Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’
The Phillies have been playing an unusual and frustrating game of hide and seek with their offense for well over a month now. Tonight against the Pirates, play time ended in the 3rd inning when the offense finally came out and yelled, “Here we are!” while scoring 5 runs.
The Phillies scored in 6 out of 9 innings tonight, making some wish they had saved a few runs for the next game. But the early Independence Day offensive fireworks display was long overdue. After scoring just 8 runs in their last 3 games, the Phils exploded tonight to the tune of 12 runs.
Every starter in the game had at least one hit. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins each collected 3 RBI on 2 and 3 hits, respectively. Shane Victorino also had 3 hits and 1 RBI. Cody Ransom was called up from the minors and took the place of Brian Bocock on the roster. Ransom, right off the airplane, contributed immediately with 2 hits and an RBI.
Last year, Ransom filled in at 3rd for the Yankees when Alex Rodriquez was hurt. A knee injury this year delayed his call up to the Phils big club until today, but Ransom is healthy now and will fill need to a big hole as Placido Polanco recovers on the DL. But Ransom’s defense came into question tonight when he dropped an easy pop-fly in the 8th inning. The 10-run lead made it less of an issue, but Ransom had better shape up quick. This team needs him to be solid at 3rd.
Ben Francisco started in place of Raul Ibanez who has just not been hitting. Francisco looked rusty his first few at-bats, but after a couple nice swings, he belted his first home run of the year and collected 2 RBI. The job in left field should be his for the taking if he continues to hit.
The only player who still looked perplexed at the plate tonight was Jayson Werth. He did hit an RBI double in the 4th that almost went for a homer, but he looked terrible in every other at-bat. Werth is taking strikes and swinging at balls. He struck out in his first at-bat on a ball in the dirt.
But with most everyone else hitting, Werth’s struggles do not make a huge impact. Plus, Kyle Kendrick pitched a very good game, allowing just 3 earned runs in the 12-4 win. And for the first time in his major league career, he pitched a complete game. Congrats to Kendrick!
Having lost the first two games to a very bad team, the Phillies really need to come away with a split here and build momentum going into the Braves series which starts Monday. Joe Blanton will pitch in the finale tomorrow; game time is 1:35pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Not many would have guessed at the beginning of the season that a 4-game series against the worst team in the National League and 2nd worst in all of baseball would be such a huge turning point for the Phillies. But this series with the Pirates has become just that. With 7 players and major contributors on the DL, a banged-up back-up catcher and 2 losses to the Bucos already behind them, the Phillies next two games could make or break their season.
The Phillies are five games behind the Braves after last night’s 0-2 shut-out loss to the Pirates. They do have a series with the Braves next, but if they lose 3 or even 4 games in this Pirates series, they will not have much left to bring to the Braves series. Getting whipped by a last place team will mean that they have allowed the injuries to win.
Plus, last night this team looked like it was sleep-walking. Like the energy and confidence has been sucked right out of them. The only player who still looked determined was Jamie Moyer, who pitched six solid innings and allowed only one earned run. Moyer has been rock solid in his last several starts. The rest of the team looks like runny oatmeal.
Oddly enough, the only position player showing some life is back-up Wilson Valdez. Even Jimmy Rollins said after the game about Valdez, “My man right here, he’s got some swag.” Last night was the 3rd multi-hit game for Valdez in his last 4 games. He has also hit 2 home runs in those games. While it is great to see a bench guy step-up like this, where is the rest of the team?
Charlie Manuel said yesterday that he moved Raul Ibanez to the 2-spot in the lineup because “he is a high on-base percentage guy.” Really? Because every starter on the team has a higher OBP than Ibanez who is in 11th place at .322. Not to mention, Ibanez had only 5 hits in 96 at-bats in the month of June. What part of this screams 2-hole hitter?
It is moves like this that make people wonder. It appears that Manuel is grasping at straws trying to get his team back into action. What the Phillies really need is a bucket of ice down the pants to wake them up.
The team did get a small bit of good news. Back-up catcher Brian Schneider has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb; yes, the exact same injury Chase Utley was said to have. Except, Utley wound up with a torn ligament where Schneider says he just needs a few days to rest and can play in an emergency. Schneider is one of the tough guys; you have to love that.
