Results tagged ‘ Rockies ’

Dear Phillies, Please Stop Toying With Our Emotions

After two big wins over the Rockies on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Phillies failed to sweep the series with a loss on Thursday.  And the Rockies are a team they very well should have swept.

The first two victories gave fans hope that this struggling team might finally be getting their act together.  They played well and showed a winning attitude.  But last night’s disaster saw those hopes dashed and frustration set it once again.

It is not that they lost the game.  This is baseball; losses happen.  The issue is how they lost the game.

Let us begin by looking at the opposing pitcher, Jeff Francis.  This guy had a minor league deal with the Reds this year, who finally released him.  The Rockies picked him up and Francis had a 12.46 ERA in 2 starts for them coming into this game.  This is a guy that the Phillies should have absolutely pounded.

Instead, they left 7 men on base and went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.  Worse than that, the Phillies continue to fail to score runners from 3rd with less than 2 outs.  In the 2nd inning, Jimmy Rollins, who homered to start the game, popped out with 1 out and a man on third.  J-Roll had 2 pop-outs and a ground ball double play to go with his solo homer in this game.

Then in the 8th, the Phillies squandered a lead-off double by Ty WiggintonHunter Pence struck out swinging at a crap pitch…again.  Carlos Ruiz flied out and Shane Victorino popped out to end the inning.  Both Pence and Victorino walked back to the dugout to a chorus of boo’s from the frustrated fans who are tired of watching the same mistakes over and over and over…

As for the pitching, Vance Worley and his bone-chip plagued elbow were a bit shaky.  But he kept the team in the game and walked off the mound to a 2-1 score with the Phillies trailing.  Still, he did all he could.

But the bullpen failed once again.  Chad Qualls had a bad inning but escaped without allowing a run thanks to a good defensive play by Ruiz at home plate.  Still, Qualls heard the boo’s too as his season has been much worse than you would expect from a veteran bullpen guy.

The problem there is that the rest of the pen is mostly rookies who are clearly not ready for the bigs.  Between Jake Diekman and Michael Schwimer, the Rockies padded their lead to a 4-1 score.

Down by 3 runs in the 9th, there would be no comeback on this day as the Phillies went down in order.  Yes, right back to the old 2012 ways we have become so accustomed to this season.

A 3-game series with the Rays begins tonight and fans can only pray for a miracle.  Cliff Lee will try, once again, to get his first win of the season.  Game time is 7:05pm.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Stomp Rockies by a Toe Length

The Phillies won the second game of their series with the Rockies, not by a nose or even by the hair of their chins; they won by a toe.  It was Todd Helton’s toe, to be exact.

In the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, the bases loaded and a tie game, Placido Polanco stepped to the plate.  He hit a bouncing grounder to short that looked like it might end the game.  It did end the game, just not in the way you might expect.

Polanco hustled down the line and, for some unknown reason, veteran Todd Helton suddenly forgot how to play first base.  He had the wrong foot back towards the bag and had to juggle his feet around.  As a result, his foot was not on the bag by about a toe length when Polanco crossed.  Polanco was safe, the runner on 3rd scored and the Phillies won in walk-off fashion.

I am so grateful to Helton’s toe that I decided to write a short poem about it:

Ode to the Toe
Oh, to the toe
Many thanks must go
Trying to save face
You danced around the base
Giving Polanco plenty of time
To get down the line
The winning run would score
As the crowd began to roar
So thank you little toe
We did so enjoy the show
-

The toe, however, was not the only star of the game.  The Phillies played with a lot of hustle and enthusiasm, which is something we have not seen too much of this season.

The 9th inning was especially nice to see because of the way the whole situation unfolded.  Back in the top of the inning, the Phillies were in a 5-5 tie game with Jonathan Papelbon on the mound.  As has been the case in non-save situations, Papelbon faltered and gave up a run.

Then down 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th, the first two Phillies batters went down fast.  With 2 outs, it looked like they were doomed.  And judging by the season so far, a comeback with 2 outs in the 9th almost seemed impossible.

