Results tagged ‘ Raul Ibanez ’

Lee’s 1st Career Homer Only Offense in Phillies Loss

Saturday’s Phillies game against the Braves featured Cliff Lee doing it all and everyone else, not so much.  Lee pitched eight very solid innings of one run ball, allowing only three hits and striking out nine batters.  he even made a few diving plays on the field.

But the Braves starting pitcher, Tommy Hanson, matched Lee.  He also allowed just one run.

 

And that one run was something very special.  After a 10-pitch at-bat and six foul balls, the Phillies pitcher, Cliff Lee, smashed his 1st career home run off Hanson in the third inning.  Yes, the man really can do it all.

 

Lee ran the bases smiling and even looking a little giddy as fans went wild, realizing the importance of the moment.  It is not every day we see a pitcher hit a home run.  And for a guy like Lee, who gives it 110% every time he is on the field, it was especially rewarding.

While Lee did everything he could to help the team win, sadly, the rest of the team did not join him.  Of course, they were facing an amazing pitcher so most expected this to be a close game.  But the Phillies had some opportunities to score and did not execute.

 

John Mayberry Jr. doubled in the sixth, but then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th.  Ryan Howard went 0-5, leaving two men on base in the sixth, including Mayberry.   And Raul Ibanez, the hero of Friday night’s 10-inning win, made the last out Saturday in the 11th with a fly ball.

In extra innings, the Phillies leaned on the same bullpen pieces as they had the night before, only in a different order.  Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez pitched a scoreless the 9th and 10th.  And then Michael Stutes gave up three runs in the 11th.

 

A foul ball pop-up made the 11th interesting as Howard dropped the ball, but it was a very tough play in and out of the shadows.  Overall, the defense was solid, but that one, plus a walk to start the inning, turned out to be important later.

 

So the Phillies lost 4-1 and go into today’s game with a chance to win the series.  Game time is 1:35pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.  Derek Lowe is scheduled to start for the Braves.

Here is the full Photo Album from the Photo Day event and also from the game.  I will have photos from the Sunday game hopefully later today.

“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Walk-Off Win After Long Rain Delay

It has been a long while since Phillies fans have been able to shout, “RAUUUUUUUL!” with any real gusto.  Raul Ibanez is hitting just .239 with a .287 on-base percentage this year.  But Philly still loves Ibanez, and last night, he gave them extra reason to cheer.

After a two-hour rain delay, multiple roll-outs of the tarp on the field and double warm-ups for both starting pitchers, the Phillies – Braves series finally got under way.

So it took almost five hours total, 10 innings and one Ibanez walk-off homer for the Phils to defeat the Braves.  Roy Halladay battled Brave Brandon Beachy (say that three times fast) on the mound.  The battle ended up in a draw as both pitchers allowed two runs and left with a tie game.

It was then up to the bullpens, where it seemed the Braves had the advantage.  But Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez combined for three scoreless innings to keep the Phillies in the game.

 In fact, Perez, a newcomer to the Phils, accomplished a feat that has not been done in 20 years of Phillies history.  He struck out the side in the 10th on exactly nine pitches, the bare minimum; nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs.

Ibanez rewarded Perez by smashing the game-winning homer in the bottom of the 10th.  The 32-year old lefty earned his first major league win thanks to Ibanez and the nine-pitch inning he tossed.

So the Phillies 3-2 win puts them in a great position for the rest of the weekend.  I will be at both games Saturday and Sunday and return with photos and, hopefully, two more wins.

Game time today is 4:10pm and Cliff Lee will pitch.

 

“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Worley Shows Big League Stuff in Win Over the Red Sox

The rookie Vance Worley faced a difficult task this evening against the Red Sox.  Not only was he pitching against a great offense, Worley also had to follow an amazing performance from Cliff Lee the night before.  Not to mention, Worley is a young, inexperienced pitcher who had yet to go more than six innings in a major league game.

Worley got the job done.  He even pitched a full seven innings for the first time in the majors.  The only run Worley allowed was knocked in by the opposing pitcher, John Lackey, who surprised everyone with an RBI-double.

But Worley maintained his composure throughout the game.  His final line included only five hits, two walks and one run.

The offense did little to help Worley out, scoring only one run through the sixth inning on a Raul Ibanez RBI-single.  With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh, Ibanez finally gave the Phillies the lead with a solo homer.  This also put Worley in line for the win.

It would be up to a very young bullpen after that to hold down the slim lead.  Fans got a sneak peak at what the near future holds for a pen with three closers on the DL.  Michael Stutes served as the set-up man in the eighth inning and sent the Sox down in order.

