Results tagged ‘ Paul Bako ’
After the oddities involved in yesterday’s Phillies-Mets match-up, including a game-ending unassisted triple play, the circus act continued into the beginning of today’s game. Yesterday, the Phillies hit two 3-run homers in the first inning; today, they only managed one 3-run homer in the first inning, but still an amazing feat. Ryan Howard provided the power after Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch and Chase Utley walked. Victorino also stole second and then wound up on third base after a throwing error that same inning, leaving the Mets looking like a pack of clowns.
But the spectacle got even weirder in the bottom half of the 1st; Chase Utley must have taken up juggling in his spare time, because that is exactly what he did with a routine pop-up from the first hitter for the Mets, Angel Pagan. Utley dropped the ball as Pagan sped around the bases and then proceeded to join the Mets clown troop by throwing the ball away into left field. The double error allowed Pagan to round the bases and score. Pagan is the same Met who wound up with an inside-the-park homer in the 1st inning of yesterday’s game after Victorino became confused over the Citi Field ground rules and did not field a ball that got stuck under the outfield wall padding.
Next, Jayson Werth put on his clown suit as he over ran a ball to right field, stumbled around trying to catch it on a hop and looked absolutely ridiculous doing it. Gary Sheffield wound up with a triple and eventually scored. And this was only the 1st inning.
Oh yes, the circus has indeed come to town. But Sheffield, despite his triple, was next in line to receive his badge of silliness as in the 2nd inning, he too dropped a routine pop-up which came off the bat of Phillies catcher, Paul Bako.
But after the 2nd inning, things began to calm down and Cliff Lee was amazing, yet again. Ignoring the shoddy defense at the start of the game, he buckled down and pitch 7 solid innings, allowing 6 hits and NO earned runs. Both Mets runs were unearned due to the Utley errors. Lee is now 5-0 as a Phillie and has yet to even walk a batter! Lee is the anti-clown; just amazing.
Howard hit another homer (say that 5 times fast) in the 3rd inning and the 2-run shot plus the 3-run shot earlier was all the offense Lee needed to notch the win. But just for fun, Raul Ibanez knocked in one more in the 9th inning on a double to left that scored Utley.
Chan Ho Park and Brad Lidge took the 8th and 9th inning respectively and shut down the Mets. Lidge looked good which is excellent news, especially considering he went into a non-save situation and still got the job done cleanly.
Player of the Week
Jayson Werth has been on fire! Whatever has been lit under his backside recently has earned him Player of the Week honors for the National League. Werth led the majors with 5 home runs and 29 total bases plus he hit .440 for the week. Today, he did not have a hit in the game, but did walk three times. Congrats to Jayson!
Eric “I am only hitting .158″ Bruntlett has been asked to send his jersey to the Hall of Fame. Yesterday, Bruntlett turned an unassisted, game-ending triple play after a horrible start to the inning where he committed 1 official error and bobbled another ball that was eventually scored a hit. But redemption is sweet as Bruntlett not only saved the game, but he made history in the process.
This will actually be the 2nd item for Bruntlett in the Hall; last year, he donated his “Elmer Fudd” cold-weather, ear-flap cap from the World Series.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh to begin a 3-game series with the Pirates tomorrow. Joe Blanton will take the mound for the Phillies; game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn
Cliff Lee was welcomed to Philadelphia today by the fans. In his second start for the team, his first at home, Lee pitched extremely well. He went 7 innings and allowed only 1 run on 6 hits and 1 walk. While not as spectacular as his first start in San Francisco where he went a full 9 innings, today’s start was more than acceptable and exactly what the Phillies were hoping to get out of the 2008 Cy Young winner.
Lee had some help; Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4 at the plate and was just a home run short of the cycle. J-Roll also scored 2 of the 3 Phillies runs. Paul Bako, the Phillies back-up catcher, hit a solo home run in the game; it was his first homer since June of last year.
There were also several miscues in the game including an error by Lee, a ball missed by Ryan Howard that should have been an error, but was not scored as such, and J-Roll also missed a ball up the middle that he normally gets to. On top of that, the young Ben Francisco drew a walk in the 7th, only to get himself picked off at 1st base. Whoops! But through all the blunders, Lee remained calm and pitched through it. That, more than anything else, was very impressive.
