Results tagged ‘ Reds ’

Phillies Sweep Padres Behind Hot Hamels

The San Diego Padres came into today’s game against the Phillies tied with the Reds for the best fielding percentage in the National League.  They also lead the league in defensive efficiency ratio, which is basically how many times they turn a batted ball into an out.  But facing the Phils and trying to defend against a 3-game sweep, the Padres committed 4 errors today.

While the errors helped, as 2 of the Phillies 5 runs were unearned, the bigger factor in the game was the Phillies pitching.  Cole Hamels was outstanding on the mound; he did not allow a run through 8 innings and struck out 6 batters.  It looked like he was slinging gas-powered rockets up there.  In the entire 3-game series, Phillies starting pitching allowed just 2 runs.

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Hamels was in such a groove today, he did not want to come out of the game after the 8th inning.  In the dugout, he even refused to shake his pitching coaches’ hand for a few seconds, hoping that Rich Dubee would change his mind and let him pitch the 9th.  But with a 4-0 lead at the time and Hamels having thrown 115 pitches, there was no need to take a chance that Hamels might get hurt.

The defense was sharp behind Hamels as well.  Placido Polanco made several tough plays at third base.  Mike Sweeney, giving Ryan Howard the day off, made a great running catch on a pop-up and handled many difficult throws at first base. 

Sweeney contributed on offense as well; he smacked his first home run as a Phillie in the 7th inning; it was a 2-run shot.  Sweeney ran around the dugout afterwards hugging everyone he could get his hands on.  This guy is pure positive energy…you have to love that.

Later in the 8th, Jayson Werth hit a solo homer, which had to feel good.  It was just his 3rd homer in August, which has been a month full of ups and downs for Werth.  Jimmy Rollins also had an RBI in the game and Carlos Ruiz was the only Phillie with multiple hits.

Ryan Madson pitched the 9th inning and slammed the door for the Phillies 16th shut-out of the year.  The 5-0 win went to Hamels who finally got some run support from his teammates.  The Padres, for the first time all year, have now lost 4 games in a row.

The Phillies will take a short ride from San Diego over to Los Angeles tonight and start a 3-game series with the Dodgers tomorrow night.  Roy Halladay will pitch and game time is 10:10pm.  Break out the No-doze, East Coast fans.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies 2010 First Half Review

Here is a summary of the Phillies 2010 first half, according to Jenn:

Best Off-Season Move – Acquiring Roy Halladay

Worst Off-Season Move – Trading Cliff Lee (duh!)


Thumbnail image for Halladay 1b.jpgBiggest Win
– 7/9/10: The Phillies overcame a 7-1 deficit in the 9th inning against the Reds to win the game in the 10th; it was the second walk-off homer win in a row, giving the Phillies a huge confidence boost.

Biggest Loss – When the bullpen blew a 5 run lead; Phillies lose to the Twins by a score of 10-13 on 6/19/10

Best Series Win – The 4-game sweep of the NL Central 1st place team, the Reds, 7/8-7/11

Worst Series Loss – Losing 3 out of 4 to the worst team in the National League, the Pirates, 7/1-7/4

Biggest Surprise – Jamie Moyer: At 47-year old, the combination of Moyer’s age and 3 off-season surgeries left many doubting he could be an effective pitcher.  But Moyer has performed beyond anyone’s expectations.  But at the half, Moyer has 9 wins and 2 complete games, one of which was a shut-out.

Biggest Disappointment – Raul Ibanez:  Batting only .243 with 7 homers at the half, Ibanez is on pace to hit only 14 homers, which would be his worst power outage since 2001.  He has also only driven in 39 runs, and is therefore on pace for 78 RBI, which would be his worst since 2004.  Ibanez gave his all in the first half of 2009, but since then, it has been mostly downhill and his age is starting to show.  With another entire year left on his contract, this is looking like another bad move by the Phillies.


Thumbnail image for Utley casta.jpgBiggest Question Mark
– Brad Lidge:  Sometimes Lidge looks like Mr. Perfect from 2008 and sometimes he looks like a little leaguer.  The Jekyll and Hyde routine is getting old.  Lidge needs to step up his game if the Phillies are to have success.

Best Moment of the First Half – Roy Halladay’s Perfect Game, 5/29/10 (again, duh!)

Worst Moment of the First Half – Chase Utley’s thumb injury. Noooooo!  Not Utley!!  Then there are the rest of the major injuries that have plagued this team: Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, JA Happ, Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, etc…  The combined impact of these star players going down have combined for the Worst Moments of the year so far.


