Results tagged ‘ Roy Oswalt ’

Cliff Lee Back on Track In Win Over Dodgers

The Dodgers are in town!  In the first game of an 11-game home stand tonight, the Phillies came away with a victory.

Cliff Lee was coming off a bad start where he allowed 6 runs in 5.1 innings.  Lee has had a rough start to the year, wavering on and off his usual solid game.  But against the Dodgers, he found his stride once again.

Through seven innings, Lee did not allow a run and struck out 10 batters.  So frustrated were some of the Dodgers that Casey Blake wound up getting tossed from the game after apparently arguing balls and strikes.

And while the Phillies offense is still not setting the world on fire, they did manage a few runs.  In the third inning, Wilson Valdez led off with a double and Lee bunted him to third.  Singles from Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard plated two runs.

In the eighth, Carlos Ruiz doubled home Chase Utley for a 3-0 lead.  It was Ruiz’s second hit of the night.  Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson held down the lead in the eighth and ninth, giving Lee his fifth win of the year.

Although, Madson’s outing was an adventure.  Former Phillies closer Tom Gordon looked as his son, Dee Gordon, scored the first run of his major league career off Madson.  But Madson got the job done and the Phils won by a score of 3-1.

As for the walking wounded, Jimmy Rollins had an MRI on the knee he fouled a ball off of on Saturday and it was negative.  So J-Roll may be back in action very soon.

On the other hand, Brad Lidge is having more issues.  After reporting shoulder soreness a few days ago, Lidge now also has soreness in his pitching elbow.  When his arm finally falls off, I will let you all know.  In the meantime, the bullpen is moving on without Lidge.

The next game against the Dodgers is tomorrow night at 7:05pm.  Roy Oswalt will pitch.

In the meantime, do not forget to enter to win an admission ticket to the Phillies Phestival right here!  Entries will be accepted until Wednesday at 6pm.  Enter today…good luck!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Unproductive Phillies Offense Leads to Series Loss

The month of June did not start off as the Phillies may have hoped.  After a win on Monday, the Phils went on to lose two straight to the lowly, last place Washington Nationals by a score of 2-1.

Domonic Brown was almost the hero as he blasted a shot to left center that should have scored the three runners on base at the time.  But the Nats left fielder, Laynce Nix, ripped the Superman cape right off Brown’s back, put it on himself and literally flew through the air to snatch the ball out of no-man’s land.  Nix won the tug-o-war battle.

That catch will be on highlight reels all week.  Nix also hit the go-ahead home run off pitcher Roy Oswalt.  He was a one-man wrecking crew.

Oswalt had a descent game, allowing just the two runs.  He was pulled early after five innings in order to send Brown in with the bases loaded, after which Brown was robbed of that big hit.

The real disappointment, however, was watching the Phillies offense revert back to old habits.  They had only five hits in the game, went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 9 men on base.  Ryan Howard had two of the five hits.  No one collected an RBI as the lone run scored after a Nats error.

Chase Utley is another concern.  He is hitting only .194 since coming off the DL.  And although he appears healthy, his swing is simply not there.  That is especially concerning when you remember that the only thing Utley was able to do the entire time he was injured was hit.

The Phillies have a day off tomorrow to lick their wounds, but things do not get much better on Friday.  They are headed to Pittsburgh and recent history shows the Phillies have a rough time there.  Despite the Pirates fielding fairly awful teams over the years, the Phillies simply play badly in Pittsburgh.  They better hope that changes.

Shane Victorino should be back for the series, which will hopefully be a nice boost for the offense.  However, who will be sent down to make room?

My feeling is that John Mayberry Jr. has to stay, as he is the only suitable center field back-up who can match Victorino’s defense.  Brown should be here to stay.  Michael Martinez is a Rule-5 and the Phils do not want to lose him.  But Ross Gload is injured.  He can hit, but cannot run or play the field.  If it were up to me, he’d be going on the DL to make room.

Another option is pitcher Mike Zagurski, but it seems like the Phillies want an extra pitcher around.  However, Zagurski still has not shown he is a major leaguer.

It is a tough decision.  Glad I do not have to make it :O)

 

Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Comedy of Errors Turns Into a Win For the Phillies

It was not pretty, but the Phillies pulled out at 6-4 win over the Mets on Friday night.  The Phillies committed three errors and the Mets had two.

 The real circus act occurred between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.  With two outs in the fifth inning, a pop-up to short center turned into a small disaster.  Utley was over-aggressive and crossed past his side of second base, slamming into Rollins and the ball dropped between the two of them after a little juggling.

Then in the seventh inning, it appeared a throw-over was put on by the bench.  Michael Stutes turned and threw to second, but no one was covering.  Either Rollins or Utley missed the call.  That blooper cost the Phils another run.

Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt saw his pitch count rise as the Phillies error’s extended his day.  He went six innings, allowing one earned and one unearned run.  He also hit an RBI-single in an attempt to keep pace with the hitting of Cliff Lee in the previous game.

The game was tied 3-3 by the eighth inning, but the Phillies bounced back against the Mets closer, Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Historically, the Phillies have had no success against Rodriguez, never scoring a run against him.  But in a non-save situation, they finally got to K-Rod.

Five singles and a sac fly later, the Phillies jumped to a 6-3 lead.  Domonic Brown and Placido Polanco both hit key RBI-singles that inning.  Brown went two-for-two after coming into the game in the eighth, although one hit was a gift from Mets first baseman who missed the easy grounder.  And Rollins collected three RBI in the game.

John Mayberry Jr. continues to impress as well.  He had a hit, a walk, a stolen base and scored two runs.  And his defense in center while standing in for the injured Shane Victorino has been outstanding.  Mayberry’s long strides make difficult balls look easy to get to.

So although the game was a real adventure, a win makes all the mistakes fade away.

Cole Hamels will pitch tomorrow in game two with the Mets which starts at 7:10pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Cliff Lee Helps Himself to a Win

Just a short 12 hours after a stunning 19-inning victory, the Phillies won again, making it two wins in one day.  The 10-4 victory today gave the Phils a 3-1 series win over the Reds.

 The Phillies hoped that starting pitcher Cliff Lee could go deep into the game as nearly the entire bullpen was worked hard in the previous game.  Lee did not disappoint, going eight innings.  He did allow four runs on 10 hits and a walk, but he kept his team in the game in more ways than one.

Lee himself accounted for two of the Phillies 13 hits and he drove in three runs, two on a double and one more later on a single.  There have been a number of role reversals in the past two days.  Lee was the big slugger today and infielder Wilson Valdez was the winning pitcher in the game before.

Not so backwards was a three-run homer by Raul Ibanez in the third inning.  Chase Utley also hit his first home run of the year today.  Utley has now doubled and homered since coming off the DL on Monday and all is right with the world again.

Utley did appear to twist his right ankle / leg on a play today, which was a bit scary.  However, he kept playing and it looks like we all have to wait until tomorrow to see if Utley bounces back okay.

As for the rest of the offense, some of the younger players are starting to hit, which is a good sign.  The Reds starter Homer Bailey only lasted five innings and then rookie Daryl Thompson took over, making his major league debut.  However, Domonic Brown and Michael Martinez each had a hit off Bailey, so it was not like they were just abusing the rookie.  They hit a solid, veteran pitcher as well.

If the younger guys can keep stringing hits together like this, things may soon look-up for the Phillies offense.

And if injured players keep returning, like Jose Contreras did today, that is another big positive.  Contreras pitched a scoreless ninth inning today and looks like he is ready to pick up where he left off, although Ryan Madson will remain the closer.  And David Herndon was sent back to Triple-A to make room on the roster.

The Phillies will embark on a 9-game road trip next.  They play the Mets in New York Friday night at 7:10pm; Roy Oswalt will pitch.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Oswalt Loses at Citizens Bank Park for the First Time

It  looks like #13 was unlucky for Roy Oswalt.  In his 13th career start at Citizens Bank Park, Oswalt lost his first game in the ballpark thanks to a non-existent offense.  It was a 2-0 shut-out by the Rangers.

 

Let me rephrase:  The Phillies did have bats and some did swing them, but no runs ever crossed the plate.  In the last nine games, the Phillies are averaging FIVE hits a game.  Yes, five hits, not runs.  They hit over 5 runs only twice in that spam.

Sunday was no different.  Five hits, NO runs.  This has been a bad case of déjà vu for the starting pitchers, who have been the victims of the invisible run support.

Today, there were a lot of pop-ups, swings at bad pitches, no swings at good pitches, confused looks and ball hit right at fielders:

 

The déjà vu continued as catcher Dane Sardinha got on base in both the 3rd and 5th innings.  Both times, Oswalt bunted him to second.  And both times, with one out and a runner in scoring position, Jimmy Rollins popped out.

 

Oswalt continued to pitch well, despite the disappointing offense.  He went seven innings, allowing only one run.  And the Phillies had some nice defensive plays as well, including a pair of double plays and some acrobatics by Wilson Valdez.

 

And then there was this play, where Rollins tagged out Elvis Andrus, but the umpire missed the tag.  It did not matter anyway, as Oswalt got out of the inning.

 

The second Rangers run was charged to J.C. Romero.  But again, it did not really matter as the Phillies batters were hitting anything.