Earlier today, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that JA Happ will stay in the rotation. How this will happen has not been disclosed, although Ruben did mention getting “creative” to solve the dilemma. Could “creative” mean he likes my 5 ½ man rotation idea?? Hmmmmm…..
Whatever the case, good news for Happ! Likely what happens next is Jamie Moyer starts against the Marlins this week and after that, the real fun of juggling these guys begins.
The Fish are coming to town! Tomorrow’s 7:05pm game start time has been pushed back to 7:35pm in order to hold a special ceremony to induct our beloved Harry Kalas into the Phillies Wall of Fame. It is sure to be an emotional day for all as Harry’s sons, friends and family of fans pay tribute to a Philly legend one more time. We still miss you, Harry!
And finally, here is the full Photo Album from today’s Phillies – Rockies match-up and Cliff Lee’s 2nd start.
Photos by Jenn
Ryan Howard showed everyone today why he is an All-Star; Howard went 3 for 3 with 3 RBI and 2 walks. But more importantly, he came up to bat in the 9th inning with 1 out, 2 men on base and the Phillies trailing by 3 runs and he saved the day. Howard nailed a 3 run home run to centerfield to tie up a game which, until that moment, looked like a sure loss for the Phillies against the last place Pirates.
Howard had some help though; Raul Ibanez, in his first start since coming off the DL, doubled after Howard’s home run; it was Ibanez’s 2nd hit of the night. After that, Pedro Feliz singled, Jayson Werth was walked to load the bases and Paul Bako stepped to the plate. You may be asking, Bako who? Bako, in his 12th year in the majors and playing for his 10th different team as a back-up catcher, made name for himself in Philly tonight. He whacked a single through a hole in the infield, scoring Ibanez and giving the Phils an 8-7 win. Bako is batting only .214 and his lifetime average hovers right around only .230, but that did not matter tonight. With his second hit of the game, he got the job done.
The Phillies really needed some heroics tonight after Cole Hamels had another bad outing. In 6 innings, Hamels allowed 6 runs on 7 hits, which included 3 home runs. Hamels even allowed a home run to Andrew McCutchen, who had only 1 homer the entire year until tonight. Another went to Delwyn Young, who in a 4 year career, had only 5 home runs until Hamels helped him to #6. Can you say BAD location? Apparently, Hamels can and we all wish he would unlearn that particular phrase.
The bullpen had a bad night too; Chad Durbin allowed 2 runs, one of which scored when Scott Eyre came in to relieve him and walked a run home; a combination bad effort. But we are all entitled to have bad days, and for the Phillies pitchers, this was certainly one of those; especially since it came against the Pirates. But it was all erased with the outpouring of offense late in the game.
Only one game left before the All-Star break! The Pirates will try to salvage a game and the Phillies will try to stop them; 1:35pm tomorrow.
Sale At The Spectrum
Did anyone else attend the Spectrum sale earlier today? I was there and oh boy, what a mess! For the first time ever, the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers joined forces to host a blow-out sale of discontinued merchandise at low prices.
I spoke to a Spectrum representative as the horror was unfolding and he told me that they were expecting, and only prepared for, 500 people. What they got was thousands upon thousands and as a result, a lot of very unhappy customers. Check out lines, which began with 2 cashiers on each side (Phillies side & Sixers/Flyers side) took hours to get through. No exaggeration…hours. And it was like watching cattle being herded; the small shopping area was jam packed with shoulder-to-shoulder shoppers and you could barely move. Meanwhile, thousands of other shoppers formed a line outside the building waiting to be let in.
I got there early, as I expected a crowd, unlike the Spectrum management, so I did get in with the first group and got some pretty cool stuff. But, it took me over 2 hours, with help, to do so. Most of the merchandise was old playoff gear, but a few nice finds were there. And the lines began to thin out after the management added a cash only line and a few more cashiers. I do believe that next year, they will be a bit more prepared. At any rate, it was a real adventure.
