Results tagged ‘ Reds ’

Unnatural Things: The Phillies Blow a 6-Run Lead

One out away from sweeping the Braves, the Phillies blew it in the 9th last night.  One lousy out and closer Jonathan Papelbon could not get it done.  Worse, the Phillies allowed a 6 run lead to slip away in a game they should have won.  Instead, the 8-7 walk-off loss may haunt the Phillies for some time to come.

There are certain things in life, and in baseball, that should just never happen.  Blowing a 6-run lead is one of those things.  It is unnatural.  It is simply contrary to the laws nature.

And now the Phillies, who may have had a small amount of playoff hope with the momentum of  a sweep, are even more clearly out of the race.  What team that blows a 6-run lead this late in the year has even a remote shot at making the playoffs?  None  that I am aware of.

So another Cole Hamels start goes to waste as does another 3-hit game from John Mayberry Jr.  The Phillies are now in Cincinnati playing the Reds.  Pitcher Tyler Cloyd is making only the 2nd start of his short major league career.  Best of luck to him!

In other news, pitcher’s Jake Diekman and Justin DeFratus have both joined the team as September call-ups.  They should be available out of the bullpen in this series.

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Papelbon photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

11th Inning Walk-Off Gives Phillies a Series Split with the Reds

It took a torrential downpour to start the game, 4 runs, 11 innings and 4 ½ hours, but the Phillies finally pulled off a win against the Reds for a series split.  The win also vaulted them into 3rd place in the division.  Imagine being happy about 3rd place back in April…this has been a crazy year.

One person who was not happy about the rain to start the game was Cole Hamels.  He stated after the game, “We have these things called radar detectors and if you can’t read them correctly I don’t know what’s going on.”  After getting into trouble and allowing a run in the 1st while it poured, Hamels was probably having bad flashbacks to Game 5 of the 2008 World Series.  Officials did not call that game until after Hamels relinquished 2 runs to tie the game due in part to the sloppy field conditions.

But that game turned out pretty well, although not until several days later.  The start of Thursday’s game was not delayed as it should have been, so his frustration is easy to understand.  But the extra-inning affair also worked out in the end.  Hamels went 6 innings and allowed 3 runs.

The offense had some issues as well.  It looked like no one could hit Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto until the 6th inning when the Phils finally scored 2 runs.  But once they got the game tied up at 3-3, things got every stranger.

The Phillies started getting on base, but there appear to be a brick wall at 3rd base that no one could pass.  In both the 8th and 9th innings, the Phillies had the bases loaded with only 1 out and did not score.  In the 9th Domonic Brown hit into a double play to end the inning, adding to the frustration.  They left 2 men on base with 1 out in the 10th as well. In all, the Phillies stranded 16 runners and went only 4-14 with runners in scoring position.

Throughout those many irritating innings though, the bullpen did an excellent job of holding the Reds at bay.  5 pitchers went 5 scoreless innings, including Phillippe Aumont who made his major league debut.  He tossed a scoreless 8th inning.

Aumont had been called up to replace Jeremy Horst who was on paternity leave.  But Horst returned, and also pitched, last night.  Aumont stayed and instead, Michael Schwimer was very quietly sent back to Triple-A.  So it appears the Phillies will get a longer look at Aumont to see what he can do.

With the bullpen’s solid effort, the table was set yet again for the Phillies in the 11th inning.  Finally, someone got a hit with the bases loaded.  John Mayberry Jr. singled to left to score Chase Utley for the walk-off victory.  After the game, Charlie Manuel expressed his frustration about all the previously stranded runners by saying, “I feel drained. Really. I kept waiting for somebody to come home.”   Everyone laughed, which is certainly a lot easier when you have won the game.

And now the 1st place Nationals come to town.  There is just something very wrong about that previous sentence…sigh.  Game time tonight is 7:05pm.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Phillies Loose Another Wild One

Last night’s Phillies – Reds game looked like it might wind up being an exciting win for the Phils.  Instead, it was a loss, although it was still an interesting contest.

The Phillies took the lead in the game and then lost or tied it again 3 times.  Ryan Howard drove in a run in the 1st and that was all the scoring through the first 6 innings.  Cliff Lee was pitching well, but a slim 1 run lead seemed, as it has all season long, unlikely to hold up.

Sure enough, Lee got into trouble in the 7th and gave up 3 runs, although 1 was unearned due to a Howard error.  The defense behind Lee ranged from spectacular to awful, with the Howard error being of the “awful” variety.

