Results tagged ‘ NLDS ’

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*

 

A Tale Of Two Innings

The Phillies reclaimed their spot in first place last night after an 11-5 win over the Mets.  Let us begin with the Tale of Two Teams: Before the game, people like Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino had their game faces on.  Jimmy Rollins, still on the DL, was relaxed and posing for me and Jose Reyes was busy fixing his hair.  A foretelling of things to come perhaps?
050510a.jpg 

As for the game itself, most of it can be summed up in two innings.  In the first inning, things did not look good for pitcher Jamie Moyer and the Phillies.  Moyer got the first two outs but after allowing a few singles and then a home run to David Wright, he was in a big hole quickly.

Moyer’s performances this year have had one huge flaw; he always seems to have one bad inning where he gives up a bunch of runs.  In the top of the 4th, he allowed 2 more runs on a Rod Barajas homer.  Barajas has done serious damage to the Phillies every time he has played his ex-team.  Although, Placido Polanco did manage to tag Barajas out going to third:


050210b.jpgBut the bottom of the 4th inning blew the game wide open for the Phillies.  The Mets ace, Johan Santana, had been mowing down Phillies batters, except for solo homers from Polanco and Howard in the 1st.  After a Chase Utley double, Santana got the next two batters out, but things then spun wildly out of control.

Raul Ibanez singled to score Utley and Carlos Ruiz walked after that.  The bases were loaded with 2 outs for the pitcher, Moyer.  You had to imagine Moyer would just make the last out and that would be that.  But once Moyer ran the count 2-0, the crowd exploded with anticipation of what might happen next.

On their feet and screaming, “Johan! Johan!” the fans rattled Santana and Moyer, will amazing discipline at the plate, drew the walk to force in a run.  Everyone began having flashbacks to Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS when Brett Myers and the crowd did the exact same thing to pitcher CC Sabathia. And who should step to the plate but the same hero from that NLDS game, Shane Victorino.

Back in October of 2008, Victorino followed up the Myers walk with a Grand Slam.  Last night, history repeated itself as Victorino, with the crowd cheering him on, hit another Grand Slam!  It was the 2nd of his career and I have been present for both of those slams.  Shane may want to send me some tickets as it appears I am his good luck charm ;o)

But the inning did not end there.  Polanco singled and then Utley homered; and with that, Santana was finally run out of the game.  The Mets bullpen gave up one more run after that making it a grand total of 9 runs in the inning.  Santana was responsible for 8 of those, which is more runs that he gave up in the entire month of April.  And the 10 runs total marks the most runs ever allowed by Santana in a single game for his career.


050210c.jpgThe Phillies batted around plus 4 in the inning and the outburst seemed to give Moyer new life on the mound.  He pitched two scoreless innings after that and even got a hit in the 5th inning.  Chad Durbin pitched the 7th and 8th innings without allowing a hit and Danys Baez, feeling comfy with a 6-run lead, closed out the game.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.  Tonight, the Phillies will begin a new series against the Cardinals with Joe Blanton finally returning from the DL.  Game time is 7:05pm.  Best of luck to Blanton in his season debut! 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

The Joys Of The Post-Season Media

So, did we all thoroughly enjoy the Phillies TBS TV coverage this post-season?  No?  Oh, come on now, they were mildly entertaining, right?  Let us examine some of the broadcasting highlights:

 - These guys are brilliant; just check out this quote about Raul Ibanez: “He’s not 37 because he started his career late.”  Really?  Wow…the true fountain of youth; late bloomers.

- On a 2-base hit: “It’s an inside-the-park double.”  You know, as opposed to the out-of-the-park double.

- During Game 1 of the NLDS, 2nd inning: “There has been great defense in this ballgame and in this series.”  Yes, all 2 innings of it.

- About the catcher: “All the game calling is to make the pitcher comfortable.”  The catcher calls pitches to make the pitcher comfy?  Not to get outs?  Ok then.  Genius.  Sheer genius.

- During a bunt to the pitcher with a runner on first: “He is thinking about second base because it is right behind the mound.”  Is it?  I never would have noticed…thanks, TBS!  Baseball geography lesson 101.

- On Clayton Kershaw after he gave up a 3-run homer, allowed to 2 more runners on base and was then pitching to Ryan Howard: “This is a grow-up moment (for Kershaw).”  No more little league for you buddy!

But wait, there’s more!  Did you see the main sponsor for TBS during commercial breaks?  Avocados.  Yes, the disgusting, slimy, green fruit is THE big money maker for this station.  Awesome.