So it boils down to these next few games. Will the Phillies fold under the pressure or come out swinging? They have overcome a lot in years past so there is no reason to think they cannot do it. But this time, if they cannot get back on track fast, it may be too big a hill to climb later. Game time tonight is 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
As more players continue to drop like flies, manager Charlie Manuel was also forced to miss today’s game against the Pirates due to a suspension. On Thursday night, Manuel bill-butted the umpire with the brim of his hat as he argued a call. Manuel has been ejected 3 times in just over a week, obviously frustrated with how this season is going. This suspension was just one more blow to this already limping Phillies team.
The Phillies went down against the Pirates today with their anemic offense again giving no run support to the pitcher. The final score was 2-3 and the Phils had only 8 hits. Wilson Valdez hit a solo homer and the 2nd run was unearned due to a Pirates throwing error. Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez both went hitless.
Ibanez has had one hit in his last 8 games and 34 at-bats. The Phillies need to put Ben Francisco in left and be done with it already. Ibanez has not contributed in any significant way in a long time. In fact, in the month of June, Ibanez had 5 hits…total. That is the entire month. Francisco had 11 hits in 37 at-bats compared to 5 hits in 96 at-bats for Ibanez. This is a NO brainer.
So another good pitching performance was wasted by the Phils offense. Cole Hamels allowed 3 runs in 7 innings and deserved a win. Instead, he gets another loss and to a last-place team no less. But sadly, that was not the only drama tonight.
Just when you thought, after having 7 players on the DL and Chase Utley going in for surgery today, things could not get worse…they did. Back-up catcher Brian Schneider got hit in the hand with a pitch and has a hyper-extended left thumb and had to leave the game. No word yet on how serious it is, but if he goes on the DL too, the Phillies will be left with a 3rd string catcher and have to call up a 4th from the minors. My head hurts.
And by the way, Utley’s recovery time has been changed from the original 6 weeks reported to 8 weeks. By tomorrow, who knows? They may go with 3 months. But realistically, this kind of surgery can have widely varying recovery times based on the extent of the damage and how the surgery went.
As for Placido Polanco, he has 3-4 weeks before he can return due to bone chips in his elbow. And catcher Carlos Ruiz was examined in Pittsburgh today and the tests for his concussion apparently did not go well. That means he may be out even longer than 15 days. The Phils may as well open their own ER at this rate.
Will GM Ruben Amaro Jr. find a quality infielder to help out? This will be interesting. We already know Amaro screwed up when he traded Cliff Lee and probably every team in the league wants to get Lee now. I have heard many fans say they think we can get him back to Philly. Stop right there. Here is the one reason that will never happen: to bring Lee back would mean Amaro would be admitting he made a mistake by trading him in the first place.
Some men admit when they are wrong, like umpire Jim Joyce admitted he blew the call that cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game. And when Andy Pettitte admitted he did steroids and was obviously ashamed. But Amaro? It will never happen. Put it out of your minds and move on.
And now the infield is a bigger concern than the pitching. The Phillies will have at least a month without their 2 All-Star infielders and then an additional month without Utley. They need help and Amaro has to go make something happen. Right now, I really don’t want his job.
Player photos and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies squandered an opportunity for a series win today, losing to the Reds by a score of 3-4. Roy Halladay has now lost 6 of his last 9 games, even though he has pitched at a 3.19 ERA during those 9 games. He did not have his best stuff today, allowing 2 big homers and 13 hits in an 8-inning complete game. But as has been the case all year, the offense did little to help him out.
It looked like the back-up players might carry the team for the second day in a row when 3rd string catcher Dane Sardinha hit a 3-run homer in the 4th inning. Wilson Valdez had 2 hits again and Greg Dobbs had a hit and a walk. But with both Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez going 0 for 4, no Chase Utley or Placido Polanco, the offense did not get anything else done.
Games like these are when the Phillies are going to feel the full effect of having 7 players on the DL. The injuries are out of control and as a result, this is going to be a very rough ride for the rest of the season.
Yesterday, Brad Lidge said that the Phillies players were going to have to “step-up” during this trying time. I found that comical after Lidge became the only player yesterday who did not step-up. However, he has a point. The question remains though, can these bench guys get the job done?
Once the team has a better idea of how long Utley and Polanco will be out, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have some very serious decisions to make. Can they go out and get a descent infielder while still adding to the pitching depth? All Phillies fans can do right now is hang in there and hope that this team can weather the storm.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh now for a 4-game series. The first game is Thursday night at 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Roy Halladay did his usual yesterday against the Pirates. He pitched a complete game, however, the Phillies offense gave him no support and he lost the game despite the effort which included 132 pitches. With the misty cold weather and the Flyers playoff game going on next door, the entire stadium was dead. The Phillies offense followed suit and played like they were asleep in this 1-2 loss.
