Results tagged ‘ Rockies ’
Did the Phillies forget to pay their electric bill this month? Because they are suffering from a serious and prolonged power outage. When sluggers Ryan Howard and Chase Utley finally came off the DL in mid-late August, everyone was relieved to finally see the Phillies line-up back in order. But the relief was short lived as the team has been on a downward spiral ever since.
And now, the Phillies have lost ground in the NL East race, falling 3 games behind the Braves and missing key opportunities to catch up. This 4-game sweep at the hands of the Astros may come back to haunt them in September.
Howard has only 3 hits in his last 10 games and has struck out 20 times. In 16 at-bats for the Astros series, Howard got only 1 hit. Utley has had only 7 hits in his last 34 at-bats since coming off the DL. Other key players during the Astros 4-game series did not hit either; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco had just 3 hits each. They have consistently failed to hit with runners in scoring position too, with the worst offender being Jayson Werth.
They have lost their fire and their intensity. That was no more evident than today in the 5th inning when Werth tried to tag and score on a shallow fly to right. Not only did Werth not even bother to slide, he never even touched the plate. Werth should have slid hard and tried to take out the catcher to get that run. Instead, he gave up and basically accepted defeat.
Kyle Kendrick looked half asleep on the mound too. Ever since JA Happ was shipped to the Astros, Kendrick had relaxed more and more each start, to the point where he is just not present on the mound. Maybe he figures there is no one left to take his job so why bother kicking it up a notch? Kendrick has allowed 15 runs in his last 4 starts, with 4 of those runs coming in 6 innings tonight.
However, the real offenders this series were the Phillies hitters who got absolutely nothing done. Except maybe for getting picked off on the base paths multiple times, failing to gets bunts down and not bothering to slide in order to score. The way they have played is disgraceful.
If the Phillies take this sort of attitude and performance into San Diego tomorrow, they are going to be crushed. They have 3 games with the Padres, 3 with the Dodgers and then a make-up in Denver against the now hot Rockies. Cross your fingers. Game time tomorrow is 10:05pm.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
It has been a while since Phillies fans have been treated to a home run barrage. Tonight, the Phillies embraced the long ball, knocking three 2-run homers out of the ballpark; once each in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings. Jayson Werth got the first one, which had to be a big relief for him. Werth has not hit a homer in over a month, since June 23rd. Ryan Howard and Cody Ransom collected the other two bombs.
Cole Hamels had a bit of a rough outing, so the homers were a welcome sight. In the 1st inning with two outs, Hamels allowed a single, hit a batter and walked two more, which walked a run home. In 5 innings, Hamels walked 4 batters, hit two batters and allowed 3 runs. So while he was not at his best, he did still keep the team in the game.
David Herndon pitched one inning in relief and had some trouble as well. With one run already across, it looked like Herndon had a ground ball double play to end the inning. Placido Polanco fielded the ball, tagged the runner and tossed to first. But the runner going to second was called safe, despite insistence from both Polanco and manager Charlie Manuel that he did indeed tag the runner. The ump did not see it and another run scored.
But the home runs kept coming and the Phillies took the lead right back. Then in the 7th, Shane Victorino caught what appeared to be a routine fly ball but was wincing in pain before the ball even arrived. He called the trainer over and was taken out of the game. The report is that Victorino has a left oblique strain. Oblique strains are tricky so if he lands on the DL, it would not be shocking.
What is shocking is that the Phillies cannot seem to catch a break with all the injuries. Yesterday, Jimmy Rollins got hurt when he fouled a ball off his foot. He seems to be feeling better, but may still miss another game or two. Now Victorino; plus Chase Utley is still recovering from his thumb injury and at one point, the Phils had seven players on the DL all at once.
The injuries are getting old; but the current win streak, despite the injuries, is certainly not getting old. After sweeping the Rockies in 4 games, they beat the D-Backs tonight by a score of 9-5 for their 6th straight win. The rookie Herndon picked up his first major league win. In addition, the Braves lost tonight so the Phillies gain a game on them. The Phils are now 3.5 games out of first.
There are two more games with the D-Backs left before the Phillies hit the road again. As for Victorino, we should know more tomorrow. If he lands on the DL, the Phils will probably call up either Domonic Brown or John Mayberry to take his spot. I know everyone will be rooting for Brown, but Mayberry may get the nod because he has already been in the majors and they may not want to start the clock on Brown’s options just yet. But my vote is that Victorino is okay…here’s hoping.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, collected his 500th victory for the team today with a 4-game sweep of the Rockies. Only two other Phils managers since 1900 have more wins: Gene Mauch, 645 and Danny Ozark, 594.
