Results tagged ‘ Tom McCarthy ’

Pitching a Fit Over Phils Pitching

At the start of the season, everyone was worried about the Phillies offense being strong enough to carry a solid starting pitching staff to wins.  Now that the offense is slowly piecing runs together, the entire pitching staff has fallen apart.  Let us examine the grisly evidence:

Roy Halladay is on the DL.  Vance Worley is pitching will bone chips in his elbow.  Cliff Lee has no wins and is recently making a habit of blowing leads.  Cole Hamels has been hit or miss.  Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton keep see-sawing between okay and downright horrible.

As for the bullpen, 5 out of 7 pitchers have little big league experience.  4 of those are rookies in their first (3) year or second (1) year in the majors.  Chad Qualls, a veteran, has basically been a bust.  And their $50 million closer hardly ever pitches because the save situations are slim and they are afraid to use him in non-save situations.

Last night in a horrible 11-7 loss to the Twins, 3 of 4 bullpen guys who pitched combined to allow 5 runs.  Kendrick started the game allowing 6 runs in only 4 innings.  He was beyond awful.  Meanwhile, closer Jonathan Papelbon has not thrown a single pitch since 4 days and 3 games ago.

Making matters worse, Hunter Pence has officially lost his mind in right field.  He only has 3 official errors on the year, but if you add in the mental mistakes and plays that he clearly should have made despite not being an “official” error, he probably has at least 10 by now.

In fact, my favorite moment of last night’s game was a comment by announcer Tom McCarthy.  After Pence failed to field a routine hopper in the 5th inning, turning a single into a triple, McCarthy said, “I think it is safe to say he needs to stop doing that.”  He hit that nail on the head.

Right now, the Phillies are a very BAD team.  Now 9.5 games back of the Nationals in the NL East, they do not have time to wait for Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to return.  If they do not turn it around right now, this season is over.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Howard Makes History Again As Phillies Beat Braves

With Roy Oswalt sent to the DL, the Phillies needed a spot starter tonight against the Braves.  They went with Kyle Kendrick and the move paid off.

Kendrick has been in the bullpen all year, so his pitch count was limited.  But he managed to get through five innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out two.

The Phillies offense came up with a few key hits to give the team a 3-0 lead through those five innings.  Pete Orr played second and had an RBI-fielder’s choice in the second for the first run of the game.  The second run was a historic one.

Ryan Howard smashed his career 260th home run in the fourth, passing Del Ennis for 2nd place in Phillies career home runs.  Mike Schmidt is in first place with 548 homers.  Howard has a long way to go to match Schmidt, but 2nd place is very impressive.

 

Ennis’ widow Liz, an avid baseball fan, called the Phillies after the historic homer and had them leave a note of congratulations for Howard.  It was a very classy move.  During the game broadcast, announcer Tom McCarthy noted that Liz made the call after realizing the telegram was no longer being used.  :O)

Anyway, run #3 in the game came from a Shane Victorino triple in the fifth.  Earlier in the day, Victorino was in the Majestic Clubhouse Store at the stadium signing copies of his new book, “Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian.”  He must have been really pumped up after the turnout.  I heard from a source outside the ballpark that fans who showed up an hour early for the signing were told the line was already cut-off and they were turned away.

I am totally off topic here, but I have one last note about the book.  In the next week or so, I plan on writing a review of the book.  I will also reveal some personal conversations I had with Shane’s parents and also his wife, Melissa, many years back about one of the main talking points of the book, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  I was very glad to hear Shane shared this in the book as I am sure it will help many people suffering from the disorder.  So, stayed tuned for that…

Back to the game…by the sixth inning, this turned into a battle of the bullpens and a 3-0 Phillies lead.  Coming out of the pen for the Phillies was J.C. Romero, Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson.  Each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the Phillies win.

With so many questions surrounding the Phillies bullpen this year, it is very good to see everyone stepping up.  Especially for young pitchers like Stutes and Bastardo, their performances so far this year have been outstanding.

The series is now split 1-1.  Tomorrow the Phillies will send Cole Hamels to the mound as they try to win the series with the Braves.  It is another dreadful ESPN 8pm start on a Sunday; the second Sunday in a row.  I will be there and return with photos.

