Results tagged ‘ Tony LaRussa ’

Phillies Win Series Amidst More Home Plate Rules Controversy

The Phillies took 3 of 4 games from the Dodgers this week, ending with last night’s 7-3 win.  The only game they lost was in Cole Hamels’ return from the DL.  Hamels pitched well, but once again, the bullpen blew the lead.  Ugh.

Yesterday’s win was much more pleasant, although nerve-wracking at times.  Kyle Kendrick pitched pretty well considering he allowed 10 hits and a walk and only 2 runs scored.  He would have gotten the win, except Mike Adams immediately gave up the lead in the 7th with a home run ball to Adrian Gonzalez.  Adams pitched 2 innings for which he earned BOTH a blown save AND the win.  Go figure.  This is a perfect example of why I hate the win/loss rules for pitchers.

Speaking of rules I hate, let’s talk about home plate.  This no blocking the plate, anti-collision thing is officially on my last nerve.  Tony LaRussa, the former manager who fought for this rule, can take his big ideas and stick ‘em where the sun don’t shine.

Yet another play at the plate was challenged last night when the Dodgers purported that Carlos Ruiz did not give Hanley Ramirez a lane to the plate.  I guess they thought the edge of the nail of his little pinky toe was touching the imaginary parallel line from his foot to where the plate meets the dirt?  I am exaggerating, but how utterly ridiculous is all of this?

Ramirez was still called out after review, but this brings up a bigger issue.  Why would anyone NOT challenge an out call at home plate with this rule in place?  Seriously.  There is a very high probability, as we have seen in previous Phillies games, that they runner will called safe.  Because it seems that if even a small part of the catcher is in front of the plate before the ball arrives, he has been a bad boy and thus unworthy of an out call.  This means EVERY out call should be challenged.

Complicating matters, no one is exactly sure what the rule really is.  On April 13th, the Phillies lost a run due to a replay review at home and Tony Gwynn Jr. was called out.  The next day, MLB called to apologize for getting the call wrong.  If the people in charge do not even know the rule, how is anyone else supposed to?
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Besides that, the rule is insane to begin with.  I understand they want to limit injuries and all that, but it seems to me this is likely to create MORE injuries.  If the catcher cannot be in front of the plate until he gets the ball, this forces the catcher to move very quickly and awkwardly from the point where he catches the ball (away from the plate) to the point he makes the tag (in front of the plate usually).

This “sweep” tag is fine when the catcher is not overly concerned with where the end of his foot might be.  But this rule will force guys to be even further away from the plate to make sure that little toe is not considered an obstruction, turning a “sweep” into an outright dive to make the tag.  Not allowing the catcher to properly set himself means any type of collision will be made worse as he won’t be braced for it.

The runner is not allowed to charge or go out of the way to hit the catcher, but in making a tag, avoiding a collision of some kind is nearly impossible.  So please, please just go back to the old rules and add a clause that runners cannot charge or take cheap shots.  Or here’s an idea…forget the tag altogether.  The runner and catcher can just meet at home plate and thumb wrestle to determine the winner.  Much safer.  Or rock, paper, scissors anyone?  Food for thought.

It has already been reported that MLB is going to make “adjustments” to the rule, but no word yet on specifics.  I will assume thumb wrestling is probably not an option.  They are no fun.  But let us hope they do not screw this up further.

The Phillies begin a series tonight in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.  Game time is 9:40pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Major Lee Let-Down in Game 2

P7096974BH If I had not watched the game last night and you told me this morning that Cliff Lee blew a 4-run lead in a playoff game, I would have assumed that someone put crack in your cornflakes.  But alas, I did see the game and yes, the unbeLEEable happened.

Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa looked like a serious moron in the first two innings, pitching Chris Carpenter on only 3 days rest.  The Phillies beat him up to the tune of 4 runs.  With Lee on the mound, this was a sure win, right?  Wrong.

Because Lee imploded , allowing 3 runs in the 3rd and two more over the 6th and 7th.  Frankly, he never should have been sent back out for the 7th after it was clear in the 6th that this was not his day.

But the Phillies offense also blew a lot of opportunities.  After scoring 3 in the 1st, Placido Polanco hit into a double play with 2 men on base to end the inning.  It was still a good first inning, but they could have really put the game away here and did not.  They left runners on base in the 2nd as well.

Polanco is 0-8 in the series so far.  So is Carlos Ruiz.  Ruiz took a huge shot at the plate to save a run yesterday, but his bat has come up empty.  And Hunter Pence, although he has gotten a few big hits, has also left 5 men on base in the series and hit into a fielder choice in a key situation last night in the 8th, killing the momentum.

