Results tagged ‘ Ryan Braun ’

Braun Puts a Roid Rage Hurting on Phils Opening Day

Do not make Ryan Braun angry.  You won’t like him when he’s angry.  The Phillies found that out the hard way during Tuesday’s 1-day delayed Home Opener.  First it rained (Monday), then it poured (Braun).

The day must have been cursed from the start as Chase Utley was sent home with the flu before the game.  But aside from that, the day started off so nice, who would have guessed it would turn into a massacre?  The pre-game festivities, as always, were colorful:
040814 OD

Of course, for the umpteenth, the Navy parachuters jump was cancelled due to wind.  I seriously do not know why the Phillies bother scheduling this every year.  It almost never happens.

Instead, we got 2008 World Championship pitcher and current broadcaster, Jamie Moyer to toss the first pitch with his baseball idol, Steve Carlton looking on.  He had a nice reunion with Carlos Ruiz as well:
040814 Moyer

And then the game started and it was all downhill from there.  In his typical inconsistent behavior, Kyle Kendrick followed up a good 1st start with a horrible one on Tuesday.  Adding insult to injury, he pitched against former Phillie Kyle Loshe and gave up the first 2 of Braun’s 3 home runs.
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A former All-Star, Braun is actually best known for his steroid use and overall bad behavior.  He got away with a positive test by blaming the Fed Ex man, who was then fired from his job after Braun’s adamant denials.   But then Braun did finally get caught afterwards and was suspended 65 games.  The number of people Braun hurt with his lies is what makes him, in my opinion, one of the worst offenders in baseball.  It is also what prompted all of the boo’s and chants of “Cheater!” throughout the ballpark.

But those chants did nothing but fuel Braun’s fire to beat the Phils.  He even killed a Phillies rally in the 2nd inning with a diving catch in right field that would have scored 2 runs.

The Phillies did manage to scatter some hits throughout the day and made a few nice plays in the field.
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All of the good plays were unfortunately overshadowed by 3 errors and some head scratching misreads in the outfield.  The worst of the day was Ben Revere in deep center, who had the ball lined up to catch and then just missed it.  The 3rd photo below is the most interesting as you can see Revere’s head and face smashed into the fence.  That pretty much sums up the day:
040814 Revere

That misplay put another run on the board for the Brewers.  Then in the next inning, Braun hit his third homer of the day.  He finished with 7 RBI and single-handedly crush the Phils.  I seriously hope someone checked his urine after the game (insert your own sarcastic remarks here).

The 4-10 loss was a disappointment, to put it mildly.  But today is another day and maybe the Phillies can bounce back with a strong start from Roberto Hernandez.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Here is the full Photo Album from the Home Opener, including batting practice, pre-game festivities and more.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Hamels Halts Phillies Losing Skid

Not much has gone right for the Phillies this year.  But at least we know that when Cole Hamels takes the mound, they at least have a shot at a win.  After dropping 3 straight, the Phillies collected a win last night over the Brewers, thanks in large part to Hamels.

Hamels cruised through 7 2/3 innings allowing only 1 run until 1 bad pitch in the 8th ran him out of the game.  The Ryan Braun 2-run homer was 1 of 4 home runs Braun has hit in this series…so far.  I am sure Braun, who was said to be in a slump prior to this series, was thrilled to see the Phillies come to town.  And just think, he may not be done yet.

Despite that annoyance, Hamels had a very solid game.  The 4-3 win was nailed down by closer Jonathan Papelbon, who got 4 outs to seal the deal.  Manager Charlie Manuel was criticized for not using Papelbon in a similar situation on Thursday night.  On Saturday, he did not make the same mistake again.

The Brewers had a couple base running blunders, which helped the Phillies out.  One guy got caught in a rundown and another did something a bit unusual.  With 2 outs in the third, Braun again smashed what should have been a double to deep left field.  But Jonathan Lucroy, who was on first base, missed second base and then stood like a deer in headlights instead of stepping on the base and continuing to run.  By the time Braun reached second, all he could do was throw his hands in the air at Lucroy who was still there, looking dazed.  Braun was out; inning over.  Oops.

As for the Phillies offense, John Mayberry Jr. knocked a 2-run homer in the 2nd, followed by a solo shot from Erik KratzRyan Howard doubled in the 3rd to give the Phils the go-ahead run.

The Phils get one more shot at the Brewers this afternoon.  And they will also get another look at wannabe starter Kyle Kendrick.  Can he repeat his last performance of 7 shut-out innings against the Marlins last week?  Game time is 2:10pm.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Bullpen Bombs Again

It is difficult to imagine what must be going through Cliff Lee’s head these days.  He has had his ups and downs, but certainly has pitched better than just the 2 wins on his record indicate.  Last night, he had a quality start against the Brewers, allowing 3 runs in 7 2/3 innings.