 

FYI – The MLBlogs conversion to WordPress has been postponed until next weekend, 5/13-5/16…shocking, I know.  Anyway, just keep stopping by and if there is yet another delay, I will let you know.  Thanks!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Win Series In Atlanta

Two old dudes battled it out tonight in Atlanta; the Braves Derek Lowe, 36, and the Phillies Jamie Moyer, 47.  When I say I old, I am talking in baseball terms, of course.  Jamie Moyer2.jpgThe elder Moyer out-dueled Lowe allowing just 4 hits and no earned runs in 6 innings.  Lowe fell victim to the powerful Phillies offense which ran him out of the game after only 5 innings and racked up 5 runs.

Moyer continues to amaze and defy the laws of time with every victory.  And tonight, he did something I had never seen before; in the 2nd inning, he hit the Braves rookie Jason Heyward with a pitch.  That was not the fun part though.  As the ball left Moyer’s hand, you could hear him yell to Heyward, “Look out!” as the pitch ran too far inside.  Moyer is a true gentleman.  Of course, the ball was only travelling about 74 mph so I think Heyward will be okay ;o)

The defense behind Moyer was pretty good, although Chase Utley did have one adventurous inning.  Right after announcer Tom McCarthy commented on how much Utley has improved and that he has a shot at a Gold Glove one day, Utley’s ears must have been burning because he committed two errors in the 5th inning. 

While trying to turn a double play, Utley bobbled the feed from Juan Castro, dropped the ball twice and a run scored.  The very next play, he tried another double play but threw the ball wide to 1st, which flew past Ryan Howard and allowed another run to score.  So it is official; no one is allowed to talk about Gold Gloves in relation to Utley for the rest of the year.  Clearly, it was a jinx.

Utley’s offense has not been affected by a jinx though, as he has now reached base safely in every game so far this year.  He had one hit and 2 walks tonight.  Greg Dobbs did a great job filling in for Placido Polanco; he went 2 for 3.  Castro went 3 for 5 and had 1 RBI, making it 5 for 8 from the back-up starters.

Actually, the only other jinx I can see for this team is the bullpen, which has been fairly awful.  Roy Halladay avoided that jinx yesterday by pitching all 9 innings himself.  Moyer only went 6, which is about average from him so sadly, the pen had to be counted on.  Chad Durbin worked his way into a bases loaded jam with 1 out in the 7th and then ran a 3-0 count to the next batter.  Fans everywhere had to be saying, “Oh crap…here we go again…”

Durbin got a sac fly out of that one and thanks to the Braves generosity in swinging at balls, he escaped the inning having allowed just the one run.  But there was no one exhaling just yet.  The Phillies had an 8-3 lead, but still 2 more innings of scary bullpen work to get through.

This bullpen could totally blow a 5-run lead….I have seen it happen.  But tonight, Danys Baez rebounded from his last disastrous outing and got through the 8th inning with no damage.  In the 9th, rookie David Herndon pitched and things got hairy with a few base runners.  But Herdon worked through it and the Phillies won, 8-3.

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There was a bit of bad news today before the game began; pitcher JA Happ has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 16th.  The left forearm strain that was revealed after an MRI is apparently a bigger issue than the Phillies first anticipated.  Nelson Figueroa will take Happ’s place in the starting rotation for now and his spot in the bullpen will be taken over by JC Romero, who was removed from the DL today.  Welcome back, JC!  We missed you!

So it is a bit of good news with a bit of bad news.  As for 3rd baseman, Placido Polanco, he was left out of the line-up tonight after being hit by a pitch in the elbow yesterday.  Polanco told the media today that he should be ready to play again tomorrow night.  Assuming this is the case, that is very good news.  Losing another starter right now could be a small disaster.

And yes, it is already that time again…All Star Voting.  Why they start this so early in the season always puzzles me, but nonetheless, VOTING began yesterday.  Let’s get a head start; VOTE for your Phillies today!

