Results tagged ‘ Opening Day ’

Moyer Plays Superman; Hamels Still Working On It

While nothing official has been announced yet, it looks like the 5th starters spot will go to Jamie Moyer.  Against the Yankees on Friday, Moyer solidified his bid for the job by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed only 1 hit. 
Moyer superman.jpg
His overall ERA for spring is now 2.61, if your count all the “B” games he pitched also.  Is it possible that this 47-year old man, coming off 3 surgeries in the off-season, is simply just indestructible?  Either he is taking Fountain of Youth pills or secretly, he is Superman with the red, white and blue uniform being perfect camouflage for his super hero suit.

So Kyle Kendrick will probably start the year in the bullpen and just wait around for someone to toss a huge ball of Kryptonite at Moyer.  Either way, Kendrick should be content just to make the team after a young but up and down career so far.

Leaving his super hero costume at home, Cole Hamels is still a work in progress.  He got beat up on Saturday against the Twins, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 1/3 innings.  While Hamels was pleased that he was able to reach the 90-pitch mark in a game, he still has some big control issues to work out.  After the game, Hamels told the press that he is “starting to really feel game-oriented.”  With only 8 days left until Opening Day, let us hope that his “game-oriented” compass is pointing towards the strike zone.

Another point of concern this spring is Raul Ibanez, who is barely swinging the bat with a paltry .098 average.  That is only 4 hits in 41 at bats.  Ibanez struggle the 2nd half of 2009 with a hernia that was operated on this off-season.  While he recovered well from the operation, he still has not looked at all like the “RAUUUUUL” of old.  To make matters worse, he got hit in the right elbow with a pitch on Friday.  It may not be a serious injury, but it may be enough that he does not get much more hitting practice before Opening Day.

When the Phillies signed Ibanez to replace Pat Burrell last year, many people, myself included, questioned why they signed a player who was 4-years older than Burrell to a 3-year contract.  Ibanez will turn 38 in June and it does appear that he is not wearing the same Superman cape that Jamie Moyer is using.  Moyer is a freak of nature.  Ibanez, however, appears to be a mere mortal.  While everyone was thrilled with his performance in the first half of 2009, things went downhill from there and show no signs of improving.  Cross your fingers; this could get interesting.

The good news is, if one of the outfielders should go down, John Mayberry Jr. is waiting in the wings.  Mayberry was sent to minor league camp today, but he had a great spring and would likely be first in line to be brought up if anything goes wrong.   Mayberry had 6 RBI, a homer, 3 doubles and hit for an average of .289 in camp.

Two more players were reassigned today also; catcher Dane Sardinha and infielder Ozzie Chavez.  This means the bench for the Phillies should consist of catcher Brian Schneider, infielders Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs and outfielder Ross Gload.  With the 12 pitchers and other regulars, that should complete the 25-man roster.

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Moyer head shot by Jenn


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Opening Day Arrives in Philly

After yesterday’s 4-1 loss to the Braves, the Phillies have now lost 4 straight Opening Day games, three of which have been behind Brett Myers.  The good news is, they lost last year too and still won the World Series.  The slightly bad news is, it appears our left-handed heavy line-up may need some shaking up.  Get to that in a moment; first, some pictures from the Opening Day pomp and circumstance which include the pre-game line-up; cake in the Diamond Club; Mitch Williams joking around with Shane Victorino; Ryan Howard doing an interview; Chase Utley warming up:


More pre-game excitement:  The entire Phillies team actually entered the stadium from OUTSIDE the ballpark, walking in behind a high school marching band.  They wandered through Ashburn Alley above the centerfield seats, walked through the outfield seating section and down a set of very scary looking metal steps while high-fiving the fans they passed by; they were then greeted by more fans on the field, draped along a red carpet leading to mid-field.  The photos below show the Army opening up the American flag; the decent to the outfield stairs; the raising of the World Series flag; the red carpet of fans; Matt Stairs poking himself in the belly and laughing (I guess he thinks he is the Pillsbury DoughBoy?); and finally, Army paratroopers entering the stadium with the game ball.  Fun note – the first parachute guy missed the stadium and landed somewhere in the parking lot – oops!


Before the game, I spoke with our friend Todd Zolecki from The Zo Zone, who was happy to be back in Philly and getting on with the season, as we all are. 
Jenn Larry Todd.jpg
I also spoke to Larry Shenk from Phillies Insider who was equally excited to get the season started.  To the right is a photo of me with Todd; I also took a picture with Larry, which I cropped myself out of and Photo-shopped him next to me and Todd.  Larry looks great, but I had a really dumb look on my face; besides, we don’t need any more pictures of me ;O)

Anyway, the game did get off to a somewhat ominous start when, after the raising of the World Series flag, manager Charlie Manuel began walking down the aisle towards the outfield steps to make his way onto the field behind the players.  But in a strange turn of events, just as Manuel neared the wobbly looking metal stair case, the CBP employees pulled the steps up from the field!  Yes, they took the stairs right out from under him, leaving him stranded amongst hundreds of excited fans.  Poor Charlie had to hike it back up the aisle and figure out another way onto the field.  A bad omen for the day, perhaps?