But that good start was quickly wiped away in the Phillies cursed 8th inning.  And once again, it was a bullpen guy doing the damage.  You can see the reasoning behind why Lee was pulled with Ryan Braun coming up; Braun had already tagged Lee for 2 homers in this game.  But with the bullpen performing like it has, maybe taking the chance on Lee was a better decision.

That did turn out to be the case as the game was blown wide open for the Brewers thanks to reliever Josh Lindblom, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade.  Lindblom walked the bases loaded and then gave up a grand slam to wipe away the Phillies 4-3 lead and turn it into a 7-4 loss.

And with that turn of events, I think Lindblom has earned himself a new nickname: How do you feel about LindBUM?  Or even better, LindBOMB.  There you go.  LindBOMB has a nice ring to it…and bomb, he did.  In a big way.  Since coming to the Phillies, LindBOMB is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA.  Ouch.

Nothing personal against the guy; after all, most of the bullpen has sucked all year long.  His name just happens to more easily lend itself to a little joke ;o)  And we could all use a little humor right about now.

The real shame of it was that after being down 3-1, the Phillies battled back and score 3 runs in the 5th on a bases-clearing double from Kevin Fransden.  Oddly enough, it was Fransden’s throwing error in the 8th that caused Lee to be pulled from the game.

So the downtrodden Phils will again try to beat the Brewers this evening at 8:10pm.  Vance Worley will pitch.  Hopefully, he can pick this team up…they need a lift in a big way.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Streaking & Signing: Things Are Looking Up for the Phillies

It is officially a streak – the Phillies have won 4 games in a row and all 4 came during their final at-bat.  In the 3-game sweep of the Brewers, every game also ended in the exact same score, 7-6.

Tuesday’s improbable win included a 6-run rally in the 8th inning which was started by a 2-run homer from 2nd back-up catcher, Erik Kratz.  To that point, Kratz had exactly 3 major league hits and all 3 were home runs.

Then today, Kratz doubled his major league hit total even while abandoning the long ball.  He recorded 3 hits including an RBI and a double in extra innings to once again set the Phillies up for a late-game win.   Chase Utley also had 3 hits today plus 3 RBI.   Jimmy Rollins got the game-winning hit today and also in Sunday’s walk-off win.

As for the pitching, Cliff Lee was not great on Tuesday, giving up 6 runs.  But the Phillies offense got all 6 back for him in that 8th inning.  Then today Vance Worley had an ok outing, allowing 3 runs in 5.1 innings.  Kyle Kendrick kept him from further damage with 1.2 scoreless innings.

The bullpen has, with one exception, found it’s groove in  these last 4 games.  Only Antonio Bastardo faltered with a 2-run homer to Ryan Braun today that almost cost them the game.  But the late-inning magic bailed him out, even despite another Ty Wigginton error at third base.

But the HUGE bang for the Phillies came earlier today when the Phillies announced they finally signed ace pitcher Cole Hamels to a long-term deal.  A collective sigh of relief was heard around the city.

Hamels got 6 years for $144 million, which is the second biggest contract ever behind only CC Sabathia of the Yankees who got $161 for 7 years back in 2008.  It is the largest contract ever for a Phillie.

It appears then that the Phillies have not given up just yet.  The Hamels signing should be a big relief for guys like Lee, Rollins and Roy Halladay who chose to come to or stay in Philly with the promise from the front office that they would continue to try to win in the long-term.  And these last 4 wins which happened in the most unlikely ways should also light a fire under the entire team.

The Phillies are off tomorrow for the annual Phestival and they will then fly to Atlanta for 3 games with the Braves.  Those 3 games will be very telling as to whether this team can stage an improbable comeback and make a run at a Wild Card spot.

 

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Photos 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

Thoughts to Ponder…

The news out of Phillies spring training thus far has been basically what we all expected…kind of boring.  Everyone returning from injury says all the right things; “I feel great,” “I am ready to play!” and things of that nature.  The coach and the GM also say all the right things, “Such & such…looks good…ready to play, etc…”

Then we hear all kinds of conflicting reports about recovery times.  Like Ryan Howard will return to the line-up in April… or May, June or after the All-Star break.  Chase Utley will hit 20 home runs…or 10 or maybe none.  But hey, reporters gotta eat too, right?

I get that part of the charm of spring training is wading through all of the great “unknowns” and speculating on the “what might be’s.”  But wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear someone respond with, “I have no clue.  I am not a psychic nor do I own a crystal ball.  Next question.”

Here, I’ll go first:  When will Howard return from injury? – I have no clue.  I am not a psychic nor do I own a crystal ball.  Next question.

That was very cathartic.  I already feel like a weight has been lifted. ;o)

So just for fun, here is a nice list of questions I thought of to ask major league ball players that would be highly entertaining, but have zero chance of ever being asked or ever receiving an honest answer on:

- If given a choice between a machine calling balls and strikes or a live umpire, which would you prefer and why?

