Results tagged ‘ Raul Ibanez ’

Valdez & Baez Lead Phillies to 19-Inning Victory

As far as headlines go, the one above is not what Phillies fans generally expect to see.  But it was a back-up player and a much maligned bullpen pitcher who saved the day for the Phillies on Wednesday night against the Reds.

It took more than six hours and nine pitchers, but the Phillies finally pulled out a 5-4, 19-inning win.  Both offenses struggled to score runs and for the Phils, this has been problematic all season.

I have two words rattling around my brain in regards to the Phillies offense: frustrating and painful.  This team has been painful to watch most of the season so far.  And they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, which is incredibly frustrating.

For example, Raul Ibanez led off the sixth inning with a triple.  So with NO outs and a man on third, what should happen just doesn’t.  Carlos Ruiz swung at the first pitch and popped out.  John Mayberry Jr. watched a called-strike three go by.  And then Wilson Valdez is walked intentionally to get to the pitcher.  Result: NO run, when all they needed was a sac fly or some form of contact with the ball that did not turn into a pop-up.

And this is exactly the sort of thing that is plaguing the Phillies offense.  They faced a Reds pitcher who was off his game and they did not take advantage.  Instead, they got themselves out by being impatient and swinging at bad pitches.

So just like Tuesday night, with a 3-1 lead, the Phillies watched the Reds come back to tie the game, 3-3 by the seventh inning.  They got hurt, again, by Jay Bruce with two outs and the bases loaded.  He hit a two-run single off Roy Halladay, who had a few issues tonight.  However, the defense behind him did little to help.

But once the game entered the wee hours of the morning, many forgot that Halladay had even started the game.  The bullpen took over for a total of 12 innings.

Danys Baez, who has taken a lot of abuse from Phillies fans for his lack of consistency, was one of the hero’s in this game.  He pitched a career-high five innings and 73 pitches to carry the Phils through the 18th inning.  He allowed only one hit, one walk and zero runs.

Last year, Baez was so bad that many hoped he would be cut.  And this year has been up and down for him.  But rest assured that after an effort like this, Baez is keeping his job.

After Baez exited, the unexpected happened.  Wilson Valdez stepped onto the pitcher’s mound.  And he was tasked with facing the heart of the Reds line-up in Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce, who had absolutely been killing the Phils all series long.

But Valdez gave a valiant performance, even clocking over 90mph on the radar gun.  He got Votto to fly out to deep center, hit Rolen with a pitch and then two more fly-outs to end the inning.  As he exited the field, the crowd went crazy cheering for him.

Valdez is the first player to start in the field and move on to pitching since Babe Ruth.  Seriously.  He is also the first Phillies position player to pitch since Tomas Perez did it in 2002.  The game win went to Valdez and afterwards he told Comcast Sportsnet, “I like to win,” in response to why he agreed to pitch.  He also joked that he could have gone three or four more innings.

Raul Ibanez hit a sac fly to score Jimmy Rollins for the win in the 19th inning.  In a game where an infielder pitched, a catcher (Carlos Ruiz) played third base and the team left 16 men on base, this win has to be a huge boost for the Phillies.

The last game with the Reds comes quick after this one; Thursday afternoon at 1:05pm.  Cliff Lee will pitch.

Injury Updates

Ross Gload is not playing right now due to a slight muscle tear in his hip.  This is same sort of injury that Chase Utley played through in 2008, which eventually required surgery.  Gload is expected to play through it as well.

Jose Contreras should return to the team sometime this week.  Odds are good that David Herndon will be sent down to make room.

Chase Utley got a day off today, except for a pinch-hitting appearance, in what appears to be an effort to err on the side of caution by not pushing him too hard, too soon.  He should play again Thursday.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Madson Has a Bad Day in Loss to Reds

Ryan Madson had been plowing down hitters, allowing just one run all season until Tuesday night.  The Phillies lost to the Reds by a score of 6-3 after a hairy ninth inning.

Rookie Vance Worley started the game and was a little rusty after being switched from starter to reliever to the minors and back to starting again as Joe Blanton made his second trip to the DL this month.  Worley was still pretty good, considering the way he has been bounced around lately.

 

Over five innings, Worley allowed three runs on six hits and four walks.

Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz carried the offense as both players are suddenly on fire.  Ibanez went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Ruiz was 2-for-3, also with an RBI. 

 

Chase Utley was in the line-up again since returning from the DL.  He was hitless on Monday, but finally got a hit Tuesday night.  That single turned out to be a momentum shift in the game, only not in the right direction.

 

Juan Samuel waived home Jimmy Rollins from second on the play for no apparent reason and he was a dead duck at home plate by about a mile.  There had been only one out in the inning at the time and losing that run seemed to kill the Phillies offense.

Utley was involved in a number of odd plays in the field as well, which sent him scrambling all over the place to track down balls hit into no-man’s land.  Here are a few of those plus some other plays:

 

But in the end, the game came down to the bullpen.  After a 13-inning scoreless streak, Ryan Madson finally had a bad day.  With one out in the ninth, Madson made a bad throw to first and things snowballed from there.

After loading the bases, Madson gave up a 3-run double to Jay Bruce.  The Reds had a 6-3 lead and the Phillies offense was unable to come back in the bottom of the inning.  Hopefully, Madson can start a new streak tonight.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.  The third game with the Reds is tonight at 7:05pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Utley Returns and it Rains Runs for the Phillies

The crowd went wild as Chase Utley stepped to the plate for his 2011 debut tonight against the Reds.  After missing the start of the season with knee issues, the Phillies have anxiously awaited the return of their leader.  It was so thrilling to see Utley back in the line-up, fans everywhere felt like skipping joyously through a field of wildflowers.

The overwhelming exhilaration poured onto the field and bled over into the Phillies recently dreadful offense.  Runs began to pour out like rain drops.  The Phils scored ten runs tonight, which equaled the run total of their last seven games combined.

Oddly enough, the only starter in the line-up, including the pitcher, to not have a hit was Utley.  He went 0-5.  But just his presence alone was motivation for this struggling offense.

Domonic Brown got his first hit since being called up.  Carlos Ruiz racked up three hits.  Both Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco had two hits and two RBI each.  And Jimmy Rollins put a charge into his bat with two hits, including a three-run homer.

Cole Hamels started the game and did well until he allowed a three-run homer in the fourth to Jay Bruce.  Hamels went six innings, allowing five hits.  Because of the huge Phillies lead, he was able to come out of the game early and take a little break.

Phillies fans had a blast tonight, cheering for Chase and finally seeing some offense.  As an added bonus, they were able to boo Scott Rolen, which was the icing on the cake.  The Phillies won by a score of 10-3.

The question now is can this offense take the huge momentum that Utley provided and carry it over from game to game?  I will be at the ballpark Tuesday night to find out and I shall return with photos.

Game time is 7:05pm; Vance Worley gets the start.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Homers + Halladay = Win

A few of the Phillies bats had a small, yet short-lived, resurrection on Friday night against the Texas Rangers.  Both Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez went deep to score all three of the Phillies runs in the 3-2 win.

Both players have been struggling, especially Francisco.  Perhaps the call-up of Domonic Brown lit a fire under the two outfielders. Francisco won the right field spot out of spring training, but he may be on the verge of losing it now with his recent slump, the Brown call-up and better defense from John Mayberry Jr.

 While the future of the outfield is up in the air, the starting rotation remains steady.  Led by Roy Halladay, the Phillies put together a win while totaling only four hits in the game, two of which were home runs.

Both teams had issues with home plate umpire, Andy Fletcher, who had a moving strike zone that no one could nail down.  But Halladay stayed on his game, despite the inconsistencies.  He went eight innings, allowing just two runs on six hits and a walk.  Halladay also struck out seven.

The closer role for the Phillies has been another question mark this year with both Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras going on the DL.  But Ryan Madson, who had trouble with this role in the past, has left little doubt about who the Phillies closer should be.

Madson has been practically unhittable.  He has allowed only one run the entire season so far and last night, he earned his eighth save in eight opportunities.  So now it is Madson who is lights-out, not Lidge.