Thumbnail image for crystalball_468x317.jpgJenn’s Crystal Ball

- Will Jayson Werth be with the Phillies next year? – No.  Sorry, ladies.  He may even be gone sooner than that…

- Will the Phillies make a trade before the deadline? – Yes.

- Which position will they upgrade? – Pitching

- Will Jenn continue to let her sanity slip slowly away as each day without Chase Utley passes? – Sadly, yes.  Please come back soon, Chase!

- And finally, will the Phillies win the NL East again? – My crystal ball broke due to being overworked when I asked this question.  But I will step out on a limb here and say, yes.  I mean, YES!  Let’s be positive people ;o)

Jamie Moyer will take the mound tonight in Chicago against the Cubs to kick off the 2rd half.  Game time is 8:05pm.  Go Phillies!

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography; except Crystal Ball by http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

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

 

Hamels Shines As Phillies Sweep Reds

The Phillies beat the Reds today to complete a 4-game sweep and head into the All-Star break.  And for the first time this week, they did not need extra innings or a walk-off hit to beat them.  And although the 1-0 victory was a very tight game, it felt more like the Phillies were in the driver’s seat the whole game.

Most of that had to do with the performance, and confidence, of pitcher Cole Hamels.  He finally looked like the 2008 World Series MVP again.  Not only was Hamels making his pitches, but he looked determined on the mound.  More importantly, he was never rattled by bad calls or bad plays; and there were plenty of those to go around.

For instance, Ryan Howard dropped a pop-up.  In his defense, it was a tough play.  Also the first base umpire called a runner safe when replay showed he was out by a good amount.  And then there was the home plate umpire who had a strike zone most of the day that was about the size of a pea.  As the weather got hotter though, it looked like he expanded it a little.  See here as a pitch to Carlos Ruiz is called a strike; note that the ball crosses the plate at his elbow.  And here is the Howard play as well:

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But despite the miscues, Hamels kept right on pitching with fervor.  After Howard dropped the ball and the ump blew the call at first, in both cases Hamels got a double play to erase the mistakes.  You cannot ask for more than that from your pitcher; well done.  Here are a few more photos:

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Not so well done was the following: TWO fan interference calls which necessitated TWO booth reviews on balls that looked like home runs.  Ruiz hit the first one, but on replay it was a double and the fan really did not affect it too much. 

The next one was a hit by Jayson Werth where the fan reached over the wall and snagged the ball.  While it also was not a homer, had the ball been left alone, it would have bounced off the wall.  Centerfielder Drew Stubbs was jumping up for the ball, which then would have bounced far away from him, possibly enabling Werth to go to third base or even score an inside-the-park homer.  But because of the fan, it was a ground rule double and we will never know what could have been.

Ok people, I am officially putting Stupid Fans ON NOTICE.  Not all Phils fans; just the STUPID ones (you know who you are).  One day soon, if this trend continues, like the fan who took a pop-up away from Werth on Thursday, a fan is going to cost this team a game.  Mark my words: it will happen.  Today it did not; Thursday it did not; but it is coming.  If you are lucky enough to have a seat in the front row of a section and simple cannot or will not pay full attention to the game and its rules, give your seat to someone who will. 

And the Phillies need to start cracking down on this behavior.  Anyone who leans into the field of play or interfere’s with a player should be ejected and fined.  The Phils “say” they will do this, but more times than not, I see the same idiot fan still in his seat, waiting to ruin another play.  Let’s put it this way, follow the rules and respect the game otherwise, I will suggest to the Phillies that they have Jayson Werth run around the stadium and cuss out the entire front row.  You know he will do it ;o)

And no, I do not condone Werth’s language during the incident on Thursday.  It did make me sad for that poor kid.  But he did have a point.  If you are a fan of the game, act like one.  PAY ATTENTION.  Thank you.

And now back to the game :O)  Sorry for the rant interlude…

The Phillies offense had only 4 hits and 1 run as both pitchers were doing well.  Jimmy Rollins had 2 of the 4 hits plus the lone RBI; the other two hits were the fan-interference doubles.  Hamels wound up pitching 7 2/3 innings without allowing a run.  Jose Contreras ended the 8th and JC Romero got the first out of the 9th.

