Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’

A Few First Looks At Pitchers and Hitters

In the last few Spring Training games, the Phillies have gotten a good look at many new and returning pitchers. 
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Cole Hamels gave up  a home run on only his 2nd pitch of spring against the Blue Jays, but recovered well and overall, had an good outing.  Hamels allowed two hits and a walk in two innings plus the home run.  He has added a cutter and a curveball to his repertoire of pitches which seems to be giving him a little more confidence in his ability to get outs.

Jamie Moyer also pitched in a “B” game that same day and does not look like a man who had 3 surgeries in the off-season.  He pitched 3 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits and striking out 3 batters.  Clearly, Moyer is not ready to concede the 5th starters spot to one of the younger pitchers.  And with the $8 million dollars the Phillies owe him this year whether he performs or not, that is a good thing.

Three other pitchers who did not make such a great impression on Friday were J.C. Ramirez, picked up in the Cliff Lee trade; Ryan Vogelsong, a Philly-area native who recently spent time playing in Japan; and Bill White, who was picked up off waivers from the Rangers.  Ramirez allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 1 1/3 innings.  Both Vogelsong and White gave up 4 runs each in an inning or less.  It is still early in Spring, but the results do not bode well for these pitchers.

Joe Blanton also had a rough outing today against the Pirates; 5 hits and 3 runs in 2 innings plus a number of extra base hits were the highlights.  However, the relievers did very well, including Danys Baez, BJ Rosenberg and Mike Zagurski; they each pitched 2 scoreless innings in the game.

As for the hitters, prospect Tyson Gillies, also from the Cliff Lee trade, hit a solo homer in the sixth inning against the Jays and was 2 for 2 overall with 2 RBI in the game, making a great first impression.  Gillies also has tremendous speed and a great arm from centerfield.  The Phillies top prospect Domonic Brown went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and threw a runner out at the plate from right field.  Brown appears to be on track to take over for Jayson Werth should he depart in 2011 once becoming a free agent.

Ryan Howard remains hitless so far this Spring, but more concerning is the absence of Shane Victorino.  Benched with a sore shoulder since the start of the month, Victorino did not travel to the Pirates game with the team today.  While this may simply be the Phillies being extra cautious with their star centerfielder, it is concerning.  Victorino has had a number of nagging injuries over the last few years that seemed fairly minor, but still kept him out of the line-up for extended periods of time.  All the Phillies can do is hope this does not become one of those situations.

And just for fun, has anyone seen the new Cliff Lee Topps Opening Day trading card?  Generally, when a player is traded, Topps will take one of their old trading cards and paint the new uniform in the photo over the old uniform.  In Cliff Lee’s transition from the Phillies to the Mariners, see if you can spot the error from Topps’ editing job:CliffLeeToppsGaff.jpg

Leave your guess in the comment section; the first person to get it right is the winner and be mentioned in my next blog.

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Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Lidge Blows His Tenth Save

The Phillies had a lot of things working against them last night.  Roy Oswalt, the Astros ace, was sure to pitch a good game; the Phillies offense has been slumbering lately; and Chase Utley was out of the line-up with a bruised foot.  What the Phillies did not count on working against them was their own teammate, Brad Lidge.  P8306049 Lidge.jpgBut that has been the story all year long and still, manager Charlie Manuel refuses to do anything about it.

The patience has run out with Lidge, who took a 4-3 lead in the 9th inning and then proceeded to hand the Astros a 5-4 victory.  It was his 10th blown save of the season, which leads ALL closers in the majors, as does his 0-7 record and disgusting 7.15 ERA.  Only Matt Capps of the Pirates has more losses, but also has more wins: 3-8 record.  This makes Brad Lidge officially the WORST closer in baseball.  Lidge has gone from first in 2008, to worst in 2009.

There are no more excuses that can be made for him; Lidge is DONE.  Give the job to Brett Myers, who incidentally, pitched a scoreless, hitless 8th inning last night in his first appearance back since hip surgery.  Maybe Lidge can come back next year, but for 2009 in a playoff push, the Phillies cannot afford to wait for him to find his pitches.  BENCH HIM NOW!

So a nice offensive breakout by the Phillies was totally wasted.  A good performance by Joe Blanton who pitched 6 innings of 3 run ball was wasted.  A nice job by our bench players to fill in for Utley , like Miguel Cairo who went 2 for 4 with a double – wasted.  And the Phillies lead in the NL East has now dwindled to 6.5 games.

This afternoon, the Phillies will lean on Cole Hamels to right the ship.  Game time is 2:05pm.

Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

 

Happ Pitches Well But Offense Leaves Him Hanging

The game began with a Pirates lead-off home run off the rookie, JA Happ.  But after that, Happ did not budge and sent the Bucos away each inning frustrated. 

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Happ went 8 innings, gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.  Happ had a 2-1 lead until the 8th inning when he surrendered the big blow; a 2-run shot by Garrett Jones to give the Bucos a 3-2 lead.  Still a great outing by Happ, but with no offense to back him up, the result was not ideal.