Photos by Jenn
It has been a very weird day for the Phillies. For starters, Raul Ibanez returned to the team and is expected to play the next two games before the All-Star Break. Then, Chris Coste was let go and picked up by the Houston Astros. Coste has not had a great year off the bench and apparently, the Phillies prefer Paul Bako’s skills behind the plate as the back-up; neither Coste nor Bako have performed well offensively, so the defense was the deciding factor. Coste is a great guy and has been a huge part of this team; he will be missed :O(
And then to round out the day of weirdness, Charlie Manuel chose his outfield replacement for the All-Star game – it is Jayson Werth. Many have questioned the selection as Werth’s batting average is below many others who could have been picked, like Matt Kemp, but it is Charlie’s team and he gets to make the decision. The Phillies have gotten screwed several times in the past with All-Star picks, like Pat Burrell last year, so I guess what comes around, goes around. But Werth has been great and his power numbers are excellent; many players deserve to go and he is certainly one of them. Either way, the Phillies now have 5 players headed to St. Louis :O)
Then tonight the Phillies began a series with the Pirates. Joe Blanton had another great start and pitched through 7 1/3 innings, allowing just 1 run, a solo homer. It was a great job by Blanton and a real boost to the starting rotation.
The offense did not score much, but got just enough to win the game for Blanton. Werth rewarded Manuel for his All-Star decision by smacking a 2-run double in the 3rd inning. Shane Victorino did the same for the fans who voted him in by going 3 for 4 on the night. And Chase Utley, Mr. All-Star himself, had 1 hit, 1 walk and scored a run. Final score was 3-2 with Brad Lidge getting the save, although another nerve-wracking one after he gave up a solo homer. But, a win is a win :O) We’ll take it.
By the way, for anyone who has been following the Friday Night Phever game on CSNPhilly.com with Ricky Bottallico, I just won! Whoo Hoo!
Photo by Jenn
Before I get to FOX Sports, I have a game re-cap for you. Jamie Moyer, the oldest player in the major leagues, took the mound today against the New York Mets for his 600th career start! Congratulations Jamie! What a milestone! Moyer was outstanding in his effort and allowed only 1 run in 6 1/3 innings. Not only is Jamie an amazing baseball player, he is an even more amazing human being. Jamie dedicates countless hours to charity work with The Moyer Foundation and is ever-present in the community; a true role model for children and people of all ages. It is refreshing to see such success come to a person who really deserves it.
Jamie got the win by a score of 4-1. Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz were the Phillies offensive stars of the game today; Victorino went 3 for 4 with an RBI; Feliz had 3 hits as well. Even Jimmy Rollins joined the party and collected 2 RBI on a double. SO nice to see Jimmy creeping back to life! It is also a big relief to see Ryan Madson begin to pitch his way back to normal. In to relieve JC Romero, he recorded 2 quick outs to retire the Mets in the 8th inning. Then Brad Lidge came in for the 9th, saved the game, and all is as it should be…at least for today ;O)
This gives the Phillies a series win at home for a change, and more importantly, an opportunity to sweep the Mets! I will be at the game tomorrow and bring back news and photos.
In some very odd news, Paul Bako, our back-up, back-up catcher (not a typo) has started 3 of the last 4 games. This has given me some reason to speculate. Could Carlos Ruiz be on the trading block with the Phillies desperately seeking pitching? If they are in the middle of negotiating with another team, it makes sense to sit Ruiz as they would not want him to get hurt while making decisions. With Chris Coste as a solid back-up and Lou Marson waiting in AAA, this may not be such a strange move. Another possibility is that Ruiz is hurt again and no one is talking. Then again, maybe Charlie Manuel was just feeling a bit silly this week? We shall see as the week progresses.
Why FOX Sports Sucks
Can someone please explain to me WHY my Phillies – Mets game today was interrupted multiple times so that FOX sports could should gratuitous footage of Manny Ramirez at bat in San Diego? It was Manny’s 2nd game back with the Dodgers since serving a 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy. Can I get a big “WHO CARES??” from the peeps, please? Thank you.