And how about the commercials for the new TBS series “Men of a Certain Age.”  It is October – this series is set to begin in December.  Not only will we have forgotten about it by December, but with the thousands of previews shown, we have already seen the series in its entirety.  No need to tune in then in December….we already know that Ray Romano plays a moron with a dirty mind; Scott Bakula is a man-sl*ut; and Andre Braugher is sad because he cannot live up to his daddy’s high expectations.  Think that about covers it.

So how about some media video highlights!  Here ya go; let us begin with Buck Martinez, who has NO idea which team he is watching…he mentions the Yanks and the Red Sox before he figures out it is the Phillies:

Chase Utley is also annoyed with the media coverage…watch his reaction as a media member pulls a Kanye West:

And my favorite clip of the Comcast Sportsnet coverage…Ricky Botallico flips out during the Jimmy Rollins 9th inning game winning hit in Game 4 of the NLCS:

Classic.

Hope you all enjoyed these broadcasts as much as I did :O)

By the way, if anyone is looking to sell a ticket (1) to Game 3 of the World Series (the Saturday game, home opener), please email me.  I cannot afford the Stub Hub prices so I am looking for anyone to take pity on me and sell me a ticket at face value or just above it.  I cannot do standing room, but am open to other seating arrangements.  Thank you and Go Phillies! :O)

NLCS Roster Decisions

Nothing has been made officially yet, but expect a similar roster for the NLCS against the Dodgers as the Phillies had in the NLDS.  It looks likely that Cole Hamels will pitch game one since he is on full rest.  Plus, with the birth of his son and some time home with the wife and child, he should now be ready to focus on baseball.  Hamels has done exceptionally well against the Dodgers.  He threw a shut-out against them this past June and also beat them twice in last year’s NLCS.

Cliff Lee will remain a starter as well with JA Happ, Pedro Martinez and Joe Blanton being juggled around again from the pen to the starters spot.  The bullpen however may see a change with Chan Ho Park returning from injury.  He is travelling to LA with the team, so he may be in position to take a roster spot away from Kyle Kendrick.

The bullpen is still making many people very nervous.  Brad Lidge did save 2 games, but still does not look super sharp.  Ryan Madson, the other potential closer, blew 2 saves in the series in the 8th inning.  And Brett Myers, who has done the job before, played only 2/3 of an inning and walked 2 batters.  This is a huge weak spot, especially when compared to the Dodgers bullpen which is much better.   

As for the bench players, this will probably stay the same; Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs, Ben Francisco and Miguel Cairo.  However, with 8 at-bats between these 4 in the NLDS, there was not a hit among them.  Stairs did walk once in a critical situation, but Cairo and Dobbs both went 0 for 3.  Could this open the door for Eric Bruntlett to step in for Cairo?  Probably not, but the bench players are still a concern.

Then again, when you have the big guns like Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to bail the team out when they run into trouble, you have to like the Phillies chances.   So, here is the schedule:

Gm 1

PHI @ LAD

Thu

Oct. 15

8:07 PM

Gm 2

PHI @ LAD

Fri

Oct. 16

4:07 PM

Gm 3

LAD @ PHI

Sun

Oct. 18

8:07 PM

Gm 4

LAD @ PHI

Mon

Oct. 19

8:07 PM

Gm 5*

LAD @ PHI

Wed

Oct. 21

8:07 PM

Gm 6*

PHI @ LAD

Fri

Oct. 23

8:07 PM

Gm 7*

PHI @ LAD

Sat

Oct. 24

8:07 PM

 

And just for fun, let me introduce to you our newest family member and Phillies fan, Chase Utley Kitten.  He is a Blue Point Ragdoll:Chase kitten.jpg

Yes, I named him Chase Utley….I fully expect him to pick up a ball and glove by 3 years.  At 2 ½ months, we will have to settle for the jersey.

Go Phillies!

Comeback Win Sends Phillies To NLCS

For the second year in a row, the Phillies will face the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.  The Phils beat the Rockies tonight with a 9th inning, 3-run comeback to win the NLDS series 3 games to 1.  It was another nail biter; many fans were calling for the oxygen tank, and not because of the Rocky mountain air.

Early on, this was a pitcher’s duel with Cliff Lee allowing only 1 run though 7 innings.  2 solo homers by Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth were the only scoring for the Phillies at that point.  But Lee ran into trouble in the 8th when he walked Dexter Fowler on 3 straight strikes that were called balls; the Pitch Tracker showed the pitches were in the zone and missed by the ump.  Nothing new; he missed calls all night long. 

