Results tagged ‘ Wilson Valdez ’

Halladay Earns 10th Win With Complete Game Against A’s

Before Sunday’s Phillies – Athletics match-up, the Phillies honored former major leaguer Bobby Shantz.  The 1952 American League MVP played for the Philadelphia A’s from 1949-1954 and for the Phillies in 1964.  He was joined on the field by Connie Mack’s 97-year-old daughter Ruth Mack Clark:

 

Once the game began, Roy Halladay was on point as usual.  He went the distance yet again, saving a depleted Phillies bullpen.  After nine innings, eight hits, one run and no walks, Halladay finally earned his 10th win of the year.


The offense was not spectacular again, but they got the job done.  Jimmy Rollins led the way, going 4-for-4 and scoring twice.  Shane Victorino and Ben Francisco each sent  J-Roll home once.  The third run scored with no outs in the first while Ryan Howard grounded into a double play.  But he knocked in a run, so he is forgiven.


There were some odd plays on defense as well.  The A’s struggled to hit Halladay and as a result, they managed a bunch of weak fly balls that landed in the middle of nowhere.  Wilson Valdez had a real adventure at second base playing in place of Chase Utley for the day.  A few balls hit in no-man’s land seemed catchable, but ultimately they eluded Valdez.


The Phillies collected a 3-1 win over the A’s and won the series by two games to one.  They have a day off today before starting a 3-game series with the Red Sox on Tuesday.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.  Enjoy!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Pitching Role Reversal & Two Wins

Phillies pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Roy Halladay each started one game of a double header against the Marlins today.  So while the stats show that Game 2 should have been a win and game one was a toss-up, that is not exactly what happened.

The Marlins got off to a good start in Game 1 with a run against Kendrick, same as they did on Tuesday night.  But also the same as Tuesday night’s 9-1 win, the Phillies came charging back quick, scoring two runs in the first two innings.

Wilson Valdez wound up being the game hero, going 3-for-4 with a bases loaded triple in the third.  Jimmy Rollins had two hits, including a 3-run homer.

But the real surprise was Kendrick, who pitched seven innings without allowing another run after the first inning.  The Phillies went on to win Game 1 by a score of 8-1.

But in Game 2, the earth must have stopped spinning on its axis’ because as Kendrick did his best Halladay impersonation, Halladay suddenly turned in a Kendrick-like performance.  This is an alternate reality for Phillies fans who watched confused as Halladay got hit around by the Fish.

Someone should write a guide book for these situations as I was at a loss of how to cope with it.  Oh wait, someone did write a manual…

So after allowing two runs in the first inning, it looked like Halladay might reel in the Fish after that.  But in the fourth inning, the Fish stopped taking the bait.  Former Phillies, Greg Dobbs smacked a double to get things started and two more hits later, the Phillies were down by a score of 4-1.

Kendrick outpitched Halladay today?  What craziness is this?  And four runs for Halladay is like a freak accident; it simply should never happen.  This was only the third time all year that Halladay gave up more than three runs in a game.

For the Marlins, pitcher Anibal Sanchez was on point.  He allowed only two runs over seven innings, forcing the Phillies to try for a comeback in the ninth inning.

With two outs in the ninth and two men on base, Shane Victorino came through with a two-run single to ties up the game at 4-4.  He then stole second and landed on third after a bad throw.  But Chase Utley was not able to score Victorino as he flew out to left and sent the game into extra innings.

But in the 10th, Ryan Howard got hit by a pitch and Domonic Brown walked.  Carlos Ruiz then reversed the Phillies fortunes and smacked a walk-off single that scored Howard for a 5-4 win!

The Phillies have taken 3 straight from the Fish!  The earth has returned to its normal rotation and the universe is as it should be.  Game 4 is tomorrow at 1:05pm.