The game did not start well as pitcher Joe Blanton quickly gave up 2 runs in the first innings to the anxious Rockies who were hoping to salvage one game in this series. But, despite a few walks, Blanton was sharp after the 1st and wound up going 6 innings.
The Phillies offense got them back into the game quickly, which was also a huge help. In order, Ross Gload singled, Greg Dobbs doubled and Brian Schneider tripled. All that was missing was a home run. Instead of the homer, Blanton reached first on a missed catch by Jason Giambi at first.
But then Jimmy Rollins batted and wound up fouling a ball off his foot, sending him to the ground in pain. He limped through the rest of the game and afterwards had an X-Ray. There was no break; he just has a bruise. However, it is still unknown how long he may have to rest his foot before playing again. Here is the sequence, with a nice moment of sportsmanship too:
Things got quiet for a while after that until the Phillies scored 2 more runs in the 6th. Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each hit RBI-singles to extend the lead. But many players contributed to the offense today, especially Schneider, with the huge triple in the 2nd and he also walked and scored in the 6th. Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 and Polanco had 2 hits as well. Here are a few shot from the game:
There was some great defense and really amazing efforts on tough plays also:
And then came the heart-stopping 9th inning. You know when I mention heart attacks, Brad Lidge must somehow be involved, right? Well he sure was. It started with a double, but Lidge got two outs after that. With just one out to go, ahead of the batter in the count, Lidge grooved a fastball right over the plate which Seth Smith hammered for a 2-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-4. Two walks and a single later and the bases were loaded…again…just like the day before. But Lidge finally got a ground ball, which he fielded himself for the final out.
While Lidge is totally on my last nerve with these cardiac episode inducing outings, what is the alternative? Do we need a new closer? Probably. But has anyone else in the pen proved they can handle the job? No. This is the proverbial rock and a hard place. Others have tried to close and failed, like Ryan Madson, for example. So sadly, it looks like we are stuck with Lidge for now.
As for the recent trade rumors, Dan Haren went to the Angels so it looks like Roy Oswalt is the final option for the Phils to pick up a starter. But as I talked about on yesterday’s Fightin’ Phillies podcast, Oswalt does not seem interested in coming here and with the no-trade clause, he has final say. But do we really want a guy who is scared of the media and shies away from pressure? I know I don’t. It will be interesting to see if anything happens before the trade deadline.
In the meantime, feel free to check out the Photo Album from today’s game. Thanks to my friend, Audrea, I was in one of the business suites today, which are very, very nice. I put a few photos of that in the album as well.
The D-Backs come to town tomorrow. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies beat the Rockies again today in a close, and at times dramatic, 4-3 game. It was the Phillies annual Christmas in July promotion, but instead of snow, the Phils saw on-field temperatures over 100 degrees for 6 innings followed by an hour and 39 minute rain delay. Although the ball girls did not let the weather ruin their day:
In the stands, everyone was sweltering. When the rain finally started in the 5th inning, many kicked back and enjoyed the refreshing rain. Others heard thunder and ran screaming. Needless to say, I am still wringing water out of my hair, but was happy to escape the oppressive heat.
It was also a very good ball game. JA Happ came back to the bigs for the first time since mid-April when an injury sent him to the DL. He looked sharp through 2 innings, but then he started to lose the strike zone and began relying too much on the fast ball. The Rockies started to figure him out, but he did go 5 innings with 3 runs scored; for his first start back, this is not too bad. Once he knocks the rust off, Happ should be just fine.
The defense played well behind Happ and the bullpen, which was a big help. Ryan Howard absolutely sold out on two different plays where he dove and slid into the ground. He missed the foul ball, but it was not for lack of effort. When he got up, he was covered in mud. Shane Victorino also made a great running catch in center to get Happ out of the 3rd inning.
Ben Francisco got a start in left field today and took full advantage; he smacked a 2-run homer in the 2nd inning and went 2 for 3 with a walk on the day. Both Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins also had 2 hits. In the 5th inning though, the Phils had runners on first and third and failed to score. Victorino popped up; Placido Polanco hit a liner but it was right to the 3rd baseman. Then Howard flied out.