But then something wonderful happened.  The Phillies fought back…finally.  This is the moment we have been waiting to witness all year long.

After Ty Wigginton singles, Hunter Pence came up with a clutch double; another rarity this year.  Even more impressive, Wigginton tore up the base paths, as if he had a psychic vision that he could go all the way.  Without hesitation, Wiggy actually scored from first base to tie the game, 6-6.

After Carlos Ruiz was walked intentionally, Shane Victorino found his happy place again and loaded the bases with a single.  Victorino beat out the throw from the short stop by about half of a second.  His hustle kept the inning alive.

And you know the rest; Polanco is safe by a toe!  Phillies win!

If the Phillies can keep the hustle going and sweep the Rockies tonight, there may be hope for this season yet…

Game time tonight is 7:05pm.

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Victorino photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Steroid Drama Overshadows Philles Victory

There were many positives for the Phillies in last night’s 7-2 win over the RockiesCole Hamels returned to form and pitched extremely well.  John Mayberry Jr. continued his hot streak with 2 extra base hits, including a homer.  And Carlos Ruiz had 3 RBI and 2 hits, also including a homer.  Even better, the Phillies finally got through a game without committing an error.

But all those positives were overshadowed by some overwhelming negatives.  First, the lost of injuries for the Phillies keeps getting scarier.  Laynce Nix had a setback in his recovery, possibly reinjuring the same leg.  David Herndon underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.

However, the biggest bomb dropped when it was announced before the game that rookie infielder Freddy Galvis would be suspended 50-games for violating the MLB drug policy.  He apparently tested positive for a trace amount of clostebol, an anabolic steroid.

Between this year and last, the Phillies have gone from first to worst.  They have seen their All-Star players and important role players decimated by injuries.  This is simply not what this team needed to hear right now.

To say this is disappointing is an extreme understatement.  Galvis was the one bright light in an otherwise dreary season for this team and now, that has been taken away as well.  I suppose the good news is that he can serve the suspension now, while he is in a back brace on the DL.  He probably would have missed at least 50 games anyway.

I do not pretend to know whether Galvis is innocent or guilty.  Although, you would think if he was juicing he would have hit a lot better than .226 with 15 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 24 RBIs.  We will probably never know for sure.

There are several reports in reputable medical journals that say this steroid can show up in urine in trace amounts after ingesting contaminated meat or after having “relations” with a woman who was using a particular cream for a “female condition” that contains clostebol.  In other countries, cattle are injected with this drug to “beef” them up, literally.

Even chicken are sometimes injected with steroids.  Studies in that area produced similar results, showing trace levels of the drug in those who consumed the meat.

So I suppose you have to be a vegetarian, Catholic priest with some mad baseball skills in order to avoid a false-positive test result?

And this is why I say we will never know for sure.  There are too many variables as we have seen in previous cases where athletes tested positive after taking a tainted substance.  Former Phillie J.C. Romero is a good example.  He won a law suit against the company who made supplements that were laced with a banned substance which was not on the label.  But even though MLB now acknowledges this issue, Romero still had to serve the suspension and will forever be judged unfairly in public opinion.

This by no means exonerates Galvis, but it does, once again, call into question the legitimacy of MLB’s drug policy.  A more recent example is Ryan Braun of the Brewers, who got off on a technicality involving the “transport” of his sample.

Now that MLB has made announcement about Galvis, we know that either there was no appeal or he already lost the appeal.  It is MLB policy to wait until that process is done before making the official announcement.

Regardless of what did or did not actually occur here, Galvis’ reputation is now mud.  And that is a real shame for a kid with so much potential.  And it is especially a shame for a fan base that has been desperately searching for a small glimmer of hope for this stumbling, last place team.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Blue Jays Make Worm Meal out of Phillies in 3-Game Sweep

The Blue Jays pecked apart the Phillies in all aspects of the game throughout a 3-game sweep.  Today’s 6-2 loss was the bloodiest of the 3 as the Phillies seem to have laid down and accepted their fate.

