Results tagged ‘ Padres ’

Injuries & Bad Offense Sinking the Phillies

A little help here, please?  Anybody?  It may still be early in the season, but the Phillies ship is sinking fast.  Is 15 games into the season a bit too early to begin yelling, “Mayday! “?  Maybe not…

With a 7-8 record, the Phillies are barely staying afloat in the NL East where they are tied for last place with the Marlins.  Last nights’ awful 5-1 loss to the Padres combined with star pitcher Cliff Lee being sent to the DL is making a lot of fans sea sick, and with good reason.

Lee’s injury occurred in the 10th inning of Wednesday’s game against the Giants where he apparently strained his left oblique.  The injury may have nothing to do with Lee going 10 innings, as he only threw 102 pitches.  However, had the Phillies offense given him any support at all, Lee probably would not have been on the mound for the 10th.

This Phillies offense seriously needs to batten down the hatches and figure out how to score or be sent to walk the plank.  Too many guy are simply not toeing the line.

There were only 3 hits in the game from the Phillies, and one of those came off the bat of pitcher Roy Halladay.  The only run scored came with 2 outs in the ninth on a Ty Wiggington double.  In the 4th inning, the Phillies had 2 men on and no one out.  But the extremely undisciplined hitting killed the rally; Hunter Pence struck out while swinging at pitches way out of the zone; Shane Victorino flied out and after Wiggington walked, Freddy Galvis flew out.

Halladay had walked three batters in a row for the first time ever, but he still battled back and gave up only 2 runs.  He made the adjustment.  The offense did not.  And so once again, the Phillies waste a strong pitching performance.  Here is a silly thought…Maybe Lee really did not hurt his oblique pitching on Wednesday; maybe the offense simply made him so nauseous that he threw-up one too many times after the game?  This entire pitching staff is probably feeling sea sick along with the rest of us.

So, what is the answer?  No one really knows, but I do wish everyone would stop whining about Ryan Howard and Chase Utley being out.  Because they are not the answer either.  When you have most of your lineup regularly swinging at bad pitches and watching good ones fly by, it makes no difference what Howard and Utley might do.

All I know for sure is that if this team does not figure it out soon, they are going to sink like the Titanic.

 

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Manuel Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

The Vanimal Returns

After a shaky start to the season, Phillies pitcher Vance Worley was trying to locate his inner animal last night against the Padres.  In 7 innings of shut-out ball, the Vanimal has indeed returned.

The 11 strikeouts Worley recorded were a career high and left many Padres shaking their heads.  Worley did walk 3 batters, but only allowed 4 hits, fewer than Cliff Lee allowed the night before.  If Worley can maintain this pace, it will be a huge boost for the team going forward.

And they could use a boost because the Phillies batters have still not found their inner animal.  Right now they are playing at the level of a timid lamb instead of a proud lion, like Worley.  This zoo needs a serious upgrade.

After getting only 4 hits against the Giants in the previous game, against the Padres, the Phils posted only 6 hits.  It looked like they may get going when they scored a run in the first on a Jimmy Rollins sac fly.  But then with a man on third and only one out, the Phillies could not add on.

They scored only 2 total bookend runs, one in the 1st and one in the 9th on a wild pitch.  Thanks to the pitching from Worley, Chad Qualls and Jonathan Papelbon, 2 runs wound up being enough for the win.

Game 2 with the Padres starts at 10pm tonight…TGIF!

 

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Pence Debuts & Howard Reaches Another Milestone in Win Over Pirates

The Phillies newest, shiny toy arrived at the ballpark today.  Right fielder Hunter Pence pumped his fists as he entered the tunnel under the stadium, looking excited to explore his new home.

The excitement is understandable; Pence just got traded from a team with 35 wins to a team with 66 wins and the best record in baseball.  The fans shared his exuberance as they cheered him during batting practice and gave Pence a standing ovation when he arrived in right field to start the game against the Pirates.  Pence waived to the fans cheerfully in appreciation.

Even his first at-bat was exciting; Pence ran out what should have been an infield hit but was called out by the umpire.  The replay showed he was clearly safe as fans watched manager Charlie Manuel argue with the ump in defense of his newest player.

