Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 4: Depression

Has anyone been watching the World Series?  I have not been able to.  Not because my TV blew up or squirrels chewed through my cable lines, but because it is just too depressing.  The 2011 World Series without the Phillies?  *SIGH* :O(

The only thing I think about right now is that there are approximately 124 days, 2,996 hours, 179,761 minutes and 10,785,690 seconds left until players report to Spring Training.  That means I have ahead of me approximately 124 days, 2,996 hours, 179,761 minutes and 10,785,690 seconds of sheer boredom and misery.

Sad Phillies

I know, I should really get a grip.  Perhaps join a 12-step program?  But I simply cannot fathom what those 12-steps might be that would be able to lift me out of this funk.

To make matters worse, there are many impending decisions on the horizon that will greatly impact the future of this Phillies team.  There are seven free agents the Phils have to make decisions on: Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge, Raul Ibanez, Brian Schneider and Ross Gload.

My thoughts are that the options on Lidge and Oswalt’s contracts will not be picked up nor will either player be resigned.  Neither lived up to expectations this year and injuries were a huge problem.

Madson’s agent is Scott Boras.  That being said, the Phillies will not be able to afford to resign him.  Plus, rumor has it that Madson’s wife hates Philadelphia.  He is gone.

As for the other four, Gload and Ibanez likely will not be back.  This team needs to get younger and healthier.  The Phils will probably resign Schneider at a discount as his offensive numbers are exactly that – offensive.  And Rollins will hopefully return after some intense negotiations.

And all of that is also depressing.  This team we have all come to know and love will be broken apart with holes likely to be filled with some new faces.  Change is necessary here, especially after the final results of this season with the team ousted way earlier than expected.  But that does not make it less sad :O(

I am currently in the process of peeling myself out of this dark, hopeless abyss where I am blubbering uncontrollably while cowering in a corner.  This disappointing season has been difficult to cope with, but we must all make a commitment to try.

Although, if trying includes watching the Rangers and Cardinals, I may pass for now.  It is just too demoralizing  right now :O( 

Stay tuned for Stage 5…

 

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Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 3: Bargaining

Stage 3 of my mourning the 2011 Phillies season has reached the bargaining stage.  The only problem is that the season is already gone, leaving nothing but “why’s,” “what if’s” and “if only’s.”

For instance,

  • What if…the Phillies had just let the Braves win the last two games of the season, thereby eliminating the Cardinals from the Wild Card?
  • What if…Cliff Lee did not blow a 4 run lead in NLDS game 2?
  • If only…I had a magic wand to make it all better.
  • What if…the Phillies offense actually showed up?
  • If only…I had a time machine (*sigh*).
  • If only…this team had stayed healthy.
  • What if…Charlie Manuel had a clue about when to pull his starters?
  • If only…wishing made it so :O(

Are there any deals left to be made?  Can I bargain with the devil to rewind this horrendous end to the season?  Ok, maybe not the devil.  But how about the angry, rabid and totally evil Busch Stadium Squirrel?  Clearly, this rodent has super powers that helped propel the Cards to the World Series.

Evil squirrel

The World Freakin’ Series?  The Cardinals?  A team that had literally no shot at a playoff run just weeks before the postseason?  If they win it all, they should dedicate the trophy to the Phillies, who beat the Braves, putting them in playoffs.  And the Phils then laid down and let the Cards walk all over them in the NLDS.

Not that the Cards did not earn it…they certainly did.  But the Phillies barely put up a fight, which still makes me want to travel back in time, violently shake each Phils player and scream until they WAKE UP!

Someone please wake me up…I must still be dreaming.  And oh, what a nightmare this has been.

Stay tuned for Stage 4…

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

2011 Phillies Season Ends in a Total Disaster

First, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals.  They played well and deserved to win this series.  And that statement may be the only light moment in this post today…

I am angry, disappointed and thoroughly disgusted by this loss and the effort this Phillies team put forth in this NLDS series.  I apologize in advance if anyone is offended by what I am about to say, but I need a good rant to get this off my chest.

I do not want to hear, “We’ll get them next year.”  I do not want to hear, “Hindsight is 20/20.”  Because frankly, the issues on this Phillies team are not hindsight.  They are glaring problems that were obvious to me before the series even began.  If they were obvious to me, what I want to know, is why weren’t they to manager Charlie Manuel?

As my first example, take Placido Polanco.  This is a guy who normally hits at least .300 every year.  But he has been playing on a hip that will require surgery this offseason.  Manuel said after the game that Polly was in pain, but still able to play.  Just because he is ABLE to play, does not mean he should have.