Pitcher Kyle Kendrick started the game out by giving up back to back doubles to the Jays who took a 2-run lead in the 1st inning.  The massacre continued with Kendrick allowing 5 runs total over 6.1 innings.  Kendrick simply cannot repeat good pitches.  At one point, he had Jose Bautista down in an 0-2 count on two very sharp pitches.  But then he threw 4 straight balls and walked him.  There is no consistency and both Kendrick and the Phillies paid the price.

The only offense for the Phillies was 2 solo homers; one from Jim Thome and one from John Mayberry Jr.  Thome hit 4 homers during this road trip and Mayberry smashed 3.  Still, the rest of the team did little to help.  Of 8 hits today, 3 were Mayberry’s.  And Shane Victorino had 2 hits.  The excitement ends there.

Right now, the Phillies are a team with no answers.  They cannot hit; they cannot pitch; and with 11 errors on this 3-6 road trip, they cannot play defense either.  Yes, 11 errors in 9 games; you are not crazy, you read that right.

This has been about as much fun to watch as a 20-car pile-up on the freeway.  The Phillies have crashed and burned…repeatedly.

Monday is an off-day when, perhaps, some of these players can relax and clear their heads.  Tuesday they begin a 3-game series against the Rockies who are one of the few teams doing worse than the Phillies right now.  So that may be a small glimmer of hope…very, very small considering how things are going.  Cross your fingers…

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Kendrick photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Former Phillie Moyer Still Breaking Records

While I have never been a Rockies fan, it does not matter what uniform Jamie Moyer puts on.  I will always root for him.  At 49-years old, Moyer is lined up to become the oldest pitcher in history ever to win a major league game when he faces the Astros tonight.  He is already the oldest starting pitcher to make an Opening Day roster.

Despite having already accomplished the ultimate goal of winning a World Series with the Phillies in 2008, Moyer still presses on.  Why?  My guess is because he can.  And because he has a passion and love for the game of baseball that drives him to continue.

Jamie, we wish you all the best!  Good luck tonight :O)

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Mile High Sweep for the Phillies

Balls were flying all over Coors Field today.  Luckily for the Phillies, more balls bounced their way then they did for the Rockies.

Pitching in his hometown, Roy Halladay looked a little tired today.  But as usual, he battled through and pitched a solid game.  Over seven innings, Halladay surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and a walk.

 

Halladay also had a hit in the game and later scored from third base on a wild pitch.  Phillies fans held their collective breath as Halladay slide awkwardly between the catcher’s legs and was safe.  Seeing your star pitcher slide is never a joyous moment, but Halladay did just fine.

Ryan Howard took advantage of the thin Denver air again with a double, a homer and four RBI.  He did not have the best start to the game though.  Howard struck out with no outs and the bases loaded in the first inning.  In the latter half of the inning, he bungled an easy ground ball and then threw the ball away for the second error in one play.

But Howard’s bat made up for the first inning.  Chase Utley got in on the action as well with two hits, scoring twice.  Hunter Pence now has a five game hitting streak as a Phillie and added a sac fly RBI as well.

With an 8-6 lead going into the ninth inning, the Phillies sent another Denver local to the mound, Brad Lidge.  It was his first save attempt since coming off the DL and more importantly, it was a shot at 100 career saves as a Phillie.  With Ryan Madson absent because his wife was in labor, Lidge was the guy.  And although Lidge likely will not close many games anymore, he got the job done tonight.

This win completes back-to-back 3-game sweeps of the Rockies and Pirates, which is great timing as the Phillies will face the defending World Champs next.

The return of Roy Oswalt from the DL (yet to be made official) sets up the rotation like this against the GiantsCliff Lee on Thursday, Vance Worley on Friday, Cole Hamels on Saturday and Oswalt on Sunday.

Game time on Thursday is 10:15pm – welcome to another late-night West Coast series.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Winning: It Just Keeps Happening

The Phillies 5-0 win over the Rockies Tuesday night marked their 5th straight win.  They also became the first team in baseball to reach 70 wins and continue to hold the best record in the game.  As a Phillies fan, life is good.