The game began with Brett Myers giving up 3 home runs in the first 2 innings for 4 runs total.  Myers has become notorious for his early inning struggles, but after those 2 innings, he settled in and pitched 4 more scoreless innings.  However, Derek Lowe for the Braves was lights out all night, with the Phillies getting only 2 hits off him.  Lowe had a shut-out going into the 9th inning, but much to everyone’s surprise, he was not sent out to finish the game. 

Instead, lefty Mike Gonzalez took over in the 9th and quickly got into trouble against our few right-handed bats.  With 1 out, pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett lined a ball down the left field line for a double and then Jayson Werth sent him home with a single.  And here come the lefties:  Utley managed to draw a walk, but then Ryan Howard got caught looking at strike 3 and newcomer, Raul Ibanez went down swinging; game over.  The left handed bats killed the rally, which is the nightmare Philly fans have been envisioning all off-season.  But again, it is only one game; no need to panic or even be slightly bummed out about it.  Lowe pitched an amazing game and sometimes when that happens, there is not much anyone can do. 

So, Phillies fans are left with the following questions to ponder:  Will this mostly left-handed line-up figure out how to get it done?  Is Ibanez going to have a rough time endearing himself to the fans after starting out 0-4 on Opening Day?  Will Myers solve the early innings puzzle?  Well, we have 161 more games to figure that all out.  Just chill…  :O)

In the meantime, more photos!  Below, you will see Myers pitching; Ibanez catching a fly ball; Utley in mid-air after a quick throw to first; the Phanatic and friend as a cheer squad; and a close-up of the fancy gold-trimmed Opening Day jerseys which you can buy at the park for a who*pping $240 (excuse the * edit as this program thinks it is a bad word)!!


I have put together a photo album with these and many more shots from Opening Day which you can see HERE.  Hope you like them :O)  One more for you though; This is my Photo of the Day.  It is Jayson Werth, apparently, kissing a tree frog; taken from the Phillies Phanavision. :O)P4058289 Werth.jpg

The Phillies have the day off today to recuperate from another disappointing Opening Day and then it is back at it with the Braves on Tuesday night; game time is 7:05pm.

(Photos by Jenn)


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Phillies Opening Day Preview

Quick recap of the last 2 Spring games:  The Phillies beat the Rays yesterday, 3-2, thanks in part to a Jason Donald walk of RBI single.  Today, they lost 9-7.  Cole Hamels, still rehabbing his sore elbow, pitched 5 innings, allowing 6 hits, 6 runs and a walk.  Not a great outing, but he got his work in and should be able to start against the Rockies next week.  Pat Burrell led the game off for the Rays in his only appearance today, greeting former teammate Hamels with a shot to left field that, even against the strong wind, flew into the seats.  A nice exit from Philly for Burrell who was visibly emotional after the rousing applause he received from Phillies fans over the past two days.  We will miss him!

Tomorrow the REAL games begin!!  So, have you seen the Phillies Opening Day/Night Schedule?  Here are the highlights:

5:05 p.m. – All gates open

5:28-6:28 p.m. – Phillies batting practice

6:28 – 7:18 p.m. – Braves batting practice

7:23 p.m.Cardinal O’Hara High School marching band will perform as the 2009 Phillies enter the ballpark, greeted by Mayor Nutter and Charlie Manuel.

7:38 p.m. – America the Beautiful will be sung by the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Men’s Chorale, directed by Jeffrey R. Smith, as members of the Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guard unfurl the American Flag. State Flags will be carried onto the field by the Philadelphia Police and Fire Department personnel.

7:42 p.m. – Introductions start

7:53 p.m. – National Anthem: Will be performed by Katie Stam, Miss America 2009.

7:56 p.m.U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Parachute team will parachute onto the field (weather permitting), bringing the first balls.

8:00 p.m.NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, who wore a Phillies jersey in space, will present the jersey to Charlie Manuel.

8:01 p.m. – Ceremonial First Pitch: Will be thrown by former Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick and Ben Lo, representing Modell’s Sporting Goods.