So the most exciting thing that happened all night besides Halladay’s 9 inning, 2-run game was watching actor and Delaware native, Ryan Phillippe, attempt to throw the ceremonial first pitch. He drilled it into the ground nowhere near the plate. I will post photos of that later. For now, here is a quick shot of Phillippe and Halladay:
So while the Phillies batters collected just 6 hits, three of which were from Ryan Howard, and just 1 run, the defense behind Halladay looked sleepy as well. Placido Polanco and Juan Castro made back-to-back errors in the 5th inning, extending Halladay’s work load. Then in the 6th inning, Jayson Werth made a great throw home to catch Lastings Milledge trying to score. He would have been out by a mile, and it looked like he was, until the ball flew off into the grass. Carlos Ruiz was so busy making the tag, he forgot to catch the ball first:
Milledge did his job by plowing into Ruiz to break up the play. Earlier in the game, Werth had the chance to do the same when the 3rd base coach sent him home after a Castro single. He probably should not have been sent as the throw beat him there, but instead of sliding and trying to knock the ball out of the catcher’s glove, Werth, quite politely, walked slowly into the tag. The Phillies failure to score there combined with the dropped ball by Ruiz turned out to be the difference in the game.
Here are a few other plays from the game…check out the shot of Polanco with both legs levitating off the ground…weird:
So this game was a huge waste of a great performance from Halladay and on his bobblehead giveaway night, too. Sad. The good news is, I got my bobblehead and stayed mostly dry, which is what I had wished for before the game. Perhaps I should have also wished for some offense? Oh well…next time.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game.
Jamie Moyer will pitch later tonight as the Cubs come into town for another short 2-game series. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Blowout wins are fun, although the Pirates were certainly not singing Yo-ho-ho in celebration after they lost 12-2 to the Phillies. Rather, they were probably cursing the Phillies as scallywags who buried them in Davey Jones’ Locker, deep at the bottom of the sea.
The swashbucklin’ good time for the Phillies was made even sweeter by the return of Jimmy Rollins…
Ok, I am done with the Pirate references…for now ;o) So, J-Roll is back off the disabled list, having removed his peg-leg and replaced it with a shiny new athletic one (sorry, could not help myself). He wasted no time getting back in the swing of things with a sacrifice for an RBI in his first at bat. Rollins finished the game with two hits and a walk, including a double where he showed off his speed around the bases.
Rollins batted 3rd in place of the ill Chase Utley who stayed home with flu-like symptoms; or, maybe it was “scurvy?” Nahhh… Anyway, Shane Victorino stayed in the lead-off spot, but this will probably change once Rollins is at full-speed.
The Phillies offense hijacked runs from the Pirates left and right. Jayson Werth smacked a 3-run homer in the 3rd inning and ended the game with 4 RBI on 2 hits. The main thief of the night was Ryan Howard who had 6 RBI on 3 hits, including his 9th career Grand Slam. By the time that happened in the 8th inning, Howard was basically just adding insult to injury and off a former Phillie, no less. Poor Jack Taschner was tagged for 4 hits and those 4 runs in less than 2 innings.
Kyle Kendrick started the game, but his solid outing was overshadowed by the offensive brutality. Kendrick pitched 8 innings, a career high, and allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits with 12 ground ball outs, showing the effectiveness of his slider. Antonio Bastardo, still a very young lefty, showed flashes of brilliance in the 9th inning with 2 very convincing strike-outs and a pop-up to end the game. He made the Pirates look lily-livered at the plate.
The Phillies have one more game with the Bucos tonight at 7:05pm, if the rain holds off enough to get the game in. Roy Halladay will pitch on Roy Halladay bobblehead night! So, the rain had better behave at least long enough for me to get my new toy and see some fine Halladay pitching. Wish me luck! I’ll see you there…
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
While the Brewers have not been playing well, having lost an entire home stand and all of their last 8 games, the Phillies did not take pity. Instead, they put a beating on the Brew Crew, winning all 3 games of the series.
The offense was not as potent last night as the previous two games where they scored 19 runs combined, but the 4 runs yesterday were enough. Starting pitcher Cole Hamels helped himself out at the plate with an RBI double in the second inning. Placido Polanco and Wilson Valdez had one run knocked in each. The 4th run was a bit more unconventional. Chase Utley batted with men on 1st and 3rd in the 8th and swung at an awful, in the dirt pitch, striking out. But the catcher missed the bouncing ball and Utley was safe at first base while Shane Victorino scored from 3rd. Weird.
