Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’
Is it bad luck or bad baseball? It looked like luck may have been in the Phillies favor when Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent to the DL minutes before the game started today. Dice-K beat up the Phillies in their last meeting, so this must be good news. Scott Atchison, a career minor leaguer who also played in Japan, made his first career major league start in place of Dice-K. Again, this seemed like good news, right?
Wrong. Because absolutely nothing has gone well for the Phillies lately, and this game would be no different. Joe Blanton has been as bad as he could be since coming off the DL in early May. By the 2nd inning of this game, Blanton had given up 34 runs, 11 homers and 11 walks in 45 innings pitched this year.
And the damage did not end there…Blanton allowed 9 runs total, matching Jamie Moyer yesterday, on 13 hits and a walk by the time he was done, after 4 pathetic innings. His ERA is now 7.28.
Blanton loaded the bases in the 2nd inning, right after the offense scored two runs for him. He then threw ONE pitch to rookie, Daniel Nava, who in his first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam! Unbelievable. It looked like the Phillies had morphed into a black cat with a #13 tattoo, under a black cloud standing on top of a broken mirror, sprinkled with spilled salt. But was that bad luck or just Joe Blah-anton?
Blanton needs to go. Obviously, no one will want him with his gigantic 7.28 ERA and gigantic salary, so what are the options? Put him back on the DL or send him to the minors. Brett Myers did this voluntarily back in 2008 and came back to help them win the World Series. The Phillies can bring back Nelson Figueroa or someone else from the minors. I would rather see a rookie get raked for 9 runs than a veteran who is not living up to his end of the deal. How about Nate Bump? He has some experience and was recently clocked at 103mph. Go get him!
The Phillies have made a lot of mistakes this year and last, many of which have been overshadowed by the acquisition of Roy Halladay. Letting Myers go was clearly an error in judgment. I said it before, but because most people have a personal dislike of Myers, most were happy to see him go. For the Astros this year, Myers has not allowed more than 4 runs in any game, has not pitched fewer than 6 innings in any game and his ERA is a very respectable 3.18.
And do not even get me started on Cliff Lee. Because the Mariners are not doing well, Lee will likely be traded before the deadline and it looks like he may wind up in the NL East. Imagine this: Lee goes to Mets or the Braves who make the playoffs, leaving the Phillies in the dust. You want to throw up right now, don’t you?
And remember signing a 36 year-old Raul Ibanez, now 38, to a 3-year contract? It looked like a good idea for ½ a year in 2009; now, not so much. Raul, we still love ya, but things are not going well. Ibanez is hitting .247 and is getting slower in the outfield.
The Phillies also extended Blanton’s contract this off-season, giving him 3 more years and $24 million dollars. They noted his “consistency,” which I have never agreed with, and his ability to pitch many innings as reasons for the extension. Well, all those innings have taken their toll as evidenced by Blanton’s current ERA plus the pre-season injury and DL stint.
By the way, the Phillies offense died after Blanton dug a huge hole for them. The managed only 7 hits and 3 of those came from back-up catcher Brian Schneider. The Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 2-10.
I could go on, but I think that is enough for one day. The Phillies have now slid from 1st place to 3rd place in the NL East and if the Marlins keep winning, they will be in 4th place shortly. I mentioned holding off on hitting the panic button last week; well, it is now time. Let the panic begin. This past month may be a foretelling of the horror to come.
Photoshopping by Jenn
Fenway Park in Boston is endearingly referred to as the Green Monster. The Phillies went to Boston today and shortly thereafter, pitcher Jamie Moyer was served up on a silver platter for appetizer, entrée and dessert as a human sacrifice to the Green Monster. The Phillies lost 12-2 to the Red Sox; it was a complete and utter annihilation.
Moyer gave up 5 runs in the first inning and followed that with 4 more in the 2nd without recording an out. Moyer was pulled and left the game with an official record of 1 inning pitched, 9 runs and 9 hits. That calculates to an ERA of 81.00 for the game. Luckily, when it is rolled into the rest of his stats for the year, it is a slightly less frightening 5.03 ERA.
The offense, again, did themselves no favors. They scored only 2 runs and the usual problems, like grounding into double plays with the bases loaded, prevailed again. By the 4th inning, the Phils basically threw in the towel and sat stars Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino in favor of bench players, giving them some playing time.
The other big loser in the game besides the Phillies was Bill Hall of the Red Sox. While the rest of his team pounded Phillies pitching mercilessly, poor Hall was the only starter who went hitless. I actually felt bad for the guy. Maybe he is secretly a Phillies fan? Nah….