Polanco batted .105 in the series and should have been benched both for his lack of production and for his health.  Putting a guy with a bum hip in the line-up every day was almost a guarantee of an 0-4 day.  Wilson Valdez played in 99 games in the regular season and came through many times in big situations.  Valdez would have at least accidentally run into a hit at some point. 

I am not saying Valdez should have played every game, but Polly certainly should not have stayed in the line-up once it was obvious that he was unable to hit with this injury.  This was a huge mistake.

Another huge mistake was Ryan Howard.  Can anyone think of a good reason for Howard to be tinkering with his stance and location in the batter’s box during a playoff series?  No?  Neither can I.  He did pretty well the 1st two games and then suddenly by Game 3, he had moved so far back in the batter’s box that he was almost in New Jersey.

100811-howard-NLDS-400 Howard messed with his approached and screwed both himself and this team, going 0 for his last 15 at-bats.  And why is a guy who is not hitting giving the 3-0 green light?  WTF.  Seriously.

So Howard made the final out of the postseason again, two years in a row, in the most pathetic manner possible.  He hurt his Achilles and went down like a sack of potatoes trying to exit the batter’s box.  He had to be helped off the field.  Fittingly, the look on his face matched the feeling of every Phillies fans in attendance and watching at home; sheer agony.

Next up, Chase Utley….you all know I love Mr. Utley.  But WHY is he taking a chance trying to steal a base in a 1-0 elimination game against Yadier Molina who throws just about everyone he faces out in that situation?

And my new favorite topic of discussion is Jimmy Rollins.  Rollins may be the only player who had a pretty good series until the final game.  He openly scolded fans about being too quiet after Game 2 and asked them to give it their all in Game 5.  Ok, fine.  The fans more than obliged and Rollins proceeded to go 0-4 in the game.  The fans brought it, why didn’t Rollins?  After the game, Rollins would not speak to reporters.  Go figure.

And then there is Raul Ibanez.  I can see letting him start most games, but when he started swinging at balls 2 feet out of the strike zone, this is a sign.  Ibanez goes hot and cold like the flip of a switch.  When he is obviously cold, take him out!  Give John Mayberry Jr. a shot.  TRY something to kick start this horrid offense!

Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz were just as bad in this series.  After ending the season with a .314 average, Pence hit only .211 in the NLDS.  Ruiz was worse, going 1-17 which equates to a .059 average.

Shane Victorino and Rollins were they only two guys who hit with any sort of consistency, but Rollins crashed and burned in the final game.

And then there is the line-up as a whole.  Manuel moved Utley to the 2-hole and Pence to the 3-hole.  This worked well for all of maybe 3 games total? – A few in at the end of the regular season and Game 1 of the NLDS?  Howard hit well before with Pence behind him.  Why mess with that once it stopped working?

Manuel is big on  what he calls playing the guys who got them to this point.  I’ve got news for Charlie…Valdez, Mayberry and sometimes Michael Martinez were a HUGE part of what got this team there, filling in for injured players and making big plays.  But he started Mayberry once and totally ignored the other guys.

And now for the pitching…Roy Halladay gave everything he had and gave up only one run.  He would have bled for this team if he thought it would help.  But the team let him down and could not score even one lousy run for the one guy who has carried them all year.  Disgusting.  After the game, Halladay said that the worst part of the loss was letting down the fans who were so supportive all year.  For me, the person I feel the worst for is Halladay.  He deserved a win; he earned it.  This team should be ashamed of letting him down like this.

And among the rest of the four aces, only Cole Hamels pitched well.  Cliff Lee blew a 4-run lead in Game 2, which was the real turning point of the series.  Once that happened, the Cards knew they had the Phils by the balls.  It was all downhill from there.

The Game 3 win was a freak accident, thanks to a Ben Francisco homer.  But the Phillies did not really earn that win.  And in Game 4, Roy Oswalt choked and gave up 5 runs.  So much for four aces.  Because the Cardinals had the royal flush.

This is possible the biggest let-down for any Phillies team in history since Black Friday on October 7, 1977 when Davey Lopes with the Dodgers was called safe and the momentum propelled the Dodgers to win the series.  So Friday October 7, 2011 (yes, the same day) may go down in history as Black Friday II.

With the pitching staff the Phillies assembled this year and the overall talent on this team, to see them lose the NLDS is a gut-wrenching tragedy.  I would not be surprised to see GM Ruben Amaro Jr. at the top of a very tall building today contemplating where it all went wrong.