And the wins keep coming in unexpected ways.  Monday night was a late inning rally and extra inning victory.  Tuesday night, the Phillies watched their spot starter, Kyle Kendrick, absolutely baffle the Rockies hitters.

The word “baffle” is usually not used in the same sentence as the name “Kendrick,” unless it is Kendrick who looks confused, not the opposition.  Kendrick has been an up and down pitcher throughout his career in Philly.  It is that inconsistency that is partly the reason he has not earned a solid spot in the rotation.  The other part is, of course, the rest of the Phillies starting pitchers, who are outstanding.

 

But in this game, Kendrick looked like he could keep pace with the likes of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.  Over eight innings, Kendrick allowed only four hits as he shut-out the Rockies.  Kendrick will go back to his home in the bullpen as a long-man once Roy Oswalt returns, but the value of a guy like Kendrick cannot be overlooked.

While Kendrick has pitched well, he has also benefitted from good run support.   Ryan Howard smacked two solo homers tonight.  Hunter Pence went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Brian Schneider drove in another run on a sac fly.

Back-up catcher Schneider is another example of how important it is to have a solid bench and players who are versatile.  He is not setting the world on fire with his bat by any means, but he calls a good game behind the plate and contributes on offense where he can.

The Phillies have a shot at sweeping this series tomorrow afternoon before what is sure to be a difficult series against the Giants.  Six straight wins would be very nice momentum going into San Francisco.

Game time Wednesday is 3:10pm; Roy Halladay will pitch in his hometown of Denver.

 

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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*

Mayberry Saves the Day in Win Over Rockies

In his previous three starts, the Phillies had scored a grand total of just six runs for pitcher Cole Hamels.  Tonight against the Rockies, the story was very much the same.

Hamels gave up a 2-run homer in the second inning, but nothing at all after that.  He even worked his way out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the fifth.  Hamels did all he could to keep his team in the game.

But once again, the offense offered Hamels little help.  And they were facing a pitcher, Jhoulys Chacin, who had not won a single game in his previous seven starts.  Still, the Phillies bats made Chacin look like a Cy Young award winner.

The Phillies managed to squeak out a run in the seventh on a Raul Ibanez double that scored Hunter Pence who ran the bases very well.  Pence also struck out in the eighth inning with two men on base.  But such was the theme of the night for the offense….at least through eighth innings.

In the ninth inning, something different happened.  The Phils could not hit Chacin, but the Rockies closer Huston Street was another story.  After a Carlos Ruiz double, John Mayberry Jr. was sent into to pinch hit.  Mayberry, who has not played much lately, made up for lost time with a huge, game-tying 2-run homer.

With a 3-3 score, Antonio Bastardo held the Rockies down to send the game to extra innings for the second Phillies game in a row.  Shane Victorino capitalized on the opportunity with a solo homer in the 10th to put the Phillies ahead, 4-3.

Ryan Madson earned the save in the 10th and Mayberry walked away a hero in this one.  Just when it looked like hope was lost for the struggling Phillies offense, Mayberry put them back in the hunt for the win.

Speaking of hunters, Mr. Pence has played in 3 Phillies games and so far, they have all been wins.  He must be wondering if he died and went to baseball heaven.  To answer his question: Yes…welcome to Philly (aka: Baseball Heaven)!

Game two with the Rockies is Tuesday night at 8:40pm; Kyle Kendrick will pitch.  It will likely be Kendrick’s last start as Roy Oswalt should be back from the DL very soon after two recent rehab starts.

 

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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*

Ibanez Powers Phillies to 3-Game Sweep of Pirates

The Phillies completed a sweep of the Pirates this afternoon in 10 innings by a score of 6-5.  The newest member of the Phillies, Hunter Pence, had a hand in the 10th inning rally after a rough start where he misread a ball in the outfield.  Here is a quick look at the day for Pence:

The ball he missed came in the first inning, but pitcher Vance Worley bounced back quickly.  It was not until the fifth and sixth innings where Worley ran into trouble.