The good news is that Chase Utley is back!  Pete Orr was sent to the minors to make room and Utley will make his 2011 debut on Monday night against the Reds.  The Phillies are counting on Utley to light a fire under this offense.

Joe Blanton was placed on the DL as expected and Vance Worley will replace him, pitching on Tuesday night.

The Phils also signed veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik to a minor-league deal as a back-up plan after the Blue Jays released him.  Podsednik is a lifetime .279 hitter but he has had issues with plantar fasciitis in his foot, which is why the Jays let him go.  If he can take time to heal, he could be useful later in the season.

The Reds game starts at 7:05pm tomorrow night.  In the meantime, here is the full Photo Album from today’s massacre…I mean, game.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Cliff Lee Shuts-Out His Former Team

After choosing Philadelphia over Texas this offseason, Cliff Lee faced his former team for the first time since pitching in the 2010 World Series for them.  The reunion appeared to be motivating, as Lee was on top of his game.

Over eight innings, Lee struck out 10 Rangers, allowed only five hits and did not give up a run.  Lee has been the victim of a lack of run support this year, but it did matter this time as he kept the Rangers off the board.

The offense had another rough day, but they managed to squeak out two runs for Lee.  Ryan Howard busted out of his slump with a solo homer and a single in the game.  John Mayberry Jr. collected a two-out RBI single in the sixth for the Phillies second run.

Domonic Brown made his 2011 debut in right field.  He got off to an ugly start in the first inning by grounding into a fielder’s choice in which Jimmy Rollins was thrown out at second.  Brown then was caught stealing afterwards.  He later left the bases loaded with two outs by hitting a fly ball to end the fifth inning.

Another player who had a bad day was Raul Ibanez.  He went 0-3 and hit into two double plays.  The first one came with one out and a runner on third, which was really disappointing as a sac fly could have added on a run.

But even though the offense is still holding on by a thread, Lee pitched them out of trouble.  He even tried to help out with a single and his first career stolen base.  But the two runs on eight hits turned out to be enough.

After Ryan Madson closed the game, the Phillies walked away with a 2-0 win and a chance to sweep the series.  The final game with the Rangers is Sunday afternoon at 1:35pm.  Roy Oswalt gets the start.  I will be there and return with photos.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Offense Still Missing; More Injuries

I will start with the good news.  Roy Oswalt looked good Tuesday night and had some speed on his fastball.  Through five innings, he allowed only one run, which could have been avoided if third-string catcher, Dane Sardinha knew how to tag anyone at the plate.

And now the bad news….the Phillies offense is still missing in action.  The Phillies collected only six hits, two of which were from rookie Michael MartinezRyan Howard struck out three times and left three men on base, which is unusual for him in his hometown of St. Louis.  Howard normally rakes when he is home.

All together, the Phils left 10 men on base and the only run they scored was unearned after Tyler Greene dropped a routine Jimmy Rollins pop-up.

And now for the ugly…Danys Baez came into a tie 1-1 game in the ninth and proceeded to load the bases before recording an out.  J.C. Romero was in next and he threw only one pitch.  That one pitch went deep center field, handing the game to the Cardinals for a two-game sweep.

And now for the “Oh crap!” moment of the game…rookie reliever Michael Stutes tossed three pitches in the sixth before signaling to the bench that he was hurt.  He left the game with a strained a right side muscle.  No word yet on how serious it is, but this is just one more disaster that the Phillies cannot afford.

The offense has been so bad for this team, I am finally out of words to describe it.  If the Phillies do not find a way out of this slump fast, they will find themselves plummeting down the ranks of the NL East.  The Marlins are only 1/2 game behind them and the Braves are 1.5 games back.  Ugh.

It’s Official: A Phillies Losing Streak

Some said that with this pitching staff, it would never happen.  And yet, here it is…a losing streak of three games.  Those who called it impossible must have severely overestimated the Phillies offense.

Because this offense has been horrific.  Pathetic, anemic and just plain awful are a few other descriptive terms you may choose.  On Monday night, the Phillies faced a pitcher with an ERA over 7.0 and they still only managed one lousy run.  They lost to the Cardinals 3-1.

 

There were a total of four Phillies hits in the game and one of those came from the pitcher, Cliff Lee.  Yes, Lee out hit everyone, except Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco who had the other three hits.

On the mound, Lee was a bit off and high in the strike zone.  He walked a career-high six batters, although at least two of those were on badly missed calls from the umpire.  Still, through 6.1 innings, Lee allowed three runs and kept the team in the game.  The problem was, no one else looked like they wanted to be in the game.

The hitters were impatient at the plate with a home plate ump who was obviously squeezing the pitchers.  All three walks issued by the Cardinals were to Ryan Howard.  With the way the strike zone was, they should have had at least three or four more free passes.