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And Happy Earth Day everyone!  Remember to recycle and conserve energy…for Phillies fans, that might mean drinking a beer from a recycled can and lazing on the couch to conserve energy.  But hey, every little bit helps. :O)

 

Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Phillies Shut-Out The Astros

The first four games of 2010 have been very good for the Phillies bats.  As a team, the have at least 10 hits in each game so far which is the first time that has been done by a Phillies team since 1926.  The top 5 batters in the order are on fire, especially Placido Polanco who had 4 hits tonight, 2 RBI and is batting .579 in 4 games.  Those 4 hits helped the Phillies to an 8-0 shut-out win over the Astros.


Thumbnail image for P8248836 Rollins.jpgJimmy Rollins
is also off to a fast start with 7 hits in the first 4 games, batting .467.  Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are not far behind, batting .438 and .400, respectively.  On Wednesday, Howard moved into 5th place on the Phillies all-time home run leaders list, passing Greg Luzinski.  In today’s game, he racked up 2 hits and an RBI.

Raul Ibanez has struggled, but looks to be coming out of the funk with 3 hits and 3 RBI today.  Shane Victorino, on the other hand, hit several balls really well but still came up empty; he even hit into a double play.  Victorino is batting .111 so far this season.

JA Happ got his first start of the year today and pitched 5 scoreless innings.  He had a lot of base runners, so his pitch count kept rising; as a result, he only made it to the start of the 6th inning.  The thing that stands out about Happ though is that he never gets rattled.  In the 3rd, he had 2 runners on with no outs and still managed to pitch his way out of the jam unscathed.  Happ continues to impress.

David Herndon made his mark today as well, pitching 2 innings in relief of Happ without allowing a run.  Today was his 3rd appearance with the Phils and so far, the rookie has yet to give up a run.  If he keeps this up, the Phils are going to have some tough decisions to make when Brad Lidge and JC Romero return from the DL.


DSCF5052 wheels.jpgSo things are feeling pretty loose around the Phillies this week; even the broadcasters are keeping the mood light.  Gary Matthews and Tom McCarthy presented fellow broadcaster Chris Wheeler with a birthday cake and presents today during the game, even though it is not really his birthday.  Wheels got his own birthday wrong in his new book, “A View From The Booth,” on the very first page of the book.  He wrote April 9th instead of August 9th.  Oops.  So, Happy Un-Birthday, Wheels!  Don’t feel bad…we are all entitled to typos once and a while ;o)

 

Game two in Houston tomorrow!  First pitch is at 7:05pm.

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

 

PSWA Banquet 2010

On Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association held their 106th annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill, NJ.  The PSWA honors athletes in every sport around the Philadelphia area.  The event is usually hosted by the great Harry Kalas, but sadly, he is no longer with us.  This same event last year was the last time I spoke with Harry.  This year, the PSWA invited his son, Todd Kalas, who spoke with great affection and admiration about his father.  I have video of the speech that you can watch below. 

The photos below show the empty seat that was left in Harry’s honor right next to the podium, Todd Kalas speaking and a friend of Harry’s who sung “High Hopes.”PSWA Harry.jpg

The tone of the banquet was still very upbeat and in usual PSWA style, many great athletes and coaches from the area were honored in grand fashion.  The Phillies were awarded “Team of the Year” which was accepted by Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. accepted the award for “Executive of the Year.”  Former Phillie and current advisor, Dickie Noles was given the “Humanitarian” award and Von Hayes was there also as a guest.

The next set of photos are of Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr., me with broadcasters Scott Franzke and Tom McCarthy and Phillies PA announcer, Dan Baker.

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The following video shows speeches from Todd Kalas, Amaro and Manuel.  Note the “jokes” about the Cliff Lee trade; Amaro playfully blamed it on Charlie.  Sorry Ruben, I fail to see the humor.  Ok, don’t get me started on that…here’s the video:

http://www.facebook.com/v/285597867858

There were plenty of other sports icons in attendance, including the 76ers Willie Green who got the “Good Guy” award, Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Eagles player Brent Celek who was named the “Outstanding Professional Athlete” of 2009:

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We also heard from Andrew Bailey who was given the “Native Son” award; Bailey grew up in the Philly area and won Rookie of the Year for the American League in 2009 as the closer for the Oakland A’s.  Ruben asked who his agent was and tried to steal him away…no success I’m afraid. 