 

While it was not his best outing, Worley still went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.  He made one bad pitch in the sixth to Lyle Overbay who slammed a 2-run homer.

But the Phillies kept plugging away at the Pirates with a few timely hits and nice defense:

 

Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-4 with two RBI to continue his recent hot streak.  But Raul Ibanez was the one player who came up big all game long.  After a solo homer in the first inning, Ibanez hit a massive  2-run homer in the eighth when the Phillies were still trailing.  That hit tied the game and kept hope alive for the Phillies.

 

As a quick side note, it appears that I may be Raul’s good luck charm.  If you look at the chart below of this entire home stand, you will see that Ibanez hit .500 with three homers and nine RBI in games that I attended.  When I was not there, he hit only .174, no homers, 2 RBI:
 

Ok, so maybe it is just a weird coincidence.  On the other hand, Raul may want to hurry up and buy me a plane ticket to Denver ;o)

Back to the game:  After Ibanez tied things up, the Phillies had to rely on the bullpen to keep it that way.  Brad Lidge had already allowed the fifth run in the seventh, but then four other guys combined to hold down the Pirates.  The photo below shows Juan Perez, David Herndon and Lidge:

 

Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo also pitched one scoreless inning each.  Then in the 10th inning, Pence doubled to put the Phillies in position for the win.  All they needed was one more big hit from Ibanez who delivered with the game winning double to score Pence.

The walk-off win capped a three hit, four RBI game for Ibanez who ended the month of July on a hot streak, batting .284 with 25 RBI.

A very tough road trip is up next for the Phillies, starting in Denver against the Rockies.  They will also face the Giants in a 4-game series and the Dodgers for three games.

It all begins Monday night at 8:40pm; Cole Hamels will pitch.

And here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s game.  Enjoy!

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Giambi Picks Apart Weakened Phillies Team as Injuries Continue to Pile Up

People on the internet have been freaking out about Saturday being the end of the world.  For the Phillies, it may actually be true.               

 The first casualties of the week are Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino.  Blanton was on the DL in April and the beginning of May with right elbow soreness.  Upon his return, Blanton said the elbow was still sore, but he could pitch.

My first issue with this is why did the Phillies allow him to go on when he was still sore?  Second, why did Blanton hide how bad the elbow obviously was?  I can maybe answer the second question.  Blanton saw his job in jeopardy with how well Vance Worley pitched in his absence and felt that he need to come back soon.  That is my guess.

Blanton bailed on the Phillies 20 minutes before Thursday night’s game, saying it was too painful to go on.  He then spoke to reporters at Comcast Sportsnet and admitted he came back from the DL too early and that maybe he should have been “more honest” about his condition.

As a result of Blanton’s last minute bail, Kyle Kendrick was forced to start the game with no preparation at all.  He gave up five runs, including two of Jason Giambi’s homers.  Danyz Baez gave up the third.  Shocking, I know (insert your own sarcastic comment here).  The Phillies lost the game, 7-1.

All seven Rockies runs were scored thanks to the three home runs by Jason Giambi, which led me to these thoughts:

You Might Be A Steroid User If:

- You have grey hair and you hit three home runs in one game

- Your batting average was .115 before hitting three home runs in one game

- Your name is “Jason Giambi”

- Your batting average was .115 yesterday and your name is used in the same sentence as “Babe Ruth.”

Yes, Giambi is now one of only four players over the age of 40 to ever hit three home runs in a game.  The others are Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Reggie Jackson.  While this is an impressive feat, I think that Kendrick and Baez pitching may have had a little to do with it.

So Blanton is headed to the DL and now, so is Shane Victorino.  An MRI revealed that Victorino has a second degree hamstring strain. He will be the 12th Phillie on the DL this year.  The Phillies will announce later who will replace each player.

Hold on to your seats, Phillies fans.  This ride is about to get bumpier.

 

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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