Still looking for that elusive silver lining? Ok, well the recently super-bad Jayson Werth finally started hitting again. He went 3 for 4 at the plate, although he still managed to leave 3 men on base. But a good day for Werth will hopefully get him back on track.
As for the rest of the team, I personally think they all need either a butt-kicking or a group hug. The fact that I cannot decide which would be more helpful is a testament to the complete horror of the past month in Phillies baseball. Ok, let us count today as the butt-kicking then, just to be more upbeat about it.
However, the Phillies are in big, big trouble. Fans are all familiar with the Phillies Interleague play follies of years past and this year has begun no differently. If they continue on this path, they may dig a hole too deep to climb out of. Start praying that tomorrow will be a better day. Joe Blanton will pitch and game time is 4:10pm.
Moyer photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Odds were good that the Phillies would have to bust out of this major slump at some point. Today against the Marlins, they finally scored for the first time since the 9th inning against the Red Sox on Sunday…5 days ago. In the 4th inning against the Fish, a Ryan Howard single followed by a Raul Ibanez triple ended the drought. Whew!
Of course, 3 strike-outs followed the Ibanez RBI, leaving him stranded on 3rd, making fans wonder if the one run was a fluke. But the offense kept creeping back to life, scoring one run each in the 5th and 7th innings. Chase Utley manufactured a run by walking, then stealing 2nd base, allowing him to score on another Howard single. Utley later grounded out to score a runner from 3rd base.
Manager Charlie Manuel moved the line-up around a bit, giving Jayson Werth and Placido Polanco the day off. Ross Gload and Greg Dobbs filled in; Gload went 1 for 4 and Dobbs was hitless. Polanco is still having elbow issues after being hit with a pitch at the start of the season. Hopefully, a little rest will get him back into the lineup.
As for starter Kyle Kendrick, he pitched very well. His fielding, however, was not great and cost him the only 2 runs he allowed. With 2 outs and 2 men on in the 3rd, Hanley Ramirez hit an easy ground ball to Kendrick who drilled the ball into the ground trying to throw to first. Just as it looked like he was out of the inning, 2 runs crossed the plate on the error.
Both runs were unearned and Kendrick wound up going 6 innings without additional incident. Overall, it was a quality start. Chad Durbin and Danys Baez got through the next two innings fairly easily. Jose Contreras came in for the 9th and got into trouble, allowing back-to-back singles with one out. He struck out Cody Ross next and then Ronnie Paulino popped up to end the game.
So, with a little help, Kendrick beats the Fish and Contreras collected the save. And the Phillies finally put an end to the 5-game losing streak. Can I get one more big SIGH of relief….whew! Game 2 in Miami is tomorrow at 7:10pm with Roy Halladay on the mound.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
With a 3-8 loss to the Red Sox, it was a bad day all around for Phillies fans. First, two of the stars from the movie “The Hangover” were supposed to throw out first pitches, but I guess it got bumped due to time constraints after the rain clean-up and tarp removal. And I really, really wanted a picture of Bradley Cooper. A sad day for women everywhere…
Next, the curse of the Phillies and Interleague play continued… Roy Halladay had a very, very bad day. Worries about his being overworked in his last outing, throwing 132 pitches, are beginning to look justified. Todd Zolecki reported that due to the increased work load, Halladay actually adjusted his routine between starts. Anytime a pitcher is thrown off his usual routine, something is wrong.
And that something is that Halladay is being used and abused and it finally caught up to him. He had given up just 1 run going into the 4th inning but that is where the game took a serious turn for the worse. With the bases loaded and one out, Greg Dobbs missed a ball that looked like a routine double play ball. Instead, it trickled into the outfield and 2 runs scored.
Knowing that would have gotten him out of the jam, Halladay was visibly upset and had to be calmed by pitching coach, Rich Dubee. It all went downhill from there. Halladay ended the game with 7 runs, 6 of them earned, in just 5 2/3 innings. The defense did not help him out as witnessed by the Dobbs blunder and check out this miss, which Shane Victorino almost caught:
By the way, this begs the question, why was Dobbs playing third with a sinker ball pitcher on the mound? There is way too much action at 3rd in this situation and, as a bench player, Dobbs does not get much practice. Placido Polanco could have taken a day off when either Joe Blanton or Cole Hamels were going to pitch. The move made no sense and it cost the Phillies.