It took Pence until the eighth inning to finally get a hit in the game.  Regardless, he had to be relieved with the RBI-single he finally put in the books.  Now that his first Phillies hit is on record, it should be business as usual for Pence.

As for Ryan Howard, the business was not so usual, but certainly good.  Having Pence in the five-hole behind him had to be a welcome sight.  Hitting without any real protection all year, Howard finally has a solid hitter to back him up.  Taking full advantage, Howard went just a triple short of the cycle and had three RBI on four hits.

 

Most notably, Howard’s second hit of the game, an RBI-single in the fourth inning, was his 1,000th career hit.  Congratulations to Ryan!

As for the pitching, Cliff Lee started the game hoping he could bounce back from an awful outing on Monday against the Padres.  In that game, Lee lasted only four innings after allowing five runs.

Tonight, Lee did well through seven innings where he gave up only two runs.  But Lee was left in the game too long and he ran into trouble in the eighth.  The hits kept coming for the Pirates and two more runs crossed the plate, bringing the Bucos closer to a comeback with a 6-4 score.

Reliever Antonio Bastardo was brought in with two runners on base and two outs.  In his usual form, Bastardo shut down the Pirates by striking out Pedro Alvarez to end the inning.

The run added by Pence in the eighth gave the Phillies a little more cushion with a 7-4 lead.  That was plenty for Ryan Madson who closed out the game for another Phillies victory.

Game three with the Pirates is Sunday at 1:35pm; Vance Worley will pitch.  In Worley’s last start, he pitched a complete game against the Giants.  It will be interesting to see how he responds after tossing 114 pitches in that start.

Check back Sunday night for game photos…see you there!

Roster Move Update:

Domonic Brown and Andrew Carpenter were sent to Triple-A to make room for Pence and Placido Polanco, who came off the DL today.  Brown will begin to work at left field, which is where the Phillies project he will be next season.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Lee Pulled Early In Tough Loss Against the Padres

Monday afternoon’s Phillies – Padres match-up brought about a disappointing end to a five-game Phils win-streak.  A very un-Lee like performance from pitcher Cliff Lee put the Phillies into an early hole from which they could not escape.

Pulled for a pinch hitter after only four innings, Lee had allowed five runs on 10 hits as the Padres pounded him.  Not only did Lee not have his good stuff on the mound, he looked slightly disoriented as well.  In the second inning, he lackadaisically lobbed a ball to first base, allowing a runner at third to steal home.

While Lee did not have his head screwed on quite right today, the offense tried to battle back for him.  But mistakes held them back.  After a Shane Victorino double in the first that scored one run, Ryan Howard was sent home to try for two.  But going first to home with a slow runner like Howard is usually a very bad idea.  Howard was out at home to end the inning.

Victorino had three hits on the day and Raul Ibanez had two with an RBI.  But the Phillies squandered many opportunities, like when John Mayberry Jr. singled to start the bottom of the seventh.  Jimmy Rollins bounced into a fielder’s choice and then got picked off stealing second.  Michael Martinez then flied out to end the inning.

The real bummer with this loss is that it ended a nice win-streak and good momentum for the Phillies right as the World Champion Giants come to town.  This will be a tough 3-game stretch for the Phils who do not have their top two aces in line to pitch.

Tomorrow, the rookie Vance Worley will have to compete with Giants ace and 2-time Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum.  It could go either way, but if the Phillies cannot offer Worley some run support, it will be a long night.

Game time is 7:05pm; I will return with photos :O)

 

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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*

Halladay Beats The Heat & The Padres

After his last start was shortened due to heat exhaustion, Roy Halladay looked determined to go deep into today’s game against the Padres.  And this game was not much cooler than his last; game time temperature was 94 degrees with a heat index around 105.  But after giving up one run in the first inning, Halladay settled in and looked pretty good.

Then things got a bit hairy in the fourth inning when a fielding error by Ryan Howard gave the Padres two base runners with only one out.  The Padres scored twice in the inning.  But after that, Halladay allowed only one more hit all the way through the eighth inning.  He was visibly more relaxed as witnessed by the photo below where he joked around with an umpire while standing at second base.

 

The Phillies got Halladay runs early, scoring twice in the first and three times in the third inning.  Howard made up for his fielding error with two hits in the game and he also scored twice.