Because Hamels pitched a good game, those 4 runs brought the Phillies the 4-2 win. Hamels allowed those 2 runs to the Brewers in the 6th inning by giving up 2 solo homers. But before that, he was mowing the batters down with his fast ball-change-up combo. Hamels made it through 6 2/3 innings with the bullpen holding down the lead. JC Romero got the save and looked like he is back in top shape now since his off-season surgery.
The Phillies should get some good news today as it looks like Jimmy Rollins will be coming off the DL. This is sad for Wilson Valdez who has been filling in for both Rollins and the still injured Juan Castro at short stop. Valdez did not start out well, but he ended by going 5 for 15 in this series with 2 RBI. And the 3rd back-up catcher, Paul Hoover, went 5 for 10 with 2 RBI and 6 runs scored in the series. With two 3rd-string players performing so well, it makes you wonder if just putting on the Phillies uniform has some magical powers? Abracadabra, you are a major league player! Poof!
While that may or may not be the case, the Phillies will take this kind of output from their back-ups anyway they can get it. The Pirates are up next for a two game series. Kyle Kendrick pitches tonight and game time is 7:05pm. Go Phillies!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies prevailed over the Pirates today by a score of 4-3 in the final spring exhibition game. This win brings their Spring Training record to 15 wins, 12 losses and 1 tie. Spring numbers do not mean a whole lot, however, so we will all be very glad to see the real games begin on Monday.
JA Happ started the game today and pitched 3 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits. In the second inning, Happ loaded the bases with no outs and still only managed to give up the one run, thanks in part to some nice defense.
One thing that has stood out the past 3 springs is the effort this team puts forth, even in games that do not mean anything. Phillies players give 100% effort even in Spring Training. It is refreshing to see that they do not hold back and always play the game the right way. Here are just a few of the highlights from today’s game:
In addition to the field acrobatics, a few players stood out at the plate as well. Jayson Werth hit a solo homer in the 4th inning and both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino had 2 hits and 1 RBI each. Raul Ibanez had a rough Spring overall, but he did collect one more hit today to improve his average to .130. The low average is due to his very slow start, but Ibanez looks more comfortable at the plate now and hopefully, he is ready to compete.
The roster is nearly set now; after the game, the following players were assigned to AAA – catcher Paul Hoover, infielders Cody Ransom and Wilson Valdez and outfielder Dewayne Wise. That leaves Juan Castro, Ross Gload, Ben Francisco and Greg Dobbs as the bench players, as well as back-up catcher Brian Schneider.
Three pitchers were placed in the DL retroactive to March 26; Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge and JC Romero. These are not surprises. There are 11 pitchers left on the active roster after these moves, which leaves one spot open for a bullpen pitcher after losing Blanton and moving Kyle Kendrick to the starting rotation. Who the #12 guy will be has not yet been announced, although it is expected to be right-hander Andrew Carpenter.
Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game. I will also be at the Opener in DC on Monday and will bring back photos from that one as well. President Obama will toss the first pitch…see you there!
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Photos by Jenn
The timetable for closer Brad Lidge to return may have just been pushed back. After multiple off-season surgeries on both his knee and elbow, Lidge is still experiencing pain in the elbow, although no structural damage has been found. As a result, he was given a cortisone shot. His doctor reports that the elbow inflammation is unrelated to the surgery.
While the team and Lidge are downplaying the seriousness of this issue, a cortisone shot is not a good sign. The fact that the pain is “unrelated” to the surgery could mean that this is a new issue; either that or they are just not giving us all of the facts. In addition, the frequency of injuries that Lidge seems to suffer from does not inspire confidence. Here is a quick review of Lidge’s injury history.
– Lidge missed parts of his first four professional seasons with a variety of injuries, including a torn rotator cuff, right shoulder tendinitis and a broken forearm that almost ended his career.
– 2002: strained intercostal muscle near the rib cage
– December 2003: arthroscopic surgery on his left knee
– June – July 2005: shut down with elbow issues
– May 2007: bone bruise on his right femur near his knee
– June – July 2007: left oblique strain
– October 2007: surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee
– February 2008: tore the meniscus in the same knee he just had surgery on during his first pitch off a mound in Spring Training.
– June 2009: sprained right knee and a sore elbow (his flexor pronator tendon).
– January 2010: surgery on both the elbow and the right knee again.
– March 2010: the elbow is still an issue and Lidge gets a cortisone injection.