 

Kendrick Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Rain, Errors, Blown Save, Stagnant Offense = Messy Loss

Game one between the Phillies and Cubs had a little bit of everything, although not all of it was good.  Here are just a few of the key events:

  • Jimmy Rollins was back in the line-up and hit a 3-run homer.
  • Kyle Kendrick pitched 3 scoreless innings & his outing was cut short because of….
  • A 1 hour 17 minute rain delay
  • In his 15th attempt, Ryan Madson finally blew a save.
  • Instant replay was used as the Cubs appeared to hit back-to-back homers.  It was ruled a double as a fan interfered.
  • Extra innings due to a 3-3 tie
  • With the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th, Charlie Manuel allowed a pitcher to hit…more on that soon.
  • Placido Polanco allowed the Cubs go-ahead run to score in the 11th on a rare throwing error.

As for the bases loaded decision, Wilson Valdez was available to hit instead of pitcher David Herndon but the Phillies would have been out of pitchers.  Manuel let Herndon hit and he left the bases loaded.

However, Valdez is the team’s lead hitter with runners in scoring position.  And while that statistic says a lot about this anemic offense, it also begs for a different decision in this spot.

If Valdez gets a hit, the Phils win.  If not, he winds up having to pitch for the second time this year.  The first time, Valdez, an infielder, got the job done.  Could it have happened twice?  Probably not, but I think this is a chance you have to take with the bases loaded in this situation.  If he does not get a hit, no one can blame Valdez for giving up a run in the 11th as the pitcher.

The Phillies have had so few offensive chances due to a lack of hitting, I think you have to hit Valdez here, despite the possible consequences.  Most managers would have done the same as Charlie, but thinking outside the box can be a good thing.

So the Phillies lost 4-3, and that stinks.  But Roy Halladay will pitch tonight and hopefully, turn that frown upside-down ;o)

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Cliff Lee Back on Track In Win Over Dodgers

The Dodgers are in town!  In the first game of an 11-game home stand tonight, the Phillies came away with a victory.

Cliff Lee was coming off a bad start where he allowed 6 runs in 5.1 innings.  Lee has had a rough start to the year, wavering on and off his usual solid game.  But against the Dodgers, he found his stride once again.

Through seven innings, Lee did not allow a run and struck out 10 batters.  So frustrated were some of the Dodgers that Casey Blake wound up getting tossed from the game after apparently arguing balls and strikes.

And while the Phillies offense is still not setting the world on fire, they did manage a few runs.  In the third inning, Wilson Valdez led off with a double and Lee bunted him to third.  Singles from Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard plated two runs.

In the eighth, Carlos Ruiz doubled home Chase Utley for a 3-0 lead.  It was Ruiz’s second hit of the night.  Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson held down the lead in the eighth and ninth, giving Lee his fifth win of the year.

Although, Madson’s outing was an adventure.  Former Phillies closer Tom Gordon looked as his son, Dee Gordon, scored the first run of his major league career off Madson.  But Madson got the job done and the Phils won by a score of 3-1.

As for the walking wounded, Jimmy Rollins had an MRI on the knee he fouled a ball off of on Saturday and it was negative.  So J-Roll may be back in action very soon.

On the other hand, Brad Lidge is having more issues.  After reporting shoulder soreness a few days ago, Lidge now also has soreness in his pitching elbow.  When his arm finally falls off, I will let you all know.  In the meantime, the bullpen is moving on without Lidge.

The next game against the Dodgers is tomorrow night at 7:05pm.  Roy Oswalt will pitch.

In the meantime, do not forget to enter to win an admission ticket to the Phillies Phestival right here!  Entries will be accepted until Wednesday at 6pm.  Enter today…good luck!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Halladay Ends Losing Streak

After a four game losing streak, the longest of the season for the Phillies, Roy Halladay finally led this struggling team to a win against the Pirates.  It seemed like an eternity since the Phillies came out on the winning end.

However, the win was not without drama.  In the fourth inning, down by 2-1, Domonic Brown was all set to tie up the game when an umpire literally stepped in.

With two runners in scoring position, Brown powered a ball straight up the middle that should have shot into center field to score a run.  Instead, second-base umpire Chad Fairchild stepped into the ball while trying to avoid it.  Once the ball hit him, it was a dead ball.  And although Brown was awarded first base, the run was not allowed to score.

The next batter, Wilson Valdez, hit into an inning-ending double play.  After that, things looked grim for the Phillies who had a run stolen from them and lost a chance with the bases loaded.

