Results tagged ‘ R.A. Dickey ’

Lee’s Effort Returns Phillies To .500

After a disastrous weekend in Houston, the Phillies managed to crawl back to the .500 mark after a 3-1 win over the Mets on Monday night.  Cliff Lee pitched extremely well, allowing only 1 run over 8 innings.  His strong performance kept the Phillies in the game against tough knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey.

For the offense, Jimmy Rollins is on a serious hot streak.  It seems lately that even when he slips up, luck is on his side.  He struck out in the 1st inning last night to start the game, but wound up being safe at first base anyway on a passed ball.  He eventually scored on a Chase Utley sac fly.  Rollins ended the game with 2 runs scored, a home run and a walk.

The home run was interesting; the ball snuck over the right field wall but appeared for a moment to have dribbled off the glove of outfielder Scott Hairston.  Then without prompting, the umpires decided to review the play and correctly called it a home run.  That is the first time I have seen any MLB umpire voluntarily review a play without first being harassed by a manager.  It is about time.

Domonic Brown provided the other run with a solo shot in the 7th to give the Phillies a little more breathing room.  Jonathan Papelbon nailed down the save in the 9th.

This win was a nice lift for the Phillies who remain 3.5 games out of the Wild Card race with 15 games to play.  Realistically, the horrendous Houston weekend probably killed any shot they had at the postseason this year.  So while it is great to see this team playing well, as far as the playoffs, don’t hold your breath.

Game 2 with the Mets is tonight at 7:10pm.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies All-Stars Contribute to NL Shut-Out Win Over the AL

In an 8-0 win over the American League, 3 Phillies All-Stars made big contributions for the National LeagueCole Hamels pitched a perfect 7th inning, probably driving up his free agent value a little bit more.  Carlos Ruiz caught the final 4 innings and had one at-bat, a fly-out to left field.  And Jonathan Papelbon recorded the final out of the game, sealing the NL victory.

Here are a few MLB photos from the game:

And this next set of MLB photos show Ruiz holding his glove and then the glove R.A. Dickey gave him to use in order to catch his crazy knuckle balls.  That glove is almost as big as Chooch!  There is also a nice shot of Papelbon and then more adorable Chooch getting a hug from the Nationals teenage rookie, Bryce Harper:

Melky Cabrera of the Cardinals got the MVP award for the game.  He had 2 hits, including a homer, and 2 RBI.  Some rare events occurred during the game, including 3 triples, 5 rookies playing in the game, and the first shut-out during an All-Star game since 1996, when the game was played in Philadelphia.

The biggest blunder of the game came from 19-year old Harper who lost a routine fly ball in the outfield, which eventually landed behind him.  He also got caught leaning too far off base in a fielder’s choice and was tagged out.

So now we wait until the Phillies return on Friday to see if they have any gas left to rescue their dreadful season.  Roy Halladay will make a rehab start tomorrow so, hopefully, that means he will be back very soon.

In the meantime, here is a fun blast from the All-Star past.  These are a few of my favorite All-Star photos from 2008.  The top one will never get old…it is Dan Uggla goosing Chase Utley to the surprise of many around them, as you can see by my marker edits.  Below that is Utley and Brad Lidge, who appear to be trying to club David Wright. And then there is Mike Schmidt standing up in a moving vehicle (next to Utley) during the All-Star parade to point me out and say hello.  I was one Phillies jersey in a sea of Yankees jersey’s so I was easy to spot and he was clearly excited to see a Phillies fan!  Utley yelled out to me right after that as well.  And yes, that was one of the highlights of my simple existence ;o)

By the way, I am hoping to have my video interview with Ryan Howard posted in the next few days, so stay tuned for that!

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2012 photos by MLB; 2008 photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Another Nail in the Coffin of the Phillies 2012 Season

The Phillies have lost 47 games so far this season.  Some of them have been very ugly, some of them have been sleep-inducing and some have been downright aggravating.  But last night’s 6-5 loss to the Mets may have been the worst loss for a number of reasons.