 

Raul Ibanez also seemed more lively today; he drove in two runs on two hits and played well in the outfield.

 

Later,  in the seventh inning, Ibanez hit what should have been a two-run homer.  Instead, back-up center fielder Chris Denorfia robbed Ibanez, leaping up and making the grab as the ball started to fly over the fence.  It was such an impressive catch that even some Phillies fans  gave Denorfia a round of applause.  Denorfia was in the game only because Cameron Maybin was pulled after an injury in the fourth inning.

There was very little offense after the Phillies scored in the third.  Luckily, five runs were enough.  Chase Utley was clearly frustrated after he flied out in the sixth and ended the day without a hit.  If only he had glanced over at Michael Martinez on base later in the game, it may have cheered him up a bit.  What is up with this kids hair anyway?

 

So the Phillies are on a roll now with five straight wins and another series win.  The final of four games with the Padres is tomorrow at 1:05pm and the Phillies have a chance to sweep with Cliff Lee on the mound.  They have won 10 straight games against the Padres, dating back to the 2010 season.  Gotta love San Diego ;o)

Here is the full Photo Album from the game which includes some pre-game shots of some members of the Italian World Cup Soccer Team exchanging jerseys with Ryan Howard.  Ladies, the first two guys (left to right) are mighty fine.  Italian guy #3 – not so much.  But do enjoy the 1st two ;o)

 

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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*

See-Saw Battle Ends in Phillies Win

This team is never dull, although sometimes, I wish they were.  The Phillies see-saw battle with the Padres today was a real tummy-turner with lots of ups and downs.

UPChase Utley smashed a 3-run homer in the first inning.  The Phillies held onto the 3-run lead through 5-innings as Kyle Kendrick looked pretty good on the mound.  But as with all good things, they must soon end…

DOWN – Kendrick lost his mojo in the 6th inning, giving up two home runs for three RBI total.  With the game tied 3-3, Michael Stutes took over on the mound for the next four outs.  Despite getting into trouble in the 7th, it looked like Stutes was about to get out of the mess when a Cameron Maybin single put the Padres ahead, 4-3.

UP – As the Phillies bats had laid dormant for five straight innings, a comeback seemed like a remote possibility.  Enter, Ryan Howard.  Given the day off to try and work on his hitting, Howard was called upon to pinch hit in the bottom of the 7th.  It took just one pitch and Howard homered to re-tie the game, 4-4.

 

The homer was followed by a pinch hit double from Ross Gload and a Jimmy Rollins walk.  Then the improbable happened again; rookie Michael Martinez hit his second career homer to add on three more runs.  Utley homered again later the same inning to make it an 8-4 Phillies lead.

DOWN –  Antonio Bastardo had his first really bad day of the year as he loaded the bases with two outs in the 8th inning.  Then things got really wild as Bastardo literally began throwing the ball anywhere but over the plate.  After two straight wild pitches, the Padres finally scored again.

In another improbable and frankly, unbelievable move, the Phillies sent David Herndon to the mound to clean up the mess.  Herndon has been less than reliable all year so this was a shocker.  Not shocking was watching Herndon walk a run home.  But he did manage to escape the inning with the Phillies still leading, 8-6.

UPRyan Madson closed the game out in the 9th where he allowed one hit, but struck out two batters for the save.  And despite allowing a run, Stutes got the win.

UP x2 – The Phillies have won four straight and go for five tomorrow with Roy Halladay on the mound.  The Braves lost today, extending the Phillies lead to five game in the NL East.

Game time on Sunday is 1:35pm; I will return with photos.

 

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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*

Hamels Returns to Dominance on 80’s Retro Night

After a horrible start in New York where he gave up seven runs in 4.1 inning, Cole Hamels needed a bounce-back game.  And there was no better time to bounce-back than in a throw-back, 1980’s retro night game.

Wearing the maroon pinstripe uniform from 1984, Hamels found his old-self against the Padres.  Through eight innings, Hamels gave up only one run on three hits while striking out 10 batters.  It was 120 degrees on the field at game time, but the Padres biggest issue was the heat on Hamels’ fastball, not the heat on the field.

