Results tagged ‘ Padres ’
Every time someone mentions the name “Brad Lidge” now, I instantly feel sick to my stomach. It has become a Pavlovian response. And while I am not a dog, I do get a tad bitchy around the “Lidge” references. The last two years of the Phillies-Lidge experiment have been a rollercoaster ride…and not a pleasant one.
Last night, the Phils managed to squeak out 2 runs against the Padres amazing pitching staff while Roy Oswalt held their offense to just one run. Oswalt had an amazing game; the kind of game everyone hoped he would bring to Philly. But leave it to Lidge to try to sour the evening.
The 9th inning save attempt turned into another Lidge disaster. Former Phillie Matt Stairs singled to start the inning and a pinch runner came in. But Lidge got the first two outs without a problem after that. And then, the wheels fell off the wagon.
After an intentional walk to slugger Adrian Gonzalez, Lidge was ahead 0-2 to Ryan Ludwick. Yes, ahead in the count. So what does Lidge do on the next pitch? He hits Ludwick to load the bases. As if that were not bad enough, Chase Headly steps to the plate and Lidge BALKS a run home. And it was not one of those picky balk calls; it was blatantly obvious and without explanation. Lidge was not holding anyone on base; the bases were loaded! WHAT was he thinking? Wow. That was blown save #5 for Lidge this year.
The then tied 2-2 game went into extra innings. Thanks to Jimmy Rollins and Chad Durbin, the Phillies pulled out a win. Rollins led off the 12th with a double and scored on a Placido Polanco single. It was a scary play as Rollins danced around the tag at home plate and just barely got his hand on the plate to score safely. And Durbin pitched 2 scoreless innings to record the 3-2 win.
But runs were not easy to come by in the game and the Phillies still have issues hitting, especially with runners in scoring position. In the 3rd, singles by Rollins, Polanco and Chase Utley scored the 1st run but, with two men on base, Ryan Howard struck out…again. Shane Victorino had a chance to add on in the 8th with one out and the bases loaded. A sac fly would have been nice, but instead, Victorino swung at the first pitch; the weak grounder was thrown home for the force out.
Jayson Werth grounded into a double play in the 12th with 2 men on base, which blew a prime opportunity for an insurance run. Werth went 0-5 with 2 strikeouts and in an odd twist, he even fell down the dugout stairs after a bad at-bat. He appeared to be ok afterwards. I hate to keep picking on Werth as I have all week, but his lack of focus is simply astounding. He is not the only one, but he has been the most obvious about it.
So while a win is a great thing, especially after losing 4 straight to the Astros, the Phillies bats had better wake up today before this road trip takes a turn for the worst. They did gain one game on the Braves with the win, so this is the time to step on the gas pedal and getting moving. Game 2 with the Padres is this afternoon at 4:10pm.
By the way, pitcher Danys Baez was placed on the DL yesterday with back spasms. Lefty Antonio Bastardo was called up to take his place.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Did the Phillies forget to pay their electric bill this month? Because they are suffering from a serious and prolonged power outage. When sluggers Ryan Howard and Chase Utley finally came off the DL in mid-late August, everyone was relieved to finally see the Phillies line-up back in order. But the relief was short lived as the team has been on a downward spiral ever since.
And now, the Phillies have lost ground in the NL East race, falling 3 games behind the Braves and missing key opportunities to catch up. This 4-game sweep at the hands of the Astros may come back to haunt them in September.
Howard has only 3 hits in his last 10 games and has struck out 20 times. In 16 at-bats for the Astros series, Howard got only 1 hit. Utley has had only 7 hits in his last 34 at-bats since coming off the DL. Other key players during the Astros 4-game series did not hit either; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco had just 3 hits each. They have consistently failed to hit with runners in scoring position too, with the worst offender being Jayson Werth.
They have lost their fire and their intensity. That was no more evident than today in the 5th inning when Werth tried to tag and score on a shallow fly to right. Not only did Werth not even bother to slide, he never even touched the plate. Werth should have slid hard and tried to take out the catcher to get that run. Instead, he gave up and basically accepted defeat.