Personally, I think the starting pitchers need to get together and start screaming at the offense.  Chase Utley missing is not an excuse.  They have hit without him before and are capable of doing it again.  One man does not make a team.

Roy Oswalt will pitch tonight, despite his back issues, which makes me nervous.  Because if the Phillies continue to fail to score runs, Oswalt will have no room for error.  They could lose their fourth straight game and second straight series.  Game time is 8:15pm.

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Will Injuries Derail The Phillies Season?

As of May 13, 2011, the Phillies are 25-13 and two games ahead of the Florida Marlins for first place in the NL East.  However, Phillies players are dropping like flies.  Can they maintain this pace in spite of all the injuries?

So far the Phillies have lost their starting short stop, both catchers, two starting pitchers, a bunch of relief pitchers and more.  Starter Joe Blanton came off the DL but looks like he needs to go back as he is still in pain and losing speed on his pitches.  Starter Roy Oswalt is coming back this week, but also looks like he is not 100% after a rehab start on Thursday.

Then in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Braves, centerfielder Shane Victorino left the game early with a hamstring pull.  It ended his 15-game hitting streak.

The Phillies anemic offense managed only three hits in the game, a trend which has continued throughout the season so far.  The pitching has helped the Phillies win games, but the loses due to a lack of hitting are starting to pile up.

At the same time, the pitcher’s are now coming up lame.  If the injuries continue and the Phillies wind up with both weak pitching and weak hitting at the same time, this spells trouble.

Here is a look at the injuries so far this year:

 

If Victorino winds up on the DL, the Phillies may have been able to fill the roster spot by calling Domonic Brown back up since he has recovered from hand surgery.  However, earlier in the week, Brown sprained the thumb on the same hand he had surgery on and is unavailable to play right now.

Currently in right field, Ben Francisco has been terrible in the month of May.  He is hitting just .071 since May 1.  Ryan Howard is hitting .217 in May.  Placido Polanco’s May numbers are down as well, hitting .234.  Brian Schneider’s bat was starting to heat up when he got hurt and was sent to the DL.  Carlos Ruiz is back, but rusty, and he is still looking for his first hit this month.

The bench players have filled in admirably where they are able to.  But if this trend continues where the offense slumps and the pitching can no longer bail them out, the Phillies could lose their grasp on first place quickly.

The Phillies season is at a crossroads now.  Either they will be able to continue to battle through the injuries or they will not.

But this is an issue they have dealt with for many years running now.  This Phillies team knows how to carry on when star players hit the skids.  Hopefully, knowing that they have overcome injuries in the past will be enough to propel them into the future as a winning team.

Cliff Lee Is Not Feeling The Love From The Phillies Bats

While Phillies fans have certainly shown their support of Cliff Lee since his return, his teammates are a bit lacking in that department.  In Lee’s last three starts, the Phils have scored a grand total of ONE run for him.

Last night, the huge “zero” on the board amounted to a very odd outcome.  Lee struck out a career-high 16 batters in the 5-0 loss to the Braves.  This tied Steve Carlton for the most strikeouts over nine innings by a lefty in Phillies history.

 

The third inning was not great for Lee, as he allowed three runs.  But aside from that inning, Lee was lights out, keeping pace with Derek Lowe who had a no-hitter going into the seventh.

But if you allow just three runs over seven innings, you are supposed to get a win, right?  Sadly, that did not happen.  Instead, the Phillies offense continues to be a dark cloud over Lee’s head.

The most frustrating offense came in the seventh after Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter with a single to left.  Placido Polanco knocked a ground rule double, which as the ball hopped over the fence in center, actually prevented Victorino from scoring.

With two men in scoring position and no outs, the Phillies bats failed again.  Lowe left the game with an injury and Eric O’Flaherty replaced him. 

Facing O’Flaherty should have been a relief after Lowe had mowed the Phils down in six straight innings.  Instead, the next three batters, Ryan Howard, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez, all struck out swinging.  Not one of them could even make contact.

And that continues to be the Achilles heel of this team.  These severe hot and cold streaks at the plate are going to catch up to the Phillies eventually.  The team’s 21 wins behind a stellar pitching staff is covering the multitude of offensive sins right now.  But that cannot last for long.

The Phillies bats will need to get serious very, very soon.

Injury Update

Roy Oswalt came back from his tour of duty in the Mississippi tornado sector, but apparently, his lower back did not come with him.  He is now on the DL, retroactive for 10 days, which means he could return on Friday.  Oswalt has a history of back issues, so this is potentially very bad news.  Stay tuned…

Catcher Carlos Ruiz is also still on the shelf with a strained lower back and he remains day to day.  The Phils may place him on the DL, but if they do, it will have to be sometime today so they can backdate it.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

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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