Results tagged ‘ Royals ’

One Comeback and One Almost Comeback

The ending of Saturday’s Phillies – Royals game left everyone feeling upbeat and energized.  Kevin Frandsen completed an unlikely come from behind win for the Phillies with a 9th inning, bases-clearing double.  The Phillies hopped off the field with a 4-3 victory.

It was such a positive moment, you almost expected the Phillies to win on Sunday just on that momentum alone.  But sadly, that did not happen.

Everyone has been asking what is wrong with Roy Halladay.  Well, how about, what is wrong with Cole Hamels?  This guy was picked as a front runner this year to maybe even win a Cy Young.  And yet, his first 2 starts of the season were both awful.

Today, Hamels gave up 8 earned runs in only 5 2/3 innings.  4 of those runs came off the 1st grand slam Hamels has ever allowed.  It was also a record-setting day for Billy Butler of the Royals with his 1st grand slam and a career high 7-RBI.

The Phillies offense did look like they were on fire at the start of the game, scoring 4 runs in the first inning.

But the bats went cold as James Shields found his groove and began mowing down Phillies hitters.  And once Hamels was finally pulled, the bullpen did him no favors.  Chad Durbin allowed 2 more runs to score (charged to Hamels) and Jeremy Horst gave up a run in the 8th as well.

Then in the 9th, the Phillies offense attempted a comeback for the second straight night, starting off down by a score of 4-9.  The Phillies squeaked out 4 more runs and fell just one shy of completing the comeback as Erik Kratz struck out after a very good at-bat where he battled to stay alive.

But in the end, it is another loss, leaving the Phillies with a 2-4 record to start the season.  This has not been the start anyone hoped for.  The bullpen, supposedly a strong point, has been terrible.  The starters have been shaky except for Cliff Lee and John Lannan.  And the offense is streaky, just as it was last year.

So what is the cure for all that ails the Phillies?  Hopefully, that is the New York Mets.  They come to town Monday night for a 7:05pm start; Halladay will pitch.

Here is the Photo Album from Sunday’s game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Home Opener Disaster for Phillies

The day began so promising for the Phillies.  The sun was shining, people were smiling and the Home Opener was upon us:

The festivities continued with the traditional patriotism, Leap Frog jumpers falling from the sky and team introductions.  Retired Phillies Mike Schmidt and Dickie Noles joined their former rival from the 1980 Phillies-Royals World Series, George Brett on the field for some pre-game pitches.  All was well with the world…

And then the game started.

The Phillies actually looked like the World Series champs of old for about 4 innings.  Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz hit home runs; Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were hitting; and by the end of the 3rd inning, the Phillies had a 4-0 lead.

And then it all went downhill….fast.

Kyle Kendrick, who was solid to start the game, began getting hit hard by the 5th inning.  By the 6th inning, Kendrick was out of gas and pulled from the game.  But not before the Phils intentionally walked Billy Butler to load the bases with 2 outs.  This may have been the one call that sent the game into a real tailspin.

Because once the bullpen took over, all hell broke loose.  All 3 of those runs scored, thanks to Jeremy Horst.  Additional damage was done by the pen later, as the Royals scored in every single inning from the 5th on.

Ben Revere got called out when he looked safe (see photo)…Brown dove for a ball in the outfield and missed…it was a total disaster.

By the 8th inning, fans were scurrying to the exits like a herd of deer running from a hungry cougar.  It was ugly.

With this 4-13 loss, the Phillies have now dropped 3 of their first 4 games, allowing 29 runs in those 3 losses.  They seriously need a win tonight.

John Lannan makes his Phillies debut tonight at 7:05pm.  Best of luck to him…he’ll need it.

And here is the Photo Album from the game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Welcome Back, Chad Durbin!

Please excuse the following outburst of unbridled enthusiasm for a move that many may view as not very exciting:  The Phillies have signed our old friend Chad Durbin!!!!  Whoo hoo!!!!  Durbin was a big part of the 2008 World Championship team; he spent the last 2 years with the Indians and the Braves.

Durbin adds much needed depth and maturity to the Phillies bullpen.  In his first stint with the Phillies, he was known as the intellectual of the bullpen group.  He has a great personality and is extremely fan-friendly, as well.  Durbin was one of my personal favorites for those reasons and I am glad he is back!

Durbin, 35, did very well with the Braves last year, pitching in 76 games with a 3.10 ERA.  His new contract with the Phillies is for 1 year with an option for a second year.