Kyle Kendrick looked half asleep on the mound too. Ever since JA Happ was shipped to the Astros, Kendrick had relaxed more and more each start, to the point where he is just not present on the mound. Maybe he figures there is no one left to take his job so why bother kicking it up a notch? Kendrick has allowed 15 runs in his last 4 starts, with 4 of those runs coming in 6 innings tonight.
However, the real offenders this series were the Phillies hitters who got absolutely nothing done. Except maybe for getting picked off on the base paths multiple times, failing to gets bunts down and not bothering to slide in order to score. The way they have played is disgraceful.
If the Phillies take this sort of attitude and performance into San Diego tomorrow, they are going to be crushed. They have 3 games with the Padres, 3 with the Dodgers and then a make-up in Denver against the now hot Rockies. Cross your fingers. Game time tomorrow is 10:05pm.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
While it was delayed by one day due to rain, the rematch of Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson finally took place tonight in Philly. Their last meeting was in Miami for Halladay’s perfect game on 5/29 where the Phillies won by a score of 1-0. The same score stood tonight through 8 innings, except it was in favor of the Marlins.
Both starters pitched through those same 8 innings and Johnson did not budge. He allowed just 3 hits while Halladay got into trouble in the first inning. Halladay loaded the bases with no outs and still, escaped with only one run allowed. After that, he did not budge either. Stalemate.
Then came the 9th inning; Danys Baez has been hit or miss for the Phillies bullpen all year. He had a bad April, a really good May and now in June, he has allowed a run in each of his last 3 games pitched. Tonight it was a homer to put the Phillies in an 0-2 hole that seemed insurmountable.
Sure enough, the Phillies offense could not get anything done in the 9th and went down to the Fish by those 2 runs. Yes, another shut-out; it was their 6th time being shut-out in the last 17 games. At least this time, it was against one of the best pitchers in the National League so, it is not as shocking.
Yesterday’s rain-out has been rescheduled for Labor Day on September 6th as part of a split doubleheader at 1:05pm. Tickets from Wednesday’s rain-out are good for that day and time. The regularly scheduled 7:05 pm game will go on as planned.
Charlie Manuel will coach the NL All-Star team again this year and has just announced his staff. The Phillies coaches will all be going, as this is the usual tradition. In addition, Manuel has named Padres‘ manager Bud Black and Giants manager Bruce Bochy as his coaches. Sean Cunningham, head athletic trainer of the Marlins, and Keith Dugger, head athletic trainer of the Rockies, will also join the team.
The players will be announced on July 4th after voting ends on July 1st at midnight, with 4 more days to cast the final vote for the one extra player on each team after that. So do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars! Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:
Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The first inning of today’s Phillies – Padres match-up was a microcosm of the issues that have been plaguing the Phils since the middle of May. The offense started off with two hits, then they loaded the bases with one out and Jayson Werth hit a weak grounder into a double play to end the inning. Two batters before that, Chase Utley had popped out with 2 men on base.
Werth and Utley, previously two of the teams’ best hitters, are quickly becoming the poster-children for killing rallies. Phillies fans everywhere are losing patience waiting for the two sluggers to find their swings again. Fans used to look forward to seeing them bat. Now, all you can do is cringe when they step to the plate and begin counting the different ways they might kill an inning; will it be a double play? A pop-up? A strike-out? Or maybe the bat will spontaneously combust due to lack of use, rendering him helpless at the plate…the possibilities are endless.
Once again, the real victim of this disgusting and seemingly unending offensive slump is the starting pitcher.
Cole Hamels had a no-hitter working through 6 innings. He finally surrendered back-to-back homers in the 7th to end the streak, but with just those two runs allowed, Hamels more than did his job. It is just one more outstanding pitching performance gone to waste by the Phils offensive offense.
Eight full innings and just 3 hits later, Hamels found himself still without any assistance from his teammates. The pinch hitters failed again in the bottom of the 8th with both Greg Dobbs and Ross Gload going down in flames. Danys Baez pitched the 9th and put the Phillies in a deeper hole by giving up a homer to Adrian Gonzalez, his second of the night.