But before that, Lee worked out of a 6th inning jam thanks to some amazing defense.  Kevin Fransden dove for a ball at third, flipped around on the ground and threw home from his knees to get a force out and save a run.  You have to see it to believe it.  It was an incredible effort.

Later in the game, Fransden shined again with another toss from his knees that bounced 3 times and still landed securely in Howard’s glove at 1st.  He also had 3 hits in the game with an RBI-triple in the 8th to once again tie the game for the Phillies.  If they had not lost, Fransden would have been the hero in this one for sure.

But Jonathan Papelbon tossed exactly 1 pitch in the 9th and gave up a solo homer and broke the tie in favor of the Reds.  The 5-4 score was the final.

So poor Cliff Lee gets yet another no-decision in what was a winnable game.  Lee was visibly upset and seen slamming his glove onto the bench in the dugout.  For a guy who normally shows little emotion, this was very telling.  Lee has had enough of this crazy season, as have we all.

And yet, time marches on…and so does this season whether we like it or not.  Game time tonight is 7:05pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Where Has This Phillies Team Been All Year?

The Phillies put a brutal 12-5 beating on the Cincinnati Reds last night.  So where has this ball-pounding Phillies team been all year long?  Oh that’s right; they have been on the disabled list.  Sad.

In fact, let us take a look at the 2012 Phillies path to destruction:

That is a lot of injuries.  But with Placido Polanco returning yesterday, the Phillies now have most of their starters back, although some of them from the beginning of the season went to other teams in trades.  And guys like Domonic Brown and Juan Pierre are making this look like a real line-up once again.

Unfortunately, it is probably too little, too late.

Still, any victory is a happy one.  And the Phillies stomping all over the Reds last night was certainly fun to watch.  And everyone in the line-up contributed.  John Mayberry Jr. is suddenly on fire; he had 3 hits, including a 2-run homer.  Pierre also had 3 hits and 2 stolen bases.  Everyone in the starting line-up had at least one hit, which has been rare this year.

Roy Halladay did not get a hit, and he did not pitch very well either.  But it did not matter.  The 5 runs he allowed were easily swept under the proverbial rug since the offense kept on scoring.  They scored in every inning except the 2nd, so each run Halladay gave up did not seem like a big issue.

The Phillies will go at the Reds again tonight and they will have a new, interesting player on the staff for this one.  Remember that awful Cliff Lee trade a few years back…well, one of the fruits of that goof-up is now on the roster.  Phillippe Aumont will take Jeremy Horst’s place on the roster as Horst is now on paternity leave for 3 days.

Aumont has had issues.  His control is not great and he is an emotional guy, easily rattled at times.  He has posted a 4.26 ERA in Triple-A this year.  I guess this is the Phillies way of throwing him into the fire to see if he burns.  Best of luck to him!  Game time is 7:05pm.

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Phillies Put it All Together in Win Over Brewers

A rare event this year for the Phillies has been having all aspects of their game working together at the same time.  In an 8-0 win over the Brewers, the pitching, offense and defense all performed very well.

On the mound, Kyle Kendrick took one more positive step towards earning a spot in next year’s rotation.  He went 8 innings, allowing only 3 hits, 1 walk and no runs.  It was his second shut-out start in row.  As I have said before, we all knew Kendrick could pitch.  It was just a matter of seeing some consistency from him; and now, Kendrick appears to finally be on a roll.

The offense did not disappoint either, although it came from a few odd sources.  Michael Martinez, who is hitting only .153, came up with a huge 2-run homer in the 2nd inning to get the Phillies an early lead.  Both Domonic Brown and Kevin Fransden each had 3-hit nights, with Brown collecting 4 RBI.  It was a monster night for Brown who is trying to prove he belongs in the Bigs.

Fransden is opening many eyes with both his offense and his play at 3rd base.  Fransden is really a middle-infielder, but he has adapted very well to the hot corner and has the arm to handle it.  If he continues to improve, the Phillies may have themselves either a very cheap 3rd base option for 2013 or a solid utility guy.

And finally, in the win last night, the Phillies actually got through a whole game without committing an error!  Hooray!  Michael Schwimer pitching in the 9th was as close to an error as they got.  Schwimer loaded the bases before finally recording all 3 outs and keeping the shut-out intact.

The Phillies return home to begin a series with the Reds tonight at 7:05pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch and try to notch 3 wins in a row for the Phils!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

More Off-Season Moves for the Phillies

Over the past several weeks, the Phillies have made a number of off-season moves.  Some of them make sense, some of them make a bit less sense.  The following is a breakdown of the various Phillies events, the reasoning behind it and my opinion as to the real reason for the move.

Event: The Phillies send Wilson Valdez to the Reds in exchange for a minor league pitcher.