The MVP of the Army Navy Game, Ricky Dobbs, was also honored as well as Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova basketball, Fran Dunphy of Temple basketball , the 1960 Eagles and many others.  The full list of honorees can be seen at the PSWA web site.  I also put together a Photo Album from the event which shows many of these people as well.

The highlight of the night may have been comedian Joe Conklin who does impressions of his favorite Philly sports figures.  His Cole Hamels impersonation is hysterical.  Take a look:

http://www.facebook.com/v/286085147858

And finally, here is clip of a program that will air this Thursday at 11pm on 6-ABC Philadelphia.  The show is about the Phillies Off-Season and will include some photos that I took during the 2010 Phillies Cruise last month :O) 

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If you live in the Philly area, set the DVR or tune in at 11pm on 2/4/10.

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

 

 

Holiday Sale 2009

The Phillies held their annual Holiday Sale this weekend at the ballpark and as usual, it was an interesting event.  Phillies Charities holds the event each year, selling game-used merchandise, autographed items, left over programs and books, photos, etc…  Although, this year was not nearly as crowded as last year because of the World Series loss. 

This means less money for Phillies Charities, which is sad.  In fact, the people selling many of the charity items were actually haggling to get rid of merchandise.  A Scott Eyre signed jersey marked $125 went for $100 after the buyer decided $125 was too much and decided to walk away.  Now that is something I have never seen in all the years I have attended.  But plenty of other items raked in big bucks, like game used bats, balls, street banners and empty Champagne bottles from the playoff celebrations.

I picked out a locker name plate grab bag for $30 and wound up with Carlos Ruiz, Miguel Cairo and Mick Billmeyer (bullpen coach).  The Ruiz plate was worth the $30, so I was happy with that.  I have also been working on a collection of signed 2008 World Series balls and am trying to get every player on the team.  But some players who have gone, like So Taguchi, may be impossible to get now.  So I decided to try to buy a Taguchi signed regular ball, which they had a box of there, but by the time I got up front in the line, they were sold out.  Yes folks, an entire box of Taguchi signed balls, gone.  Did everyone else have the same idea I had or are there just huge numbers of Taguchi fans out there that I do not know about?  I can tell you, he was not popular here in Philly at all, so I thought that was a bit weird.  Maybe because they were only $5 people didn’t care who signed it ;o)

While there were not any players there, everyone did have a chance to meet with broadcasters Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler, who was signing his new book, “View From the Booth.”  I think Dickie Noles was there too, but I did not see him.  And Milt Thompson was scheduled to sign copies of a hitting DVD he put out later that day.  I ran into Tom in the clubhouse store and chatted with him for a while, then got my book signed by Chris.  Here I am below with Wheels, plus a shot of a Holiday tree and Phanta Claus, who was entertaining the kids:

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It was a dreary day outside, which may have kept some shoppers home.  Rain, slush and snow also dampened the Philadelphia Santa Claus parade, which made its way around the ballpark with fire engines, sirens and bright lights, although the only people silly enough to be outside were those of us waiting in line to get into the Holiday Sale.  Not sure if the Phillies tree lighting went off as planned as I cut out early, but here is a photo of the tree taken from inside the Hall of Fame club:

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I also walked around the concourse a bit to see what the off-season ballpark looked like.  Turns out, they wrap the mobile concession stands with giant tubes of Saran Wrap.  This is either to protect them from the elements, or the stands have been put on some weird plastic wrap weight-loss plan:cling film.jpg

Maybe they can shrink the prices while they are at it?  Just a thought ;o) 

So, did anyone else go to the sale?  What did you think about it?  Feel free to comment below :O)

Kendrick Gets Pounded in Atlanta

As the battle for the 5th starting pitching spot continues, Kyle Kendrick appears to be cracking under the pressure.  In 3 innings against the Braves today, Kendrick surrendered 8 runs on 10 hits and a walk, including 2 home runs.  His ERA for the Spring has ballooned to 14.29.  Yikes!  Pitching coach, Rich Dubee is probably about ready to throttle the poor kid.  Not because he is stinking up the place, but because Dubee knows Kendrick is capable of getting the job done; but to this point, Kendrick has just not found a groove.  He is leaving the door wide open for the other 3 guys to take what was his spot to lose, and run with it.  What do you think the outcome will be?  Vote at the end of this blog.