So the game cannot all be blamed on Lee, but it certainly is a huge disappointment based on what we all know Lee is capable of.

The Phillies head to St. Louis now and will put Cole Hamels on the mound against Jaime Garcia, who the Phillies have not been able to hit at all in the past.  Game time on Tuesday is 5:00pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Roster in Place, the Phillies Are Ready for the NLDS

Game 1 of the NLDS is scheduled for a 5:07 start tonight.  Here is the post-season roster for the Phillies:

  • Catchers (2): Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.
  • Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez.
  • Outfielders (6): Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco and Ross Gload.
  • Pitchers (11): Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton.
  • Extras: Infielder Pete Orr and Catcher Erik Kratz will travel with the team. RHP Justin De Fratus, LHP Joe Savery and outfielder Domonic Brown will work out in Clearwater, FL and Outfielders John Bowker and Brandon Moss and RHP Michael Schwimer have been sent home.

The only slightly interesting move here is that Blanton was chosen for the roster instead of David Herndon, despite missing most of the season with injuries.  The Phillies chose experience over a younger guy, even though Herndon was with the team most of the year.

As for the pitching match-ups in the series, here are the probable starters for the Phillies and Cardinals:

  • Game 1: Roy Halladay vs. Kyle Lohse (ex-Phillie)
  • Game 2: Cliff Lee vs. Chris Carpenter (on 3 days rest)
  • Game 3: Cole Hamels vs. Jaime Garcia

These are some odd moves by Tony LaRussa.  It will either turn out to be genius, or a huge mistake.  The Phillies should be able to handle Lohse and will then get Carpenter on short rest.  That is another situation they can probably take advantage of.

The pitcher the Phils have the most trouble with is Garcia, who was pushed back to Game 3 because his home numbers are much better than his road numbers.

This all seems to add up to a Phillies advantage, however, that remains to be seen.  Also of note, Game 2 has been pushed back to 8:37pm (ugh) on Sunday due to the Yankees – Tigers rain postponement.

I also wanted to share with you an article I just read about how Danys Baez has helped Antonio Bastardo out of his recent pitching funk.  Baez was released by the Phillies in July and was not picked up by another team.  He has been sitting at home in Miami watching and noticed Bastardo, a player he previously mentored, was having problems.  He reached out to Bastardo and helped him find the issues in his mechanics.

Bastardo has bounced back since then and it seems that Baez is the reason.  The story made me a little sad, thinking about how much criticism Baez took while he was in Philly from fans and media.  For him to swallow his pride and reach out to an ex-teammate like that is a sign of true character.  He may not have been the bullpen solution the Phillies hoped for, but he gets huge brownie points in my book for just being a great guy.

Hope to see you all at the game tonight!  Go Phillies!

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Howard’s Happy Homecoming

Ryan Howard loves playing in his hometown of St Louis!  And it was never more evident than last night as he went 3 for 5 with 5 RBI, 4 runs scored and 2 home runs in the Phillies massive 20-2 win over the Cards.  After the game, Howard said, “Playing before family and friends is relaxing to me.”  Well, if that is the case, then perhaps the Phillies staff ought to look into flying his family and friends out to Philadelphia to attend more games??  I mean, whatever works for this guy, let’s get it done!  In one game, he raised his batting average from .204 to .212 and added 2 homers….now there’s a reason to smile!


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The run barrage started right from the first inning with Utley, Howard and Burrell going back to back to back with homers.  This feat has only been accomplished 7 times in Phillies history (including this one) and this is the third time Pat Burrell has been in the mix.  It was all downhill from there for the Cardinals as the Phillies kept pilling it on, especially in the 4th inning, where even the pitcher, Kyle Kendrick had 2 hits in the inning, one of which was a double.  They batted around plus 6 in that inning and scored 9 runs.  The only regular player left without a hit for the night was Jimmy Rollins, although he did get walked 3 times.

 

Aside from all the run scoring excitement, the only other real drama was when Cards pitcher Russ Springer hit Howard with a pitch in the 8th inning and was ejected from the game for throwing at him intentionally.  Manager Tony LaRussa was ejected next for arguing, but it sure looked intentional.  Ryan stands so far off the plate, it is pretty hard to hit him.  Not to mention, everyone knows you pitch him low and outside if you want to strike him out.  After that, the Cards had run through so many pitchers, in an act of total desperation, they threw their second baseman on the mound in the 9th inning!  Aaron Miles pitched a one, two, three shut-out inning to close out the top of the inning.  It wasn’t pretty, but he mopped up well.

 

Well, 2 more games in St. Louis.  Let’s hope Howard’s mommy made him the same waffles for breakfast and injected them with whatever that home run power juice was again.  Go Phillies! 

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