contributions to the 2008 World Series championship plus a League Championship and two NL East titles.

On a personal note, I have had the privilege of being able to spend some time with J.C. and his family over the last 3+ years and I will miss them.  The Romero’s are generous, kind people who contributed much more than just baseball to the city of Philadelphia and other communities in need.  

I wish them the very best.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Halladay Loses With a Complete Game

Here is something that should never, ever happen.  Roy Halladay pitched a three-run, complete game against the Braves today and took a loss.  With the rate at which Halladay and other Phillies pitchers, like Cliff Lee, are being hung out to dry by this offense, it may be time to take more drastic measures.

The Phillies were the only team in the majors to not have a starting pitcher lose two games in a row.  That streak ended today as Halladay got his second consecutive taste of how bad this Phillies offense sucks right now.

Just because it is Superman himself, Roy Halladay, on the mound, does not mean that he will toss a shut-out every time out.  The movie Superman managed to turn back time by rotating the earth backwards on its axis, but do not think he will accomplish this feat whenever he feels like it, even in the movies.  There needs to be some basis in reality to keep our attention.

The Phillies batters, however, seem to be hanging around, just waiting for another Halladay or Lee miracle.  Tim Hudson pitched for the Braves today and was almost pulled from the game in the fourth inning with a sore hip, but he managed to go seven innings anyway.  This means that the Phillies managed only four hits off a Grandpa (in baseball years) with a bad hip!

The only reason that Grandpa lasted seven innings was because the Phillies got themselves out.  They swung at bad pitches and were not patient when Hudson began flinging balls all over the place, two feet over their heads or straight into the dirt.

Three of the four hits in the game were from the bench players, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez and John Mayberry Jr. who accounted for the only score with a two-run homer.  Mayberry played center in place of the ailing Shane Victorino.  Both he and Orr each stole a base as well.

So while the bench guys keep trying to resuscitate this team, where are the starters?  Where are the bats of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez?  Come out, come out, wherever you are!  This game of hide and seek is getting old.

The 3-2 loss gave the Braves the series win, 2-1.  The Braves are now only 3.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East and the Marlins are two games back.

The Phillies will travel to St. Louis for a short, two-games series next.  Cliff Lee pitches tomorrow, unless he decides to go on strike.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Will Injuries Derail The Phillies Season?

As of May 13, 2011, the Phillies are 25-13 and two games ahead of the Florida Marlins for first place in the NL East.  However, Phillies players are dropping like flies.  Can they maintain this pace in spite of all the injuries?

So far the Phillies have lost their starting short stop, both catchers, two starting pitchers, a bunch of relief pitchers and more.  Starter Joe Blanton came off the DL but looks like he needs to go back as he is still in pain and losing speed on his pitches.  Starter Roy Oswalt is coming back this week, but also looks like he is not 100% after a rehab start on Thursday.

Then in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Braves, centerfielder Shane Victorino left the game early with a hamstring pull.  It ended his 15-game hitting streak.

The Phillies anemic offense managed only three hits in the game, a trend which has continued throughout the season so far.  The pitching has helped the Phillies win games, but the loses due to a lack of hitting are starting to pile up.

At the same time, the pitcher’s are now coming up lame.  If the injuries continue and the Phillies wind up with both weak pitching and weak hitting at the same time, this spells trouble.

Here is a look at the injuries so far this year:

 

If Victorino winds up on the DL, the Phillies may have been able to fill the roster spot by calling Domonic Brown back up since he has recovered from hand surgery.  However, earlier in the week, Brown sprained the thumb on the same hand he had surgery on and is unavailable to play right now.

Currently in right field, Ben Francisco has been terrible in the month of May.  He is hitting just .071 since May 1.  Ryan Howard is hitting .217 in May.  Placido Polanco’s May numbers are down as well, hitting .234.  Brian Schneider’s bat was starting to heat up when he got hurt and was sent to the DL.  Carlos Ruiz is back, but rusty, and he is still looking for his first hit this month.

The bench players have filled in admirably where they are able to.  But if this trend continues where the offense slumps and the pitching can no longer bail them out, the Phillies could lose their grasp on first place quickly.

The Phillies season is at a crossroads now.  Either they will be able to continue to battle through the injuries or they will not.

But this is an issue they have dealt with for many years running now.  This Phillies team knows how to carry on when star players hit the skids.  Hopefully, knowing that they have overcome injuries in the past will be enough to propel them into the future as a winning team.

The Top 10 NL East Moves So Far and More Potential Deals

The five teams in the NL East, the Phillies, Braves,  Marlins, Mets and Nationals, have all had busy off-seasons trying to improve their clubs.  Some have been more successful than others.  And some, like the Phillies and Mets, are moving very slowly through the free agent and trade possibilities.