After the Phillies were again unable to score in the eighth, Antonio Bastardo stepped onto the mound in the ninth as closer #4 on the year for the Phillies.  He quickly disposed of the Sox batters to earn the save and award Worley with a win.

The Phillies have taken the first two games of this series, which is very good news.  They play the final game tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm with Cole Hamels on the mound.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Cardinals Implode in the 8th & Hand the Phillies a Win

Tonight’s Phillies – Cardinals match-up was basically a snooze-fest through six innings.  For the Cards, few hits were not surprising since they had to face Roy Halladay.  But the Phillies faced a pitcher they really should have hit and they did not.

Halladay allowed only one run.  Although if Placido Polanco had gotten a ground ball out of his glove quicker in the 5th, he would have had a double play to prevent that run from scoring.

Polanco had a bad day overall.  He is simply not hitting while in the 5-hole and went 0-for-3 today.  In the 8th inning, Polly got plunked with a pitch in the hand.  And though he got an RBI because the bases were loaded, he had to leave the game.  No word yet on how serious the injury may be.

The rest of the offense was just as bad against starter Kyle McClellan.  They managed only five hits and one run off a very average starter.  Carlos Ruiz was the only exception with three hits off McClellan and four hits in the game total.

What is really frustrating is watching Phillies batters strike out with less than two outs and the bases loaded or hit into a double play with runners on base.  Raul Ibanez did both tonight.

But the Cardinals proceeded to implode in the 8th after McClellan was lifted.  The drama began when two hitters got hit with pitches, including Polanco, and Chase Utley was walked before that.  Three runs were forced home that inning.

Suddenly, the Phillies offense woke up.  I suppose three free runs will do that.  Another run scored on a Ben Francisco pinch-hit and two more on a Jimmy Rollins single. All of this happened with two outs, and they were not done yet.  After batting around, Utley added two more runs with a single.  Ryan Howard followed suit and another run scored.

Let us total the top of the 8th inning damage:  4 walks, 2 HBP, 5 singles, 9 runs scored & 43 minutes of playing time.

By the time the magical 8th inning came to a close, the Phillies went from trailing 2-1 to leading by a score of 10-2.

The only shame, again, was that a great pitching performance from Halladay did not yield a win for him.  So both he and Cole Hamels are still waiting for win #10.

Cliff Lee will pitch on Wednesday night; game time is 8:15pm.

 

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

A Tale of Two Away Games

The Phillies final two games in Seattle were a stark contrast to each other.  Saturday night’s 5-1 win was against 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez.  But on Sunday, the Phillies lost to Jason Vargas, an average pitcher who entered the game with a 4.13 ERA.

With Vance Worley starting Saturday, the Phillies managed to score some runs.  Worley held the Mariners to just one run over five innings and then Shane Victorino provided most of the offense.

Victorino ended the game just a single short of the cycle and had four RBI on three hits, including a 2-run homer.  Jimmy Rollins had three hits as well.  Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez added two hits apiece.

But Sunday, the Phillies seemingly could not hit their way out of a barn.  Howard had two hits, Ben Francisco had one and that was it for the offense.  Vargas tossed a complete game shut-out as the Phils sat and watched.

Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing only two runs on a few very cheap, bloop hits.  Hamels also collected his 1,000 career strike out in the fourth inning.

If he had won the game, Hamels would have been the first pitcher in the majors to 10 wins.  He and six other pitchers, including Roy Halladay, are stuck at nine wins.  But it was not meant to be.  Wasting such a great performance was a real shame.

But welcome to Interleague play with the Phillies.  Every year, it is a struggle for them.  After losing two out of three to the Mariners, the Phillies are off tomorrow as they travel to St. Louis for three games with the Cardinals starting on Tuesday.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Seven Runs Again, But No Bullpen Follies This Time

It seems that Charlie Manuel has found a line-up that works.  Two games in a row, the Phillies offense has scored seven runs.  Friday night, the bullpen gave five runs back.  But tonight, Cliff Lee was in control for eight innings, keeping the pen mostly out of the equation.

Lee was sharp tonight against the Cubs.  He allowed only four hits, two walks and one run.  And just to continue being the well-round player he is, Lee had a hit in the game as well.

And there was more good news tonight.  Chase Utley finally had a Chase Utley-like game for the first time since coming off the DL.  He went 2-for-5 with four RBI, including a two-run homer.  It was only Utley’s third multi-hit game since his return on May 23.

Shane Victorino also has his legs back; he went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.  Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez picked up RBI’s as well.

