Results tagged ‘ Opening Day ’

Former Phillie Moyer Still Breaking Records

While I have never been a Rockies fan, it does not matter what uniform Jamie Moyer puts on.  I will always root for him.  At 49-years old, Moyer is lined up to become the oldest pitcher in history ever to win a major league game when he faces the Astros tonight.  He is already the oldest starting pitcher to make an Opening Day roster.

Despite having already accomplished the ultimate goal of winning a World Series with the Phillies in 2008, Moyer still presses on.  Why?  My guess is because he can.  And because he has a passion and love for the game of baseball that drives him to continue.

Jamie, we wish you all the best!  Good luck tonight :O)

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Opening Day: One Game, One Win

In the 10th straight opening day start of his career, Roy Halladay was nearly perfect.  Through 8 innings against the Pirates, he allowed only 2 hits, both of which came in the 1st inning.  After the 1st, he was unhittable.

And it is a very good thing, too.  Because the Phillies offense got off to a bit of a slow start with a few exceptions.  Carlos Ruiz went 3 for 3 and drove in the only run of the game in the 7th inning.  John Mayberry Jr.  help set up Chooch with 2 hits and made several key plays in left field.

The only other offense was a bunt single from Jimmy Rollins and a single from Mr. Fantastic himself, Halladay.  There was little else the Phils could have asked from Halladay today.

The sad story of the day was rookie Freddy Galvis.  In his first major league game, Galvis started his career with 2 straight double play balls.  His third at-bat would have been a double play as well if there had been a runner on 1st at the time and less than two outs.  For the finale, Galvis struck out.

It was not pretty, but give the rookie some time.  Hopefully, he will bounce back in game 2.

Not wanting to drain his ace too early, manager Charlie Manuel pulled Halladay after the 8th and gave their new closer a shot in the 9th.  Jonathan Papelbon was as advertised.  He reached 95 on the gun and sent the Bucos down in order.

The Phillies sauntered off with a slim 1-0 win over the Pirates.  If this is any indication of the season to come, hang on Phillies fans, it is going to be a nail-biting 161 games remaining!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

The Phillies 2012 Roster is Announced

The Phillies have announced their Opening Day roster, which includes 12 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders:

Pitchers (starters in BOLD): Right-handers Joe Blanton, Roy Halladay, David Herndon, Kyle Kendrick, Jonathan Papelbon, Chad Qualls, Michael Stutes and Vance Worley, and left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Joe Savery.

Catchers: Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.

Infielders: Freddy Galvis, Pete Orr, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton.

Outfielders: John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix, Hunter Pence, Juan Pierre and Shane Victorino.

The only surprise here is probably Joe Savery.  The shock is not really that he made the team after a very sold spring, but that he made it to the majors at all after a rollercoaster minor league career.  Savery, a former first-round draft pick, looked like his pitching career was over before it started as his ERA ballooned to well over 4.00 in 2008 and went steadily downhill through 2010.

That offseason, Savery was converted to a hitter instead where he initially had amazing success.  Then after 9 months of not tossing a pitch, Savery was promoted to AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley where they decided he should become a relief pitcher.

No one knows how it happened or why, but suddenly, Savery could pitch again.  He finished 2011 in the minors with a 1.50 ERA in 25 games as a reliever.  And this spring, Savery pitched well enough to earn a roster spot.  The only question now is, how long will this run last once players start coming off the DL?  It appears that will up to Savery.  Best of luck to him!

 

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Phillies Historical 2011 Opening Weekend Sweep

Sitting among the second largest crowd in Citizen Bank Park’s history to witness another historical feat was amazing.  All in attendance saw the Phillies open a season at home 3-0 for the first time since 1970 and open a season at home with a three-game series sweep for the first time since 1899.  Yes, 1899.

The one-two-three punch of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt proved to be too much for the Houston Astros to handle.  Oswalt was great today, pitching six innings and allowing just two runs on five hits against his former ball club in the 7-3 win.

It was Oswalt’s first start against his old team in his first start of the season.  But there were many first’s in this game.  Ryan Howard hit his first homer of the season while collecting a team-high four RBI in the game.  Michael Martinez made his first major league start in place of Shane Victorino in center.  Martinez later collected his first major league hit and first RBI in the same at bat.

 

Ben Francisco also smacked his first home run of the season today and made a huge first impression as the starting right fielder this weekend.  With three hits in this game, all he had left to prove was that he could play hard in right.  Francisco accomplished that with an amazing catch in right where he crashed into the wall hard, knocking the “SD” out of the out of town scoreboard.

 

As Francisco gave up his body to make the play, the fans jumped to their feet and screamed his praises.  It was Francisco’s very own “Aaron Rowand moment.”  Remember back in 2006 when Rowand smashed face-first into the center field wall to make a game-saving catch?  He was a home town hero after that.