Besides Kendrick, know who else is likely to take a beating?  The Hooters girls.  I have been yapping about this since Spring Training last year; in Clearwater, they stick Hooters girls out on the field to pretend to be ball girls.  They also give these un-athletic, baseball-ignorant chicks lawn chairs and allow them to sit throughout the game and read a book (I am SO not kidding) while line drive go whizzing past their bleach-blonde heads.  While I understand the entertainment value for the men who are apparently bored with the game and prefer to stare at plastic Barbie dolls, it is a dangerous game they are playing in Florida.  At one game, I watched as a line-drive flew so close to a Hooter’s girl’s head, that her hair flew up in the air as the ball went by and she never even looked up until after it was past her and she felt the breeze.

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There was another close call during the game today as well, as announcers Tom McCarthy and Gary “Sarge” Matthews pointed out.  Matthews said he hopes it never happens, but that the day it does, the Hooters girls will be done in Clearwater.  Seriously, one of these girls is going to be killed someday.  Some of them don’t even have gloves…and those that do, have NO idea what to do with them.  Again, I understand the need to entertain the crowd; heck, when I get bored, here is what I start taking photos of:

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But I am pretty sure that my photography is unlikely to get my head ripped off.  Plus, I know how to catch a ball.  And besides, who doesn’t want to see photos of Greg Dobbs’ behind? :O)

Ok, that is my rant for the day!  Back to real baseball…and more nice views from the field:  Jason Donald! 

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What a cutie!  And this kid is determined to show off his stuff!  Ok, not that stuff; his hitting skills, of course :O)  Donald went 3 for 4 today and used his speed to score 2 runs.  Another hopeful, John Mayberry Jr., got back into action today, going 2 for 3 with 2 RBI including a solo home run.

Joining the hit party were Ryan Howard with 1 hit and 2 RBI; Raul Ibanez with 2 hits and 2 RBI; and Greg Dobbs with 2 hits and an RBI.  And it looks like no one really felt like pitching today, because the final score was 12-10; Atlanta had 21 hits and the Phillies ended up with 15.

And I am still trying to get hold of more information on Ryan Howard’s new tattoo for everyone.  Waiting patiently…  I have not forgotten :O)

WBC Highlights

I was pretty sure I had cursed Team Italy yesterday after proclaiming that I was rooting for them; well, they fell to Team Venezuela, 10-1.  So, Venezuela will play Team USA tonight for the right to move on to Round 2 in the Classic, and I will only root for the team that I do NOT want to win :O)  Brushing up on my Spanish…  Adiós!

 

 

Hamels Puts The Brew Crew On Ice

Cole Hamels totally mystified the Brewers tonight.  They looked confused at the plate, and even had a bad defensive game as they were so bleary-eyed from facing Hamels.  After 8 full innings of work, Hamels had not given up a run and only surrendered 2 hits.  He also had 9 strikeouts in his shut-out performance.

The Phillies offense was not much better against the Brewers’ starter.  They had only 3 hits off him and, thanks to a Brewers error in the 3rd, wound up scoring 3 runs that inning, none of them earned.  But that turned out to be all the offense they needed.  Brad Lidge had another tummy turner of an outing as he allowed 2 hits, one walk and one run.  As I stood in the rain, wiping the water from my face, I was so queasy I thought I might pass out.  Well, Lidge did eventually put me out of my misery and escaped with the win.  It was very emotional, as you can see…here is a shot right after the game of Jimmy Rollins and Lidge sharing the moment:
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The pre-game festivities were exciting as well.  Broadcasters and Alumni took the stage to rile up the fans and then a pre-recorded message of thanks from both Pat Gillick and Jamie Moyer was played for the fans on the big screen TV outside the stadium.  On stage, we heard from Greg Luzinski, Larry Anderson, Mitch Williams, Gary Matthews and of course, Harry Kalas who sung “High Hopes” for us again.  Here are some photos from the rally:
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Phanatic smashing a Brewers helmet:
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And a few game shots I got before it started pouring!
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I will be at tomorrows’ game as well and hope to bring you more photos and info.  Until then, I must get some sleep!  Go Phillies!

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