For starters, the Phillies were actually able to score 5 runs off one of the best pitchers in baseball right now, R.A. Dickey.  And they should have scored even more.  The Phillies left 9 men on base and went 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.  They had opportunities and missed out.

Cole Hamels was not spectacular, but he kept the team within a run of the Mets.  Over 7 innings, Hamels allowed 4 runs and walked one batter.  But he was by no means awful.

Then Antonio Bastardo came out in the 8th and actually pitched a 1-2-3 inning.  Based on the rest of his season so far, that was pretty amazing.

The Phillies fought to hang on to that one run lead only to see Jonathan Papelbon, their $50 million closer, blow it in the 9th.  And that is what really makes this one sting more than the other 46 loses.  They stayed in it, they battled and came up short anyway as Papelbon gave up a lead-off double, walked a batter and hit a batter before finally surrendering the winning runs.  It was ugly.

And the timing could not be worse.  This loss puts the Phillies at 13 games out of first place with 78 games left to play.  It is another series lost and one more nail in the coffin of this 2012 season.

Do the math.  The Phillies need to win at least 50 of their last 78 games, based on the current pace of teams in the NL East, to even have a shot at a Wild Card spot with 87 wins.  That means they have to win ALL 22 of the 3-game series’ left and at least split the 3 remaining 4-game series’.  Yes, win or split EVERY remaining series this year.  ALL OF THEM.

Based on the Phillies performance so far this season, anyone out there think that is possible?

It saddens me to say this, but I believe this is the game that signals the end of the 2012 season for the Phillies.  When you look back later for a turning point, this is it.  I hope I am wrong, but things are not looking good right now.

 

 

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Happy Cliff Lee Win Day!

Yes, it is the 4th of July.  But more importantly for the Phillies, it is Cliff Lee Win Day!  Appropriately, fireworks and celebration will be seen all over the land!

It only took 3+ months and 83 games, but Lee finally won a game.  Hey, you know what Lee’s favorite holiday is?  That’s right!  Independence / Cliff Lee Win Day!

Over 8 innings against the Mets, Lee allowed just 2 runs, one of which was a solo homer.  He struck out 9 batters and only walked 1.  THIS is the Cliff Lee we have all been missing.  Finally, he is back!

This day was also the first win for Chase Utley.   7 games ago, Utley played his first game of the year after a long rehab of his shoddy knee(s).  In that game, he hit a home run in his first at-bat and then Carlos Ruiz did the same right after.  Oddly enough, that combination set off a 6-game losing streak.

But tonight, Utley and Ruiz went back-to-back again, apparently spinning the universe back into the correct direction and producing a Phillies win.  The earth is back on its axis and gravity is once again in proper alignment.  Whew!

That home run combo gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead which they added onto in the final two innings.  Jimmy Rollins no-hit streak ended and he drove in 2 runs.  And Ty Wigginton added 2 more RBI with a home run in the 9th.

So both Utley and Lee get their first wins of the year with a 9-2 final score.  After the game, Lee had bear hugs for Chooch and was later greeted with a chilly Gatorade bath.

Could this be the big win the Phillies needed to get back on track?  We can only hope so.  Certainly, we can at least see that this team is still capable of winning.

Game 3 with the Mets starts tomorrow at 7:10pm.  Cole Hamels will have to face R.A. Dickey; the knuckleballer has been on fire this season.  But in the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy the fireworks in honor of Cliff Lee Win Day!  Whoo hooo!

Oh, and Happy 4th of July, too! :O)

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Lee & fireworks photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Friday the 13th Phillies Nightmare

When one of your ace pitchers gives up 3 runs in the first inning, you know it is going to be a bad day.  Add to that having the Mets in town, the 3rd anniversary of Harry Kalas’ death and the fact that it is Friday the 13th and things look pretty grimm.