Seriously, it was not Manny setting some amazing record; not Manny greeting aliens from a spaceship for our first extraterrestrial encounter; not even the President of the United States giving an important speech…Manny’s 2nd game back after a STEROID suspension. Heck, not even the 1st game back (even so, I would not have cared to see that either). Has FOX Sports reached an all-time low in trying to get ratings? You betcha. It was like them interrupting a blessing from Jesus Christ himself to show a drive-by shooting. What exactly were they expecting to happen? That Manny’s head would explode? Or, he was going to announce the cure for cancer? Now THAT would have been news.
And yet, on this most important day in America where we celebrate the freedom of our great country, we are subjected to this ridiculous, infantile Mannywood hype by FOX Sports. On the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig retiring from baseball while suffering from a fatal disease…we get Manny-Insanity. On the day Jamie Moyer celebrates his 600th career start as a pitcher, are we shown historical footage of the eldest current player in baseball…a person who is a great humanitarian as well? No…we get dreadlock fever.
Truly disgusting. FOX Sports – you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Moyer & Manny Photos by Jenn
Where has the NLCS and the World Series MVP gone? Certainly, he is not the same pitcher who is currently 4-5 with a 4.98 ERA? Oh heck, make it an even 5.00. And tonight, his problems were more magnified than ever; Cole Hamels pitched only 4+ innings and allowed 7 earned runs as the Phillies went down 1-11. Seven runs against an Atlanta team that everyone said had NO offense; well, I guess they were just waiting for the Phillies to come to town.
But what is the problem with Hamels? First, he is leaving way too many pitches up in the zone. This is not his typical style, but suddenly, it has become a real issue. Second, he is pitching frustrated. In recent days, the previously cool and confident Hamels has become a whiny crybaby with the umpires and has a general look of dissatisfaction on his face all the time. But why? For a guy who has had this much success at a young age, he has no reason to pout…with the exception maybe of his last several outings. He was the 2008 World Series MVP…he bought a brand new luxury condo in Philly…his wife is expecting their first child…everyone worships him. So, what is the issue? Where did the smile go?
Then again, this entire team has seemingly lost their Mojo over the past month. Just ask Jimmy Rollins; in fact, the only guy who’s Mojo appears untouchable is Chase Utley who is still batting .301 despite his team’s struggles. And where has Ryan Howard’s big bat disappeared to? He has not hit a home run since June 20th (that is 32 at-bats) and is hitting .240 overall this past month. The most feared offensive team in the league has turned into a welcome relief to opposing pitchers who are now anxious to mow the Phillies down.
This is where Charlie Manuel’s short comings will come to light. Don’t get me wrong, I love Charlie. He has been the manager that this team has needed and he performed THE miracle by bringing the World Series Championship home. And Charlie is a super nice guy; but that is exactly the issue. He is too nice sometimes. Sorry Charlie, but it is time to start banging heads together in that clubhouse. The “nice” approach worked for two games, and now, they are right back in a funk.
Not only that, but he should manage without worrying about making everyone happy. When asked why he started Paul Bako at catcher tonight, a career bench guy, Manuel said he felt that because Bako was there with the team, he needed to play sometime. I hate to disagree, but as the manager, Manuel does not owe anyone anything. It is not Manuel’s job to soothe ego’s; it is his job to win games. And no offense to Bako, but he is hardly the spark plug this team needs right now. Forget about getting guys their playing time; play the guys who will produce. And if Rollins cannot hit, move him down in the line-up. There is no sense in him getting 5 at-bats a game when other players are hitting better. No one cares how unhappy it makes Rollins, and neither should Charlie. Get him out of the funk, then move him back. Jimmy should be willing to do what is best for the team, and he knows that. A little tough love is in order here. The rest of the NL East is creeping right up on top of the Phillies and they will be out of first place this week if nothing changes.
The New Starter?
Rodrigo Lopez will, at least for now, occupy the hole left in the line-up by Brett Myers who is down for the season after hip surgery. Lopez pitched for the Rockies in 2007, then had Tommy-John surgery. Coming back from his injury, he signed a minor league deal with the Phils in March and has gone 5-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 13 starts this season with the AAA Iron Pigs.