The Phillies tried to battle back in the bottom of the 9th; Placido Polanco singled, followed by another Utley out. Ryan Howard drove Polanco in but then Werth stepped to the plate and, as has been the trend, he struck out. The Phillies lose 1-3, but I suppose the good news is that at least it was not another shut-out.
Besides the huge disappointment today in the Phillies majors, the minor leagues reported one more bit if depressing news. The “big” prospect the Phillies got in the Cliff Lee trade, pitcher Phillipe Aumont, was demoted to single-A ball after sporting a 10.61 ERA in AA-ball. Remember back in Spring Training when the same guy gave up 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning in an exhibition game against a college team in his first Phillies action? And afterwards, he blamed it on the pressure of being traded for Cliff Lee? Oh yeah, that guy.
So, we get our first peek at how beneficial that trade really was. If Aumont cannot handle pressure, what good is he? And do you really think the Mariners were unaware of this when they sent him packing? I doubt it. Talent and potential are great, but I am pretty sure in the life-game of rock, paper, scissors, that mental toughness trumps both. But hey, Lee will be available again at the trade deadline this year; think the Mariners will take Aumont back? Ha, ha…I crack myself up ;o)
The draft took place tonight and the Phillies have selected a local; Jesse Biddle, a left-handed pitcher, from Philly. Best of luck to the young pitcher!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Happy Bunny by Jim Benton
While it was only a 2-game win streak, it was nice while it lasted. The Phillies lost by a score of 5-6 to the Padres today in 10 innings. Placido Polanco made a huge blunder in the 9th inning, getting thrown out at third base, which was followed by a Ryan Howard single that would have scored him to tie the game. However, this loss is not his fault. Polly had 3 hits in the game, 2 RBI and until that moment, was the star of the game. Howard also had 2 hits and 3 RBI.
The biggest mistake in this game in my opinion was when Charlie Manuel sent Joe Blanton back out to pitch the 5th inning. Blanton had already given up 4 runs on 10 hits in just 4 innings and looked like he may self-destruct at any moment. Chad Durbin was already warming up in the pen during the 4th and would have been ready to go. Sure enough, Blanton goes back out, throws one pitch and Nick Hundley shot it right over the left field wall. That one run was the difference in the game.
Blanton has been bad, or Blah-anton-like, since coming off the DL. He now has a 1-4 record with 2 no decisions and a 6.07 ERA. He has not allowed less than 3 earned runs in ANY start this year and has made it through 7 innings only 2 times. The first 5 starts or so looking like he was just behind in his conditioning after returning from the injury. But he should be on track by now and clearly is not. If he is still hurt, the Phillies had better figure it out quick.
Another mystery is Chase Utley; he has not hit a home run since May 20th and has just 6 hits in his last 12 games. While we all know Utley will never admit to being hurt, maybe it is time for someone to sneak up behind him with a syringe, knock him unconscious and force him through and MRI machine? Because this is an unprecedented slump for Utley who hit better in 2008 with a bum hip.
Jayson Werth has been just as bad with 3 hits in 10 games. He has 16 strike outs in those same 10 games, with 3 tonight. The biggest one came with 2 men on base in the 10th to end the game. Ok, run him through the MRI too; it couldn’t hurt.
The bench players have been awful as well. Here are the batting averages: Greg Dobbs, .145; Ross Gload, .200; Ben Francisco, .233. I do not want to hear the excuse about lack of playing time anymore. Other pinch hitters and bench guys on other teams are getting it done, so why aren’t the Phils? Travis Ishikawa of the Giants is 5 for 10 in pinch hits. Even former Phillies, Wes Helms is batting .277 for the Marlins. What is up with the Phillies bench?
This was a frustrating loss as the Phillies finally scored some runs despite various slumps, but the pitching did not hold. They have one more game with the Padres tomorrow night at 7:05pm with a well rested Cole Hamels on the mound as his last outing was rain-shortened.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
After a long, drawn-out slump, the Phillies offense was in need of a serious wake-up call. After wasting a lead-off triple by Shane Victorino in the 1st inning, the Phillies found themselves down 2-0 in the 3rd against the Padres. But Victorino did not give up and started the 3rd off with a single. Three more hits followed as did 4 runs in the inning. Wake-up call: received.