Not that Cliff Lee pitched too badly.  He made a few mistakes and the Mets lowered the ax.  Making matters worse, the Phillies knuckleballing nemesis R.A. Dickey was pitching for the Mets.  Although, the Phillies did collect 11 hits; they just failed to score.

The one happy moment in the game came when rookie Freddy Galvis smashed his first major league home run.  Grinning in the dugout afterwards as the team gave him the silent treatment, Freddy did not have to wait too long for some congratulations.  Jim Thome strained to keep a straight face and was eventually the first to give Galvis a bear hug.

But after that, the nightmare continued for the Phillies.  On his 29th birthday, Hunter Pence received the gift of going 0-for-4.  And although Jimmy Rollins had 3 hits, he made a huge defensive blunder in the 9th inning, bobbling an easy double-play ball.  Rollins did not recover and both runners were safe.  That mistake led to another run for the Mets.

The Mets had their share of goofs as well.  Daniel Murphy collected a fielding error and catcher Josh Thole did something I have never seen before.  In the 2nd inning after hitting a single, Thole ran to 2nd on a Dickey sacrifice bunt.  Then unexpectedly, Thole, who was safe at 2nd, began trotting back to 1st base as if the bunt never happened!

Before Thole realized his stupidity, the Phillies tagged him out on his way back to 1st.  This will be a classic for the MLB blooper reel.  Maybe Thole was trying to make the record books with an unprecedented “reverse steal?”  Whatever the reason, he does win the award for dumbest baseball play ever.

But even that bit of entertainment cannot soften the blow of a sad 5-2 loss to the lowly Mets.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day.  Better than that, tomorrow is NOT Friday the 13th.

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

One Huge Error, Two More Losses as Phils Drop 8th Straight

Game one of today’s doubleheader against the Mets was highlighted by a superb performance from Cole Hamels, more crappy offense and a failure of basic math skills.  Hamels went seven strong innings, allowing just a solo homer.  Sadly, the homer was hit by Val Pascucci who had not hit a long ball since 2004.  Pascucci spent 2008 spring training with the Phillies.

The Phillies offense sucked again against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.  I am not sure what the R.A. stands for, but I am going with “Really Annoying.”  Mr. Annoying had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning when Shane Victorino finally ended the humiliation with a double.

Before that, the only base runner for the Phillies was Carlos Ruiz who worked a walk in the 6th, although the home plate umpire tried really hard not to allow it.  On ball 4, Ruiz trotted to first as ump John Hirschbeck called him back, swearing it was only ball 3.  Everyone else in the ballpark had apparently passed 1st grade math and knew it was ball 4.  The umps actually had to hold a meeting to convince Hirschbeck that he sucked at basic math.  It was yet another shiny, happy moment for MLB umpires everywhere.

Moving on, Ryan Howard played in his first game since having a cortisone shot in his left ankle.  He singled in that same inning to score Victorino, which was the only offense in the game for the Phillies.  Howard also made a sliding grab on a foul ball where his right foot smashed into the wall along the first base line.  The right foot…not the left…whew!

After that little adventure, Brad Lidge gave up the go-ahead run to the Mets in the 8th, spoiling the day for Hamels.  The Phillies took a 2-1 loss for their seventh straight.  This team is giving me a headache.

But why stop there?  More sucky baseball was yet to follow.  In game 2 of the doubleheader, Joe Blanton pitched two good innings to start off, giving the false illusion that the Phillies might actually have a shot to win a game.

David Herndon quickly tried to stomp on all our hopes of a positive evening when he put two runners on base in the 3rd.  However, a long fly ball with two outs looked liked the savior of the inning.  But Hunter Pence put a quick end to that silly dream as he dropped the ball and two runs scored.

Pence was already having a bad day in his first start since being rested with knee issues.  In the first inning, he hit into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded.  The Phillies did not score.

As the 3rd inning disaster continued, Herndon walked another batter and Kyle Kendrick had to be brought in.  Kendrick did little to help the situation, giving up two straight hits and 3 more runs.  The total for the inning was 5 unearned runs gift wrapped for the Mets.  And all that happened right after the Phils offense scratched and clawed for 3 runs combined in the 2nd and 3rd innings.