But the team followed Halladay’s lead and pushed forward.  After allowing a two-run homer in the first, Halladay put it behind him and pitched extremely well after that.  The offense, despite the umpire goof, followed suit.

Chase Utley finally had a good day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a walk and a run scored.  Ryan Howard collected three RBI on two hits and a sac fly.  And Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino and Brown all had two hits in the game as well.

Utley was amazing on defense as well.  He saved Halladay in the seventh when he laid out, Superman-style, diving for a line drive.  The catch ended the inning that otherwise may have been a disaster.

Relief pitcher Jose Contreras gave up his first run of the year in the eighth, but Antonio Bastardo bailed him out, getting the final two outs of the inning.  Ryan Madson shut the door in the ninth and the Phillies pulled out a 7-3 win.

The team is headed home now for a long home stand, starting with the Dodgers tomorrow night at 7:05pm.

In the meantime, do not forget to enter to win an admission ticket to the Phillies Phestival right here!  Entries will be accepted until Wednesday at 6pm.  Enter today…good luck!

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Phillies Option John Mayberry Jr. Was This the Right Move?

With center fielder Shane Victorino coming off the disabled list, the Phillies had to make a move.  Their choice was to send John Mayberry Jr. back to Triple-A.

Mayberry is an excellent outfielder, who can also play first base.  His defensive skills are nearly comparable to Victorino’s and he was the only solid center field back-up option.  But Mayberry struggled at the plate, hitting only .231 with three homers and 12 RBI this year.

The other players the Phillies could have moved were Michael Martinez, Ben Francisco or Ross Gload.  They were not going to send down a pitcher, as manager Charlie Manuel seems to like having 12 pitchers on the roster.

Martinez seemed like a logical move, but a few issues have kept him in place.  First, he is a Rule-5 player and the Phillies will likely lose him if he is placed on waivers.  Second, with Chase Utley’s knee still a sticky situation, Martinez is now the only real back-up infielder behind Wilson Valdez.

On the other hand, Martinez is a far inferior defensive player in both the infield and outfield.  He has also been unimpressive at the plate, hitting only .184 with three RBI in 49 at-bats.

Francisco won the right field job out of spring training, but has since been in a downward spiral.  His defense is not up to par and his bat has gone to sleep since hitting .308 in the first 10 games of the season.  In May, Francisco hit only .167.

And Francisco still has a minor league option available.  The deterrent, however, seems to be his $1.175 million salary.

As for Gload, he is playing with a muscle tear in his right hip and it appears that he cannot run.  The last two times he reached base as a pinch-hitter, a pinch-runner was sent in for him.  Gload is a great pinch-hitter, but can the Phillies really afford to carry a player on the roster who cannot run or play the field?

The only fix for Gload’s hip is surgery, which would end his season.  He has no options, but the Phillies could have placed him on the DL to buy time.

So with all of this, plus a lack of production at the plate, Mayberry finds himself back in Triple-A.  In the long-run, it may be the best move for him as he will get more at-bats.  However, if Raul Ibanez begins to cool off, the Phillies may question this decision later.

In my opinion, I believe Martinez should have been the one to go.  Aside from being a Rule-5 player, he had the least amount of upside.

Then again, with more playing time, maybe Mayberry will return later with a renewed energy and more life in his bat.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Cliff Lee Helps Himself to a Win

Just a short 12 hours after a stunning 19-inning victory, the Phillies won again, making it two wins in one day.  The 10-4 victory today gave the Phils a 3-1 series win over the Reds.

 The Phillies hoped that starting pitcher Cliff Lee could go deep into the game as nearly the entire bullpen was worked hard in the previous game.  Lee did not disappoint, going eight innings.  He did allow four runs on 10 hits and a walk, but he kept his team in the game in more ways than one.

Lee himself accounted for two of the Phillies 13 hits and he drove in three runs, two on a double and one more later on a single.  There have been a number of role reversals in the past two days.  Lee was the big slugger today and infielder Wilson Valdez was the winning pitcher in the game before.

Not so backwards was a three-run homer by Raul Ibanez in the third inning.  Chase Utley also hit his first home run of the year today.  Utley has now doubled and homered since coming off the DL on Monday and all is right with the world again.