I feel sorry for Ruben – he did his job, got them the players they needed and has nothing to show for it.  In fact, this Phillies team since the 2008 World Series win has taken one huge step backwards each year following: in 2009 they lost the World Series; in 2010 they lost the NLCS; and now in 2011, they lost the NLDS.  One step further back each year – if the trend continues, they will not even make the playoffs next year.

The window of opportunity for this team to win is about to close, which is the worst part of this horrible loss.  The main players are getting older, they are more injury prone and many may not even be back next year.  This may officially wind up being the worst offseason in Phillies recent history.

So I am ready to spit nails, how about you?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section. 

 

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Photo by Philly.com

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

John Bowker Hits the Baseball Lottery

After two dismal years from 2008 – 2009 in San Francisco, John Bowker was traded halfway through 2010 to the Pirates.  Yes, just as the Giants were heading towards a World Series win, Bowker got dumped.

And while he still technically qualified for a ring, Bowker sat at home last October watching his old team win it all without him.  That had to suck.

This year, Bowker spent a little time with the Pirates and a lot of time in the minors.  A lifetime .237 hitter, even the lowly, fourth place Pirates finally decided they did not want him anymore.  Bowker was designated for assignment on Thursday.

But then a miracle occurred.  One day before the end of August with only a month left in the regular season, John Bowker won the lottery.  And oddly enough, he has the Phillies to thank.

To recap, Bowker got sent away from a World Series-bound team in 2010, dumped by one of the worst teams in baseball in 2011 and now, by some weird act of God, he has landed a spot with a playoff-bound team, the Phillies.

Some guys have all the luck.

The Phillies apparently acquired Bowker as an extra left-hander off the bench.  Why, I am not quite sure.  Maybe they lost a bet?  Or with all the success this year, perhaps they were in a charitable mood.

But seriously, Bowker had a nice run in Triple-A this year so I am sure the Phillies are hoping he can feed off that success and contribute to a World Series run.

So welcome to Philly, Mr. Bowker!  You still cannot believe your luck, can you?  Don’t worry; it will all sink in right about the beginning of October.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Hunter Was The Hunted; Now, He Is A Phillie

July 29th has been a significant day in recent Phillies history.  On July 29, 2009, the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee.  That same day in 2010, they picked up Roy Oswalt.  And this year, Hunter Pence is the big prize.

A report from Phillies Beat Writer Todd Zolecki states that Pence will be sent from the Astros to the Phillies in exchange for Class A first baseman Jonathan Singleton, Class A pitcher Jarred Cosart and two yet unnamed prospects.

The best news of the night is that neither pitcher Vance Worley or outfielder Domonic Brown were included in the deal.  While the two named prospects are highly touted, the Phillies really pulled off an amazing deal without having to give up any major league talent.  This is another huge score for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

Pence, 28,  is a lifetime .290 hitter and 2-time All-Star who combines both power and speed.  Pence hit 25 home runs each year from 2008-2010 and had a career high 91 RBI’s last season.  In addition, Pence cannot become a free agent until the 2014 season, putting the Phillies in control for years to come.

With the addition of Pence and also Placido Polanco returning from the DL this weekend, two moves will have to be made.  My best guess is that Brown will be sent back to Triple-A to work on his game.  The second casualty could be John Mayberry Jr.

While the playoffs and the World Series are promised to no one, the addition of Pence certainly does improve the Phillies’ chances.

And in case you missed it amidst all the excitement, there was actually a game tonight.  The Phillies beat the Pirates by a score of 10-3 with Roy Halladay pitching seven one-hit innings.  Andrew Carpenter allowed three runs in the eighth.

The offensive highlights included Chase Utley coming up just a double short of hitting for the cycle.  His 3-run homer in the second inning put the Phillies far ahead very early. 

Shane Victorino also came close to hitting for the cycle, but missed out on the home run.  Jimmy Rollins smacked a 2-run homer in the seventh, but sadly for Victorino, he was not allowed to share the homer and help out his buddy Shane.

Oddly enough, Rollins hit that home run off pitcher Jason Grilli, who until a week ago was in the Phillies minor league system.  The Pirates picked him up after the Phillies released him on July 20, 2011.

This is now set up to be a very exciting weekend for the Phillies.  When Pence will be in the line-up probably depends on how soon he can get here from Houston.  Add Polanco back into the line-up and the Phillies are set up nicely for a strong run to the playoffs.

Game two with the Pirates is Saturday night at 7:05pm; Cliff Lee will pitch.