But that walk led to big trouble.  Todd Helton hit what should have been a double play ball and Jimmy Rollins dropped the feed from Chase Utley, putting 2 runners on with 1 out.  DSCF1437edit.jpgRyan Madson came in and blew the inning wide open for the Rockies.  2 hits later and the Rockies were going into the 9th, at home, with a 4-2 lead.  By the way, that was Madson’s second blown save of this series.

In the 9th, Rollins singled and Utley walked to give Ryan Howard 2 runners in scoring position with 2 outs.  The Phillies had not had a single hit in the game with runners in scoring position at that point.  In fact, they even left the bases loaded twice in the game with 1 out and failed to score.  But this team just never gives up and Howard nailed a double to tie the game up.  Werth singled to score Howard and, with hearts pounding, the Phillies took the 5-4 lead into the bottom of the inning.

Scott Eyre, seemingly ok after twisting his ankle yesterday, got the 1st 2 outs, but also put 2 men on base.  So, Brad Lidge got the call for the final out and faced Troy Tulowitzki, the same batter he got to pop out to end yesterday’s game.  Lidge struck him out to win the game and send the Phillies back to the NLCS!

Also worth noting, Ben Francisco replaced Raul Ibanez in left late in the game as a defensive substitution.  Ibanez dropped a ball earlier in the game and Charlie Manuel was taking no chances.  The move paid off as Francisco made an amazing, diving catch in the 8th that saved 2 runs from scoring.

And now the champagne will flow as the Phillies celebrate their first 2009 post-season series victory.  And with any luck, 2 more such celebrations shall follow.  Go Phillies!

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

 

2:00am Heroics Put Phillies One Win Away

The Phillies are 1 win away from advancing to the NLCS against the Dodgers after beating the Rockies last night 5-4.  They hold a 2-1 advantage in the series and also have the chance today to win 2 post-season games on the same day; last night’s game ended at 2:15am this morning and tonight will be a 6:07pm start time.  The Phillies finally got a prime time slot, since everyone else is done with their NLDS series.  Gee thanks, MLB, she says as she holds her eyes open with toothpicks…

This win was a true team effort with contributions up and down the line-up.  Chase Utley hit a solo homer in the 1st inning and the Rockies answered with 2 runs later that inning.  The Phillies took the lead again in the 4th with 3 runs.  It may have been more, but Pedro Feliz hit into a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and no outs.  But Carlos Ruiz picked his teammate up and knocked an RBI single to give the Phillies the lead again. 

The two teams traded runs again in the 6th and 7th innings, but the Phillies took the lead for good in the 9th with some small ball.  Jimmy Rollins led off with a hit and Shane Victorino bunted him over.  Chase Utley hit a dribbler for a single and moved Jimmy to third; Ryan Howard knocked him in with a sac fly.  So the Phillies gave the ball to Brad Lidge who, despite making us all bite our fingernails again, got the save.



P9213509 Lidge.jpgLidge seems to have his confidence back, which is great news.  If the Phillies are going to win, they need him.  The pitching overall on both sides was shaky, but bad umpiring did not help either.  JA Happ got squeezed at the plate for his short 3 innings of work where he allowed 3 runs and was prematurely pinch hit for in the 4th when the potential to add on runs arose.  Happ throws pitches that move a lot in a diagonal pattern across the plate.  The ball passes over the plate and ends up in the catcher’s mitt towards the back corner of the plate.  The ump last night was watching where the ball ended up instead of where it crossed the plate and missed tons of calls.

But the ump did that on both sides and both starters were forced out of the game in under 4 innings.  Blown calls have been the story of this entire NLDS, not just the Phillies and the Rockies.  It even started with the Twins-Tigers 1 game playoff where a batter was clearly hit with a pitch but no one called it.  And it continued last night with the ball-strike calls and even the “dribbler” Utley hit in the ninth.  If you watch the replay, the ball hit Utley in the leg and therefore should have been foul.  Instead, it was a hit.  But both the Phillies and Rockies were victims of bad calls, so I guess in the end it evened out.

It does make you wonder though, how are these umpires continually allowed to affect the outcome of such important games?  Did you write your letters to Bug Selig last night as I suggested?  If so, it was a VERY big pile.  Anyone else out there tired of the bad calls and no accountability here?  Feel free to vent in the comments.