Some of the 1980’s player intro’s also added to game intensity:

 

Chase Utley was hot on the scoreboard and hot at the plate with two hits tonight.  Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry Jr. added an RBI-double each which, along with one unearned run, was plenty for Hamels to work with.

To close the game, Ryan Madson came out in the 9th for his first save attempt since returning from the DL.  He sent the Padres down in order to record the 3-1 victory.  It was Madson’s 16th save and Hamels’ team-leading 12th win of the year.

Earlier today, the Phillies activated pitcher Brad Lidge from the DL; he is expected to be broken in slowly in non-crucial situations until he gets settled in after missing the entire first half.  A roster move had to be made and that wound up being Danys Baez.  If Baez is not picked up by another team, he will likely play for Triple-A.

Many fans celebrated the move, as Baez has been inconsistent and mostly ineffective both this year and last.  His 6.25 ERA over 36 innings was not helping his case.

But while this was clearly the best business decision for the team, Baez was well-liked in the clubhouse and is an all-around nice guy.  He is the only player I have never seen ignore a fan or refuse an autograph.  Baez had a smile and for everyone, despite what must have been a really tough year for him.  In that respect, it is a bit sad.

Charlie Manuel also had a difficult time with the decision as he has know Baez for a long time.  He said in an interview on SportsNite that Baez came to his office a week ago to talk about his situation and Baez all but offered himself up.  He told Charlie he would understand if he needed to make a move for the betterment of the ballclub.  So while his pitching was not great, I am impressed with the way he has handled himself and wish him all the best.

 

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Photos from Comcast SportsNet Broadcast

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

Worley Wows While Bats Come To Life in Win Over Cubs

The Phillies offensive was very slow to develop on Tuesday.  But on Wednesday, they got off to a quick start with two runs in the first inning.

In the second inning, the Phillies really made Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster work hard in the 110 degree heat on the field.  But with two outs, no one on base and pitcher Vance Worley coming to the plate, it looked like Dempster was going to get out of the inning.  And then Worley smashed a double in the gap between center and right field.

That double precipitated a big inning for the Phillies.  Jimmy Rollins followed with another double to score Worley.  Then Michael Martinez singled in Rollins and Chase Utley doubled in Martinez.  It was a 3-run chain reaction.

But the fun did not end there.  While Worley mowed down Cubs and did not allow a hit until the 5th inning, the offense kept adding on.  Rollins had a huge day with three hits and two homers, one from each side of the plate.  That has only happened four times in Phillies history and two of the four times, it was Rollins. 

Rollins was so pumped after the first homer, he high-fived a bunch of Phillies fans on his way back to the dugout.  After the second homer, other fans caught on and the high-fives came again, only to a bigger crowd.  After the game, Gary “Sarge” Matthews even interviewed a fan about the high-fives.  Needless to say, he was pretty psyched about travelling all the way to Chicago to get high-fives from Rollins.

Martinez also continued his hot streak with two hits, an RBI and two stolen bases.  Utley had two hits, both doubles, and two RBI.  The only starter without a hit was Shane Victorino who is still looking for his first hit since returning from the DL yesterday.

With the offensive support, Worley was able to pitch without pressure and as a result, he went eight innings, the longest outing of his short career.  Worley allowed only one run on four hits and two walks.  Fans are also getting excited about Worley these days as evidenced by the new tee-shirt being sold by Zoo With Roy.  I assume it is a take-off on the shirt to the right, but why is his name spelled wrong?  Just curious…

 

The 9-1 win capped off a series victory against the Cubs.  Thursday is an off-day while the Phillies prepare for a big 10-game home stand with the Padres, Giants and Pirates.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Sweeps And Strikeout’s Cannot Hide the Stench Of Phillies Offensive Offense

It has been an interesting few days for the Phillies.  On Sunday, they finished off a four-game sweep of the Padres, scoring only 12 runs total in all of those games.  An inside-the-park homer by Shane Victorino helped seal Sunday’s sweep.

That same day, closer Jose Contreras was sent to the DL with a strained right flexor pronator tendon in his elbow.  As a result, Michael Stutes joined the club to fill the roster spot and made his major league debut on Monday.

Also on Monday night, the Phillies five-game win streak ended with a 0-4 shut-out loss to the D-Backs.  Cliff Lee pitched an odd game where he struck out 12 batters but still allowed four runs in seven innings.  However, Lee’s performance was basically rendered obsolete as the Phils offense did absolutely nothing to help out.