8:09 p.m. – Play Ball!

seal.jpgLet me just note a few things here:  The Phillies, the reigning WORLD CHAMPIONS, are having the Philadelphia Boys Choir sing America The Beautiful, like they do every year.  We will then have Miss America sing the National Anthem; but seriously, should I be excited about a pageant queen?  Maybe some of the men are happy, but I just don’t get it.  The Boston Red Sox, according to our friend Julia at Julia’s Rants are getting Grammy Award winner, Seal, to sing for them on Opening Day!  SEAL!  Where, or where, have the Phillies gone wrong??  I am so depressed. 

Now let us move on to the first pitch:  Former GM, grumpy man and Nationals mascot look-alike, Pat Gillick, Gillick mascot.jpgwill toss the first pitch.  Is this seriously the best the WORLD F*@%# CHAMPIONS could do?  I had heard rumors all week that maybe President Obama would visit Philly for the occasion, but he will toss the first pitch on Wednesday in DC when the Phillies take on the Nationals in their home opener. But what about Will Smith, who is a huge Phillies fan?  Or even Jamie Foxx, who was just in Philly filming a new movie?  Heck, I would settle for Patti LaBelle at this point.  But noooooo…we get Pat freakin’ Gilick!  Don’t get me wrong, I love Grumpy Gillick and all, but this is not exactly a treat for Phillies fans; we see him every day!  We want… no, we deserve, a special treat for Opening Day!  The Phils had no issue with raising the ticket prices, but could not be bothered to get anyone more interesting to toss a pitch??  Again, Gillick brought us a World Championship, but I think even he would agree that his sheer entertainment value is a tad less than Seal.  UGH!

Ok, maybe I am over-reacting.  You know how we redheads get sometimes.  But take a look at a few other teams, who did NOT win the World Series, and see what they are doing for Opening Day:  Both the Yankees and the SF Giants have HERO Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who successfully landed a plane in New York’s Hudson River this past January, saving the lives of everyone on board, to toss their first pitch.  The Reds have musician and former husband of Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey to throw their first pitch.  And they are in OHIO, folks!  That’s right, Ohio out-did Philly.  The Houston Astros have 4-time Grammy winner, Lyle Lovett, to sing the National Anthem.  And of course, the Nats get the Prez.  Okay, I think you get the picture.

Philly will have the traditional Army Parachute Team and the NASA astronaut is a nice touch as well; but is it asking too much to add a little pizzazz to the ceremonies?  Well, if it has to be Pat Gillick, how about we at least dress him up a bit?  You know, just to add some Philly flavor to the guy:

Rapper Gillick.jpg

And then, let’s invite this cute rapper kitty to handle the music for the National Anthem.  Not a Grammy winner, but still entertaining:


Well, the show must go on, with or without the Rappin’ Cat, and so it will.  Sunday night, first pitch at 8:09pm – I will be back with photos!  See you there!

Photo Credits:

Seal –

Gangsta Dude –

Kitty –


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Outta Here!

Many baseballs left the ballpark today, as well as many players.  Marcus Giles, who batted only .167 this spring, was given his release today.  This was the best option for Giles who would not see a lot of action in the minors; this way, he has a chance to move on to another team.  P2222389 Mayberry.jpgJohn Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Carrasco were both optioned back to the minors.  Mayberry started off hot in camp this year, but struggled as the pitching became more difficult.  He needs some more work to be big league ready, as does Carrasco.  Three other players were told officially they would not make the team’s 25-man roster, but they will stay with the Phils until Saturday to give Charlie Manuel a few more options during the On Deck Series.  The three players are Philadelphia native, Mike Koplove, RHP; 2nd baseman Pablo Ozuna; and outfielder Jason Ellison.

This leaves Miguel Cairo as the only extra right-handed bat, unless a trade is pulled off in the next few weeks.  Cairo has not hit as well as Ozuna this spring, but he can play multiple positions and has a great deal of experience.  Also, the Phillies are required to release Cairo if he does not make the 25-man roster, which may play into the decision.  Rumor has it also that Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins are up for grabs; however, the Phillies are going to have a hard time getting rid of either as Stairs is nearing retirement and Jenkins is well over-paid.

Also still up in the air is the 5th starter’s spot.  Chan Ho Park has made this a very difficult decision; today he pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up 6 hits, 1 walk and only 1 earned run.  Park also struck out 7 and now has an ERA of 2.53 in 21 1/3 innings.  Lefty JA Happ currently stands at 20 innings with a 3.15 ERA.  Things being fairly even, Happ is still the best choice to start as Park has a proven track record as a reliever and Happ is not so comfortable in that role.  Plus with the addition of lefty Jack Taschner, there is less need for Happ, also a lefty, in the pen.  Park would be horribly disappointed in the decision if it goes that way, especially since he gave up pitching in the WBC this year, so does his mental status play into this as well?  That remains to be seen…

The Phillies bats are heating up in preparation for Opening Night as evidenced by four home runs today from Jimmy Rollins, Eric Bruntlett, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz. 