The offense still has work to do though.  Even after scoring seven runs, they still ended up leaving nine men on base and went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.  But two games with a high run count is a good sign that the Phils could be ready to snap out of this offensive funk.

Antonio Bastardo pitched the ninth inning.  It was his second game appearance in a row in the ninth and he shut the Cubs down again.  The Phillies walked away with a 7-1 win and Lee’s sixth of the year.

There was a short 32-minute rain delay before the game as rain surprised everyone seconds before the first pitch.  Sunday’s forecast is not sunny either.  But with a little cooperation from Mother Nature, game time should be at 1:35pm.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

The Nightmare at PNC Park Continues

After a dismal, 12-inning, 2-1 loss to the Pirates last night, the Phillies are now a frightening 12-31 lifetime at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.  They simply cannot win in this ballpark.  Could it be cursed?  This place is like a haunted house of horrors for the Phils.

 
Even with the entire line-up together for the first time all season, the Phillies still looked like zombies out there.  Shane Victorino came off the DL and with the whole gang all together again, one might think it would break the sleep spell on this dreadful offense.

That simply did not happen.

The biggest victim of the night was pitcher Cole Hamels.  This poor guy left it all on the field, pitching eight innings of one-run ball.  And what did he get to show for it?  Nothing.  His team left him hanging.

The offense came out of 12-innings of play with a measly six hits.  And two of those six hits were courtesy of the pitcher, Hamels.  So they gave Cole only four hits and one run to work with.  This should be a criminal offense ;o}

Let us count the 0′fers:  Victorino, 0-for-5.  Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Domonic Brown, Carlos Ruiz…all 0-for-4.  As a team, they complied 40 at-bats, six hits and left seven men on base.  Disgusting.

Last year, in a similar slump, the Phillies fired hitting coach and all around nice guy, Milt Thompson.  So is Greg Gross next to go?  Because if this keeps up, the team is going to be looking for another fall guy.  But they only one to blame are the players themselves.

No one seems to be getting too worked up over all this as they are still in first place, thanks to the pitching.  But the Marlins and Braves are creeping up closer and something is going to hit the fan when the Phillies drop out of first because they cannot score more than one or two runs in a game.  As I gaze into my crystal ball, I see the disaster coming.

But the disaster can easily be averted.  This team need to get back to the basics.  Stop swinging for the fences, stop swinging at bad pitches and for heaven’s sake, would someone please inform this line-up that they need to adjust their swing when a pitcher is tossing all kinds of off-speed crap at them?  They cannot just stand up there and pray for a fastball.  Pitchers have this teams’ number now and they need to adjust.

In the league, the Phillies rank #2 in fly-ball outs.  If there was a stat specifically in short pop-ups, I am pretty sure they would be #1 in all of baseball.  Also of note, they rank 19th in the majors in runs scored and batting average.  For a first place team, this is pathetic.

So the house of horrors continues tonight.  Kyle Kendrick will start and game time is 7:05pm.  Bust out your four-leaf clovers, rabbit’s foot (artificial, of course), horseshoe, crucifix, #7 pendant, voodoo doll, lucky jersey or whatever you have and start praying for the curse to be lifted!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Phillies Option John Mayberry Jr. Was This the Right Move?

With center fielder Shane Victorino coming off the disabled list, the Phillies had to make a move.  Their choice was to send John Mayberry Jr. back to Triple-A.

Mayberry is an excellent outfielder, who can also play first base.  His defensive skills are nearly comparable to Victorino’s and he was the only solid center field back-up option.  But Mayberry struggled at the plate, hitting only .231 with three homers and 12 RBI this year.

The other players the Phillies could have moved were Michael Martinez, Ben Francisco or Ross Gload.  They were not going to send down a pitcher, as manager Charlie Manuel seems to like having 12 pitchers on the roster.

Martinez seemed like a logical move, but a few issues have kept him in place.  First, he is a Rule-5 player and the Phillies will likely lose him if he is placed on waivers.  Second, with Chase Utley’s knee still a sticky situation, Martinez is now the only real back-up infielder behind Wilson Valdez.

On the other hand, Martinez is a far inferior defensive player in both the infield and outfield.  He has also been unimpressive at the plate, hitting only .184 with three RBI in 49 at-bats.

Francisco won the right field job out of spring training, but has since been in a downward spiral.  His defense is not up to par and his bat has gone to sleep since hitting .308 in the first 10 games of the season.  In May, Francisco hit only .167.

And Francisco still has a minor league option available.  The deterrent, however, seems to be his $1.175 million salary.