What also cost them was the lack of offense…again. The Sox pitcher, Tim Wakefield, had not thrown a shut-out since 1997. But today, it looked like it may happen as he went 8 scoreless innings. The Phillies made this 43-year old pitcher look like a spring chicken.
Once Wakefield was pulled, the Phillies managed to squeak out 3 runs in the 9th with a Ross Gload 2-run homer and doubles from Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez. Here are a few more game shots:
Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game which includes these shots and more.
So the Phillies will be holding their annual Phillies Phestival tomorrow and I will report back on those events sometime on Tuesday. After the Phestival, they hit the road and start a series with the Mets at 7:10pm on Tuesday night.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Many Phillies fans are left wondering today where our team has gone. Because the one hit wonders from Saturday night’s loss to the Red Sox must be imposters. Seriously? ONE hit all game? Wow. Who took my Phillies, locked them in a closet and put these schmoe’s on the field? I am not amused.
But the bad day for the Phillies batters had much to do with both the Red Sox defense and the pitching performance of Daisuke Matsuzaka (say that 5 times fast). He was pitching a no-hitter through 7 1/3 innings until Juan Castro, our hero, hit a bloop single into no-man’s land. Many Phillies, like Jayson Werth, hit the ball hard but they kept hitting right at the Sox fielders. Matsuzaka caught a Werth liner that whizzed right at him basically in self-defense.
As for the Phillies pitching, Kyle Kendrick lasted only 4 2/3 innings, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. The only Phillies pitcher to have gone less than 5 innings this year was…well, actually, it was Kendrick. So, at least he sucks on a consistent basis. There is comfort in that….not.
Jimmy Rollins was put back on the DL on Saturday, which is why Castro was in the game to save them from the embarrassment of a no-hitter. J-Roll has a Grade 1 strain in the same calf that he was on the DL for most of the season so far. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says it is not as serious as the first one, but I guess we won’t know until the 15 days is up.
So the Phillies still have a shot to win the series with Roy Halladay on the mound today. Game time is 1:35pm; I will be there and hopefully, I can get some photos before the rain comes down. Check back for that later.
Utley photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the first Interleague game of 2010, Cole Hamels pitched a gem. In 7 innings, Hamels allowed just one run on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 8 batters. Hamels looked sharp against the Red Sox and if he can keep up this pace, he may put together a solid season.
Another first for 2010 was the Phillies putting their usual line-up on the field at a home game. Jimmy Rollins came off the DL on Monday and today, finally landed in his usual lead-off spot.
But in the 6th inning, Rollins led off with a single and limped to first base. Rollins just came off the DL with a calf strain and reports are that he now has a “mild” calf strain in the same leg.
Oh please, say it ain’t so…J-Roll has given the Phillies a much needed boost with a 3-run homer yesterday and a hit and a walk today. To lose him again would be a serious punch in the gut. When Rollins’ biggest supporter, J-Roll Smurf heard the news, he began to wonder if he had fallen down a rabbit hole and gone tripping on some funky shrooms. Because seriously, this cannot be happening. And if it is, perhaps J-Roll Smurf can just pretend it is not while rolling around in his little garden of happiness.
Before that 6th inning, things looked very good for the Phillies. Ryan Howard smacked a homer in the 4th to tie the game and Jayson Werth went even deeper in the 5th, hitting a 2-run shot into the second deck of left field. Shane Victorino had an RBI single in the 4th and also walked twice. Even Hamels had a hit in the game, just to round out his great pitching performance.
But then in the 9th, the hallucinations returned as pitcher Danys Baez allowed a single and a walk. JC Romero hit the next batter to load the bases and bring Big Papi, David Ortiz, to the plate with a chance to tie the game. We must really be tripping now. By the way, the Urban Dictionary lists one definition for “tripping” as “A psychological phenomenon in which a person can feel an even higher-than-normal state of emotion due to some repeated external stimulus.”
In this case, the repeated external stimulus is the Phillies bullpen, which continues to induce a heart attack-like state among fans watching them pitch. But Romero had the remedy, as he induced a fly ball from Ortiz to end the game with a 5-1 win for the Phillies.
The remedy for Rollins however, still remains elusive. Currently, he is listed as “day-to-day,” but with the exact same injury repeated, which took him more than a month to recover from, I would expect that good news is not on the horizon. Then again, if they can find some magic mushrooms that hold the cure for the calf strain, hand me a shovel. I’ll start digging. ;o)
Smurf photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After the sluggish bats the last few games, seeing the Phillies score 5 runs today was a huge relief. And seeing Jimmy Rollins, still fresh off the DL, smack a huge 3-run homer was an even bigger relief. It is good to have J-Roll back!