Fueled by the strong performance of Jamie Moyer and some really nice defense, two more runs followed in the 5th on a Ryan Howard single and a Jayson Werth homer. The bell at Citizens Bank Park in centerfield finally had some of the rust knocked off it as it rang with enthusiasm for the Werth home run.
Howard helped out at first base by snagging balls that were all over the place. He looked like Spiderman, shooting webs to snare hits that should have shot past him and he dug several low throws out of the dirt to make outs. One of those throws was from Chase Utley who was literally falling to the ground as he threw the ball after a very tough catch and spin towards first.
Moyer kept right on pitching with confidence…and a 4 run lead. By the end of the 8th inning, he had tossed only 82 pitched, allowed 7 hits and just 2 runs. So Moyer came out for the 9th inning and, despite a lead-off walk, he got the next 3 batters out and ended up with a complete game win. Moyer became only the 3rd pitcher ever to win 100 games after the age of 40. He also has 2 complete games at the age of 47. Jamie Moyer is unbelievable.
After a horrific road trip, can the Phillies now come back home and continue winning? It looks possible after today’s game. The pressure will be on Joe Blanton tomorrow afternoon in the 3rd game of the series; game time is 1:35pm. Go Phillies!
Howard head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography
While it was far from perfection from Roy Halladay last night in his first start since pitching the Perfect Game, he was effective. Halladay allowed just 2 runs on 10 hits over 7 innings. He worked in and out of several jams with multiple base runners against a very good Padres team to keep the Phillies in the game.
Halladay even helped himself out at the plate, knocking a 1 out single in the 3rd that led to Shane Victorino’s 2-run homer. With the Phillies offense still struggling, those two hits turned out to be a big key in winning the game. Jayson Werth collected the 3rd RBI in the 3-2 win by walking with the bases loaded in the 5th inning. Of course, the Phillies offense also left the bases loaded twice and as a team, left 9 men on base.
The lack of scoring was again highlighted in the 8th inning when Jose Contreras hit a batter and then issued a walk. JC Romero was brought in to stop the bleeding and began by walking the next batter to load the bases with 1 out. But it was JC’s birthday, and his present to himself was getting a ground ball double play to end the inning. Happy Birthday, JC!
The real highlight of the evening, however, was Brad Lidge. In his first save opportunity since coming off the DL for the second time this year, Lidge looked like Mr. Perfect from 2008. Lidge mowed down the Padres in order with a nasty slider and good movement on his fastball. His speed clocked in at 94mph on a few pitches. Is this a sign that all is now well with Lidge? Cross your fingers…
Game 2 against the Padres is tonight at 7:05pm. Jamie Moyer will pitch against Jon Garland.
By the way, have you seen the new player-designed apparel at the Phillies MLB Shop? If you have not, be sure to check it out. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Cole Hamels and Raul Ibanez all designed jerseys, tee-shirts and hats for the new collection. Here is a sample of what they designed:
Other teams got into the action as well, so if you are a fan of another team (although I find that hard to imagine ;o), check out their MLB Shop site too. I believe the Mets, Yankees and Twins also participated. Hey, if it is cool looking, maybe I’ll pick up a Mets jersey….or, not. ;o)
And do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars! Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.
Lidge photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; apparel by MLB.com
Mid-March is about the time when I begin to find Spring Training dull and get anxious for the real games to begin. Ok yes, Joe Blanton had a good outing against the Tigers today after a shaky spring start. Cole Hamels looks like he is in good shape with two solid performances so far. The bats are jumping and as a team, the Phillies are hitting at an average of .301 with 7 homers and 36 RBI. And still, I am a bit sleepy about the whole thing.
In my boredom today, I decided to scan through this week’s MLB headlines to see what was going on around the league. Here are a few fun tidbits I came across in my search:
Yankees shortstop and baseball God, Derek Jeter, sat out of a Spring Training game with flu symptoms. And then an Angel lost its wings :O(
Come on Opening Day! Get here….quick! if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13′); Reyes photo by Jenn Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
The Mets Jose Reyes may not be ready to play on Opening Day. His thyroid hormone blood levels are elevated and he is not supposed to do anything that could raise his heart rate. You know, things like showboating on the base paths or talking to Federal agents about his Canadian doctor’s link to performance-enhancing drugs…stuff like that.