The Phillies also signed a utility infielder this week to a minor league deal.  Yuniesky Betancourt, who turns 31 in a few days, will join the team for Spring Training.  He hit .223 with the Royals last year, but was designated for assignment in August when the team manager, Ned Yost, became unhappy with his attitude.  “Yuni did a great job for us. But he was a guy that wanted more playing time, and he would get upset when he didn’t,” Yost said.

So add Betancourt to the Phillies list of problem children headed to camp next month.  If nothing else, Spring Training looks a lot more entertaining now!

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Ryan Howard Interview for Phillies Phollowers

Thanks to the State Farm initiative, Go To Bat, I was able to get a video interview with Ryan Howard while he was in Kansas City for the All-Star break helping promote the charity.  And I am very happy to share it with all of you!

If you want to support these great charities – Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Teach For America, American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity – go to State Farm’s online Go to Bat game and swing for the fences!  Just by playing, you have a chance of winning tickets to the 2012 World Series. Once a week, for 10 weeks, State Farm will randomly select the name of one contestant and make a donation of $18,000 to the charity that person chose to support, and that contestant also will win a trip for two to the 2012 World Series.

My sincere thanks to Ryan Howard and to State Farm for the interview opportunity!  That was seriously awesome!

The Phillies are off tonight, but they will be back Friday at 8:40pm in Colorado to face the RockiesCliff Lee is scheduled to pitch.  Let’s see if the Phillies can get off to a hot start in the 2nd half!

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Phillies Make A Small Splash At The Winter Meetings


DSC04792_Dennys_Reyes.jpgWhile the Phillies were unable to conjure a tidal wave in the Winter Meetings this year, they did make a few smaller splashes.  Free-agent left-handed reliever Dennys Reyes, 33, has been signed to a one-year, $1.25 million dollar contract, pending a physical.  Reyes is a 14-year, well- traveled veteran who now joins his 11th major league club.

While the signing is relatively small in terms of impact, Reyes is anything but small.  This six-foot, 3-inch 250 pound reliever goes by the nickname, “The Big Sweat.”  In other words, he will add both depth and width to the bullpen. 

On the other end of the size spectrum, the Phillies also picked up a five-foot, nine-inch, 145 pound infielder from the Nationals AAA system in the Rule 5 Draft.  Michael Martinez, 28, had better watch himself around Reyes who is liable to mistake him for dinner.

Martinez’s small size has made him a versatile player who can handle both shortstop and second base as well as the occasional stop in centerfield.  He hit a combined .272 with 21 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 56 RBI’s and a .408 slugging percentage in 522 plate appearances with Double-A Harrisburg and AAA Syracuse.

When asked about the pick-up of Martinez, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joked, “We figured with this Rule 5 Draft we would get back at the Nationals.  They got Werth. We’ll take Martinez and call it even.”  While the attempt at humor is admirable, Amaro should probably not quit his day job.

The Phillies picked up a few other players in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft; Colorado outfielder Chris Frey and Oakland righty Justin Friend.  While these are not real impact moves, it does give the Phillies a little more depth in the minor league system.

Overall, the Phillies had a quiet week at the Winter Meetings.  However, with rumors flying about a possible deal for the Royals righty Zach Greinke, the Phillies may still have a big move on the horizon.

 

Photo by shgmom56 on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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

 

Phillies Acquire Mike Sweeney

With Ryan Howard on the DL, the Phillies look to bolster their line-up by adding first baseman Mike Sweeney, 37.  He comes to Philly from the Mariners for either cash or a player to be named later.  While Sweeney has not gotten a lot of work this year in Seattle, he is batting .263 with six home runs and 18 RBI in 30 games, including three starts at first base.

sweeney.jpg

Sweeney is a 5-time All-Star, having been selected each year from 2000-2005 while playing for the Royals, who drafted him in 1991.  Sweeney set a Royals record for RBIs in a season with 144 in 2000.  He is a lifetime .298 hitter with 901 RBI’s and 213 homers.

Some more interesting notes about Sweeney: His wife, Shara, is the daughter of Jim Nettles and her uncle is Graig Nettles, both former major leaguers and brothers.  There is also a Philadelphia connection; Sweeney’s first major league home run in 1996 was off of Phillies pitcher, Jamie Moyer.

While Sweeney is in the latter years of his career and has had some back issues, he appears healthy now and should be a nice addition at first base for the Phillies while Howard is out.  On his Sweeney Family Foundation web site, Sweeney’s wife lists one of his life goals as “learning to put the toilet seat down.”  He will need that sense of humor to play in Philadelphia…I wish him luck :O)

 

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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

 

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