So this was not an easy game, but thanks in part to a double by Wilson Valdez and then a single from Rollins and a wild pitch, the Phils took the lead in the 7th after the delay. Brad Lidge got the save, but it was not without incident. Lidge loaded the bases with 2 outs, making everyone nervous, and finally struck out Ian Stewart to get out of it. Whew!
By the way, the graphics used on the big screen for Christmas in July were priceless. You do have to feel sorry for Francisco and Cody Ransom though; take a look:
If the Phillies can pull out a win tomorrow (1:05pm), they will have 5 wins in a row and a sweep of the Rockies. I am going to the game again and hope to get some more photos. I am sitting a bit higher than usual tomorrow, but it is in one of the company suites, so I will not complain ;o)
Also, be sure to check out the podcast I did today as a guest of Rich Baxter and his Fightin’ Phillies podcast. We chatted with another blogger about the Trade Deadline and our predictions of things to come. Thanks to Rich for the invitation!
And of course, here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
According to Wikipedia, the Big Bang Theory refers to the idea that the universe was originally extremely hot and dense at some finite time in the past and has since cooled by expanding to the present diluted state and continues to expand today. The same theory can be used to explain the Phillies 2010 season thus far. They got off to a very hot start in April, cooled off from May to most of July and are now “expanding.” Although, “exploding” may be a more accurate term.
At first, having to face the best pitcher in the National League today did not seem like good news for the struggling Phillies offense. But after scoring 6 runs yesterday, maybe they got some of their Mojo back. Because they absolutely destroyed the Rockies ace, Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez entered the game with a record of 15-1 and a miniscule 2.38 ERA. But he left the game after only 2 innings and 6 runs allowed on 3 hits and 6 walks. All 6 runs scored in the top of the 3rd inning without Jimenez even recording an out.
It was starting to look like the “diluted” state of the Phils offense was about to pass. The Rockies bullpen gave up one more run, but finally, after 30 minutes, got out of the bottom of the 3rd inning.
Jimmy Rollins, very comfy back in his leadoff spot, kicked off the 3rd inning with a single to left. The next two batters walked as Jimenez started to look rattled. Then Ryan Howard smacked a triple down the 1st base line. The walks kept coming and Rollins hit a triple to score two more runs in his second at-bat of the inning. The Rockies must have wondered if that inning was ever going to end.
While the inning did have to end eventually, the Phillies kept trying to add on and give pitcher Kyle Kendrick a huge cushion. Kendrick had extra motivation to pitch well today. In his last outing, Kendrick allowed 7 runs and was then demoted to the minors. You had to expect a solid effort today as the injury to Jamie Moyer forced the Phillies to give Kendrick one more shot.
Kendrick took advantage of the unexpected opportunity and pitched very well. By the 7th inning, Kendrick had an 8 run lead to work with and he had allowed only 1 run at that point. He loaded the bases in the 7th with 2 outs, but managed to get out of it with a fly ball to center. So Kendrick went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on a solo homer. This result was more than anyone could have hoped for from Kendrick.
There were a number of positives to come out of this game, aside from the obvious…a win. Rollins looks like the player of old again with 3 big hits, a stolen base and 3 RBI. Raul Ibanez is still loving the 3-hole in the line-up; he had his own big bang with 2-run homer in the 6th. Jayson Werth had 2 hits and Howard racked up 3 more RBI. Placido Polanco played 2nd base today and Greg Dobbs was at third, which turned out to be a good move. Polanco had 2 hits and Dobbs added a hit, an RBI and a walk and played well at 3rd. Even Ben Francisco got a pinch-hit double.
So is this the big bang the Phillies have been waiting for to kick start their offense? A 10-2 win preceded by a 6-0 win should serve as a very good sign. The players that have not been hitting are coming back to life. It is a welcome sight for sure.
Another note of interest, rookie Vance Worley made his major league debut today, pitching the 9th inning for the Phillies. The 22-year old righty starter was 9-4 with a 3.20 ERA in AA ball for the R-Phils; he had pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings in his last two games before being called up to the Phils to work in the bullpen. Worley was a 3rd round draft pick in 2008 and has made considerable strides since pitching at a 5.34 ERA last year.