 

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Photo by http://blogs.houstonpress.com/

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

Lee’s Dominance Results in Clean Sweep of the Marlins

The last time the Phillies won seven games in a row in the month of June was in 1982.  In 2011, they have done it again…finally.  And they also swept the Marlins in a four game series.

 Cliff Lee was on fire today, only in a good way, not in a call the fire department way.  He was no-hitting the Fish until Mike Stanton singled with 2 outs in the 5th.  Still, Lee wound up pitching a complete game shut-out in the 3-0 win.

In addition, Lee was hot at the plate as well.  He had two hits in the game, the second of which was an RBI-double off the right-center field wall.  He missed a home run by only a few feet.

And that one run, the first of the game, turned out to be all Lee needed to win the game.  But just for good measure, Ryan Howard added on with a solo homer in the 5th and Jimmy Rollins knocked in the third run in the 6th with a double.

The Phillies are now on their way to Seattle where they will begin a 3-game series with the Mariners Friday night at 10:10pm.  Roy Oswalt will pitch and Cole Hamels will start on Sunday.

Due to the doubleheader yesterday, the Phillies were in need of a spot starter for Saturday, which is going to be rookie Vance Worley.  That brings us to the sad news of the day…

To make room for Worley, the Phillies chose to designate J.C. Romero for assignment.  They have 10 days to trade him, release him or place him on waivers.  Romero could be offered a minor league deal if no one takes him, but the odds are slim that he would accept that deal.

While Romero has struggled since having elbow surgery before the 2010 season, the emergence of lefty Antonio Bastardo has also made it difficult for Romero to get innings.  Romero will always be remembered in Philadelphia for his contributions to the 2008 World Series championship plus a League Championship and two NL East titles.

On a personal note, I have had the privilege of being able to spend some time with J.C. and his family over the last 3+ years and I will miss them.  The Romero’s are generous, kind people who contributed much more than just baseball to the city of Philadelphia and other communities in need.  

I wish them the very best.

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Manuel’s Contract & Spring Update

Earlier today, the Phillies finally got the deal done with manager Charlie Manuel.  The two-year extension will take him through the 2013 season.

In a press conference, Manuel expressed his desire to stay with the Phillies until he leaves baseball.  Manuel discussed other teams he has worked with and then stated, “I’m a Phillie. If I cut my arm it’s going to be red blood, not blue.”


Thumbnail image for Manuel phillie.jpgWell, unless Charlie is a horseshoe crab or an octopus, I am pretty sure he bleeds red.  But seriously, it is great to have a guarantee for Charlie before the season starts.

During Manuel’s time in Philly, the team has the best record in the National League.  Manuel has won 544 games with the Phillies plus four division titles, one league title and , of course, the 2008 World Series Championship.

Spring Training Update

The Phillies are plugging along through spring training despite losing both Chase Utley and Domonic Brown to injuries.  Utley is still out indefinitely.  Brown had successfully surgery to remove the hamate bone in his hand and is expected to play again in four to six weeks.

Today, Roy Halladay pitched six scoreless innings against the Yankees, allowing only four hits.  Halladay was sharp and used his curve ball more than usual in preparation for the season. 

While winning by a score of 7-0, the Phillies saw contributions from several lesser-known players.  One of those players, Josh Barfield, went 2 for 3, including a triple today.   He is hitting .538 in 13 at-bats so far this spring.  Barfield is a second baseman who spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Indians and Padres.  He hit .294 with 36 RBI last year in the Indians AAA club.

Barfield has been impressive, which may be of great importance now that Utley’s future is uncertain.  Wilson Valdez is an option as well, but it could not hurt to have an extra infielder right now.

 

Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Dykstra Dives Into The Deep End With Sheen

Most people who have encountered former Phillie Lenny Dykstra are aware that he is not in full possession of all his marbles.  Clearly, the elevator does not go to the top floor.

But Dykstra gave new meaning to the word “insane” when he did an interview with NBC reporter John Clark earlier this month.

During the interview, Dykstra talks about the possibility of him being assassinated by a bank, tells his critics “suck my d*ck” and even compares himself to Ghandi.  You cannot make this stuff up:

http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/designvideo/embeddedPlayer.swf

 

It gets worse when he starts talking about Charlie Sheen.  Dykstra calls Sheen “focused.”  He also blames Sheen’s condition on “medication” and says most of it is a “joke.”

http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/designvideo/embeddedPlayer.swf

 

But my favorite Dykstra moment comes when he blasts Mitch Williams, whom he says he hates.  Why?  Because, according to Dykstra, “He lost the World Series,” and put Dykstra through “torture” as a result.  So, the rest of the team had nothing to do with losing the World Series?

http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/designvideo/embeddedPlayer.swf

 

Williams is a stand-up guy who admits his own mistakes.  Dykstra is a delusional moron who does not deserve to even breathe the same air.