Romero looked like he was on fire as he mowed down his one hitter.  So when Charlie Manuel came out of the dugout to bring in Brad Lidge for the save, most of the crowd began hollering and boo’ing.  Not only did Romero look great, but Lidge has been anything but great this year.  With only 5 save in 8 attempts, Lidge makes people nervous.  But Manuel is determined Lidge will get better and today, he did.  Two quick outs and the save was intact, plus a win for Hamels.  Whew!

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

Closing out the first half of 2010 with a 4-game sweep was a much needed boost to this Phillies team that has struggled most of the year with injuries, slumps and sloppy play.  This series could be the engine that propels them into a great second half.

But for now, All-Star fever is upon us.  Before today’s game, the coaching staff and players were given their All-Star jerseys.  Even the Phanatic got one; he was very excited.  And All-Star Mickey Mouse made an appearance at the stadium as well:

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Here is the All-Star schedule of events:

July 11: Taco Bell All-Star Sunday at Angel Stadium featuring: XM All-Star Futures Game & Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game; All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run

July 12: Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Angel Stadium featuring: State Farm Home Run Derby

July 13: 11:30 a.m. – Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet (Parade Route: along Convention Way and Harbor Blvd. ending in Disney Way)

8:00pm – 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

11 Inning Stalemate Ends In 3rd Walk-Off Win In A Row

Phillies fans everywhere are experiencing a weird, but very pleasant, case of déjà vu.  In three games with the Reds, the Phillies have gone extra innings 3 times and won 3 times with 3 walk-off hits; 2 homers and today, an RBI-single.

At the start of the game, people were wondering, who in the world is this Travis Wood kid pitching for the Reds?  When he first stepped on the mound, I guessed that maybe one of the Reds players was pulling a fast one by putting his 12-year old son out there with some stick-on facial hair, disguised as a big-leaguer.  I thought, oh how cute, this little boy is “playing” pitcher.  Isn’t he adorable?

pitchers 071010.jpgBut once he started pitching, he was not so cute anymore.  Wood is 23 years old and today’s game was only his 3rd appearance as a major league pitcher.  He gave up 2 runs in his first game and 3 in the second.  Against the Phillies, he got through 8 full innings without a base runner.

But the Phillies were certainly helping him out.  They were not patient at the plate, swinging at first pitches and balls, swinging when ahead in the count and basically just looking awful.  Shane Victorino had 2 balls and no strikes on him at one point and swung at the very next pitch, a high fastball, popping it up.  WHY?

Now everyone is thinking, can this kid throw a perfect game?  And even more perplexing, can Roy Halladay actually lose to a 12-year old?  Oh, I mean a 23-year old; my bad. 

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Halladay was nearly as good as Wood and the game was a total stalemate through 8 innings for both pitchers.  Neither team had scored, although Halladay did give up some hits.  But after 9 innings, Halladay had his shut-out intact.

Unfortunately for Wood and his perfect game attempt, Carlos Ruiz was activated off the DL today.  He stepped to the plate at the start of the 9th and 4 pitches later, Wood’s perfect game was gone as Ruiz doubled to centerfield.  Wilson Valdez tried to ruin the moment by bunting into mid-air; that ball was caught for the first out.  Raul Ibanez hit a sac fly to move Ruiz to 3rd, but Jimmy Rollins popped out to end the inning.

So Halladay, despite a 9-inning shut-out, could no longer qualify for the win.  That is a tragedy.  But the Phillies would make up for it by winning the game in extra innings.  Yes, for the 3rd consecutive night, the Phillies and Reds went to extra innings.

More déjà vu occurred in the 11th inning, and in more ways than one.  Ruiz doubled…again.  And then Rollins had yet another chance to get Ruiz home.  In the 9th inning, he popped out.  But this time, base hit!  And, AGAIN, the Phillies won the game on a walk-off!  That is 3 extra inning games in a row and 3 walk-off wins in a row!  I said it yesterday, I will say it again: Unbelievable!!!

The finale of the 4-game series will be tomorrow at 1:35pm with Cole Hamels pitching.  I am hoping to witness a sweep (pretty please?).  Either way, I will return with photos.  Go Phillies!

 

Halladay photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Wood photo from CBSsports.com

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

 

Comedy or Tragedy? Another Walk-Off Answers The Question

The start of tonight’s Phillies – Reds match-up was anything but funny.  The game began with a fielding error by Jimmy Rollins on the very first batter Joe Blanton faced. 
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Blanton went on to allow a single and then Jonny Gomes smacked a 3-run homer.  While ahead in the count, Blanton threw Gomes a fast ball right down the middle of the plate.  Was it Gomes’ birthday or something?  Because I just cannot see any reason for the generous gift from Blanton.