Here is a countdown of the top 10 moves so far within the division and a breakdown of potential future moves for each team.

#10 - Three Relief Pitchers to the Marlins

In mid-November, the Red Sox swapped lefty relievers with the Marlins.  Dustin Richardson went to the Marlins and Andrew Miller landed with the Red Sox.  Miller, previously a highly-touted prospect, was a disappointment in Florida.  He struggled with control and lacked consistency. 

The addition of Richardson is a good move for the Marlins.  At only 26-years of age, Richardson posted a 4.15 in 26 relief appearances in the bigs, although most of his time has been spent in the minors.  This lefty has great potential.  The Marlins hope they can mould him into a solid reliever.

The very next day, the Marlins also acquired two right-handers, Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica.  The Marlins sent Cameron Maybin to the Padres in exchange.  Webb has averaged a 3.19 ERA in two major league seasons while Mujica is going into his 6th season having posted a 3.62 ERA last year.

These three pitchers combined should make a major impact on the Marlins 2011 bullpen.

#9 – Dennys Reyes to the Phillies

The Phillies have agreed to terms with veteran left-hander, Dennys Reyes.  The 33-year-old reliever posted a 3.55 ERA in 59 relief appearances last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Phillies chose not to re-sign JC Romero after Romero struggled with control and left elbow surgery last offseason seemed to alter his mechanics.  Reyes will be counted on to take over for Romero. 

The only other lefty who has had much success with the Phillies in the few past years is Antonio Bastardo.  The Phillies will likely go into the 2011 season with these two left-handed relievers in the bullpen.

#8 – Javier Vazquez to the Marlins

Right-handed starter Javier Vazquez struggled last year with the Yankees, ending the season with a 10-10 record and a 5.32 ERA.  However, Vazquez pitched for the Braves in 2009 and ended with a 2.87 ERA.  A return to the NL East may be exactly what Vazquez needs to get back on track.

The Marlins also like the idea that Vazquez can eat innings for them, which is something they have been lacking.  This 13-year veteran is sure to bring some stability to the Marlins rotation.

#7 – Eric Hinske re-signs with the Braves

The Braves liked Eric Hinske in left field last year, where he made only 1 error in 360 innings.  At the plate, Hinske hit .256 with 11 homers and a .793 OPS.  In 2011, Hinske is likely to serve as a left-handed pinch-hitter who may fill in for Martin Prado from time to time.

#6 – John Buck to the Marlins

Catcher John Buck will enter his 8th major league season with a 3-contract from the Florida Marlins.  Buck had a breakout year in 2010 with the Blue Jays and made the All-Star team for the first time in his career. 

Buck set career highs in batting average (.281), on-base percentage (.314), homers (20) and RBIs (66) with the Jays and also threw out 28% of runners attempting to steal.  The Marlins may have hit a home run with this signing.


107A.jpg#5 – Jose Contreras re-signs with the Phillies

Jose Contreras spent most of his career as a starter until last year with the Phillies where he made a nice transition into a full-time reliever.  Contreras  was one of the most dependable relievers in the Phillies bullpen and as such, the Phillies rewarded him with a new 2-year deal, including an option for a third year.

Contreras went 6-4 with four saves and a 3.34 ERA in 67 games in 2010.  He is able to pitch multiple innings when necessary and can also fill in as a closer.  This gives the Phillies some much needed stability in the bullpen.

#4 – Scott Linebrink to the Braves

There was one more pitching swap this offseason as the Braves sent Kyle Cofield to the White Sox in exchange for another righty, Scott Linebrink.  At 23 years of age, Cofield was moved in favor of experience.  Linebrink is a 12-year veteran who has had a fairly consistent career.  He went 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA as a reliever for the White Sox last year and will be a solid piece in the Braves bullpen.

#3 – George Sherrill to the Braves

Continuing to add pitching, the Braves signed lefty reliever George Sherrill, who will be entering his 8th season in the majors.  The one-year deal is a smart one for the Braves as it is fairly low-risk.  Sherrill performed well in 2008 and 2009, but last year, he ran into trouble.  Posting a 6.69 ERA with the Dodgers in 65 games, Sherrill got destroyed facing right-handed hitters who batted .427 off him.

If Sherrill can rebound to his 2009 form, the Braves move will pay major dividends.  If not, they only spent $1.2 million dollars to sign him.  This looks like a winner for the Braves.