Well, no offense except Jimmy Rollins and Paul Bako.  Rollins looked like the energizer bunny all night long as the ball jumped off his bat and his defense was stunning.  But his effort of 3 for 5 on the night was the only real offense in the game.  Ryan Howard collected an RBI on a force out in the 1st inning with the bases loaded. The following inning, back-up catcher Paul Bako hit a rare home run as fans did a double take at their TV sets…Bako who?  The surprise homer from Bako seemed to lull the Phillies into a deep trance from which they did not wake up.  In fact, neither team scored again until that killer home run by the Pirates in the 8th.

The Phillies offense this entire 3-game series was pathetic.  Howard helped give the numbers a boost with his 3-run homer yesterday, but that was about the only hitting highlight of the series.  Losing 2 out of 3 to a last place team is just very, very sad.

The Braves come to town tomorrow for 3 games and hopefully, the Phillies will find their bats!

Phillies Cruise

P1079974.jpgThe 2nd annual Phillies Cruise will set sail on January 9th, returning on the 16th.  Players past and present including Shane Victorino, Ryan Madson, JC Romero, Matt Stairs and Greg Luzinski will all be aboard!  The cruise is officially sold out, but there is still ONE opportunity left to grab your spot!  This package includes an ocean view cabin for 2, two Southwest airline vouchers (cruise departs from Ft. Lauderdale) plus ALL Phillies activities!  The package, put together directly from the Phillies, is being sold for $3100 (a $4500 value).  Email me and I will put you into direct contact with the seller.

Photos by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

Madson Blows The Save Then Wins The Game

In the first inning of today’s Phillies – Pirates match-up, Chase Utley hit a solo home run off Paul Maholm; it was the first homer hit off the Pirate by a lefty all season.  But after that, you may as well have taken a long nap because pretty much nothing happened all game until the 9th inning.  I did come up with a few ways to pass the time though:

– Note all the different facial expressions Cole Hamels made each time a ball was called that he felt was a strike.

– Debate who is hotter: Utley or the poor guy in the Parrot/Pirate costume.

– Count the smudges on my TV screen

– Explain to my cat what a balk is

– Wonder why the cat wandered off mid-explanation

– Make a loud clicking noise with my tongue until I have annoyed myself

But it was actually a relief to see Cole Hamels have a boring game; boring is a nice change of pace for the lefty who has been pummeled all season-long.  P8195189 Hamels cr.jpgTonight, Cole pitched 8 strong innings of scoreless baseball.  He gave up 7 hits and 2 walks, but worked out of jams with relative ease.  Is the old Hamels back?  That remains to be seen, but this was certainly a good sign.

The Phillies had a rally going in the 9th inning, but again failed to score as Pedro Feliz decided that balls in the dirt were looking pretty good.  So, with Brad Lidge on ice after 4 straight games and a disaster last night, Ryan Madson was given the nod to save the game.  But while the Curse of Billy Penn seems to be over, the Curse of the Bullpen is not.  This time it was Madson’s turn to BLOW the save!  AAARRRGGGGHHHHH!  A solo homer tied the game and sent it onto extra innings.

But luckily, Ryan Howard was having none of that; he blasted a 3-run shot in the 10th to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead.  And then Madson was given a second chance to redeem himself.  Pitching the bottom of the 10th inning, Madson did allow a lead-off hit, which he replied to with various forms of the “F” word and other assorted expletives.  But after that, he got the three outs he needed and the Phillies won.  Hamels did not get the win as a result of the blown save, which was the real shame of it, but a win is a win :O)

One more game with the Bucos!  JA Happ will take the mound tomorrow at 7:05pm and try to make us all Happ-Y!

Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Lidge Blows Game After 9th Inning Comeback

The Phillies pulled off an amazing 9th inning comeback against the lowly Pirates tonight, only to have Brad Lidge blow the save…again.  Joe Blanton started the game and did not have a fun day pitching either.  The home plate umpire, CB Bucknor was having a senior moment on the mound, except that the “moment” lasted all game long.  He simply could not remember where the strike zone was.  Originally titled “Ode to Forgetfulness,” I have renamed this video “Ode to a Senile Umpire:”

Consistency in umpiring is a rare feat these days.  So poor Joe had a 2-1 lead going into the 6th inning; just when he thought he had a strikeout to end the inning, Bucknor issued a walk.  The next batter knocked one out of the park off a visibly frustrated Blanton.  Upon returning to the dugout, Blanton exacted his revenge on an innocent water bottle which was sent soaring through the dugout and eventually ricocheted out onto the field.  Blanton ended his outing with 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.P7058227 Blanton.jpg

But Blanton had the right to be angry as the Phillies offense did him no favors; the lack of run support for the big righty is becoming a habit.  In fact, Jimmy Rollins was the entire offense for much of the game.  Rollins saw exactly two pitches in his first two at bats and both of them left the ballpark over the right field wall.  Rollins received a sarcastic cheer in his third at bat when he actually took a pitch.

Matt Stairs started the game in place of Jayson Werth in order to get some work, but Stairs has not had a hit since July 11th.  24 at-bats later and he still does not have a hit.  Of course, Werth pinch hit in the 8th and struck out with a man on third, so that was no help anyway.  The Phillies left several men on third base throughout the game, including that inning.  Scoring is the name of the game and that just did not happen tonight.

That is, not until the 9th inning…Carlos Ruiz and Ben Francisco hit back-to-back double to tie up the game at 3-3.  Then Shane Victorino tripled to score Francisco and give the Phillies a 4-3 lead!  But leave it to Brad Lidge to ruin the moment.  Lidge gave up a single, the runner advanced to second on a passed ball and then the next batter hit a long single to Werth who bobbled the ball and a run scored.  After that, Lidge pitched a little batting practice and gave up a long home run to Andrew McCutchen.  Another blown save for Lidge and the Phillies lose!  I am DONE with Lidge – bring back Brett Myers…NOW!

The Phillies will try for a win tomorrow behind a very downtrodden Cole Hamels.  Cross your fingers folks; this ought to be almost as scary as Lidge coming into a game.  Ugh.

 

Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

 

 

Under The Big Top

 

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

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I suppose he did not Utley to feel alone in his humiliation.  Hey thanks, Gary!

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!

Unlikely Hero

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.

Next Up

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

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

In Phillies Debut, Lee Pitches Complete Game

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We can all get over the disappointment of no Roy Halladay.  Cliff Lee has filled the rotation spot admirably.  In his first start for the Phillies, Lee went the distance, allowing only 4 hits over 9 innings and claimed a 5-1 victory.  Even more incredible, Lee went 2 for 4 at the plate with a single and a double.  He is now batting .500 in the National League :O)

 As for the offense, I am a true believer in Karma.  I ran into Jayson Werth today in downtown San Francisco and said hello; he actually paused and said hello back.  Then before the game, Werth spotted me in the crowd and waved hello.  He then proceeded to hit a solo home run in the 2nd and also drove in two more runs in the 7th.  So, because Werth was kind to little ole’ me, he had a very nice game.  That is what I think anyway… :O)

Oh, I also saw the newest Giant downtown today; Freddy Sanchez was acquired from the Pirates earlier in the week and today, he was wandering around checking out his new home town.  I did not speak to him though and we all see how that worked out for his team :O)

One other Giants note for the day; Aaron Rowand, former Phillie who I am still pathetically very attached to, hit his 1,000 career hit in the game tonight off Lee.  I believe that deserves a short photo montage:

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Congrats to Aaron!

So tomorrow Joe Blanton will face the Giants ace, Tim “I am so adorable you want to pinch my cheeks” Lincecum.  And yes, I am told that is his official nickname ;O)  Game time is 9:05pm.  I will be there again, freezing my backside off in chilly San Francisco.  Think warm thoughts for me :O)

Photos by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Phillies Sweep With A Slam

It has been a slamming first half for the Phillies who today, hit their 7th Grand Slam of 2009.  Three went to Ryan Howard and then one a piece to Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, and today, Pedro Feliz.  P6135792.JPGHoward had a chance at a slam early in the 1st inning this afternoon, but hit a sac fly instead.  But then Feliz came to bat later that same inning and took care of the salami for him.  The five runs in that inning were the only offense of the day for the Phils, but that was all they needed to sweep this 3-game series with the Pirates.

Today’s 5-2 win made this a 9-1 home stand for the Phillies who had struggled most of the year at home.  It also marked the 3rd most wins during any home stand in history for the Phillies.  The pitching and offense finally worked together; sprinkle in some great defense, like the three double plays turned today, and things are looking very bright for this team going into the break.

And as usual, JA Happ did an outstanding job on the mound.  Happ went 7 innings and allowed just one run.  There have been many rumors lately about Happ being involved in a possible trade for Roy Halladay, but it seems like it would be a foolish move to make.  Happ has been the most consistent starter since he was handed the job and he is unwavering on the mound when under pressure.  We would all like to see Halladay in Philly, but losing Happ is too steep a price.

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So the All-Star break is now upon us.  Here is a rundown of the major events in St. Louis:

Monday, 7/13:      

Home Run Derby featuring the Phillies’ Ryan Howard and Workout Day.  The Derby begins at 7pm.

Tuesday, 7/14:       

Red Carpet Parade, 2pm

80th All-Star Game, 7pm

After that, the Phillies will have just one day off (Wednesday) and have to return to play a day earlier than all but one other team, the Florida Marlins.  Due to an NFL scheduling conflict, a Phillies-Marlins game that was to take place in September, has been moved to Thursday, 7/16 in Miami at 7:10pm.  Hopefully, the shortened break for the Phillies will have no effect.

But for now, get ready to cheer on Howard at the Derby tomorrow night!

 

Feliz Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

 

 

Howard Powers Phillies To Come From Behind Win

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.  P6216193 Bako.jpgYou 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. 

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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

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

The Stars Are Out For The Phillies

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(

P7099034.jpgAnd 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

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

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