P3024905 Bruntlett.jpg
7 of the Phillies 13 runs in the 13-3 victory over the Astros came off the long ball.  And Bruntlett in particular had a fun day against his former team, going  3 for 4 with 4 RBI.  With all this power unleashed, it makes you wish these guys would save a bit for the real thing.  Only 6 days left!

Brett Myers, now scheduled to start on opening day, will pitch tomorrow against the Blue Jays at 7:05pm.  Cole Hamels got into a minor league game today and said he felt no discomfort.  Hamels is tentatively scheduled to start with the Phillies on April 10th against the Rockies.

(All Photos by Jenn)


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Food For Thought

Although the Phillies outhit the Red Sox today and racked up 7 walks, they lost the game 3-1 as a result of having 12 men left on base.  The 4th inning was a great example of the trouble the Phils had closing the deal; Raul Ibanez singled off Jon Lester, followed by a Pedro Feliz double.  With runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs, John Mayberry popped out.  Keeping the inning alive, Chris Coste earned a walk to load the bases; but then Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino went down in order to end the threat.

The good news is that the Phillies made a habit out of this last year and still won the World Series.  The bad news is, lightning usually does not strike twice in the same place.  Not to say they cannot repeat, because they are more than capable, but the offense needs to solve the issue of leaving men on base to add to their chances.  Plus, many Phillies hitters are behind schedule from where they would normally be this time of year because of injuries like those of Coste, Feliz and Chase Utley.  Rollins and Victorino are also behind in the number of at-bats they should have because of the WBC.  Just a few thoughts for our offense to chew on.

Cole Hamels is also running behind, not only due to the elbow injury, but his rehab was further delayed today when the minor league game he was set to pitch in was reportedly cancelled due to rain.  The rest of the Phillies pitchers however, appear to be right on track. 

Joe Blanton has pitched very well this spring and gave up only 4 hits and 2 runs in 6 1/3 innings today against a strong Red Sox line-up.  We are all waiting now to see the new Phillie, Jack Taschner get into a game so we can see what he has to offer.  Aside from that question mark, the regulars in the pen look ready to go.

P7306527 Lidge.jpgAnd since we are on the subject of food, I just read an article about big league food in the MLB Insiders magazine by Jeremiah Sullivan.  According to Lance Berkman, the major leaguer with the biggest appetite is his former teammate, Brad Lidge.  “Brad Lidge will eat any and everything in sight,” says Berkman.  “It doesn’t matter what it is, he constantly crushes food.  He eats more than any other human being that I’ve seen in my entire life.  And everything has Tabasco sauce on it.”  Ok, gross.  P2222396 Utley.jpgSo what sort of food does All-Star Chase Utley like best?  “Sushi day is definitely my favorite,” says Utley.  “It is only served once every few home stands – that isn’t often enough.”  Raw fish; good to know.  Between that and the Tabasco sauce, I may never eat again.

And today marks 1 week until Opening Night in Philadelphia!  Whoo Hooo!  But until then, grapefruit league action will continue with the Phillies taking on Mr. Berkman and his Astros at 1:05pm tomorrow.

(All Photos by Jenn)


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Snooze Fest


Is anyone else getting bored with pre-season baseball, or is it just me?  Ok, maybe not bored, so much as anxious to get the real games started.  Today’s 2-2 tie game after 10 innings with the Phillies and Cardinals made me want to bust out my pillow and binky for a long afternoon nap.  Yawn!

Ryan Howard attempted to wake me from this slumber by hitting a home run in the 2nd inning, but alas, I was forced to go right back to totally zoning out.  But I cannot watch ESPN or Comcast Sportsnet instead of listening to this game, because all these stations are talking about is college basketball and March Madness.  My madness is right here and now:  I am going INSANE waiting for Opening Day!

Some may have found young pitcher Carlos Carrasco’s outing today quite stimulating; after all, he is sort of still in the running for the 5th starters role.  But really, the race has come down to Chan Ho Park and JA Happ. 

So, I just wasn’t that interested in what Carrasco may do, if I am being totally honest.  Then again, in case anyone else would like to know, Carrasco gave up 2 runs, 3 hits and 3 walks in 4 2/3 innings.  Not super, not bad; but he did an ok job.  Zzzzzzz….

Chase Utley had 2 hits in the game and a run scored, but since the game was on the radio, I could not watch him wiggle his newly surgically repaired hip as he trotted the base path.  Not to mention a few other key areas…thus, SO not interesting.  Even cutie Chad Durbin pitching 1 1/3 innings of hit-free ball could not rouse me.  Maybe if someone had started a bench clearing brawl, then perhaps I could have snapped out of this coma?  No such luck…


Dear God!  16 days left…wake me when it’s over!


(All Photos by Jenn)

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