Kendrick, not having sucked badly enough, gave up one more run in the 4th, making those 3 Phillies runs seem totally useless.  The 6-3 lead handed to the Mets would stick for the final score as the offense basically gave up after that horrid 3rd inning.

The Phillies have now lost 8 straight since clinching the division title.  But these games don’t count, right?  Some fans says, no worries, it does not count.  Other say that bad baseball can become a habit, which will be heard to break going into the playoffs.  So, after sucking pretty badly this past week, can the Phillies just flip the switch come playoff time next Saturday?  There are four regular season games left, so I guess only time will tell.

 

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Howard photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

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

A Knuckle Sandwich

The Phillies faced a knuckleball pitcher, a very rare breed, for the second game in a row today.  This time it was against the Mets. 
450px-Fiberloid_shirt_dickey.jpg
And for the second game in row, all the Phillies offense got out of the experience was a knuckle sandwich as pitcher R.A. Dickey smacked them around.  And here I thought
Dickey’s went out of fashion after the 19th Century….who knew?

The Phillies had the bases loaded twice and could not score.  Carlos Ruiz hit into a 1-2-3 double play with NO outs and the bases loaded, as one example.  And altogether, the Phillies left so many men on base, it began to look like they were doing it on purpose as some sort of weird, confuse the defense-type strategy.  You know, like the Mets were going to panic and screw up: “There are runners everywhere!  Maybe we are hallucinating?  Where should I throw the ball?  Oh no….there are just SO many of them to choose from!  Crap!  I dropped the ball….”  It could happen.  ;o)

Ryan Howard did his best to help out with 2 hits, one of which nailed the pitcher in his non-pitching elbow.  While that had to hurt, it did not affect Dickey’s delivery.  Helpful hint, Ryan: hit the OTHER elbow next time.  Got it?  Ok, thanks.

So while the Phillies enlisted the LSD-offensive technique, the Mets chose simply to hit the crap out of Jamie Moyer’s slow-motion not-so-fast balls.  Moyer lasted only 5 short innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks with some lack-luster defense behind him.

So what have we learned this week, Phillies fans?  1 – The Phillies cannot hit knuckle balls. 2 – Leaving men on base, whether it is confusing to the defense or not, is totally NOT helpful.  And 3 – If the offense keeps going into mega-slumps like this, it is going to be a very, very long season.

So the Phillies lose game 1 to the Mets, 0-8, with a little extra destruction from our bullpen.  Yuck.  But enough of that…on to happier things!


MeandCole.jpgIn
yesterday’s Phillies Phestival report, I told you all about Bryan, a local Cole Hamels look-alike.  Bryan was kind enough to send me a copy of his photo with the actual Cole Hamels, shown to the right.  They could totally be brothers.  You can email Bryan with questions or comments about his life adventures while being mistaken for Cole.  Hey, I wonder what he will be for Halloween this year?  Let’s hope the costume includes a second World Series ring ;O)

And if you have not seen the results from today’s All-Star balloting report, you should quickly stop having a life and spend more time tracking useless stats, like me.  Or….maybe not.  So, congrats on having a life, which I plan to someday…but for now, here is the preliminary report:


Who's your daddy.jpgEssentially, Chase Utley owns the National League ballot.  Hey New York, who’s YOUR Daddy?  That’s right; it’s Chase Utley.  Read it and weep:  With 687,724 votes, Utley is the league leading vote-getter so far. 

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, third baseman Placido Polanco, center fielder Shane Victorino and right fielder Jayson Werth are all in line to start at their positions with first baseman Ryan Howard and catcher Carlos Ruiz in second place at their spots.  Rollins has spent more time on the DL than on the field, but maybe this will make up for previous years when he should have gone and did not.

But balloting does not end until July 1st, so keep VOTING for those Phillies!!  

 

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

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