#2 – Dan Uggla to the Braves

His name is Dan Uggla and yes, he is now a Brave.  This All-Star second baseman has been tearing up the NL East for five years now.  The Marlins refused to meet Uggla’s demand of a five-year contract and decided to trade him.  They received Omar Infante and left-handed reliever Michael Dunn in exchange.

The winner of this trade may be a tough call.  Uggla, with 33 homers last year, gives the Braves a right-handed power bat.  However,  Infante is a more versatile and solid defender.  Plus, Infante batted over .300 each of the past two seasons.  And with good left-handed relievers hard to come by, Dunn’s 1.89 ERA in 25 games last year looks pretty good.  However, Dunn is a rookie with little experience so the Marlins cannot be sure what they will get out of him.

The worst news about this trade for the NL East is that Uggla remains in the NL East.  The Marlins may have just shot themselves, plus three other teams, directly in the foot.


P6203412B.jpg#1 – Jayson Werth to the Nationals

If anything is certain about this signing, it is that no one saw it coming.  The 7-year, $126 million dollar deal handed to right fielder Jayson Werth is the biggest move made in the NL East so far this offseason.  It may even wind up being one of the top five deals in all of baseball by the time 2011 gets started.

The Phillies could not afford to meet Werth’s demand, who made his first All-Star appearance with them in 2009.  Batting .296 with 27 homers and 85 RBI last year, this five-tool player is a great addition to any team.  However, at 31 years of age, Werth’s 7-year deal may look foolish a few seasons down the road.

Potential Future Moves:  The Phillies

A name you are likely to hear a lot in the coming weeks is Zack Greinke.  In fact, the only NL East team who has not been linked to Greinke is the Mets.  The Royals have made it known that they are willing to part with this right-handed starter for the right price.  Once Cliff Lee signs somewhere, the market for Greinke will certainly heat up.

While Greinke is on the Phillies wish list, they may also be looking at right fielder Delwyn Young.  Having spent the last two years with the Pirates, Young has not exactly been lighting up the batter’s box, hitting only .236 last year.  But the Phillies are still deciding how to replace Jayson Werth.  Young is a possibility, but look for the Phils to fill the spot internally.

Potential Future Moves:  The Braves

Aside from Zack Greinke, the Braves are also rumored to be in talks with lefty reliever Ron Mahay.  While with the Braves the last few months of 2007, Mahay posted a 2.25 ERA in 30 appearances and has since expressed interest in returning to the Braves.

Mahay had surgery near the end of the 2010 season for a torn rotator cuff.  but with left-handers in short supply, the Braves may take a look at re-signing Mahay.


P7266071 Romero cr.jpgPotential Future Moves:  The Marlins

Despite signing a few lefties already, the Marlins are still looking for depth in this area.  Ron Mahay, whom the Braves are looking into, is also a possibility here.  A few other lefties the Marlins may consider are Joe Beimel and JC Romero.  Beimel posted a 3.40 ERA in 45 innings last year and Romero had a 3.68 ERA in 36 2/3 innings.

The Marlins have also been tossing around the idea of signing right fielder Delwyn Young, whom the Phillies expressed interest in as well.

 

Potential Future Moves:  The Mets

The Mets have not made many moves this offseason aside from a few smaller players like catcher Ronnie Paulino and righty DJ Carrasco.  The biggest potential move for the Mets may be simply retaining outfielder Carlos Beltran.  Already signed through 2011, several teams including the Red Sox, have expressed interest in a trade for Beltran.

With budget concerns, the Mets have little room to squeak out any significant deals.  Therefore, the most important move they make may just be retaining players like Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes.  The Mets will need to resist the urge to dump payroll if they are to have a chance to compete in 2011.

Potential Future Moves:  The Nationals

While the Nationals severely overpaid for right fielder Jayson Werth, they may not be done just yet.  It seems, that like a lot of teams, star pitcher Cliff Lee is on their radar.  And similar to the Werth deal, no one would ever see it coming.  But the Nats appear to have money to burn so Lee may not be out of the question.

Veteran outfielder Randy Winn has also been rumored to be generating interest in Washington.  Also add first baseman Adam LaRoche to their wish list and right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg.  Gregg spent two years in the NL East with the Marlins from 2007 to 2008.  He pitched in 63 games for the Blue Jays last year and posted a 3.51 ERA.  Several teams, including the Nationals, have been courting the reliever.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Division Series Schedule

As you may know already, the Phillies will be playing the Reds in the NLDS.  The Phillies won 5 out of 7 games against the Reds this year in the regular season; 3 of those in July all went to extra innings and ended in spectacular walk-off fashion for the Phillies.  So while the Phils have a slight edge, it is sure to be a well played series.