As for Gload, he is playing with a muscle tear in his right hip and it appears that he cannot run.  The last two times he reached base as a pinch-hitter, a pinch-runner was sent in for him.  Gload is a great pinch-hitter, but can the Phillies really afford to carry a player on the roster who cannot run or play the field?

The only fix for Gload’s hip is surgery, which would end his season.  He has no options, but the Phillies could have placed him on the DL to buy time.

So with all of this, plus a lack of production at the plate, Mayberry finds himself back in Triple-A.  In the long-run, it may be the best move for him as he will get more at-bats.  However, if Raul Ibanez begins to cool off, the Phillies may question this decision later.

In my opinion, I believe Martinez should have been the one to go.  Aside from being a Rule-5 player, he had the least amount of upside.

Then again, with more playing time, maybe Mayberry will return later with a renewed energy and more life in his bat.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

A Hot Win In D.C. For The Phillies

Hot may not be an accurate word to describe the Phillies day in D.C. where they beat the Nationals by a score of 5-4.  Perhaps scorching, boiling or searing would be appropriate terminology.

But despite the 95 degree heat, Roy Halladay kept pushing for a win.  He did not have an easy time either.  Through seven innings, Doc gave up four runs, three of which were solo homers.  But this time, the offense helped Halladay out.

 

Balls went flying off the bats like grenades in the sweltering heat:

 

The Nationals kept pace as the Phillies gained and lost the lead in the game like a see-saw.  But not even ex-Phillie Jayson Werth could stop this Raul Ibanez homer.  Ryan Howard hit one as well.  The other photo is Werth striking out, just for fun:

 

The Phillies also showed a lot of hustle on the base paths.  Although Placido Polanco is out by just a step in the photo below, he ran the play out hard:

 

And Chase Utley was all over the field.  It looks like he is going full throttle at second, jumping, leaping and diving to make plays.  One of the key defensive plays in the game came in the seventh.  Halladay had put runner on first and third with no outs and managed to pick off Alex Cora, who wandered too far off third on a fielder’s choice.

That play probably saved the game for the Phillies.  And here are a few other nice ones as well:

 

Once Halladay was out of the game, the bullpen did a nice job holding the 5-4 lead for him.  Antonio Bastardo and Jose Contreras took the eighth and Ryan Madson closed it in the ninth:

 

Here is the full Photo Album from the game Tuesday afternoon.  It includes a lot of nice pre-game shots, the President’s race and more. 

Game two with the Nats is Tuesday night at 7:05pm.  Cliff Lee will pitch.

Also as a side note, Vance Worley has been sent back to Triple-A to get more innings under his belt.  No word yet on a replacement, although it is possible that the Phillies add a bullpen piece and use Kyle Kendrick as a starter.

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

Cliff Lee Helps Himself to a Win

Just a short 12 hours after a stunning 19-inning victory, the Phillies won again, making it two wins in one day.  The 10-4 victory today gave the Phils a 3-1 series win over the Reds.

 The Phillies hoped that starting pitcher Cliff Lee could go deep into the game as nearly the entire bullpen was worked hard in the previous game.  Lee did not disappoint, going eight innings.  He did allow four runs on 10 hits and a walk, but he kept his team in the game in more ways than one.

Lee himself accounted for two of the Phillies 13 hits and he drove in three runs, two on a double and one more later on a single.  There have been a number of role reversals in the past two days.  Lee was the big slugger today and infielder Wilson Valdez was the winning pitcher in the game before.

Not so backwards was a three-run homer by Raul Ibanez in the third inning.  Chase Utley also hit his first home run of the year today.  Utley has now doubled and homered since coming off the DL on Monday and all is right with the world again.

Utley did appear to twist his right ankle / leg on a play today, which was a bit scary.  However, he kept playing and it looks like we all have to wait until tomorrow to see if Utley bounces back okay.

As for the rest of the offense, some of the younger players are starting to hit, which is a good sign.  The Reds starter Homer Bailey only lasted five innings and then rookie Daryl Thompson took over, making his major league debut.  However, Domonic Brown and Michael Martinez each had a hit off Bailey, so it was not like they were just abusing the rookie.  They hit a solid, veteran pitcher as well.

If the younger guys can keep stringing hits together like this, things may soon look-up for the Phillies offense.

And if injured players keep returning, like Jose Contreras did today, that is another big positive.  Contreras pitched a scoreless ninth inning today and looks like he is ready to pick up where he left off, although Ryan Madson will remain the closer.  And David Herndon was sent back to Triple-A to make room on the roster.

The Phillies will embark on a 9-game road trip next.  They play the Mets in New York Friday night at 7:10pm; Roy Oswalt will pitch.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 477 other followers