And while Francisco did not leave the field bloodied and battered, the effort was very much the same.  And just like that, Jayson Werth is a distant memory.

Victorino sat today to rest his sore calf, but was able to pinch-hit later in the sixth and then stayed in the game.  He saw exactly one pitch in his first at-bat and sent it to right for an RBI single.  Looks like the calf is just fine.

The Phillies are off on Monday and start a three game series with the Mets on Tuesday.  Cole Hamels will pitch and game time is 7:05pm.

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

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Cliff Lee Wins First Game After His Return To Philly

When the Phillies announced that they re-signed Cliff Lee this past December, it was hard to believe.  From the shocking trade after the 2009 season, to Lee’s return and now, his first start back in a Phils uniform, it has been quite an emotional roller coaster ride.

But when Lee took the mound tonight against the Astros, the reality truly set in.  Fans jumped to their feet and roared before Lee even threw a pitch.  The excitement was palpable.  Like a gift from heaven, Cliff Lee is home again.

 

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As expected, Lee dominated the Astros line-up for most of the game.  The only issue he ran into was his namesake, Carlos Lee who smashed a two-run homer.  Lee wound up going seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out 11 batter.

The only remaining question for the Phillies was could they muster any offense.  The answer is yes.  After the amazing Opening Day ninth inning comeback rally on Friday, the Phils offense picked up today where they left off yesterday.

The Phillies got off to a quick start with two runs in the first inning.  Between the fourth and fifth innings, they scored five more runs.  The highlights were a Raul Ibanez double, a two-run Shane Victorino bloop single and a Ben Francisco double, just to name a few.

The real encouraging factor was not just the runs, but the way they scored the runs.  It was a combination of good base running, patience at the plate, small ball and timely hitting.  This is the Phillies offense everyone has been waiting to see.

Of course, we all loved the home run days and there will still be some of those.  But in the past, the Phillies offense really seemed to rely on the big hits with little to no focus on manufacturing runs.  With Chase Utley hurt and Jayson Werth gone, the big concern going into 2011 was the lack of power on a team that has issues playing small ball.

While we have only seen two games so far, it does look like the offense has finally figured out how to go one base at a time to score runs.  With the incredible pitching they have, if the offense can keep up this pace and be consistent, this will be a very scary team.

Of course, where there is good news, sometime bad news follows.  After a collision in center field with Francisco, Victorino left the game early.  Reports say that he has soreness in his left calf.  While his previous injury was to the left calf, there is still concern.  Hopefully, pulling him was just a precaution.  There is no word yet on how serious it may be.

The Phillies went on to win the game by a score of 9-4.  On Sunday, they will go for the series sweep with Roy Oswalt on the mound against his former team.  Former Phillie J.A. Happ was scheduled to pitch for the Astros but has been scratched due to an oblique issue.  Bud Norris will pitch instead.  Game time is 1:35pm and I will return with photos.

 

Lee photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Walk-Off Win For Phillies Opening Day

Happy Opening Day!  And what an unusual Opening Day it was for the Phillies.

 

 

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The Phillies sent Roy Halladay to the mound to face ex-Phillie Brett Myers of the Astros.  What initially looked like it might be a bad day despite great pitching, the Phillies pulled out a win in walk-off fashion to open the 2011 season.

 

 

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The first hit off Halladay came off the bat of Myers.  And from there, more drama ensued.  In fact, Myers wound up with two of the five hits Halladay allowed through six innings.  Myers allowed only three hits and one earned run through seven innings.

But for the Phillies offense, hits were few and far between making fans wonder if all the hard work assembling this amazing pitching staff was going to pay off.  If Halladay only allows one run but the offense cannot score any runs, wins will be hard to come by.

Only Ryan Howard and Wilson Valdez got any hits through the first six innings.  The Valdez hit was a double in the third inning, but they were unable to score him.  A bad call at first base where Halladay was called out did not help the situation.

 

 

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Also not a huge help were a strange variety of Phillies mistakes.  Ben Francisco missed a fly ball in right early in the game, prompting chants of, “Bring back Werth!” from the crowd.  Valdez let a ball slip right between his legs and Shane Victorino got caught stealing.  Later, poor Carlos Ruiz took a bouncing relay to the plate in what looks like an uncomfortable position:

 

 

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None of this was good news for the Phillies.  But in the seventh, Myers started to tire and the Phils finally manufactured a few runs.  By the ninth inning, down 4-2, the Phillies probably started to imagine the backlash if they were to lose on Opening Day after Halladay pitched a great game.  Suddenly, the hits started coming.