Joe Blanton looked very good through 6 innings, although he started to get beat up in the 7th inning where he loaded the bases and allowed 2 runs. Blanton allowed a total of 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk. Overall, he did a very good job.
But Blanton still did not get the win as the Cubs tied the game up when Antonio Bastardo gave up a homer in the 8th to Kosuke Fukudome. The 4-4 tie was broken up by Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the 8th. Chase Utley used his speed to score from 2nd on the Ibanez single.
Jose Contreras earned the save, although it was an interesting 9th inning for him. After throwing 10 pitches to Alfonso Soriano who kept fouling them off, Contreras finally hit him with pitch #11. The next batter singled, putting Contreras in a 1st and 3rd no out jam. But he struck out the next two batters and popped up the third to seal the 5-4 win for the Phillies.
So now the real fun begins: Interleague play. And while the 3-game series with the Red Sox is really just a short interlude to the full interleague schedule that will go full force on June 11th for the Phils, this weekend will still be very interesting. The Sox have struggled this year and are lingering down in 4th place in the AL East. And the Phillies have been very, very bad in Interleague play over the last several years. So will the curse of Phillies Interleague play endure or are the struggling Sox the spell breaker? Game 1 starts tomorrow at 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Mid-March is about the time when I begin to find Spring Training dull and get anxious for the real games to begin. Ok yes, Joe Blanton had a good outing against the Tigers today after a shaky spring start. Cole Hamels looks like he is in good shape with two solid performances so far. The bats are jumping and as a team, the Phillies are hitting at an average of .301 with 7 homers and 36 RBI. And still, I am a bit sleepy about the whole thing.
In my boredom today, I decided to scan through this week’s MLB headlines to see what was going on around the league. Here are a few fun tidbits I came across in my search:
Yankees shortstop and baseball God, Derek Jeter, sat out of a Spring Training game with flu symptoms. And then an Angel lost its wings :O(
Come on Opening Day! Get here….quick! if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13′); Reyes photo by Jenn Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
The Mets Jose Reyes may not be ready to play on Opening Day. His thyroid hormone blood levels are elevated and he is not supposed to do anything that could raise his heart rate. You know, things like showboating on the base paths or talking to Federal agents about his Canadian doctor’s link to performance-enhancing drugs…stuff like that.
Come on Opening Day! Get here….quick!
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Reyes photo by Jenn
Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Here are some highlights from the last 2 Phillies Spring games:
3/7 vs. Tampa Bay; final score 5-3, Tampa: JA Happ started the game and went 2 1/3 scoreless innings; he did walk 2 batters, but overall looked good. But even better news was that newbie Phillipe Aumont recovered from his Phillies debut, which was a 5-run pounding in less than inning against Florida State. Against the Rays, he went 2 2/3 scoreless innings with 1 walk and 2 hits. Time for Aumont to exhale; he is back in top prospect form.
Joe Savery, on the hand, has a rough inning where he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits. Savery is a former first round draft pick of the Phillies but sadly, The 6’3″ lefty has never looked comfortable on the mound. He has a 4.14 ERA in 3 years of minor league play.
The polar opposite of Savery has been young outfield propect Domonic Brown; he continues to impress this Spring and went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI against the Rays. He also threw a runner out at home, just for good measure. New bench piece Ross Gload also went 3 for 5 in the game in the DH role.
3/8 vs. Yankees; final score 7-5, Yanks: Kyle Kendrick is putting the pressure on Jamie Moyer in competition for the 5th starters spot. Kendrick went 3 solid innings allowing just one hit and no runs. But more than that, he looked comfortable and confident. I suppose sporting that Roy Halladay look-alike beard has given him an ego boost ;o)
And then in the opposite category, Jose Contreras looked horrible today. He could not seem to throw a first pitch strike, worked behind almost every batter in the count and as a result, he allowed 6 runs on 3 walks and 6 hits over only 1 2/3 innings. Luckily, the Phillies have very little invested in the righty so if he does not shape up, no big deal. Then again, Contreras was supposed to be an upgrade over the departed Chan Ho Park; do I smell a huge disappointment on the horizon? Hmmmm….