Saturday night Cliff Lee will face the reigning AL Champs and his former team, the Rangers.  Game time is 7:10pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Halladay Loses With a Complete Game

Here is something that should never, ever happen.  Roy Halladay pitched a three-run, complete game against the Braves today and took a loss.  With the rate at which Halladay and other Phillies pitchers, like Cliff Lee, are being hung out to dry by this offense, it may be time to take more drastic measures.

The Phillies were the only team in the majors to not have a starting pitcher lose two games in a row.  That streak ended today as Halladay got his second consecutive taste of how bad this Phillies offense sucks right now.

Just because it is Superman himself, Roy Halladay, on the mound, does not mean that he will toss a shut-out every time out.  The movie Superman managed to turn back time by rotating the earth backwards on its axis, but do not think he will accomplish this feat whenever he feels like it, even in the movies.  There needs to be some basis in reality to keep our attention.

The Phillies batters, however, seem to be hanging around, just waiting for another Halladay or Lee miracle.  Tim Hudson pitched for the Braves today and was almost pulled from the game in the fourth inning with a sore hip, but he managed to go seven innings anyway.  This means that the Phillies managed only four hits off a Grandpa (in baseball years) with a bad hip!

The only reason that Grandpa lasted seven innings was because the Phillies got themselves out.  They swung at bad pitches and were not patient when Hudson began flinging balls all over the place, two feet over their heads or straight into the dirt.

Three of the four hits in the game were from the bench players, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez and John Mayberry Jr. who accounted for the only score with a two-run homer.  Mayberry played center in place of the ailing Shane Victorino.  Both he and Orr each stole a base as well.

So while the bench guys keep trying to resuscitate this team, where are the starters?  Where are the bats of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez?  Come out, come out, wherever you are!  This game of hide and seek is getting old.

The 3-2 loss gave the Braves the series win, 2-1.  The Braves are now only 3.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East and the Marlins are two games back.

The Phillies will travel to St. Louis for a short, two-games series next.  Cliff Lee pitches tomorrow, unless he decides to go on strike.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Will Injuries Derail The Phillies Season?

As of May 13, 2011, the Phillies are 25-13 and two games ahead of the Florida Marlins for first place in the NL East.  However, Phillies players are dropping like flies.  Can they maintain this pace in spite of all the injuries?

So far the Phillies have lost their starting short stop, both catchers, two starting pitchers, a bunch of relief pitchers and more.  Starter Joe Blanton came off the DL but looks like he needs to go back as he is still in pain and losing speed on his pitches.  Starter Roy Oswalt is coming back this week, but also looks like he is not 100% after a rehab start on Thursday.

Then in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Braves, centerfielder Shane Victorino left the game early with a hamstring pull.  It ended his 15-game hitting streak.

The Phillies anemic offense managed only three hits in the game, a trend which has continued throughout the season so far.  The pitching has helped the Phillies win games, but the loses due to a lack of hitting are starting to pile up.

At the same time, the pitcher’s are now coming up lame.  If the injuries continue and the Phillies wind up with both weak pitching and weak hitting at the same time, this spells trouble.

Here is a look at the injuries so far this year:

 

If Victorino winds up on the DL, the Phillies may have been able to fill the roster spot by calling Domonic Brown back up since he has recovered from hand surgery.  However, earlier in the week, Brown sprained the thumb on the same hand he had surgery on and is unavailable to play right now.

Currently in right field, Ben Francisco has been terrible in the month of May.  He is hitting just .071 since May 1.  Ryan Howard is hitting .217 in May.  Placido Polanco’s May numbers are down as well, hitting .234.  Brian Schneider’s bat was starting to heat up when he got hurt and was sent to the DL.  Carlos Ruiz is back, but rusty, and he is still looking for his first hit this month.

The bench players have filled in admirably where they are able to.  But if this trend continues where the offense slumps and the pitching can no longer bail them out, the Phillies could lose their grasp on first place quickly.

The Phillies season is at a crossroads now.  Either they will be able to continue to battle through the injuries or they will not.

But this is an issue they have dealt with for many years running now.  This Phillies team knows how to carry on when star players hit the skids.  Hopefully, knowing that they have overcome injuries in the past will be enough to propel them into the future as a winning team.

Friday the 13th Was Good Luck For The Phillies

Friday the 13th turned out to be a reversal of fortune for the Phillies, on a day that is traditionally known for bad luck.  It was also a day where some very young, unproven pitchers were tossed into the fire and emerged unscathed.