But the Phillies won the game and that is what really matters.  And they did it in the most awful conditions; game time temperature was 35 degrees, which ties for the coldest post-season game on record.  The game also took 4 hours and 6 minutes.  Yikes!  No sleep for me, but at least I am not grouchy ;O)

In other news, Scott Eyre was hurt in the game; he twisted his ankle coming off the mound.  No word yet on his condition, but we hope he is ok!

Cliff Lee gets the ball tonight and hopefully, he can repeat the amazing performance he had in Game 1.  Go Phillies!

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Happ Will Pitch; Fans Will Gobble Up No-Doze

Bust out the No-Doze folks; tonight’s 10:07pm start time will be a real challenge for us East-Coasters with jobs to get up for on Monday.  But the good news is, JA Happ will start the game instead of Pedro Martinez since yesterday’s game was postponed due to bad weather.  Happ has gotten an extra day to rest and recover from being hit just below the knee with a line drive in Game 2.  He only faced that one batter so should be fresh and ready to go tonight.PA040202.jpg

Not that Martinez was a bad idea, but his recent neck/shoulder injury and the fact that he has not pitched a full game in a month were factors in the decision.  Plus, Happ is a lefty and the Rockies have struggled against left-handed pitching.  Happ has also been the most consistent starter for the Phillies all year long.  In fact, if you look at the numbers, there is no doubt:

W

L

ERA

G

GS

CG

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

J Happ

12

4

2.93

35

23

3

2

166

149

55

54

20

56

119

C Lee

7

4

3.39

12

12

3

1

79.2

80

35

30

7

10

74

P Martinez

5

1

3.63

9

9

0

0

44.2

48

18

18

7

8

37Bottom of Form

J Blanton

12

8

4.05

31

31

0

0

195

198

89

88

30

59

163

C Hamels

10

11

4.32

32

32

2

2

193

206

95

93

24

43

168

 

Happ has the best W-L record, the best ERA and is tied for the most complete games and shut-outs.  Lee and Martinez were not with us the whole year so some stats are hard to compare, but if you boil it down to ERA alone, Happ has been the most dependable.

All that is left now is for the fans to stay awake long enough to see if Happ can lead the team to a win.  Here are a few suggestions on how to stay up until wee hours of the morning:

·        No-Doze

·        SUGAR – sour-patch kids are great for this.  You will be bouncing off the walls in no time.

·        Smack your neighbor every time a Phillies batter strikes out -  you will probably get hit back, keeping you alert.

·        Scream “Bulls…t!” really loud every time a TBS announcer gets something wrong.  Of course, this may happen a lot, so be careful you do not lose your voice.

·        Run around your living room in circles while chewing gum and rubbing your belly…send me video ;o)  I am trying to stay awake too.

·        Ice cubes in odd places…use your imagination.

·        Every time an umpire blows a call, write an angry letter to Bug Selig.  While bomb threats are probably not appropriate, do feel free to use your favorite cuss words.  And keep a stack of paper on hand…the letters may start to pile up.

·        When the announcers mention Manny Ramirez (which should happen approximately 5.6 times per non-Dodgers broadcast), drink another RedBull.

·        And if none of that works, draw up a plan to sue Ryan Howard for no particular reason and teach your children a valuable lesson in extortion techniques.

Good luck to everyone out there in their quest to defy this ridiculous MLB scheduling!  Remember, we will all be suffering together :O)  Go Phillies!

Photo by Jenn

 

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

Game 3 Preview / Bad Parenting 101

UPDATE 12pm:  Game 3 has been postponed due to the bad weather in Colorado.  It will now be played Sunday night at 10:07pm EST, 8:07pm MT.  Game 4 then is moved to Monday, but no time has been announced yet.

AM blog: The most important game in the series, beginning with the Phillies and Rockies tied at 1 game each, will be played under the worst of conditions.  P9139620 Pedro.jpgSnow, sleet and freezing temperatures will likely be the most talked about part of this game which is scheduled for 9:37pm EST, 7:37pm Mountain time.  The late start is likely to add to the chill.

Pedro Martinez will start the game and it is a huge opportunity for him to officially make a comeback at 37 years of age.  Pedro pitched in Boston, so he is used to the cold, but snow may be another thing altogether.  Plus, he has not pitched a full game in almost a month; his last start beyond 4 innings was on 9/13/09.  Then again, Pedro has experience and a good post-season record on his side.  Which Pedro will show up?  The former Cy Young winner or the aging, injury-prone pitcher of the last several years?