Reason: One can only assume that the Phillies wanted to add pitching depth.

The Real Reason: Having a great back-up for Jimmy Rollins is unnecessary since J-Roll is superman and cannot possibly get injured again, right?  Also, Ryan Madson needed the company of an old teammate for his transition to the Reds.

Event: Brad Lidge, left unsigned by the Phillies, goes to the Nationals on a one-year, $1 million deal.

Reason: Lidge was told he was not in the Phillies’ future plans and that was the extent of the explanation he received.

The Real Reason: Lidge has lost the speed on his fastball and is almost guaranteed to get hurt multiple times based on his past track record.  Also, after the awful 2011 season Jayson Werth had with the Nationals, Lidge can now provide him with moral support.  The Phillies like to take care of their former players ;o)

Event: Hunter Pence received a $10.4 million, one-year deal for 2012.

Reason: To avoid arbitration.  Pence is the final arbitration-eligible player therefore, no hearings for the Phils this year.

The Real Reason: Had the Phillies allowed this to go to arbitration, they would have gotten spanked by Pence and probably would have been forced to pay him more.  But the real reason for the contract is simple; a happy Pence means more “Let’s Go Eat!” T-Shirt money for the Phils.

Event: The Phillies have torn out the grass on the field and are putting down brand new sod.

Reason: The Winter Classic torn up the field pretty bad.

The Real Reason: While the stated reason is valid, there is another underlying reason as well.  Having raised ticket prices yet again, the Phillies now have more money than God and they need to justify that by spending a boat load of cash.  Last year it was a new Phantavision screen; this year is a new field.  Maybe next year they can hire more employees so the concession lines will be less than an hour wait time?  Nah…dream on people.

Event: The Phillies sign former Padre, Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million contract.  Qualls is a 33-year old right-handed reliever who posted a 6-8 record with a 3.51 ERA in 2011.

Reason: Ruben Amaro Jr.’s favorite saying – Low-risk, high reward.  In other words, if he sucks, they did not pay much for him.

The Real Reason: Because we really miss Chad Durbin and this was the best right-handed Chad they could find.

Event: Pat Burrell has decided to retire.  Amaro is “considering” a 1-day contract so he can retire as a Phillie.

Reason: Burrell retired due to a nagging foot injury.  Amaro is “considering” the 1-day contract because Burrell deserves a proper send-off.

The Real Reason: The foot injury may have played a role, but really, no one was going to sign Burrell.  He has passed his expiration date.  And the only reason Amaro hesitates to make a decision here is because he is afraid that Burrell’s dog Elvis will pee on his brand new field.

Wilson! A Strange Phillies Trade…

In an odd move this week, the Phillies traded my favorite utility man, Wilson Valdez, to the Reds for a minor-league pitcher.  26-year old Jeremy Horst spent most of last season with triple-A Louisville, where he posted a 1-4 record and had a 2.81 ERA in 36 games.  He did make 12 relief appearances for the Reds and posted a 2.93 ERA.  Horst will get an invite to Spring Training.

But back to Valdez…I am not really sure what the Phillies are thinking, aside from the fact that they picked up maybe a few too many bench pieces this offseason.  But among all of those bench guys, Valdez seems like the most valuable.  Certainly in the last two years, he has proven his worth, filling in anywhere and everywhere he was needed.

Most notabley, Valdez picked up the majority of the slack when Jimmy Rollins was injured.  And in a 19-inning affair this past May with the Reds (oddly enough, his new team), Valdez even pitched an inning, picking up a win.

Perhaps  Bob Vetrone of “Boopstats” on Philly.com explained it best with this chart.  Having started 1/2 of the regular season games for the Phillies, here is how the team did both with and without Valdez:

Not too shabby.  And here are a few more important stats, this time with my own special chart:

As you can see, Wilson Valdez has pissed me off far less than all other Phillies combined.  If you divide by the other 24 players on the roster, the average percentage of time each other individual Phillie pissed me off would be 4.12% compared to Wilson’s total of only 0.72%.

Not only that, but Wilson played with heart and truly appreciated his place on this team.  He will be sorely missed.  So, so sad….

Best of luck Wilson!  We will miss you!

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Phillies Breeze Through Four Game Sweep of Reds

With two days off before this series began due to Hurricane Irene, the Phillies did not skip a beat in their total dominance over the Reds this week.  This win made it only the third time in franchise history that the Phillies have been 41 games over .500. They did it twice in 1976.

Rookie pitcher Vance Worley is also knocking on the record books.  With a 10-1 record, the Phillies have won each of his last 13 starts.  That is the best streak since Steve Carlton pitched the Phillies to 15 consecutive wins in 1972.

 

In this game against the Reds, Worley was great through six innings, allowing just one run.  He ran into trouble in the seventh when he allowed a 3-run homer.  At that point, Worley was done.  But he walked away with the lead and even an RBI on a single in the 2nd inning.

The offense had already spotted Worley six runs by the time the bullpen took over.  Ryan Howard hit a solo homer for his 104th RBI of the year.  Filling in for Placido Polanco, Michael Martinez blasted a 2-run shot to right, which was his 3rd homer of the year.  Shane Victorino and Wilson Valdez had two hits in the game as well.

So September started with a bang for the Phillies.  They currently hold an 8-game lead in the division and will play 3 games in Miami next.  Game 1 against the Marlins is Friday night at 7:10pm with Roy Oswalt pitching.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Another UnbeLEEvable Month for Cliff Lee

In the month of August, Cliff Lee has been amazingLEE, wonderfuLEE and happiLEE spectacular on the mound.  Lee nearly duplicated his equally stunning month of June, where he went 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA.  He ended August tonight with the same record of 5-0 and a 0.45 ERA.

Against the Reds on Wednesday night, Lee was dominant, as usual.  Over 8.2 innings, Lee allowed only six hits plus one walk and a hit batter in the 9th.  In short, he was magical.
 

The Phillies offense was a bit sluggish against an old foe in Dontrelle Willis, who pitched for the Marlins during his better days.  Since then, Willis has struggled to find a solid place in the majors.  But the Reds gave him another shot and he appears to be trying to take advantage of that.  He allowed some runs, but was pretty good overall.

After Willis walked the first two batters he faced, the Phillies scored one run on a Ryan Howard force out in the 1st.  Later in the sixth, Hunter Pence took Willis deep for a 2-0 Phillies lead.  Shane Victorino scored in the seventh on another ground ball out, this time from Chase Utley.

So while the offense scored only three runs, that appeared to be all Lee needed.  The defense backed Lee as well, although some of the outs they recorded were rather unorthodox.

For example, in the 5th, Wilson Valdez started to turn what looked like a great double play.  He fed the ball to Utley, but Utley fired to first way over the head of Howard.  As the ball ricocheted off the wall beyond 1st, Carlos Ruiz snagged the ball and fired back to Utley, who tagged out the runner going to second on the overthrow.  Ruiz saved Utley from the error and turned a very odd double play.

In the 9th inning, Lee finally ran into trouble after a hit, a walk and then a hit batter.  The hit batter was questionable as Miguel Cairo clearly leaned into the pitch.  And unfortunately, that prevented Lee from recording his sixth shut-out of the year as he was pulled in favor of Ryan Madson.  But Madson took care of the Reds with only three pitches to end the game.

With the 3-0 win, Cliff Lee has now recorded two months without a loss and at least five wins with an ERA under 1.00.  That feat has only been accomplished two times before.

The win also guarantees another series win for the Phillies who have taken the first three games in this four game series.  Vance Worley will pitch in the finale tomorrow; game time is 12:35pm.

 

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Lee Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Halladay & Howard Hammer the Reds

 

After having multiple starts either cut short or moved back due to the horrible east coast weather this month, Roy Halladay had to be anxious to finally get in a solid start.  He did that and more in a 9-0 win over the Reds on Tuesday night.

Through seven innings, Halladay allowed only two hits and two walks without a run crossing the plate.  But that is not all.  Halladay did damage at the plate as well.  In the sixth inning with the sacks packed, Halladay smashed a bases-clearing double and ended the game in a tie for a team-leading 3-RBI.

That’s right, move over Brad Pitt; we have Roy Halladay and he can do it all.  Halladay would not just have rescued that woman, he would have rescued a litter of puppies, pitched a no-hitter in the woman’s honor, donated bone marrow to save her ailing child and then named his next kid after her.


Ryan Howard elected to play hero in this game as well.  He hit a 2-run homer in the fourth to begin the Phillies offensive outburst.  Those two RBI put Howard at 101 for the season, setting a Phillies record for 6 straight seasons with at least 100 RBI.  And in the ninth, just for good measure, he hit another homer for RBI #102.

And the home runs kept coming, as if they were contagious.  Hunter Pence had a solo shot in the sixth and then Raul Ibanez went yard for 2-RBI in the seventh. 

The Phillies walked away with an impressive 9-0 win over the Reds behind the red-hot Halladay and Howard.  Game 3 will be played Wednesday night at 7:10pm; Cliff Lee will pitch.

 

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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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