Cole Hamels was to start the game, but before he took the mound, Ryan Howard blasted a three-run homer to give him a nice lead to work with.  And although Hamels gave a run back to the Braves in the first inning, it looked like he was on cruise control after that, at least until the fifth inning.

A single and two straight doubles by the Braves in the fifth tied the game at 3-3.  In the sixth, Hamels uncorked a wild pitch with a runner on third to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.  After six innings, Hamels had allowed four runs on eight hits while both Hamels and Placido Polanco committed errors in the game.

It was starting to look like a real Friday the 13th nightmare until Shane Victorino hit an RBI-single in the seventh to tie the game again.  But as quickly as things began to look up, they went downhill again fast.

Relief pitcher J.C. Romero started the bottom of the seventh and got into big trouble quickly.  Martin Prado doubled; it seemed like he could not fail to get on base after doing so four straight times in this game.  After a sac bunt that moved Prado to third, Romero walked the next two batters to load the bases.

With one out and the bases juiced, the rookie Michael Stutes took over, looking like fresh meat tossed into a pack of wolves.  Stutes was not rattled and he struck out Dan Uggla, making it look easy.  Antonio Bastardo was up next and before you could blink, the count was a scary 3-0.  But the young lefty refocused and came back to strike out a very frustrated Freddie Freeman, who began slamming equipment to the ground.

The Phillies were able to retake the lead in the eighth after Howard doubled and Raul Ibanez singled to score him.  With a very slim 5-4 lead, another rookie would be called upon to hold the Braves down.  Vance Worley took the mound and on one pitch, gave up a single.  Still not shaken, Worley got the next three outs, including Prado, who failed to reach base for the first time all night.

Ryan Madson closed out the game and is now 6-for-6 in save attempts.  But the best news of the night was seeing a very young group of bullpen pitchers pass the biggest test of their budding careers.  Stutes, Bastardo and Worley were outstanding and there can be no question now that they all have what it takes to pitch in the majors.

Game two with the Braves is at 1:10pm Saturday and Joe Blanton will pitch.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Phillies Win A Wild One In Miami

Call it a game if you must, but tonight’s Phillies – Marlins match-up looked more like batting practice for both teams.  It featured the Phillies worst starter, fresh off a DL stint, in Joe Blanton and the Marlins worst starter, Javier Vazquez.  As hitters walked to the plate, they were literally salivating like a pack of ravenous hyenas standing over a fresh kill.

No one was more excited than Ross Gload, who has gotten very little playing time as a bench player this year.  With a rare start in right field, Gload finally had an opportunity to do some damage.  He took full advantage with two hits and two RBI.

A lot of Phillies had multi-hit games against the struggling Vazquez and some of the Marlins’ bullpen.  Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and even Raul Ibanez came up with at least two hits in the game, along with Gload.

The pitching was another story.  Knowing he had the youngster Vance Worley nipping at his heels, Blanton must have been in a rush to get back to the team after going on the DL.  He did not even pitch in a rehab game.

In his race to get healthy, Blanton looked like a guy seriously out of practice.  But the defense bailed him out a number of times and he wound up with five innings, three runs allowed, two walks and eight hits.

Worley did wind up pitching in the game, taking over in the sixth.  He got though two scoreless innings and then in the eight, allowed a solo homer to Gaby Sanchez.  After Worley’s three innings of work, the score was then 6-4, surprisingly low for the number of hacks taken during the game.

The Phillies went on to win by the same score, with Ryan Madson collecting the save.  Roy Halladay will pitch Tuesday night.  Game time is 7:10pm.

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Howard Makes History Again As Phillies Beat Braves

With Roy Oswalt sent to the DL, the Phillies needed a spot starter tonight against the Braves.  They went with Kyle Kendrick and the move paid off.

Kendrick has been in the bullpen all year, so his pitch count was limited.  But he managed to get through five innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out two.

The Phillies offense came up with a few key hits to give the team a 3-0 lead through those five innings.  Pete Orr played second and had an RBI-fielder’s choice in the second for the first run of the game.  The second run was a historic one.