Based on the evidence, are we to conclude that Lidge is made of glass? Fans grumbled when he came to Philly because of the injury history, but all was quickly forgotten when 2008 turned into the Perfect Season for him. 2009 was a disaster for Lidge and now, 2010 is not looking good either. Let the grumbling begin…
Another key Phillies pitcher has recently joined the injury parade; starter Joe Blanton strained his left oblique muscle while throwing in the bullpen on Wednesday. He has been placed on the 15-day DL, which puts his earliest return around April 20-28. This type of issue tends to drag on and take a while to heal, which is not good news for the Phillies.
Although, this is good news for Kyle Kendrick who will probably join the rotation now. And that leaves one bullpen spot open as well. Pitchers B.J. Rosenberg and Michael Stutes will travel north to Philly tomorrow for the last two exhibition games and it is likely that one of them may make the team now.
In other recent pitching disasters, Roy Halladay faced his former team for the first time yesterday. The Blue Jays, knowing their old teammate well, took advantage and nailed Halladay for 4 runs in the first inning including a 2-run homer. Halladay recovered and finished off the next two innings without incident. So maybe not quite a disaster….just another Spring Training game so no one really cares ;o)
The Phillies will face the Pirates today and then return to Philly tomorrow for the last few games before Opening Day on Monday in D.C.
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Photo by Jenn
In the 3rd inning of today’s Phillies-Pirates match-up in Bradenton, FL, Placido Polanco tripped on the pitcher’s mound trying to catch a pop-up. He limped off the field and is said to have a right knee strain. Initial reports are that it is not serious and Polly should be back in action in 3 or 4 days. This is first real injury for the Phillies in camp thus far and we hope it is the last.
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
The other interesting news came from Buster Olney of ESPN this week; he claims that his “sources” had reported that the Phillies were talking about swapping 1st baseman with the Cardinals.
That’s right, in Olney’s alternate universe, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would trade places. Perhaps Olney’s “sources” were aliens from Mars? Or maybe it was just the little voices inside his head who yearn to see Olney locked up in a padded room?
The odds of this sort of swap happening are astronomical; it is not even a fair trade. No offense to Howard, but clearly Pujols is the better overall player. Yes, Howard is from St. Louis, but this is no reason for the Cards to think they would get him cheap. And the Phillies could never afford Pujols. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was so perturbed at the news, he flat out called Olney a liar. “It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”
Despite all the drama, the Phillies went on to win today by a score of 5-1. Roy Halladay gave up his first run of Spring and also walked two batters; all this means is we now have proof that the man is not a robot. I think we can all live with the 1.00 ERA.
While the starting pitching looks good, some of the relievers do not. JC Romero will not be ready for Opening Day so one of the young lefties will need to step up to fill the void. However, neither Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona or Mike Zagurski have looked ready to do so thus far. Bastardo has allowed 3 runs over 2 innings of work; Escalona has 5 runs allowed in 3 innings; and Zagurski only made 1 appearance. He is still trying to get back in the groove after Tommy John surgery. One of these three lefties will need to show that they can do the job and right now, it does not look good.
Pet Peeve of The Week
So many MLB teams these days have radio and TV announcers that leave a lot to be desired. Realizing that Philly fans were spoiled for decades with the great Harry Kalas, it may be an unfair comparison. However, during the Phillies-Pirates match-up today, a Pirates announcer took “unprofessional” to a new level. Tim Neverett, hired in December 2008, does play-by-play for the Bucos. And today, he did not win any brownie points from Philly fans.
In the middle of the 4th inning, Neverett began praising the team’s mascot, the Pirate Parrot and mentioned how he was harassing Philly fans in the stands. He went on to say, “I think the Parrot likes this. There’s no better group of fans to tease than the Philadelphia fans…(pause)…Because there’s no worse fans. The same people who boo Santa Claus are now getting it from the Pirate Parrot.”
First of all, the Santa Claus incident was in 1968 at an Eagles football game. Get over it. Secondly, there are “no worse fans?” Seriously? Apparently, Mr. Neverett must be a world traveler who has first-hand knowledge of such things. While I am not going to waste time comparing Philly fans to experiences I have had elsewhere, I will say that such a general statement is both ignorant and rude.
A small segment of fans of ANY team are bound to be obnoxious and disruptive. That is human nature. You expect to hear this sort of prejudice from those obnoxious fans, not from the radio announcer who is being paid to be objective and professional. You want rude? Ok then, BOO YOU Mr. Neverett! You should be ashamed.
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Photos by Jenn