Utley did appear to twist his right ankle / leg on a play today, which was a bit scary.  However, he kept playing and it looks like we all have to wait until tomorrow to see if Utley bounces back okay.

As for the rest of the offense, some of the younger players are starting to hit, which is a good sign.  The Reds starter Homer Bailey only lasted five innings and then rookie Daryl Thompson took over, making his major league debut.  However, Domonic Brown and Michael Martinez each had a hit off Bailey, so it was not like they were just abusing the rookie.  They hit a solid, veteran pitcher as well.

If the younger guys can keep stringing hits together like this, things may soon look-up for the Phillies offense.

And if injured players keep returning, like Jose Contreras did today, that is another big positive.  Contreras pitched a scoreless ninth inning today and looks like he is ready to pick up where he left off, although Ryan Madson will remain the closer.  And David Herndon was sent back to Triple-A to make room on the roster.

The Phillies will embark on a 9-game road trip next.  They play the Mets in New York Friday night at 7:10pm; Roy Oswalt will pitch.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Valdez & Baez Lead Phillies to 19-Inning Victory

As far as headlines go, the one above is not what Phillies fans generally expect to see.  But it was a back-up player and a much maligned bullpen pitcher who saved the day for the Phillies on Wednesday night against the Reds.

It took more than six hours and nine pitchers, but the Phillies finally pulled out a 5-4, 19-inning win.  Both offenses struggled to score runs and for the Phils, this has been problematic all season.

I have two words rattling around my brain in regards to the Phillies offense: frustrating and painful.  This team has been painful to watch most of the season so far.  And they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, which is incredibly frustrating.

For example, Raul Ibanez led off the sixth inning with a triple.  So with NO outs and a man on third, what should happen just doesn’t.  Carlos Ruiz swung at the first pitch and popped out.  John Mayberry Jr. watched a called-strike three go by.  And then Wilson Valdez is walked intentionally to get to the pitcher.  Result: NO run, when all they needed was a sac fly or some form of contact with the ball that did not turn into a pop-up.

And this is exactly the sort of thing that is plaguing the Phillies offense.  They faced a Reds pitcher who was off his game and they did not take advantage.  Instead, they got themselves out by being impatient and swinging at bad pitches.

So just like Tuesday night, with a 3-1 lead, the Phillies watched the Reds come back to tie the game, 3-3 by the seventh inning.  They got hurt, again, by Jay Bruce with two outs and the bases loaded.  He hit a two-run single off Roy Halladay, who had a few issues tonight.  However, the defense behind him did little to help.

But once the game entered the wee hours of the morning, many forgot that Halladay had even started the game.  The bullpen took over for a total of 12 innings.

Danys Baez, who has taken a lot of abuse from Phillies fans for his lack of consistency, was one of the hero’s in this game.  He pitched a career-high five innings and 73 pitches to carry the Phils through the 18th inning.  He allowed only one hit, one walk and zero runs.

Last year, Baez was so bad that many hoped he would be cut.  And this year has been up and down for him.  But rest assured that after an effort like this, Baez is keeping his job.

After Baez exited, the unexpected happened.  Wilson Valdez stepped onto the pitcher’s mound.  And he was tasked with facing the heart of the Reds line-up in Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce, who had absolutely been killing the Phils all series long.

But Valdez gave a valiant performance, even clocking over 90mph on the radar gun.  He got Votto to fly out to deep center, hit Rolen with a pitch and then two more fly-outs to end the inning.  As he exited the field, the crowd went crazy cheering for him.

Valdez is the first player to start in the field and move on to pitching since Babe Ruth.  Seriously.  He is also the first Phillies position player to pitch since Tomas Perez did it in 2002.  The game win went to Valdez and afterwards he told Comcast Sportsnet, “I like to win,” in response to why he agreed to pitch.  He also joked that he could have gone three or four more innings.

Raul Ibanez hit a sac fly to score Jimmy Rollins for the win in the 19th inning.  In a game where an infielder pitched, a catcher (Carlos Ruiz) played third base and the team left 16 men on base, this win has to be a huge boost for the Phillies.

The last game with the Reds comes quick after this one; Thursday afternoon at 1:05pm.  Cliff Lee will pitch.