- Do you think that Ryan Braun’s overturned suspension, due to what appears to be a technicality, casts doubt upon the efficacy and accuracy of MLB’s PED testing program?

- (Not that this will ever be a reality but…) Would you agree to a pay for performance structure throughout baseball instead of the current guaranteed contracts?  Why or why not?

- Who got voted to or picked for the most recent All-Star game that did not deserve to go?

- Which teammate, current or former, do/did you dislike the most and why?

- In a fight between Bud Selig and Satan, who wins and why?

Spring training would be way more fun if only we could get a few real answers ;O)  But since that is never going to happen, those reading can feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments below.  The best answers may be featured in a future blog!

So, what is YOUR opinion?  Go for it…

 

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Bye, Bye Benny

With a plethora of outfielders now in the Phillies system after a few signings, Ben Francisco has been traded Toronto for Minor League relief pitcher Frank Gailey.  Gailey, 26, is from Philly and has a record of 23-15 with a 2.45 ERA in 175 appearances in the minors. 

Francisco had a promising spring training before the 2011 season, but his hot streak ran cold quickly.  While Francisco was not consistent as a starter, the bench role did seem to suit him well.  He hit .269 with 4 RBI in 2011 and .289 with 7 RBI in 2010 as a pinch hitter.

But John Mayberry Jr. clearly outplayed him this past season.  And with the new additions of Scott Podsednik and Laynce Nix plus Domonic Brown on the roster, the outfield is full.

However, the Phillies seem to have some concerns about Brown’s future and they seem intent on giving him more time in the minors before they bring him up again.  Brown should be major league ready by now, but the Phils do not seem convinced.

If this is true, why not trade Brown now while he is still listed as a top prospect?  Because if they give him another shot in the bigs and he bombs again, his value will go right out the window.  At least now, they could get something in return for him.  Just a thought…

In other news, Jimmy Rollins is still in limbo, although rumors are flying that a deal is imminent.  J-Roll has not gotten much interest from other teams so resigning him at a descent price may be getting a little easier.

So what has J-Roll been doing while he waits?  Apparently, tweeting about Ryan Braun’s positive drug test“: “I really hope Braunie’s initial test is not upheld. Either way people are gonna judge him. I believe him though.”

Braun was named the NL MVP this year.  So this may be the worst timing ever, although many people think the test was an error or some weird medical condition.  Whatever the case, we will not have a real answer anytime soon as Braun is appealing the ruling which, if he loses, will end in a 50-game suspension.

 

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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Hamels Disappears Along With The Bats

Prince Fielder of the Brewers played magician today and made Cole Hamels disappear; Fielder nailed him with a line-drive in his pitching arm, just below the shoulder in the 4th inning.  Hamels left the game having given up 2 runs on a Ryan Braun homer, but he also struck out 6 batters and was really on his game for the first time this year.  No word yet on how this injury will affect him.

JA Happ came in for Hamels to get the Phillies out of the inning, but then allowed 3 runs in the 5th on a Fielder bases-clearing double.  Ryan Howard could have saved the Phillies that heartache, but he dropped a sure double play ball that would have ended the 5th before the damage was done.  No matter though; the Phillies only scored 1 run on a Matt Stairs homer that broke up Dave Bush’s no-hitter in the 8th.  The Phillies lost the game 6-1 and had only 2 hits on the day.

So, where, or where, have the Phillies bats gone?  Perhaps they are hiding in Fielder’s huge, baggy pants?  Is he going to pull a rabbit out of that uniform too?  And where is the Phanatic with his new magic act to make the bats reappear?  I do hope they find them soon.magic.jpg

Break Out The Calendar

The April 20 Phillies vs. San Diego Padres rain-out has been rescheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, July 23.  Anyone holding tickets for the 4/20 game can use those tickets for the rescheduled game on July 23 at Citizens Bank Park.  Dollar Dog Night has also been rescheduled for the new game date.

The Phillies vs. Washington Nationals rain-out in Washington on Wednesday, April 15 has been rescheduled for 1:05 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 as part of a split doubleheader.  And just to clarify for those unfamiliar with a “split” doubleheader:  If you have tickets for 4/15, you can use them for the 1:05pm game on 5/16; after that game ends, you will have to leave and need a separate ticket for the 7:05pm game.  Both games are not included.  Bummer, I know.


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All-Star Balloting Continues
 

Click HERE to VOTE!  Get your Phillies into the game!!  Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address.  Gizmo the chinchilla needs your help to get the Phillies into the game!  Don’t let him down; he is an endangered species :O(

Next Up

The Phillies will travel to Miami tonight to start a 3-game series with the red-hot Florida Marlins tomorrow.  Game time is 7:10pm with Brett Myers on the mound.

Photos by Jenn

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