With the 8 playoff teams finally decided, TBS and MLB announced some of the start times for both the AL and NL Division series.  Here is the schedule so far:

Series

Teams

Day/Date

Time ET

ALDS Game 1

Rangers @ Rays

Wed. Oct. 6

1:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 1

Reds @ Phillies

Wed. Oct. 6

5 p.m.

ALDS Game 1

Yankees @ Twins

Wed. Oct. 6

8:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 2

Rangers @ Rays

Thurs. Oct. 7

2:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 2

Yankees @ Twins

Thurs. Oct. 7

6 p.m.

NLDS Game 1

Braves @ Giants

Thurs. Oct. 7

9:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 2

Reds @ Phillies

Fri. Oct. 8

6 p.m.

NLDS Game 2

Braves @ Giants

Fri. Oct. 8

9:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 3

Rays @ Rangers

Sat. Oct. 9

5 p.m.

ALDS Game 3

Twins @ Yankees

Sat. Oct. 9

8:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 3

Phillies @ Reds

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

NLDS Game 3

Giants @ Braves

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*ALDS Game 4

Rays @ Rangers

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*ALDS Game 4

Twins @ Yankees

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*NLDS Game 4

Phillies @ Reds

Mon. Oct. 11

TBD

*NLDS Game 4

Giants @ Braves

Mon. Oct. 11

TBD

*ALDS Game 5

Rangers @ Rays

Tues. Oct. 12

TBD

*ALDS Game 5

Yankees @ Twins

Tues. Oct. 12

TBD

*NLDS Game 5

Reds @ Phillies

Wed. Oct. 13

TBD

*NLDS Game 5

Braves @ Giants

Wed. Oct. 13

TBD

 

As I expected, the Phillies, despite have the BEST record in baseball, still got screwed out of the Prime Time slot in favor of the Yankees…again.  So for the 3rd year in a row, I will have to take a day off work to go to get to the stadium in time to find parking and see the pre-game festivities.

Now I realize there are 22 other teams out there whose fans would love to have this problem so it is hard to complain.  But when is a team, other than the Yankees, going to get some much deserved respect?  The Phillies have certainly earned it.   

To the TV people it is all about ratings, and I suppose it is their prerogative.  But guess which team brings in more fans based on stadium capacity?  The Phillies – 103.5%.  It is over 100% due to standing room only tickets that are sold to accommodate more fans.  The Phillies sold out EVERY game this season.  Where do the Yankees rank?  They are 7th in baseball with 88.9%.  If the Phillies had a bigger stadium like the Yankees do, they would no doubt have sold all those seats as well.  Just sayin’…

Not to mention that the TBS coverage of the games, in general, is horrible.  The announcers have NO clue about the teams they are watching and tend to be biased towards particular teams.  The coverage has been historically so bad that there is even a section on Wikipedia dedicated to how bad they suck.  The TBS slogan is “very funny” but we are not laughing.

Phillies End Season With Best Record In Baseball

The Phillies ended the 2010 regular season today with the best record in baseball for the first time in franchise history.  Their 97-65 record is even more impressive when all of the injuries they suffered this year are added to the equation.  Unfortunately, the injuries do not appear to be behind them yet.

In the 8-7 loss to the Braves today, catcher Carlos Ruiz was plunked on the elbow by a Tim Hudson pitch.  He appeared to be in a great deal of pain and eventually, he left the game.  There has been no word yet about how serious it may be.

Another potential huge loss heading into the playoffs may be JC Romero.  After throwing a pitch in the 6th inning, Romero signed to the coaches that he was hurt.  Reports are that he is suffering from left lower back soreness.  If he cannot play, it looks like lefty Antonio Bastardo will be a lock for the postseason roster.  Having only one lefty in the pen may not be a great idea, but the Phils may have no choice.

The only real highlights early in today’s game were 2-run homers by both John Mayberry Jr. and Jayson Werth.  Also, Cole Hamels pitched very well for 2 innings in his postseason warm-up.  Everyone else had issues getting desperate Braves hitters out.  Even Roy Oswalt gave up a run in one inning of work.  Joe Blanton allowed 2 runs and the big damage was done by Danys Baez.  Baez allowed 4 runs in only 2/3 of an inning, likely cementing his new roll as a cheerleader instead of a spot on the postseason roster.


Baez cheerleader.jpgBut as the Phillies are known to do late in games, the offense started cooking again in the 8th inning.  With 2 outs, Jimmy Rollins singled and Mike Sweeney reached base on a Braves error.  Wilson Valdez hit an RBI single and Ben Francisco doubled in 2 more runs.  The game got a lot closer, with the Phillies trailing by a score of 8-7.  But in the 9th, they were unable to score and the Braves went on to win.