Come on Opening Day! Get here….quick!
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Reyes photo by Jenn
Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
In the make-up game tonight against the Padres, the Phillies brought out the big guns. Both Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz each had 3 hits and 1 RBI a piece. Every other position starter had at least one hit with Raul Ibanez collecting 2 RBI and Jimmy Rollins with 2 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.
Cole Hamels was not spectacular, but he did put in a quality start. Hamels got through 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone for Hamels to get back to his MVP form. The Phillies won the game, 9-4 and will start a 3-game series tomorrow with the Cardinals.
Helmet Saves A Life
Many coaches, including ex-Phillies manager Larry Bowa, have grumbled over having to wear batting helmets while on the field coaching 1st or 3rd base during a game. This action was taken when minor league coach, Mike Coolbaugh, was killed after being struck in the head with a foul ball in July of 2007. Well tonight, the rule saved a life. Padres 1st base coach, Rick Renteria, was hit directly in the helmet with a hard line drive off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez. The crowd gasped as Renteria hit the ground, but thanks to the helmet, he was fine and went right on coaching. Whew! A very tense moment, to say the least.
Both JC Romero and Chad Durbin, big pieces of the Phillies bullpen, were placed on the 15-day DL today. Romero is having a minor forearm strain and should be quick to return. Durbin, on the other hand, has apparently been suffering from a back injury for a month now and neglected to tell anyone. But after giving up 3 runs in a game last night which killed any shot the team had at a rally, Durbin finally fessed up. Ugh.
So, Tyler Walker returns from the Iron Pigs to fill one of the spots and Drew Carpenter gets the second spot. It is Carpenter’s 2nd stop to the team this year and his 3rd trip to the majors overall.
And congrats to Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox who threw a perfect game today against the Tampa Bay Rays! And then, Buehrle got a congratulatory call from President Obama. And then, I mentioned him in MY blog! What a lucky, lucky guy :O)
Photo by Jenn
The Cubs took revenge on the Phillies last night after being clubbed over their tiny bear heads the last few days. So the Phils did not sweep and their win streak came to an end at 10 games. But if they win every 10 out of 11 games, I think most fans will be more than happy with that. :O)
Although you cannot win every time, there were a few concerning aspects of the game. Chase Utley does not look quite right. In the entire series, Utley managed only 1 hit in 13 at-bats and struck out 5 times, which is not usually his style. Utley also had an error in the field last night and just looks uncomfortable. While you hate to speculate, it was this same time last year that Utley’s hip began to really bother him. So, is he injured again or is this just a slump and maybe some fatigue after the rat race of the All-Star events? We shall see…
Another player who is showing signs of trouble is Brad Lidge. No one expects the perfection he displayed last year, of course. And his struggles at the beginning seem to stem from the injury to his knee. But now? Lidge claims to be healthy but has given up 5 runs in his last 5 2/3 innings. That equates to an ERA of 7.94. And his ERA for the season stands at 7.20 which closely mirrors his last 7 games.
Lidge has been put into games several times in non-save situations, and as baseball lore tells us, this is usually not a good thing for any closer. It is said that the adrenaline and intensity are not the same in those situations, so many closers struggle. Frankly, I do not buy it. Do I see it happen all the time? Yes. But it should not happen. These guys should be able to pump themselves up no matter the situation; it is what they get paid for. If Lidge were truly “lights-out” when he does come in for saves, then the non-save problems would be easier to accept. But he struggles even in the save situations now, allowing too many hits and too many walks. Lidge did much of the same last year, but not to this extent. Should we be worried? Maybe. Lidge needs to step it up and start looking like the closer that everyone knows he has the potential and ability to be. But I am sure I do not need to tell him this; he already knows.
And that is my rant for the day :O) So, today was supposed to be an off-day, but thanks to earlier April Showers, the Padres will come to town tonight for the one game make-up date. Cole Hamels will need to do his best to rest our very weary bullpen. Start time is 7:05pm and it is dollar dog night at the ballpark. Enjoy!
Lidge Photo by Jenn