As for the offense, anyone who has seen this team play in April knows, they do not like hitting in cold weather.  But the playoffs are a different animal and the Phillies tend to step it up in October.  But will they be swinging at snowflakes or at strikes?

If nothing else, this should be a very interesting game, should Mother Nature allow it to unfold without interruption.  Best of luck to the Phillies!

It’s A Boy!

Cole Hamels and his wife, Heidi, welcomed their first child into the world yesterday morning.  Caleb Michael Hamels arrived at 9am on Friday morning.  Caleb is a cute name, but most are just happy the poor kid did not get stuck with “Colbert” like his dad ;O)  And no, I am not making that up…his full name is Colbert Michael Hamels.  So congratulations to the Hamels family and best wishes for a healthy, happy baby!

Bad Parenting 101

Speaking of parenting, this kids parents get the Bad Parenting of the Year Award: 12-year old Jennifer Valdivia ended up with Ryan Howard’s 200th home run ball at a game in Miami.  As is the baseball tradition, she was ushered to the clubhouse and exchanged the ball for an autographed one.  ALL players do this and ALL teams do this for milestone balls, it is not an unusual practice.

However, when the girl returned home, her parents decided their child was taken advantage of and sued Ryan Howard to get the ball back.  They were upset that she was given what they termed a $100 ball” in exchange for one worth “thousands.” 

greed-11.jpg
That’s right folks, way to teach your kid how to extort money!  Not to mention, why were a 12-year old girl and her 15-year old brother at a ball game without an adult?  I am sure the opinions here vary, but I can assure you, if my kids were that age, there is NO way they would be on their own.  A ballpark is NOT a safe place to let your kids run free as far as I am concerned. 

And then they have the nerve to complain.  Here’s a question for those parents: what if you child was kidnapped or attacked in the bathroom, or anything of that nature?  Were you going to sue the ballpark for YOUR neglect?  Just sayin’…

Ms. Valdivia was probably thrilled to get an autographed ball, until her parents convinced her otherwise.  At that age, I know I would have been…and still to this day.  The only reason it mattered to them was because of the money.  So, if this kid really is going to keep the ball, like they profess, then why does the money make a difference?  Unless you are going to sell it, the personally autographed ball is a great souvenir.  Maybe they should have thrown in a bat as well or something, but again, the parents sent their kids in there alone, so they obviously felt their kids were old enough to handle any situation that may arise.  If they do not feel that way, then they never should have sent them without an adult.

That ball meant a lot more to Howard than it would to anyone else, unless money was the only objective.  With that 200th home run, Howard became the fastest player in Major League history to reach that milestone.  If the girl’s parents felt she should have been given more in exchange, then ASK.  They would have been happy to send the girl a signed bat, photo or whatever she wanted.  But, no.  These jerks decided to sue.  And rather than argue, the Phillies gave the kid the ball and moved on.

So, way to go Valdivia family; you have not only taught your kids that it is all about the money but now they know, in a sue-happy country, they can get whatever they want in life if they just yell loud enough.  Forget about doing the right thing, it is all about getting your way.  Forget about who you hurt, as long as you claim the cash.  Nicely done.  It is no wonder this country is quickly descending into the dark pit of hell where morals are thrown out the window.  This youth is our future, America.  Start praying.

UPDATE: The above facts were as presented by The Miami Herald and ESPN.  A new report from CNN says the girl’s grandfather was with her, but decided NOT to accompany her to the clubhouse.  So, he chose to let her go alone.  Add bad grandparenting to the story then as well.  The family was also offered VIP ticktes to the next Florida series and they turned it down.  And the law suit was for the amount of $15,000.  Yes, that is 15 thousand dollars.  And this was NOT about the money?  Enough said.

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Rocky Mountain Headache

Well, that sucked.  Oh sorry, in case you missed it, the Phillies fell just short by a score of 4-5 in Game 2 against the Rockies today.  They will head to Colorado with a 1-1 series tie, which is not great news.  The weather forecast in Denver is calling for sleet, snow and freezing temperatures.  If you follow the Phillies, you know how they perform in cold weather; not good.

P6216387 Hamels.jpgSo now instead of a Rocky mountain high, we all have a Rocky mountain headache.  Cole Hamels started the game for the Phillies and…just a second…I will not say bad things about Cole Hamels, I will not say bad things about Cole Hamels, I will not say bad things about Cole Hamels…ok, maybe I just cannot help myself.  What the heck, Cole??  Well, he was not awful, but he was not good either.  4 runs allowed in 5 innings is not what you expect from the reigning World Series MVP.