Jimmy Rollins started off the inning with a single to inspire the team.  Howard, Francisco and Ruiz followed suit.  The hit for Francisco was especially huge as it redeemed him from the previous error in the eyes of the crowd.

Valdez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out.  Visions of the 20 double plays Valdez hit into last year began to haunt the crowd who held their collective breath.  But perhaps the DP curse is over, because Valdez nailed and RBI single to tie the game.

All the Phillies needed now was a hit or a sac fly from John Mayberry Jr.  With his father, former major leaguer John Mayberry Sr., and mother looking on, Mayberry Jr. smashed a 2-2 fastball to center field, over the head of former Phillie Michael Bourn.  Francisco scored and Mayberry had his first major league walk-off hit in his first game ever as an Opening Day roster player.

The walk-off win was the first on Opening Day since May 6, 1974, when Mike Schmidt hit a two-run home run against Tug McGraw to beat the Mets at Veterans Stadium.  But with the high expectations for this 2011 team, this walk-off victory will go down as one of the most memorable in Phillies history.

The stunned Astros team will probably have nightmare’s tonight knowing they face Cliff Lee on Saturday.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Here is the full Photo Album from Opening Day.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

The Final Decisions Before Opening Day

After a few additions and subtractions, the Phillies Opening Day roster is set.

#

Pitchers

#

Infielders

55

Danys Baez

6

Ryan Howard

58

Antonio Bastardo

19

Michael Martinez

56

Joe Blanton

60

Pete Orr

52

Jose Contreras

27

Placido Polanco

34

Roy Halladay

11

Jimmy Rollins

35

Cole Hamels

21

Wilson Valdez

57

David Herndon

#

Outfielders

38

Kyle Kendrick

10

Ben Francisco

33

Cliff Lee

7

Ross Gload

46

Ryan Madson

29

Raul Ibanez

44

Roy Oswalt

15

John Mayberry

16

J.C. Romero

8

Shane Victorino

#

Catchers

#

Catchers

51

Carlos Ruiz

23

Brian Schneider

 

Most notable, Luis Castillo was released yesterday.  After showing up two days late for a very short try-out, the odds of him making the team seemed slim.  And although he did get on base quite a bit, the players already in camp were just as good and much better defensively.

So Wilson Valdez will start at second base in place of Chase Utley with Michael Martinez (photo), who also made the roster, helping out.  Pete Orr, who smashed a triple and showed off his speed on the base path yesterday, also made the roster.  Delwyn Young was sent to the minors.

As for the bullpen, the injury to Brad Lidge’s shoulder left a spot open which will be filled by David Herndon who beat out Michael Stutes for the last roster spot.  Jose Contreras will close for Lidge, who may be out until May or June.

Yesterday’s final exhibition game was a tad sleepy, but having players wandering around the ballpark was neat.  Here is hoping the Phillies make this a new, year-round tradition for the On-Deck series in the future.

Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the 3/30/11 On-Deck game with the Pirates.

Chase Utley Speaks…Sort Of

A man of little words, Chase Utley has always preferred to do his talking with a bat.  But this season, the bat will remain silent as Utley attempts to recover from a potentially long-term injury.

Utley’s chronic knee pain has been found to be the result of patellar tendinitis, bone inflammation and chondromalacia.  And that does not just sound scary, it is scary.

Hesitant to speak about the issue, Utley has dodged reporters all through spring training.  Luckily, he did not need to depend on the knee to do the dodging.

But when he did finally speak, very little was made any clearer.  Utley referred to making “some progress” but still has no time table for a return.  And when asked which doctors he had seen, Utley’s response was, “ If I tell you I have to kill you.”

While that dry sense of humor is charming, it brings him no closer to a solution.  Surgery seems to risky and may actually do more harm than good.  Odds are that Utley will return at some point and likely struggle through the season in some pain.


Mystery Utley.jpgAnd so Utley remains a bit mysterious.  Incidentally, the word “mysterious” is defined as “Difficult or impossible to understand, explain, or identify; Having an atmosphere of strangeness or secrecy.”  Yup, that about sums it up.

As for the rest of the team, they are on their way back to Philly to play two exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday before Opening Day on Friday.  Questions still linger about the Phillies.  Will Luis Castillo make the team?  Who will be in the bullpen?  And will Jenn absolutely freak out when the full reality of Utley’s absence hits her on Friday?  Stay tuned…

 

Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Meet The Newbie’s

So another Opening Day has passed and the Phillies are on their way to global dominance…or, something like it anyway ;o)  If you missed my photos from the event, check out the PHOTO ALBUM which includes Opening Day ceremonies, President Obama’s first pitch and game action.