Most expected to see Carlos Carassco in this spot, but that is not the way it will pan out. However, this move may be a sign that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has a trade in the works and did not want to bring up a young gun for a spot start. If you are going to bring in a guy like Carassco, you are probably thinking that he will be in long term. Since they did not do that, it leads me to think there may be something cooking. Let us hope so…
Last Day To Vote
Hamels Photos by Jenn
Eminem by http://graphicshunt.com
Let the Boo’s begin…now, I do not condone booing, but there will be no avoiding it after the Phillies blew another lead today for their 5th loss in a row; 7 losses in their last 8 games. And they blew it yet again in spectacular fashion.
The offense had only two hits through the 6th inning; one from Greg Dobbs and one from Paul Bako. No runner had advanced past first base either. And JA Happ had an adventurous start on the mound; Happ allowed only 2 runs, but had a lot of base runners. With 10 hits and 4 walks given up to the Orioles, Happ was having some issues. But to his credit, he got out of the jams and nailed down 6 innings to keep the Phillies in the game.
Despite all that, the Phillies were poised to win the game after Ryan Howard tried to play hero. In fact, maybe Howard should get sick more often…he spent time in the hospital earlier today with a 104 degree temperature and was held out of the game’s staring line-up tonight. Dobbs started at 1st base, Matt Stairs started in left and Bako got his first start at catcher. But it was Howard who tried to break the game open in the 7th inning, despite his fever. Coming in to pinch hit with 2 men on base, 2 outs and the Phillies trailing by a score of 2-3, Howard nailed a 3-run homer to straight away center field. And just like that, the Phillies who had been silent all game long, suddenly seemed to develop a heartbeat. It’s Alive!! Or, is it?
Well, things got bad again, very quickly…and again, it was Ryan Madson who did the damage. He gave up a solo home run to Greg Zaun in the 9th and then, with 2 strikes on Brian Roberts and 2 outs, he threw a fastball down the middle of the plate and Roberts knocked it over the fence, scoring 2 runs. Madson blows another save. OMG. I am sure no one feels worse about how this week has gone than Madson, but do we all see now why he should NOT replace Brad Lidge? Many critics have complained about Lidge blowing saves this year and suggested Madson take over; clearly, this is not the role for Madson. He tries too hard, he over throws and you see the results. I feel for Madson; this is not the role for him. But this was apparent to me 2 blown saves ago, so why has nothing changed? JC Romero is better suited to close. Can we give it a try at least? Please? It is not fair to anyone, including Madson, to let this go on as is.
I will be at the game tomorrow and return with photos and a report on how the crowd reacts to the team after this disastrous home stand. Wish me luck…
Having blown six saves already this season amidst various complaints of a sore knee, Brad Lidge recently insisted that his knee troubles were in the past. However, he was placed on the 15-day DL today, which will be retroactive back to June 7th. Does this explain his 7.27 ERA? Maybe. But placing him on the DL may very well be a combination of the knee issue plus his bad performance. Perhaps the knee, which may well be feeling better, threw off his mechanics and now he needs time to straighten things out. Lidge was looking better his last few outings, but is still not the Lidge of last season.
Ryan Madson will take over the closers role in Lidge’s absence and a new face was added to the club to fill the hole. Paul Bako, 36, has been called up from AA. Bako is a catcher who hit .357 in 10 games so far this year with the R-Phils. One can only assume he will be used as an additional bat off the bench, as we do not need two 30-something year old catchers (Coste), plus a starter (Ruiz). This still seems an odd choice though, as Bako bats lefty. I would love to look into my crystal ball to see what the Phillies are thinking here. Then again, if I could read minds, I would be making a lot more money ;O)
The draft is upon us and word has it that the Phillies will take a high school prospect for their first pick (75th overall). They had a first round pick, but that went to the Mariners in the Raul Ibanez deal. We are all fine with that though, I assume :O) The draft kicks off at 6pm.
Yes, it is back. The Mets voodoo is ON! J-Roll Smurf and friends have prepared the hex for this 3-game series which kicks off tonight at 7:10pm. Power of the mind, people – get out your pins and take a stab to help out J-Roll Smurf!
Photo by Jenn