The three-hit shutout by the Diamondbacks Ian Kennedy where he struck out 10 batters and did not issue a walk, matched a team record.  Only two other pitchers in team history tossed a shutout while allowing three or fewer hits with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks.  One was Curt Schilling on April 10, 2001 against the Dodgers (2 hits allowed, 10 SO) and the other, Randy Johnson, when he pitched a perfect game on May 18, 2004 at Atlanta (13 SO).

While that feat by Kennedy is very impressive, the Phillies offense certainly made it a little easier on him by swinging at bad pitches and watching good ones fly by.

The Phils offensive offense has not scored more than four runs in 14 consecutive games this season.  They currently rank 28th in baseball for runs scored since April 9th.

The worst offender amongst the starters has been Raul Ibanez, who is hitting just .179.  He should be benched in favor of John Mayberry Jr. until he figures things out.  Maybe at almost 39-year old, Ibanez needs to be in a platoon with Mayberry to get him more rest.

Team leader Jimmy Rollins is also not producing.  He got off to a hot start and has seriously cooled off.  Rollins has not had a multi-hit game since April12th.  He has batted .182 since that time.

 

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But a few players are not to blame.  The entire team is just not hitting, as if they all caught the same virus at once.  If the disease continues to spread, who will be the fall guy?  Last year it was hitting coach Milt Thompson.  Frankly, the players themselves need to be held accountable.  Play the bench guys until the starters find their swings.

While the bench is solid, it is not the long-term solution.  However, maybe benching a few guys will light a fire under them.  Because the Phillies have few other options.

Their payroll is maxed out.  The Phillies will never be a team that decides to pay the luxury tax along with the Yankees.  So as far as getting new blood into the line-up, they are out of options.  Besides, it is only April and no teams are ready to trade anyone yet.

Then again, it is only April.  The team is still winning, despite the offense, thanks to a solid starting staff.  But even the pitchers are going to get weary of the lack of support very soon.

So choose your most relaxing yoga pose and just keep telling yourself, “It’s only April.  Its only April…”

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Win Third In A Row Against Padres In Extras

After not allowing a single run to the Padres in two straight games, the Phillies finally yielded on Saturday night in the first inning.  Joe Blanton got roughed up quickly.  On his first three pitches of the game, he allowed a single and an RBI triple to break the Padres scoreless streak.

But after getting out of the early jam, Blanton settled down and actually pitched very well.  In seven innings, he allowed just two runs on eight hits and two walks.  Blanton finally lowered his ERA below six; it sits at 5.92 right now and hopefully, will get better as the season progresses.

Placido Polanco got the day off at third base, which seemed like an odd choice considering he is the only Phillie really hitting right now.  Wilson Valdez took third and Pete Orr filled in at second.  Both players had one hit each, but overall, the offense suffered again.

Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco accounted for the Phillies two runs.  After Rollins walked in the fourth, Francisco tripled to score him.  Then in the sixth, Rollins singled to score Orr who had doubled before him.


Orrs Oars.jpgJust a quick side note, I noticed last week that Orr already has a fan club, Orr’s Oars.  A group of fans have been wielding boat oars in the outfield in Orr’s honor.  Also interesting to note, Orr’s cousin, Nick Boynton, plays for the Flyers.

And yes, that is how sad the offense was in this game.  I was so bored, I made a hockey reference.

Here are just a few examples of the Phillies offensive woes:  Raul Ibanez has not had a hit in 17 at-bats.  Frankly, I think John Mayberry Jr. should get some playing time until Ibanez figures it out.  And Rollins is batting .120 in his last seven games.

The Padres have similar issues and as such, neither team looked good on offense.  That led to extra innings after both teams were unable to score again in a 2-2 tie game.  This would become a battle of the bullpens.

As it turned out, the Phillies bullpen came out on top thanks to an RBI-single by Howard in the 11th.  That hit was huge for Howard as he had struck out in each of his previous four at-bats.  The two runs that scored gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead which Ryan Madson held down for his second save in a row.

The Phillies are up 3-0 in the series with the final game today at 4:05pm.

 

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

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