Incidentally, Contreras began his career with the Yankees and his signing in 2002 is what precipitated the Yankee nickname, “Evil Empire.” It is said that the Red Sox were so intent on signing Contreras that they booked every hotel room in the area of Cuba where Contreras was to keep the Yanks away. In the end, they still lost out to the Yankees and the Sox owner allegedly threw a chair through a window in anger. This is just a rumor, of course :O)
As for the bat today, Ryan Howard finally got his first, and then second, hit of Spring against the Yankees. Whew! But the big blast of the day came off the bat of Jimmy Rollins. Pitcher Javier Vazquez made his return to the Yankees today since departing in 2005 and his very first pitch was taken out of the park by Rollins. 1 pitch, 1 homer – nice.
Rollins had 2 hits in the game as did Howard, Chase Utley and John Mayberry Jr., who knocked the second Phillies homer of the game in the 6th inning. But while the bat were popping, the outing by Contreras put the Phils in a hole they could not climb out of.
Shane Victorino was still missing from the line-up, but it appears he may make his Spring debut tomorrow against the Braves at 7:05pm. His sore shoulder has been an issue so far this Spring and the Phillies are playing it safe with him. But hopefully the Flyin’ Hawaiian will take flight again tomorrow night.
And congratulations to reader “blueferret” who was the first person to find the mistake on the new Cliff Lee Topps trading card from Saturday’s blog. Topps photoshopped an old Phillies card to change the Phillies uniform to a Mariners uniform but they forgot to remove the “HK” patch from the new Mariners version. The “HK” patch was a Phillies-only items that the team wore in 2009 in honor of the late Harry Kalas.
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Photos by ESPN.com
It appears the Phillies are going to land Roy Halladay. However, in an unbeLEEvable twist, it is said that Cliff Lee will be shipped to the Seattle Mariners as part of a 3-team deal. Shock and awe have overcome me….Cliff Lee???
Really??? Our ACE miracle pick-up of 2009 traded away? A few acronyms come to mind here; mainly OMG and WTF.
Ok, so apparently Lee is dead-set on testing the free agent market after 2010 and Halladay is agreeable to a multi-year deal; plus, Halladay really wants to come to Philly. The Phillies are looking to keep the core of this team intact for at least 2 more years and I suppose, with Lee not being a possibility past 1 year, they feel he is disposable. But we would be basically trading and ace for an ace instead of keeping TWO aces. Ugh.
Halladay may be a slightly better pitcher than Lee, but he has also pitched nearly twice as many innings as Lee at almost the same age. Halladay is 1 year and 3 months older and has pitched 2046.2 innings; Lee has pitched 1196.2 innings.
Also take into consideration that Lee was amazing in the playoffs and is super steady mentally. He may be one of the calmest players under pressure anyone has ever seen. Halladay on the other hand was rattled in July and August over the trade rumors and it affected his performance. This does not mean Lee is better than Halladay; clearly the numbers show otherwise. However, Lee has advantages that Halladay does not. The innings pitched and Halladay’s age (he will be 33 in May) are causes for concern in signing a long-term deal.
If there is any way possible to keep both pitchers, it should be done. The Phillies with both Lee and Halladay may be unstoppable. In fact, for only 2-3 million more, the Phils could trade Joe Blanton instead of Lee. Why would they NOT do this? But the money is the big issue, as it usually is; even a mere couple million apparently is too much for them to handle. I can tell you this; teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, a few of MLB’s richest teams, would not have to make such a decision. They would keep both players without question. And that is what makes this idea hard to swallow.
Not that the Phillies are poor; they ranked 7th in payroll for 2009. But a lot of money is tied up in big name players like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. The window for this group of players to score another World Championship is probably about two years. With that being the case, I would like to see the Phillies throw everything and the kitchen sink at this 2010 team. But the kitchen sink is Lee, and it looks like he will be gone.
Do not get me wrong, I will be thrilled to have Halladay. But the price does seem a bit steep, which puts a damper on the celebration. And now what about the bullpen? Is there money left to fix that gaping hole? That is the other thought that worries me. It will not matter how good the rotation is if the pen blows games, like they did a lot in 2009. That solution or lack thereof is yet to be determined.
And on top of all this, it is also rumored that the Phillies top pitching prospect, Kyle Drabek, will be sent to the Jays. This is the player the Jays have been asking for since last July. So tell me, WHY exactly would the Phillies wait until we LOSE the World Series to give up Drabek when we could have had Halladay in July had they traded him then?? This makes me very, very, very angry. Of course, we do not know the details of the deal yet, but usually, where there is smoke, there is fire.
And so we all wait with bated breath for the decision to come down from above…
Photo by Jenn