Dykstra is an embarrassment to the Phillies organization.  Shameful.

 

Videos by NBC

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

 

Werth-less Trash Talk and a Bum Knee

Yesterday I posed a question about Chase Utley and his health.  Today, the Phillies finally spilled the beans and admitted that Utley has tendinitis in his right knee.  An MRI revealed the issue which requires rest in order to heal.

While Utley has agreed to take things slow, the injury is still worrisome.  According to the Mayo Clinic, knee tendinitis can involve a grocery list of complications including weakened  leg muscles due to overcompensation, tendon tears and chronic pain.  The recovery time is anywhere from weeks to months.

In my own personal experience, tendinitis can be chronic and linger for years.  Utley has already stated that this is a condition he has dealt with in the past, so it appears to be an ongoing issue.  How much it will hamper his future performance remains to be seen.  But for now, it is not good news.

On to another sore subject, Jayson Werth made a very bad error in judgment this week when he trash-talked his former team.  The Washington Post reported that Werth stated, “I hate the Phillies, too,” during a conversation with his new GM, Mike Rizzo.


Jerk Werth.jpgRizzo said, “I hate the [expletive] Phillies.” The GM then listed what he termed “dirty plays” by the Phillies, prompting the
“I hate the Phillies, too,” remark from Werth.

I wonder which parts he hated.  Could it be his 2008 World Series ring?  Or maybe it was all the attention from fans who routinely professed their admiration of him?  No, I’ll bet it was that the Phillies signed him when every other team in baseball assumed he was a washed-up, injury prone discard.

Then again, Werth is a National now.  And I suppose all Nationals hate Philly for winning four straight division titles while they have done nothing but suck since moving to DC in 2005.  Sounds like sour grapes from an underperforming club that has to beg fans of opponents to come to their ballpark just to sell tickets.

In another interview about Phillies fans outnumbering Nats fans in DC, Werth also said, “The reason why those people come over here is they don’t have a chance to watch their team in Philadelphia and as soon as we fill the seats with Nats fans those people are going to go away and we are going to regain homefield advantage and I am looking forward to that day too.”

News flash Werth – We see our team in Philly all the time.  The reason most of us go to DC is because Nats tickets are super easy to get.  And we do not mind the drive because we love and support our team, unlike most Nats fans who cannot be bothered to show up.

I will be honest; Werth has never been a favorite of mine.  I have seen him treat fans badly and even watched him make rude, ignorant comments to small children who were politely asking for an autograph during a previous spring training.  So frankly, the “hate” comment does not shock me.

But if Werth thinks his $126 million paycheck is going to fill seats in DC, he is in for a rude awakening.  And if he is expecting a Pat Burrell-like greeting upon his return to Philadelphia, I am not sure that “rude awakening” would even begin to cover what Philly has in store for him.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Why Charlie Manuel Deserves A Contract Extension Before Spring Training

Charlie Manuel’s contract as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is set to expire at the end of the 2011 season. With Spring Training just weeks away, the Phillies have yet to finalize an extension for their skipper.


C Manuel hat1.jpgNo manager likes to enter a season with their status up in the air. It can raise questions about why a manager is not yet resigned and can sometimes even undermine a manager’s authority in the clubhouse.

In the case of Charlie Manuel, the Phillies surely must want him back. A winning percentage of .560 over six years with the team, four Division titles, a National League Pennant and a World Series Championship should be reason enough for an extension.

The only feat Manuel has yet to accomplish is a second World Series title. If the Phillies are trying to squeeze more than that out of him, they may have to hook Manuel up to an IV to give blood.

Besides the winning record, Manuel has many intangible qualities that make him a perfect fit for this franchise. The players love him. They play hard not just for the love of the game, but for their love and respect of Charlie.

Because of his reputation as a player’s manager, other major leaguers want to come to Philadelphia.  Just ask Cliff Lee.  He turned down more money and additional years to come back and play for Manuel in 2011.

The fans love Charlie too. They love him not only because he brought winning baseball back to Philadelphia, but also for his kind, approachable attitude. Fans can walk right up to him and engage in a conversation.

Manuel genuinely respects and appreciates the fans, treating them as equals.

The Phillies should take that to heart and give the same respect and appreciation back to Manuel. Whether it is two or three years, give the man what he wants.  He has earned it.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

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