In today’s 9th inning, Worley’s fast ball topped out at 95 mph with a 76 mph curve ball and an 83-84mph slider. He looked solid, changed speeds well and the end result was 2 strikeouts and a fly ball out to center. Great job by the rookie!
So, if JA Happ can give the Phillies a solid start tomorrow, they have a shot at winning 4 in a row which has not happened since before the All-Star break. I will be at the game and shall return with photos. See you there!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies returned home today after a very bad road trip hoping to turn things around against the Rockies. For starters, they fired their hitting coach, Milt Thompson and replaced him with Greg Gross. Thompson is the fall guy for this severely underachieving offense. But would this slap to the face be the wake-up call the Phillies are certainly in need of?
At first, it looked like the same old routine of hitting into double plays and leaving the bases loaded. But in the 5th inning, the offense woke up and figured out how to score some runs. Three straight hits, including an RBI double from Raul Ibanez, got things started.
Ryan Howard even stole a base, as his teammates giggled in the dugout after seeing the big man scamper to second. Jayson Werth hit a sac fly and then Ross Gload, getting a rare start in the outfield, smacked a 2-run homer for his second hit of the night.
The only starter who did not contribute tonight was Wilson Valdez who went 0 for 4. Everyone else, even the pitcher, got a hit. Ibanez finally looks like RAUUUUUULLL again! He had 3 hits and 3 RBI tonight. Ibanez likes hitting 3rd, as I mentioned yesterday. Jimmy Rollins, back in the lead-off spot as I also suggested yesterday, seems to have found his groove as well. J-Roll collected 2 hits and a walk.
On the mound, Roy Halladay returned to his usual dominating form after allowing 6 runs (5 earned) in his last outing. Tonight, he pitched extremely well, allowing only 5 hits and no runs over 8 innings. Oddly enough, the hitting was a bigger story today than 8 shut-out innings from Halladay. Because we expect Halladay to be good; but the offense has been so bad, seeing the Phillies score 6 runs was more exciting.
JC Romero pitched an easy 9th inning and looked very sharp. He hit the leadoff batter, but was lights-out after that. The Phillies won by a score of 6-0 and Halladay finally experienced some run support. Hopefully, this win will be a much needed boost for the team.
The starting pitching for the rest of the weekend has finally been announced. Kyle Kendrick will be brought up to pitch Saturday as Jamie Moyer is placed on the DL. And on Sunday, JA Happ will get his first start since 4/15/10 when an injury sent him to the DL.
As for Moyer, the news is not good. An MRI showed that he has both a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor pronator muscle; those injuries are to the left forearm and elbow. The two injuries may require surgery and this may also signal the end of Moyer’s career. He is going for another exam early next week and should know for sure after that. Either way, the injuries are more serious than what Happ had this year and Happ missed more than 3 months.
Moyer is in the last year of his contract with the Phillies and it is unlikely that a team would sign a 48-year old pitcher fresh off multiple injuries and possibly surgery. So Moyer may have pitched his last inning. Then again, if anyone can bounce back after such damage, it would be Moyer. I wish him luck :O)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Cole Hamels did everything humanly possible today against the Cardinals to get himself and his team a win. In fact, he pitched 8 shut-out innings, allowing only one hit. Hamels was on fire. Too bad that fire did not rub off on the rest of the team. Seriously…what will it take to get the Phillies hitting again? If this spectacular performance from Hamels did not inspire them, then is there anything that can help?
Charlie Manuel keeps shifting the line-up around, praying for a miracle. But it looks like he is just throwing names into a hat and picking them out randomly. Jimmy Rollins usually only produces in the lead-off spot; it is what he is used to. Put him back or sit him down. Placido Polanco needs to stay in the 2-hole. Just put the line-up back the way it was intended to be, except for the 3-hole, which was Chase Utley’s spot. Raul Ibanez has been ok in that spot, but the rest of the line-up needs to settle in so they know what to expect each day.
The Phillies did scatter 9 hits through the first 9 innings today but went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Howard, Polanco and Brian Schneider each had multi-hit games. But once they got on base, someone would either strike out or hit into a double play. Jayson Werth went hitless through 9 innings. And he killed more than his share of possible rallies.
In the month of July through the 9th inning today, Werth is hitting only .215 with no home runs and only 3 RBI. Shaving the beard apparently did not help him. Rollins has been even worse; as of the 9th inning today, he was batting .184 with 8 RBI in July. Basically, the only Phillies that have been hitting consistently are Howard and Polanco.