While the Braves won, their playoff hopes are still in the hands of the Padres, who are playing the Giants right now.  They will know more in a few hours.

In the meantime, congratulations to the Phillies, officially the BEST team in baseball right now!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies: The Grim Reaper Of Playoff Dreams

The Atlanta Braves must feel like they have been unknowingly cast in a bad horror flick.  With their playoff hopes on the line, the Phillies have now beat them 2 days in a row with only one game left in the season.  In the meantime, their Wild Card foe, the Padres, keep winning.


Worley reaper of Braves.jpgYielding a large axe, rookie pitcher Vance Worley did his best impersonation of the Grim Reaper today against the Braves.  They did not manage a single hit off Worley until the 4th inning.  Worley went 5 innings, allowing only the one hit and looked like a seasoned veteran.  The only reason he was pulled after 5 innings was because there was a runner on third and the Phils chose to pinch hit for him.

Actually, the Phillies offense had runners on 3rd with only 1 out twice and failed to score.  That finally changed in the 7th inning when a walk by Jimmy Rollins kick started some scoring.  A Braves fielding error followed by a bunch of Phillies singles ended in a 4-run inning.  Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino all picked up RBI’s.

Placido Polanco returned to the field today after having a cortisone shot in his elbow earlier this week.  Polly went 2 for 4 at the plate, which is a very good sign.  He did have one error at third early in the game, but he is probably still shaking the rust off.  It is good to see Polly feeling better though!

The Phillies bullpen pitchers were scary as well.  Antonio Bastardo, Danys Baez, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras continued to stab Braves hitters through the heart, sending them back to the dugout, one by one.  The horror continued for the Braves as the Phillies tacked on more runs in the 8th and 9th for a 7-0 lead.  And that was the final score.

With the Braves loss and a Padres win, the Wild Card race is a dead tie going into the final day of the regular season tomorrow.  As a result, who the Phillies will play in the NLDS is still uncertain.  What is certain is that, no matter the outcome tomorrow, the Phils will end the season with at least 97 wins and the best record in all of baseball!

The final game of the regular season tomorrow starts at 1:35pm.  Cole Hamels will start the game.

Victorinos.jpgBy the way, I would like to send congratulations to Shane and Melissa Victorino on the birth of their baby boy, Kingston Shane Victorino, this past Thursday.  The 7 lb. 8 oz. slugger is the second child for the couple; they have a daughter names Kali’a and Melissa has a teenage boy, Keenan, as well.  Shane & Melissa are great people; I wish them much happiness!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography except baby photo by CSN

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

 

Phillies Smack Braves Around Some More

After sweeping the Braves in 3-games just over a week ago, the Phillies added insult to injury tonight by smacking the Braves around some more.  The Braves and Padres are battling for the NL Wild Card spot and the Padres were trailing by 2 games before the game today.  If the Phillies win one or both of the final 2 regular season games against the Braves, it will have major implications in the Wild Card race.


Atlanta voodoo cr - Copy.jpgJust because they have won the NL East does not mean the Phils will let up on the Braves.  Because several players are competing for either a spot on the postseason roster or possibly a spot with the team next year.  Kyle Kendrick is one of those players.  After a very inconsistent season, Kendrick needed to have a good outing tonight.  He did a pretty good job, allowing 2 runs over 5 innings, although he walked 3 batters, including the opposing pitcher.

The Phillies scored 5 runs in the 6th with a Jimmy Rollins grand slam and Domonic Brown walked to force a run in.  The big lead took Kendrick out of the game and gave a few more pitchers an opportunity to show off their skills…or lack thereof.  Four pitchers, Antonio Bastardo, JC Romero, Chad Durbin and Jose Contreras, all pitched well. 

Mike Zagurski, on the other hand, probably ended his career prospects tonight after giving up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the 9th.  The 11-2 lead he started with was cut down to 11-5.  Zagurski pitched well in AAA but in his 7 appearances with the big club this year, he has allowed 8 runs in 6 2/3 innings for a 10.80 ERA.  David Herndon had to come in to get the final out…after walking one batter, just so Zagurski did not feel too bad ;o)

Tomorrow will be no easier for the Braves.  Rookie Vance Worley will get the start and he will be anxious to prove he can pitch in the big leagues.  His future with the club can be given a huge boost with a solid performance tomorrow.  Game time is 4:10pm.

By the way, the Phillies starting pitchers 70-50 record is the best for the team since 1980…the same year they won their first World Series Championship.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

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