But Hamels has not been himself all year, and you have to ask yourself now, can he be counted on going forward if the Phillies advance this post-season?  Granted, there were extenuating circumstances today, with his wife’s pregnancy running late.  In fact, Hamels is at the hospital right now; Heidi went into labor sometime during the game and he left before the game ended.  But then again, he has not been consistent all year.

Two other starters were wasted in this game as well.  Joe Blanton pitched just over an inning in relief and would up costing the Phillies a run.  And then in a very odd move, manager Charlie Manuel put in our other starter, JA Happ to clean up Blanton’s mess in the 7th.  On the first batter Happ faced, he was drilled in the knee with a hit ball and had to leave the game to have X-rays.  Luckily, nothing is broken, but how long have we now lost Happ for remains to be seen.  Plus, the only option to start on Saturday now is Pedro Martinez, who is not a sure thing after suffering a neck / upper rib injury in September.

Why Manuel did not lean on our well rested and experienced bullpen to begin with is beyond comprehension.  He risked 2 of our best starters and it back fired. 

The offense struggled in this game and did not score until the 6th inning.  Shane Victorino had 3 hits, but was unable to pull another one out in the 9th with 2 outs and 2 runners on.  Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard had 2 hits each, but no hits and just 1 walk out of 5 bench players hurt.  Jayson Werth hit a solo homer in the 8th to bring the team within 1 run and that was the end of the scoring.

It is not impossible for the Phillies to win in chilly Colorado, but it is not going to be easy.  I do hope they pack and dress accordingly:

Werth Snow.jpg
That should take care of it!

And I do wish Cole and his wife Heidi all the best with the labor and their new baby, whenever he or she arrives.  Cole, you make me nuts, but I still love ya ;O)

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Lee Rocks The Rockies

Cliff Lee had an up and down month of September, but with a clean slate in October, all is well again.  Lee pitched a complete game and led the Phillies to a 5-1 win in Game 1 of the NLDS over the Rockies.  He had a shut-out going into the 9th inning. 

In a post-game interview, Lee admitted to getting distracted when he took a moment to soak in the crowd and the atmosphere, which led to a Troy Tulowitzki double to score a run with two outs in the inning.  While both Lee and the crowd were disappointed about the lost shut-out, that disappointment lasted only a few moments as Lee stuck out Garret Atkins to end the game.100709 Lee.jpg

The first 4 innings were tense as the Phillies hitters were shut down by pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.  But in the 5th, they figured him out and pounded out 5 runs in two innings.  High winds kept a few balls in the park and the field was littered with bags, wrappers and a small dust storm, but they managed to hit through it.  Every player in the line-up, including Lee, had at least one hit in the game.  The middle of the line-up, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez, had 2 hits apiece and combined for 4 RBI.  The Phillies also racked up 3 doubles, 1 triple by Werth and 3 stolen bases.

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Shocking everyone, including manager Charlie Manuel, Cliff Lee stole one of those 3 bases.  The man did everything tonight; he hit, he ran and he pitched the entire game.  Looking around the ballpark, I actually saw a t-shirt that said “Thank-you, Indians.”  I think we can all agree with that sentiment.

So Cole Hamels will pitch Game 2 tomorrow and he will have a LOT on his mind.  Not only is he starting a play-off game, but his wife is pregnant with their first child and she is due right NOW.  Seriously, she could pop at any second.  We should all say a collective prayer that she can hold that baby in until at least Friday.

I just read an interesting article about Hamels as well.  It seems that he too is cheesed over the crappy start times for this series that we all got stuck with.  Beat writer Todd Zolecki quoted Hamels as saying, “Being the defending world champs, I think it’s kind of a little weird that we kind of get both games at 2 o’ clock. I don’t think it’s fair. I definitely don’t think it’s fair for the fans because this is all about the home-field advantage or just baseball in general.”  For once Cole, I completely agree.

Not only did thousands of people have to ditch work to attend the game, but thousands of kids skipped school as well.  Sadly, the education system took a big hit today and probably will again tomorrow.  In fact, today’s game was host to the largest crowd in the history of Citizens Bank Park: 46,452.  We will see if that is surpassed tomorrow.  Game time is 2:37pm….ugh. 

Here is the full Photo Album from the game today.  Go Phillies!

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

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