But extra innings seemed to be the kick in the rear that the Phillies were in need of. Polanco was getting tired of being left on base so in the 11th inning, he hit a solo homer to break up the stalemate between these two teams. A walk by Ibanez and another single from Howard set the table for Werth…again. But Werth finally came through with a double. It was his first hit with runners in scoring position since June 24th; nearly an entire month.
So the Phillies went into the bottom of the 11th with a 2-0 lead and would have to rely on Brad Lidge to save the game. And while the inning was not without drama as Lidge walked the lead-off batter, he did finally get the job done. Phillies win, 2-0.
The Phillies will head back to Philadelphia after this dismal road trip where they won just 2 games out of 8. Roy Halladay will pitch against the Rockies tomorrow; game time is 7:05pm. The starters for the rest of the weekend have not yet been announced. But frankly, if they do not get out of this hitting slump, they could throw a Siberian Tiger out on the mound and it would not make a difference. We hope it does not come to that.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Due to rain and snow in Colorado, Game 2 of yesterday’s scheduled doubleheader was postponed. No date has been announced to play the game and the Phillies are not scheduled to go back to Colorado at all this year. So, it should be interesting to see how they decide to make the game up.
In injury news, Carlos Ruiz has been listed as day to day with a sprained capsular ligament in his right knee. This is a huge loss for the Phillies; Ruiz has been one of their hottest hitters and is leading the league with a .472 on-base percentage. Cross your fingers that he gets well soon.
Jimmy Rollins is getting closer to returning to the team; he went 3 for 6 with two doubles in an extended spring game in Clearwater yesterday. Today, he is scheduled to play short stop which will give a better idea of how the right calf is healing.
As for Brad Lidge, the news is not so sunny. The soreness in his right elbow has lingered for several days now. He is scheduled to see the team doctor today, but soreness usually indicates swelling. Swelling is a sign that something is wrong. While there is no diagnosis yet, my guess is that the Phillies had better start looking for bullpen help.
Today is an off-day for the Phillies; they will travel to Milwaukee next to play the Brewers in a 3-game series starting Friday night at 8:10pm.
After the Phillies – Rockies rain out on Tuesday, a day-night doubleheader was scheduled today and things did not go well for the Phils. First, the Roy Halladay magic fizzled a bit in the 4-3 loss. Second, the injuries are continuing to pile up. The game going into extra innings did not help either.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz left the game in the 4th inning with a right knee injury. Back-up Brian Schneider is already on the DL, which means the Phillies are now onto their 3rd string catcher, Paul Hoover. Not only that, but now he will have to play both games of the double header. The Phillies are also short one spot in the bullpen as Brad Lidge flew back to Philadelphia to see the team doctor about his eternally injured elbow. This is more tragic news for a doubleheader during which the first game went long.
Halladay could not save the bullpen for the second game as he struggled to get through 6 1/3 innings. 10 hits and 3 runs later (2 earned), Halladay was pulled from the game. The biggest nightmare for the Phillies was Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo. This guy is a career .242 hitter, batting .240 coming into this game. Can someone then explain to me HOW Olivo goes 5 for 5 with the game winning walk-off homer in the 10th inning? Wow.
The defense did Halladay no favors by committing 3 errors in the field, although I think the scorekeeper only recorded two. Give the scorekeeper an error too then; why should he miss out on the fun? So, Chase Utley watched a ball roll right under his glove, which must have a hole in it. Jayson Werth bobbled a ball in the outfield…twice in the same play. And Ryan Howard bounced a ball to second, which should have been handled by Wilson Valdez but wasn’t.
Then again, Utley, Howard and Valdez made up almost the entire offense for the Phillies with 3,3 and 2 hits respectively. Placido Polanco had 2 hits in the game and no errors, so I guess he gets two thumbs up for the day.
So the series is now tied 1-1 and game 3 will begin at 8:40pm. The Phillies will rely on Jamie Moyer, who pitched a complete game shut-out in his last game. They will need him to go long in order to preserve the weak bullpen.
There has been a big to-do today over the allegations that the Phillies are stealing signs from opposing catchers. The Rockies complained about it after Monday’s loss, saying that bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was using binoculars during the 2nd inning and Shane Victorino was on the bullpen phone. MLB has issued a “warning,” stating that there was no conclusive evidence.