The very next batter was the recipient of yet another Phillies error, as Ryan Howard over-threw Blanton who was running to cover first base.  The bottom half of the 1st inning was no better.  Rollins hit a single, which was great, but then he got picked off at first while leaning off base too far.  Rollins may have been able to score on the Raul Ibanez double that followed, but he was no longer on base.  Inning over; no score for the Phils.

The insanity did not end there.  Greg Dobbs missed a ball at third that he should have caught and that would have ended the 2nd inning.  Instead, another run scored.  Then Howard got tagged out trying to stretch a single into a double in the 4th inning.  The Phils did score one run that inning on a sac fly by Jayson Werth, but in the 5th, the Phils gave the Reds two more runs.

Blanton was pulled after 5 ½ innings after allowing 12 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 2 walks and 2 hits to the opposing pitcher.  Blanton has been struggling all year, but this was perhaps the most disturbing outing so far.  Usually, he has several good innings and starts to give up runs in the 5th or 6th when he tires.  But today, he was bad almost the entire time.  Add in the hits allowed to the pitcher and giving up big hits while he was ahead in the count and it was definitely not a comedy; tragedy is more like it.


padded room.jpgAlthough, with how things have gone so far this season, it is plausible to think that many fans may still not be sure whether to laugh or cry about it.  While little is funny here, the bad play does conjure images of fans wrapped with tiny white coats in a padded room while cackling hysterically as their sanity slowly drips away.  Are they coming to take me away yet?  Now that actually would be funny ;o)

To make matters worse, the Phillies looked like they had given up by the time they were down 6 runs to 1.  They did not hit at all and in the 9th, JC Romero gave up another run.  He also gave up another hit to Mike Leake, the Reds pitcher.  It was Leake’s 3rd hit of the night!  So, not only did he totally mow over the Phils with his pitching, but he hurt them with the bat as well.

And then something very weird happened.  The Phillies offense suddenly woke up.  But in the bottom of the ninth, down 7-1, would it be too little too late?  Shane Victorino doubled and Howard singled to drive him in. 
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Werth singled next and then Greg Dobbs performed a miracle; he hit a 3-run homer!  With one out and the score now 7-5, Leake was finally pulled out of the game and it became a save situation for the Reds.

Francisco Cordero came in to pitch and Brian Schneider hit a ball well, but it was right to the center fielder.  Ben Francisco drew a pinch hit walk and then with two outs, down two runs, Cody Ransom stepped to the plate with a chance to be the hero.  And just like that, BAM, a HOME RUN to tie the game!  Are you kidding me??  The Reds could not believe what was happening; the Phils fans were going nuts in the stands; and the poor Reds pitcher, Mike Leake, looked like he might cry while watching from the dugout.

And he had reason to cry…because in the 10th inning, Ryan Howard smashed a walk-off 2-run homer to win the game!  Unbelievable.  Down 7-1 in the 9th, the Phillies come back to win by a score of 9-7.  It was the second extra innings game in a row with a walk-off homer two nights in a row.  Comedy or tragedy?  Keep laughing, Phils fans…that was an INSANE win!  Whoo Hooo!

 

Dobbs photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Schneider Saves The Day

Catcher Brian Schneider grew up a Phillies fan.  He realized his dream of playing for his home town team this year and today, he became the savior of his team in a tough, extra innings game.  More on that in a minute…

Before tonight’s game against the Reds, the big news revolved around Shane Victorino.  0625 Shane2.jpgApparently, he had a few strong words for the fans of Philadelphia.  He said, “I’m hearing fans yelling, ‘Victorino, you’re horrible; you stink,’” during last night’s loss to the Braves.  Victorino went on to say, among other things, “It’s frustrating when you hear those things from your own fans.”

A few things to note here:  the games are still selling out.  And for the small 4 or 5% of fans that are yelling insults, the rest are still cheering the team on.  Victorino is right to be frustrated, but that should be directed at the way the team has been playing, not at the fans.  But don’t worry Shane; we are still behind you.

Victorino took his frustrations out on the ball in the 1st inning when he hit a home run to silence the doubters.  He also hit an RBI-single in the 3rd inning which turned out to be a very strange play.  Victorino collided with Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto at first and his glove flew off; Cueto dropped the ball, which rolled to Joey Votto who tossed it back to the bare-handed Cueto.  He dropped the ball again and Jimmy Rollins scored.  The game was then delayed as Cueto appeared to have the wind knocked out of him.  He was fine though and the game went on.

For the Phillies, Kyle Kendrick pitched very well, allowing only 1 run on 3 hits in 6 2/3 innings.  Having left Jamie Moyer in too long last night, manager Charlie Manuel was not going to make the same mistake again.  He pulled Kendrick and had JC Romero get the final out of the 7th inning.

But more drama was yet to come.  Fresh off the disabled list, Ryan Madson saw his first game action since April in the 8th inning.  He allowed two singles and then with two outs in the inning, he surrendered the one run lead on another very odd play.  Brandon Phillips struck out on a wild pitch which sailed past catcher Brian Schneider.  Phillips ran to first as both Schneider and Madson went after the ball, not realizing until it was too late that Drew Stubbs was running home and no one was covering.  Stubbs scored and tied the game 2-2.

In the bottom half of the inning, Wilson Valdez led off with a triple.  Rollins hit a sac fly to score him and give the Phils a 3-2 lead going into the 9th inning.  But that meant that it was Brad Lidge time. 

A one run lead and Lidge in the 9th has not been a sure thing for a very long time.  And right away, Lidge gave up a hit and a walk.  It looked like he may get out of it when the next batter hit into a double play.  But Miguel Cairo, who was with the Phils last year, hit an RBI-double on the 2nd pitch he saw to tie the game again.  And just like that, Lidge earned yet another blown save.

The Phillies could not score in the 9th so off to extra innings they went.  In the 12 inning, the drama continued as Jayson Werth had a small confrontation with a very dumb fan.  With two outs, a foul ball went just above the wall in right field and Werth was right there to catch it.  Unfortunately, the dumb fan snagged the ball right before it went into Werth’s glove.  Werth had a few choice words for the guy.  But all was well as pitcher Nelson Figueroa got the batter to ground out.

Figueroa pitched two amazing innings and was on deck to bat and go for three when Brian Schneider finally ended the game.  Schneider crushed a ball which sailed over the right field wall to give the Phillies a 12 inning, walk-off 4-3 win over the Reds.  Way to go, Brian!  You rock!

Condolences

The Phillies family lost another beloved member today.  Maje McDonnell, who would have been 90 years old later this month, passed away today.  McDonnell spent his entire life with the Phillies.  He grew up in Philly and served with the Phillies as a batting practice pitcher, coach, scout, instructor and a Veterans Stadium tour guide in his 57 years with the team.  He had just retired last year.

McDonnell was also a war hero, having served in World War II, earning a combat badge, five battle stars and a Bronze Star.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Maje.  He will be missed.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Moyer Left In Too Long; Phillies Lose Series

Tonight’s final game against the Braves was very important for the Phillies.  A loss would bury them 6 games behind the Braves with only 4 games until the All-Star break and no chance to play the Braves again until September.  In this situation, you would expect the game to be managed as if it was extremely important; a must-win.  That did not happen.

While everyone respects what Jamie Moyer has been able to accomplish this year and over his entire career, this should not give him extra leeway in such an important game.  The man is 47 years old and tonight, he had to pitch in 100 degree heat; kudos to Moyer for being able to do this.  But the manager has to recognize when a pitcher is simply done for the day.P6274580 Moyer.jpg

 

In the 6th inning, Moyer got an out and then proceeded to have all kinds of trouble.  He gave up a home run and a single right away and was visibly exhausted.  But does Charlie Manuel even get the bullpen up at this point?  No.  Moyer continued on, allowing a double, a walk and finally a 3-run double.  Four runs had scored and still, Moyer is allowed to keep pitching as sweat poured down his face.  Clearly, he could no longer locate his pitches.

The very next batter whacked a 2-run homer and just like that, the Braves were handed a 6-run inning.  Danys Baez was finally called in to end the inning.  So what should have been a nice, productive outing for Moyer was turned into a demoralizing slaughter because Manuel did not pull him when it was logical to do so.

Manuel is obviously lacking in confidence where the bullpen is concerned as evidenced by his bad habit of leaving starting pitchers in too long.  And this lack of confidence is not without cause, however, the lack of work for the bullpen is adding to the rust among that group of pitchers, which also does not help.  And tonight, this uncertainty cost Moyer and the entire team.

The offense showed some signs of life with Jimmy Rollins collecting a few hits, Ryan Howard homered for the first time in 10 games and Shane Victorino hit a home run as well.  Wilson Valdez had a hit, but also grounded into his 14th double play of the year.  This seems to be a daily event for Valdez.  But that awful 6th inning put the Phillies into a hole that they could not climb out of.  They scored a few more runs, but eventually went down by a score of 5-7.

And now the red-hot Reds come into town for a 4-game series to finish up the first half of the year.  Already back 6 games in the division, this Reds series has the potential to bury the Phillies.  Kyle Kendrick will pitch tomorrow night at 7:05pm.  Cross your fingers, Phillies fans.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Bad Bullpen + No Offense = Loss

It is simple math, right?  Well tonight’s Phillies – Braves match-up boiled down to that very simple math.

 
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Pitcher’s Cole Hamels and Jair Jurrjens battled fairly evenly, each allowing just 3 runs.  Hamels went 7 innings and Jurrjens was pulled after 6 plus.  Hamels did a nice job, but would the offense come through for him?

The Phillies managed only 2 hits of Jurrjens, one of which was a 2-run homer from Raul Ibanez in the 1st inning.  The other hit came in the 7th when Ryan Howard tied the game up 3-3 with a triple to score Ibanez, who had drawn a walk.  But with no outs and Howard on third, they failed to score again. 

Jayson Werth stood at the plate and watched strike three go by.  All he had to do was make contact and he just stood there like a deer in headlights.  Then Ben Francisco hit what could have been a sac fly, but either Howard, the third base coach or both decided not to tag up as it was a shallow hit ball.

Here is my issue with this: they had to know Wilson Valdez was coming up with 2 outs.  Did they expect him to be the hero and get a 2-out hit?  I know I certainly did not.  While Howard is no speed demon, he has one advantage: size.  He should have tagged and if the ball beat him, why not go old-school and knock the catcher over?  I would have taken that risk over expecting a 2-out hit from Valdez.

That decision looked like it might come back to haunt them when the bullpen took over in the 8th.  Jose Contreras quickly got into trouble with men on first and third and no outs.  But Chipper Jones got jammed in between third and home and Dane Sardinha made a great toss to trap and tag him out.  Eventually, with help from JC Romero, they escaped the inning unscathed.

With no scoring in the 8th for the Phils, Brad Lidge came into a tie game in the 9th.  It was his first game since last week when he blew a save against the Reds.  Lidge sent the Braves down in order, but with no scoring from the Phils in the bottom of the 9th, this would be a battle of the bullpens.

Sadly, in a battle of the bullpens, the Phillies were likely to come out on the losing end.  David Herndon did a great job in the 10th, but finally surrendered the lead in the 11th after a single and a double.  With the offense totally stalled, the 3-4 deficit looked insurmountable.  In fact, for many months now, the lack of hitting has made these very small deficits look like impossible obstacles to overcome.

But Mike Zagurski came into the game and made things even worse.  He looked great striking out the first two hitters, but made one very big, very costly mistake.  Eric Hinske took that mistake and tossed it over the right field wall for a 2-run homer.  The Phillies entered the bottom of the 11th down 3-6.

Watching these self-destructive games are very sad, especially in light of the talent this team possesses.  They just cannot seem to conjure it up at the most crucial moments.  The main players, like Jimmy Rollins and Werth, went hitless as they have many, many times this week.  The bottom of the lineup did absolutely nothing.  You cannot expect to win games with only three hits. 

Add to that the fact that the bullpen cannot hold a tie game down.  It is all a recipe for disaster.  And so it was; a 3-6 disastrous loss.  Jamie Moyer will try to win one tomorrow, but without any offense, how will he fare?  Not well is my guess.

Injury News

Pitcher JA Happ came off the DL today but instead of going to the majors, he was optioned back to AAA.  The Phillies are not happy with how he has pitched in his rehab, but they are hoping he will bounce back after some time in the minors.

As for catcher Carlos Ruiz, he will begin a rehab assignment this week, which is good news.  The concussion has healed to the point where he can start playing again.  Get well soon, Carlos!

By the way, we have now entered Day 8 of my Chase Utley withdrawal.  I am not doing too bad so far.  I have no fingernails left and I am stuttering a little, but all in all, it has been a mostly sanity-intact week.  Of course, we have about 7 weeks left to go so do say a short prayer for me.  Thanks…you guys rock.