Injury Updates

Ross Gload is not playing right now due to a slight muscle tear in his hip.  This is same sort of injury that Chase Utley played through in 2008, which eventually required surgery.  Gload is expected to play through it as well.

Jose Contreras should return to the team sometime this week.  Odds are good that David Herndon will be sent down to make room.

Chase Utley got a day off today, except for a pinch-hitting appearance, in what appears to be an effort to err on the side of caution by not pushing him too hard, too soon.  He should play again Thursday.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Oswalt Loses at Citizens Bank Park for the First Time

It  looks like #13 was unlucky for Roy Oswalt.  In his 13th career start at Citizens Bank Park, Oswalt lost his first game in the ballpark thanks to a non-existent offense.  It was a 2-0 shut-out by the Rangers.

 

Let me rephrase:  The Phillies did have bats and some did swing them, but no runs ever crossed the plate.  In the last nine games, the Phillies are averaging FIVE hits a game.  Yes, five hits, not runs.  They hit over 5 runs only twice in that spam.

Sunday was no different.  Five hits, NO runs.  This has been a bad case of déjà vu for the starting pitchers, who have been the victims of the invisible run support.

Today, there were a lot of pop-ups, swings at bad pitches, no swings at good pitches, confused looks and ball hit right at fielders:

 

The déjà vu continued as catcher Dane Sardinha got on base in both the 3rd and 5th innings.  Both times, Oswalt bunted him to second.  And both times, with one out and a runner in scoring position, Jimmy Rollins popped out.

 

Oswalt continued to pitch well, despite the disappointing offense.  He went seven innings, allowing only one run.  And the Phillies had some nice defensive plays as well, including a pair of double plays and some acrobatics by Wilson Valdez.

 

And then there was this play, where Rollins tagged out Elvis Andrus, but the umpire missed the tag.  It did not matter anyway, as Oswalt got out of the inning.

 

The second Rangers run was charged to J.C. Romero.  But again, it did not really matter as the Phillies batters were hitting anything.

The good news is that Chase Utley is back!  Pete Orr was sent to the minors to make room and Utley will make his 2011 debut on Monday night against the Reds.  The Phillies are counting on Utley to light a fire under this offense.

Joe Blanton was placed on the DL as expected and Vance Worley will replace him, pitching on Tuesday night.

The Phils also signed veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik to a minor-league deal as a back-up plan after the Blue Jays released him.  Podsednik is a lifetime .279 hitter but he has had issues with plantar fasciitis in his foot, which is why the Jays let him go.  If he can take time to heal, he could be useful later in the season.

The Reds game starts at 7:05pm tomorrow night.  In the meantime, here is the full Photo Album from today’s massacre…I mean, game.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Hamels Ends Phillies Losing Streak

After losing four games in a row, the Phillies needed someone to stop the bleeding.  Cole Hamels, with help from his defense and second baseman Wilson Valdez, was able to get the Phillies a 2-1 win over the Rockies on Wednesday night.

Hamels tossed eight innings of one-run ball, allowing only five hits.  In short, he was spectacular.  His five wins this season tie Roy Halladay and his 2.92 ERA is second, also behind Halladay.

The defense played well behind him, with John Mayberry Jr. getting a key out in the first inning.  On a single hit to right field, Mayberry threw out  Alfredo Amezaga going to third base.  The next batter hit a fly ball to center so, Amezaga would have tagged up and scored had been safe at third.

And although the Phillies offense continues to struggle, Wilson Valdez came up big on a number of occasions.  He went 2 for 3 in the game with an RBI-single in the fifth.  In the eighth, Valdez singled again.  Shane Victorino bunted him over to second and then Valdez advanced to third on a wild pitch.  He then scored the go-ahead run on a Jimmy Rollins sac fly.

It was nice to see Victorino in a game, however, he is still having issues running and is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday.

As for the unlikely hero, Valdez, he is hitting .400 with runners in scoring position and .667 with the bases loaded.  Both of those stats lead the team.  It is hard to expect much more out of a guy who has filled in for Chase Utley all year.  Valdez has been amazing.

The second and final game with the Rockies is tonight at 7:05pm.  Joe Blanton will pitch.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

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