Ryan Howard smashed his career 260th home run in the fourth, passing Del Ennis for 2nd place in Phillies career home runs.  Mike Schmidt is in first place with 548 homers.  Howard has a long way to go to match Schmidt, but 2nd place is very impressive.

 

Ennis’ widow Liz, an avid baseball fan, called the Phillies after the historic homer and had them leave a note of congratulations for Howard.  It was a very classy move.  During the game broadcast, announcer Tom McCarthy noted that Liz made the call after realizing the telegram was no longer being used.  :O)

Anyway, run #3 in the game came from a Shane Victorino triple in the fifth.  Earlier in the day, Victorino was in the Majestic Clubhouse Store at the stadium signing copies of his new book, “Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian.”  He must have been really pumped up after the turnout.  I heard from a source outside the ballpark that fans who showed up an hour early for the signing were told the line was already cut-off and they were turned away.

I am totally off topic here, but I have one last note about the book.  In the next week or so, I plan on writing a review of the book.  I will also reveal some personal conversations I had with Shane’s parents and also his wife, Melissa, many years back about one of the main talking points of the book, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  I was very glad to hear Shane shared this in the book as I am sure it will help many people suffering from the disorder.  So, stayed tuned for that…

Back to the game…by the sixth inning, this turned into a battle of the bullpens and a 3-0 Phillies lead.  Coming out of the pen for the Phillies was J.C. Romero, Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson.  Each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the Phillies win.

With so many questions surrounding the Phillies bullpen this year, it is very good to see everyone stepping up.  Especially for young pitchers like Stutes and Bastardo, their performances so far this year have been outstanding.

The series is now split 1-1.  Tomorrow the Phillies will send Cole Hamels to the mound as they try to win the series with the Braves.  It is another dreadful ESPN 8pm start on a Sunday; the second Sunday in a row.  I will be there and return with photos.

 

FYI – The MLBlogs conversion to WordPress has been postponed until next weekend, 5/13-5/16…shocking, I know.  Anyway, just keep stopping by and if there is yet another delay, I will let you know.  Thanks!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Cliff Lee Is Not Feeling The Love From The Phillies Bats

While Phillies fans have certainly shown their support of Cliff Lee since his return, his teammates are a bit lacking in that department.  In Lee’s last three starts, the Phils have scored a grand total of ONE run for him.

Last night, the huge “zero” on the board amounted to a very odd outcome.  Lee struck out a career-high 16 batters in the 5-0 loss to the Braves.  This tied Steve Carlton for the most strikeouts over nine innings by a lefty in Phillies history.

 

The third inning was not great for Lee, as he allowed three runs.  But aside from that inning, Lee was lights out, keeping pace with Derek Lowe who had a no-hitter going into the seventh.

But if you allow just three runs over seven innings, you are supposed to get a win, right?  Sadly, that did not happen.  Instead, the Phillies offense continues to be a dark cloud over Lee’s head.

The most frustrating offense came in the seventh after Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter with a single to left.  Placido Polanco knocked a ground rule double, which as the ball hopped over the fence in center, actually prevented Victorino from scoring.

With two men in scoring position and no outs, the Phillies bats failed again.  Lowe left the game with an injury and Eric O’Flaherty replaced him. 

Facing O’Flaherty should have been a relief after Lowe had mowed the Phils down in six straight innings.  Instead, the next three batters, Ryan Howard, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez, all struck out swinging.  Not one of them could even make contact.

And that continues to be the Achilles heel of this team.  These severe hot and cold streaks at the plate are going to catch up to the Phillies eventually.  The team’s 21 wins behind a stellar pitching staff is covering the multitude of offensive sins right now.  But that cannot last for long.

The Phillies bats will need to get serious very, very soon.

Injury Update

Roy Oswalt came back from his tour of duty in the Mississippi tornado sector, but apparently, his lower back did not come with him.  He is now on the DL, retroactive for 10 days, which means he could return on Friday.  Oswalt has a history of back issues, so this is potentially very bad news.  Stay tuned…

Catcher Carlos Ruiz is also still on the shelf with a strained lower back and he remains day to day.  The Phils may place him on the DL, but if they do, it will have to be sometime today so they can backdate it.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

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