 

Zagurski photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Halladay Loses To The Reds

The Phillies squandered an opportunity for a series win today, losing to the Reds by a score of 3-4.  Roy Halladay has now lost 6 of his last 9 games, even though he has pitched at a 3.19 ERA during those 9 games.  He did not have his best stuff today, allowing 2 big homers and 13 hits in an 8-inning complete game.  But as has been the case all year, the offense did little to help him out.

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It looked like the back-up players might carry the team for the second day in a row when 3rd string catcher Dane Sardinha hit a 3-run homer in the 4th inning.  Wilson Valdez had 2 hits again and Greg Dobbs had a hit and a walk.  But with both Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez going 0 for 4, no Chase Utley or Placido Polanco, the offense did not get anything else done.

Games like these are when the Phillies are going to feel the full effect of having 7 players on the DL.  The injuries are out of control and as a result, this is going to be a very rough ride for the rest of the season. 

Yesterday, Brad Lidge said that the Phillies players were going to have to “step-up” during this trying time.  I found that comical after Lidge became the only player yesterday who did not step-up.  However, he has a point.  The question remains though, can these bench guys get the job done?

Once the team has a better idea of how long Utley and Polanco will be out, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have some very serious decisions to make.  Can they go out and get a descent infielder while still adding to the pitching depth?  All Phillies fans can do right now is hang in there and hope that this team can weather the storm.

The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh now for a 4-game series.  The first game is Thursday night at 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

The Phillies Are Down, But Not Out

Despite having two of their best players sent to the DL today in Chase Utley and Placido Polanco, the Phillies still came out swinging against the Reds.  More importantly, it was the back-up players who made the biggest impact on the game.  This gives Phillies fans hope that even with 7 players on the DL, they can still produce.

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At the very bottom of the line-up, both Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez hit 3-run homers in the 9-6 win over the Reds.  Schneider went above and beyond, with three hits in the game and scored on the Valdez homer.  The homer by Valdez was his 3rd of the year and only his 4th since 2004.

Joe Blanton kept the Phillies in the game, allowing just one run until the dreaded 6th inning.  That has been his Achilles heel all year long.  With 2 outs in the 6th, Blanton gave up a single, a walk and then a 2-run double.  He did finish with 7 2/3 innings allowing just those 3 runs, so this is progress for Blanton. 

But leave it Brad Lidge to try and throw away all that hard work and momentum for the Phils.  With two outs in the 9th and a 3-run lead, Lidge gave up a walk, a single and then a 3-run homer to Joey Votto to tie the game and send it to extra innings.  It was his 2nd blown save of the year in 7 opportunities.

So the depleted Phillies offense would have to rally yet again, and they did.  In the 10th they faced Arthur Rhodes, a former Phillie, who had not allowed a run in 33 consecutive innings this year.  Ryan Howard doubled, Jayson Werth walked and then Raul Ibanez stepped to the plate. 

The home plate ump had a moving strike zone all night long and when a low 0-1 pitch was called a strike on Ibanez, manager Charlie Manuel finally lost his mind.  He jumped out of the dugout and ripped CB Bucknor a new one, getting him tossed out of the game.  But the managerial fireworks sparked the Phils in a big way.  Ibanez took the very next pitch to center for an RBI double.  Ben Francisco, another bench player, hit a single to score Werth and then Valdez struck again with a bunt that scored Ibanez.

And just like that, the 3-run lead that Lidge blew was back with a 9-6 score.  JC Romero was called on for the second save attempt and got the job done without issue.  Thank goodness for JC!  You are my hero :O)  Please tell Lidge that he owes you, big time.

The Phillies will play the Reds again tomorrow with a quick turnaround at 12:35pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch and try to sneak the Phils out of town with a series win.

More Injury News

To replace Utley and Polanco, Greg Dobbs was brought back and is clearly still having issues.  He had only 2 hits in 17 at-bats during his short time in AAA and went hitless tonight in 3 attempts.  Brian Bocock was also added to the roster.  At AAA this year, Bocock hit only .177 in 209 at-bats so I cannot imagine he brings much to the table either.  But at this point, beggars cannot be choosers.  The options are limited.

The Phillies are going to have to rely on their bench players if they are going to contend.  They did it in 2007 as Tadahito Iguchi and others filled in admirably for players who went down, like Utley who got hit with a pitch, breaking his hand.  Can they do it again in 2010?  We shall see.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

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