1-warm ups (38).jpgAnd now it is time to start the season off right and introduce yourselves to the newest members of the 2010 Phillies.  The first one is easy…if you do not know who Roy Halladay is, you are clearly not a Phillies fan.  No worries though…only one game has passed; you have time to catch up .  Here is Mr. Halladay on the right with his very, very serious pre-game face on.  This former Cy Young winner goes by the nickname “Doc” and he is pretty amazing.  Enough said.

The few players you may not know well include pitchers Danys Baez, Jose Contreras and David Herndon; outfielder Ross Gload, infielder Juan Castro and catcher Brian Schneider, pictured here in that order from left to right, top to bottom:


newbies.jpgBoth Baez and Contreras are Cuban defectors; Baez is in his 9th major league season, pitched last for the Orioles and has a name that defies normal spelling rules.  Contreras, not as hard to spell, is in his 7th season and helped the Yankees coin the term “Evil Empire” when they signed him over the Red Sox back in 2002.  In other words, the Sox were pissed….end of story.

Herndon was in the Angels minor leagues last year and this will be his first shot at the bigs.  Ladies, he is single and plays the guitar…go get him!  I kid…

As for Gload, this is his 9th season in the majors and his 6th team.  He is a lifetime .283 hitter and should be a solid bench player for the Phillies.  Castro is another veteran going into his 16th season; he will be 38 in June and may start taking the same youth-inducing vitamins Jamie Moyer does ;o)  He is not a power hitter, but will be a good defensive back-up for the infield.  Schneider, formerly of the Mets and Nationals, is very familiar with the Phillies.  And as a former Phillies-killer, we are glad to have him on our side now.  His 11th season will be served as back-up to Carlos Ruiz.

And as a bonus, here are a few guys who are not really new, but you may not know them.  Pitchers Antonio Bastardo and Drew Carpenter are still rookies who spent a very short time with the Phillies last year.  They spent most of 2009 in the Phillies minors.

And then there is Placido Polanco, who returns to the Phillies after almost a 5 year absence; he was traded in 2005 to the Tigers.  But after his record-setting performance of 6 RBI in one game yesterday, the most by any Phillie on Opening Day, I am confident you now know who he is.  Welcome back, Polly!


AB DC PP.jpgLeft to right: Bastardo, Carpenter, Polanco   

Cole Hamels will take the mound against the Nationals in game 2 tomorrow at 7:05pm…Go Phillies!

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Opening Day Starts With A Bang For The Phillies

The Phillies began 2010 with a huge spanking to the Washington Nationals, winning by a score of 11-1.  And as far as drama goes, this game had all that and more.  The Phillies fans outnumbered the Nat fans by a wide margin and if you were inside the stadium, it felt like a home game for the Phils.  Screams from excited fans may even have stunned the players a bit.  During the Phillies introductions, hitting coach Milt Thompson turned around, looked at the crowd, eyes wide open, and his mouth moved in the shape of what appeared to be “Wow!”

Yes, Phillies fans were ready for the season to start.  More than 5,000 of them boarded buses from Philly together and travelled to the game, taking up most of the right-center field seats.  And that was just one group.

Fans who travelled to DC were not disappointed; the day began with President Obama tossing the first pitch, as sharp shooters climbed the rooftops and Secret Service swarmed around the field.  The President grinned at the reception he was given, pleasantly surprised by the excited crowd.


Obama 040510.jpgSoon after the Presidential excitement, Roy Halladay made his Phillies debut and was as advertised.  He allowed one run over 7 innings and even scored his second career RBI on a swinging bunt single in the 4th inning.  In short, he was fantastic!


Halladay 040510.jpgAdd 11 runs to the pitching performance and we all bore witness to a small massacre.  Ryan Howard wasted no time with his bat, blasting a 2-run homer in the 4th inning and he ended with 2 hits on the day.  Placido Polanco then put any doubts to rest about his return to Phillies; Polly whacked a Grand Slam in the 7th, one of his 3 hits of the day and 6 RBI total.  Both Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz walked 3 times each in the game and each had one hit as well.  Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a single and later tripled.  Overall, it was an amazing offensive effort.


040510a.jpgThe players were in good spirits and happy to be back to work.  Before the game, Raul Ibanez walked out with the pitching staff for pre-game warm-ups.  The position players were not out yet.  On his way back to the dugout, I asked him, “Hey Raul, are you pitching today?”  He responded with a huge belly laugh and gestured yes to me.  Later, a friend playfully told Greg Dobbs I was his biggest fan and Greg then tossed me his warm-up ball. Thanks, Greg…you are awesome!

Today was a good day to be a Phillies fan.  Having broken their 4 year Opening Day loss streak, it also looks like 2010 I going to be another great year to be a Phillies fan.  Action resumes on Wednesday in DC.  

Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the game and all preceeding ceremonies….enjoy! 

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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