According to Victorino, he called to tell Billmeyer to put the binoculars away after the Rockies complained and manager Charlie Manuel spoke to the umpire. You can see this does match the sequence of the events on the game tape. Billmeyer uses the binoculars to watch the action and check on his catchers.
So, answer me this. HOW is Billmeyer supposed to relay the signs in a split second all the way from the bullpen to the batter? It is impossible. Think about how fast things go from giving a sign to throwing the pitch. The batter doesn’t have time to look to the dugout for a sign once he is in the box. Again, it is impossible. Billmeyer was likely watching the opposition in order to scout the pitcher; the same thing he can do by watching the video after the game, only doing it during the game is a time saver.
Besides, are some baseball fans and the media really convinced that no one tries to steal signs? If so, they are delusional. I really don’t care who steals signs. It is a competition and teams will take any advantage they can get. Trying to figure out what the opposing team is going to do is part of the game.
A guy standing on second can read the signs from the catcher and relay it to the batter. No one complains about this. Base coaches use stop watches to time pitchers in order to gain an advantage for stealing bases. No one complains about this either. A-Rod yells for a pop-up when he is running the bases, not fielding. Ok, so people did complain about that one…
But if teams are so concerned about the sign stealing, then they need to do a better job preparing and coming up with signs that are difficult to figure out or that change frequently. Or, do like the Phillies have done in the past and change signs or don’t use them at all. This is a matter of better managing your team and ensuring your pitchers and catchers are all on the same page.
In this case, there is no way the bullpen coach could have sent a sign fast enough to get to the batter. Even if it was possible, whether it is a fast ball or a slider coming in, the batter still has to hit the ball. Same as a runner trying to steal base; he still has to execute. But it is not against the rules of baseball to steal signs by non-electronic means. If people are unhappy about it, then the rules should be revised.
So, should the Phillies now accuse the Rockies of stealing signs since they collected 10 hits off Roy Halladay? Frankly, I do not care. Kudos to the Rockies for hitting our ace and shame on them for whining about something that did not happen just because they were upset about losing the game. This is a practice that has gone on for over a century amongst all MLB teams. I think we all have better things to worry about; of course, that is just one gals humble opinion ;o)
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The first game of this Phillies – Rockies series got off to a good start thanks to some heavy hitting in the 9th. The game remained close for the first 8 innings, with Kyle Kendrick allowing 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks through 6 of those. Kendrick struggled to get that far and has still not been able to show any consistency in his starting role after a very good game his last time out.
But Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz were not going to allow those 4 runs to ruin the day. Victorino did an amazing job in the lead-off spot, reaching base 5 out of 6 at-bats with 2 triples and 3 walks. Ruiz went 4 for 5 in the game with 2 RBI, one of which was a solo homer to give the Phillies a lead.
JC Romero pitched 1/3 of the 7th inning and tied the game up again by allowing 1 run on 2 hits and a walk. David Herndon finished the inning, getting some help from Chase Utley who turned an amazing double play. Utley dove for the ball and tossed it to Wilson Valdez from the ground using only his glove. Valdez relayed to 1st and ended the inning.
Speaking of Valdez, this kid is really struggling at the plate. As the back-up to the back-up at short-stop, he has hit into a double play in each of the last 4 games, killing rallies everywhere he goes. In this game, he went 0-4 and is now batting .152. So, where is Juan Castro? He has been out nursing a minor calf injury and last played on May 5th, until he came in last night for defense in the 9th. I guess being put in for 1 inning last night is a good sign, but he had better be backing in hitting shape soon because Valdez is not getting it done.
So the 9th inning for the Phillies turned into a big rally to help cap off the win. Ryan Howard got hit with a pitch to start it off and the Rockies later intentionally walked Raul Ibanez. The super-hot Ruiz stepped up and whacked a single to break the 5-5 tie as Howard scored. Then to put the exclamation mark on the evening, Ross Gload nailed a pinch-hit 3-run homer to give the Phillies the 9-5 win.
Jose Contreras closed the game in the bottom of the 9th. Brad Lidge was unavailable due to soreness in his elbow…again. He just came off the DL and is already having issues in the same elbow that was surgically repaired in the off-season. This is not a good sign. Could it be a foretelling of things to come? Let us hope not.
The Phillies will send Roy Halladay to the mound tonight in game 2 of the series. Game time is 8:40pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography