Results tagged ‘ Wild Card ’
After losing eight straight games since clinching the NL East, the Phillies sent Roy “Doc” Halladay to the mound today to operate on the Mets. Thanks to six scoreless innings from Doc, the Phillies had a shot at a win.
But the ailing offense would also need to find a cure for their disease. Manager Charlie Manuel decided to shuffle the line-up around to see if that band-aid might stick. Chase Utley was moved to the 2-hole, Hunter Pence to the 3-hole and Shane Victorino 5th behind Ryan Howard.
Whether it was the new line-up or just the agony of losing 8 straight, something worked. The Phillies came out swinging and scored 3 runs in the 1st inning, 2 of which came off a Pence homer. By the end of 4 innings, the Phillies had piled on 9 runs.
Every starter in the line-up had at least one hit, including Halladay. Carlos Ruiz was absolutely on fire going 4-4 with 2 RBI and a walk. Pence made up for yesterday’s blunders by going just a double short of the cycle and driving in 3 runs. Jimmy Rollins also collected 3 hits.
The only negatives in the game came out of the bullpen. After claiming that lefty Antonio Bastardo had been tipping his pitches which was the cause of his recent struggles, Manuel put Bastardo into the 7th inning to test the theory. News flash – Tipping his pitches was not the issues.
Bastardo struggled with control and missed his spots. In just 1/3 of an inning, he gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. It was not good. As the only lefty in the bullpen, if Bastardo cannot find his control again, this will be a huge issues in the playoffs.
Vance Worley also ran into trouble in his return to the bullpen. He closed out the 7th for Bastardo just fine, but the 8th was not as easy for him. Worley gave up one run to bring the score to 9-4.
The win gives the Phillies 99 for the season with 3 games to go against the Braves. Beating the Braves could still give them the franchise record in wins, but it may also be a catch-22. If the Braves do not get the Wild Card, it will probably go to the Cardinals. The Phillies may then wind up facing the Cards in the NLDS. They won only 3 of 9 against the Cards in the regular season.
Game 1 against the Braves is Monday night at 7:05pm; Cliff Lee will pitch.
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Halladay head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies ended the 2010 regular season today with the best record in baseball for the first time in franchise history. Their 97-65 record is even more impressive when all of the injuries they suffered this year are added to the equation. Unfortunately, the injuries do not appear to be behind them yet.
In the 8-7 loss to the Braves today, catcher Carlos Ruiz was plunked on the elbow by a Tim Hudson pitch. He appeared to be in a great deal of pain and eventually, he left the game. There has been no word yet about how serious it may be.
Another potential huge loss heading into the playoffs may be JC Romero. After throwing a pitch in the 6th inning, Romero signed to the coaches that he was hurt. Reports are that he is suffering from left lower back soreness. If he cannot play, it looks like lefty Antonio Bastardo will be a lock for the postseason roster. Having only one lefty in the pen may not be a great idea, but the Phils may have no choice.
The only real highlights early in today’s game were 2-run homers by both John Mayberry Jr. and Jayson Werth. Also, Cole Hamels pitched very well for 2 innings in his postseason warm-up. Everyone else had issues getting desperate Braves hitters out. Even Roy Oswalt gave up a run in one inning of work. Joe Blanton allowed 2 runs and the big damage was done by Danys Baez. Baez allowed 4 runs in only 2/3 of an inning, likely cementing his new roll as a cheerleader instead of a spot on the postseason roster.
But as the Phillies are known to do late in games, the offense started cooking again in the 8th inning. With 2 outs, Jimmy Rollins singled and Mike Sweeney reached base on a Braves error. Wilson Valdez hit an RBI single and Ben Francisco doubled in 2 more runs. The game got a lot closer, with the Phillies trailing by a score of 8-7. But in the 9th, they were unable to score and the Braves went on to win.
While the Braves won, their playoff hopes are still in the hands of the Padres, who are playing the Giants right now. They will know more in a few hours.
In the meantime, congratulations to the Phillies, officially the BEST team in baseball right now!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Atlanta Braves must feel like they have been unknowingly cast in a bad horror flick. With their playoff hopes on the line, the Phillies have now beat them 2 days in a row with only one game left in the season. In the meantime, their Wild Card foe, the Padres, keep winning.
Yielding a large axe, rookie pitcher Vance Worley did his best impersonation of the Grim Reaper today against the Braves. They did not manage a single hit off Worley until the 4th inning. Worley went 5 innings, allowing only the one hit and looked like a seasoned veteran. The only reason he was pulled after 5 innings was because there was a runner on third and the Phils chose to pinch hit for him.
Actually, the Phillies offense had runners on 3rd with only 1 out twice and failed to score. That finally changed in the 7th inning when a walk by Jimmy Rollins kick started some scoring. A Braves fielding error followed by a bunch of Phillies singles ended in a 4-run inning. Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino all picked up RBI’s.
Placido Polanco returned to the field today after having a cortisone shot in his elbow earlier this week. Polly went 2 for 4 at the plate, which is a very good sign. He did have one error at third early in the game, but he is probably still shaking the rust off. It is good to see Polly feeling better though!
The Phillies bullpen pitchers were scary as well. Antonio Bastardo, Danys Baez, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras continued to stab Braves hitters through the heart, sending them back to the dugout, one by one. The horror continued for the Braves as the Phillies tacked on more runs in the 8th and 9th for a 7-0 lead. And that was the final score.
With the Braves loss and a Padres win, the Wild Card race is a dead tie going into the final day of the regular season tomorrow. As a result, who the Phillies will play in the NLDS is still uncertain. What is certain is that, no matter the outcome tomorrow, the Phils will end the season with at least 97 wins and the best record in all of baseball!
The final game of the regular season tomorrow starts at 1:35pm. Cole Hamels will start the game.
By the way, I would like to send congratulations to Shane and Melissa Victorino on the birth of their baby boy, Kingston Shane Victorino, this past Thursday. The 7 lb. 8 oz. slugger is the second child for the couple; they have a daughter names Kali’a and Melissa has a teenage boy, Keenan, as well. Shane & Melissa are great people; I wish them much happiness!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography except baby photo by CSN
After sweeping the Braves in 3-games just over a week ago, the Phillies added insult to injury tonight by smacking the Braves around some more. The Braves and Padres are battling for the NL Wild Card spot and the Padres were trailing by 2 games before the game today. If the Phillies win one or both of the final 2 regular season games against the Braves, it will have major implications in the Wild Card race.
Just because they have won the NL East does not mean the Phils will let up on the Braves. Because several players are competing for either a spot on the postseason roster or possibly a spot with the team next year. Kyle Kendrick is one of those players. After a very inconsistent season, Kendrick needed to have a good outing tonight. He did a pretty good job, allowing 2 runs over 5 innings, although he walked 3 batters, including the opposing pitcher.
The Phillies scored 5 runs in the 6th with a Jimmy Rollins grand slam and Domonic Brown walked to force a run in. The big lead took Kendrick out of the game and gave a few more pitchers an opportunity to show off their skills…or lack thereof. Four pitchers, Antonio Bastardo, JC Romero, Chad Durbin and Jose Contreras, all pitched well.
Mike Zagurski, on the other hand, probably ended his career prospects tonight after giving up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the 9th. The 11-2 lead he started with was cut down to 11-5. Zagurski pitched well in AAA but in his 7 appearances with the big club this year, he has allowed 8 runs in 6 2/3 innings for a 10.80 ERA. David Herndon had to come in to get the final out…after walking one batter, just so Zagurski did not feel too bad ;o)
Tomorrow will be no easier for the Braves. Rookie Vance Worley will get the start and he will be anxious to prove he can pitch in the big leagues. His future with the club can be given a huge boost with a solid performance tomorrow. Game time is 4:10pm.
By the way, the Phillies starting pitchers 70-50 record is the best for the team since 1980…the same year they won their first World Series Championship.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Well, it was nice thought, but ultimately, the Phillies could not sweep the Giants tonight. When the game started off with Cole Hamels giving up 3 runs in the first inning, some thought that maybe this was just the starting pitchers new style. Both pitchers in the first two games of the series gave up first inning runs too, but the Phillies came back to win those games. Not tonight…
Hamels looked about as bad as we have seen him. He lasted only 5 innings, allowed 5 runs and looked like his pitch control was on vacation for the day. Knowing that he has gotten little to no run support this year, giving up 3 runs in the first must have seemed like an insurmountable hole from which Hamels could not climb out.
On the other side, Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez wiped the infield dirt with Phillies batters. He allowed only 2 hit in 8 innings of work and both hits came off the bat of Shane Victorino, who also played well on defense.
No one else could touch him. Knowing that Sanchez leads the leagues in walks issued, one might think the Phillies batters would have been patient at the plate. But many players swung early and swung often…at bad pitches. Thus, 2 hits in 8 innings.
The offense did attempt a 9th inning rally, something that has been common with the Phillies lately. But although Mike Sweeney knocked in 2 runs to avoid the shut-out, the rally ended there and the Phils took the 5-2 loss. Here are a few more shots from the game:
The Braves lost today as well so the Phillies still sit 2.5 games back in the NL East and lead the Wild Card race over the Giants by 1 game. A 3-game series with the Nationals starts tomorrow at 7:05pm.
And as a side note, today’s game marked the 100th consecutive sell-out at Citizens Bank Park. Manager Charlie Manuel came out before the game to speak to the crowd and thank the fans for their support. After that, the players waved and tipped their caps to the crowd. The 45,449 people in attendance also marked the largest crowd of the 2010 season so far.
Phillies, you are welcome :O)
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies are now tied with the Brewers for the lead in the NL Wild Card race. And the Mets lost today, so they also pull within 1 game of the Division lead. Brett Myers was unbelievable again today, pitching a complete game and surrendering only 1 home run to Prince Fielder. Fielder was bound to accidentally run into a homer…the man is like a Mac Truck; hard for him not to run into things like that. That home run was 1 of only TWO hits Myers allowed all 9 innings. Can we clone him and have Myers #’s 2, 3, 4 & 5 pitch every game? Wow.
So get out your fancy shoes and do the Happy Dance! The only way the Phillies were going to have a shot at the postseason was by doing exactly what they just did – sweep the Brewers. The offense has managed to piece itself back together and yes, Pat Burrell IS back like I said earlier today…he hit a monster home run tonight, drew a walk and scored 2 runs. Jimmy Rollins, back to 07 MVP shape, was on base every time he stepped to the plate: 2 hits, 3 walks and 2 RBI. Victorino came charging back as well as he went 4 for 4!
And the Mets have now lost 2 of their last 3, right at the same point at which they collapsed last year. Ghosts of a season past are creeping in on them…how will they handle the pressure? We are all hoping they choke like a midget trying to swallow a watermelon whole J 12 games to go… Keep on dancing J
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