Tagged: Albert Pujols

Halladay Drowns The Fish

Phillies fans were singing in the rain tonight as Roy Halladay drown the Marlins.  Sprinkles fell throughout most of the game, but had no effect on Halladay’s performance.  He went through 8 innings, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 4 batters.  Halladay’s home debut was exactly what fans had looked forward to seeing, minus the rain, of course.Singin Halladay.jpg

The Phillies offense had another spectacular game as well, scoring 8 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks.  Every position player except Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez collect at least 1 RBI and everyone, except Ibanez, had at least one hit in the game.  Even Halladay knocked a single.  The big fish of the day however, turned out to be Juan Castro; he had 2 hits for 3 RBI while filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins. 

And of course, Chase Utley hit yet another home run, passing Albert Pujols for the most in the National League with 6.  It was also Utley’s 4th game in a row with a homer.  Clearly, Utley is in the zone, where we hope he will stay for a long time.

What looked like an easy win, turned into a near disaster in the 9th inning.  With an 8-2 lead, rookie relief pitcher David Herndon allowed 4 runs on a bunch of ridiculously unlucky dribbling infield hits by the Marlins.  Ryan Madson had to be brought in for the save.  A huge sigh of relief overcame the fan as Madson got the last two outs and the Phils went home with an 8-6 win.  Whew!  Tomorrow, they will start Jamie Moyer, a notorious Fish killer, in the 7:05pm start.

Here is a quick injury update as well: JC Romero made a rehab start for the AAA Iron Pigs tonight and pitched a scoreless inning.  He threw 17 pitches, 13 of which were strikes.  He is inching closer each day to a return to Philly.  This is very good news for a bullpen that appears to be struggling without him.

Starter Joe Blanton threw a bullpen session today and is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for single-A Lakewood on Tuesday.  Kyle Kendrick will continue to fill in as a starter until Blanton returns, despite two very bad outings so far.

Brad Lidge is working towards his return, which looks like it may be at the end of the month.  His pitch speed has improved, but he still has a lot of work to do.  Cross your fingers… ;o)

 

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Polanco Injured; ESPN Writer Loses His Mind

In the 3rd inning of today’s Phillies-Pirates match-up in Bradenton, FL, Placido Polanco tripped on the pitcher’s mound trying to catch a pop-up.  He limped off the field and is said to have a right knee strain.  Initial reports are that it is not serious and Polly should be back in action in 3 or 4 days.  This is first real injury for the Phillies in camp thus far and we hope it is the last.

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

The other interesting news came from Buster Olney of ESPN this week; he claims that his “sources” had reported that the Phillies were talking about swapping 1st baseman with the Cardinals. 
Howard laughing.jpg
That’s right, in Olney’s alternate universe,
Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would trade places.  Perhaps Olney’s “sources” were aliens from Mars?  Or maybe it was just the little voices inside his head who yearn to see Olney locked up in a padded room?

The odds of this sort of swap happening are astronomical; it is not even a fair trade.  No offense to Howard, but clearly Pujols is the better overall player.  Yes, Howard is from St. Louis, but this is no reason for the Cards to think they would get him cheap.  And the Phillies could never afford Pujols.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was so perturbed at the news, he flat out called Olney a liar.  “It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”

Halladay Human

Despite all the drama, the Phillies went on to win today by a score of 5-1.  Roy Halladay gave up his first run of Spring and also walked two batters; all this means is we now have proof that the man is not a robot.  I think we can all live with the 1.00 ERA.

Languishing Lefties

While the starting pitching looks good, some of the relievers do not.   JC Romero will not be ready for Opening Day so one of the young lefties will need to step up to fill the void.  DSCF7008a.jpgHowever, neither Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona or Mike Zagurski have looked ready to do so thus far.  Bastardo has allowed 3 runs over 2 innings of work; Escalona has 5 runs allowed in 3 innings; and Zagurski only made 1 appearance.  He is still trying to get back in the groove after Tommy John surgery.  One of these three lefties will need to show that they can do the job and right now, it does not look good.

Pet Peeve of The Week

So many MLB teams these days have radio and TV announcers that leave a lot to be desired.  Realizing that Philly fans were spoiled for decades with the great Harry Kalas, it may be an unfair comparison.  However, during the Phillies-Pirates match-up today, a Pirates announcer took “unprofessional” to a new level.  Tim Neverett, hired in December 2008, does play-by-play for the Bucos.  And today, he did not win any brownie points from Philly fans.

In the middle of the 4th inning, Neverett began praising the team’s mascot, the Pirate Parrot and mentioned how he was harassing Philly fans in the stands.  He went on to say, “I think the Parrot likes this.  There’s no better group of fans to tease than the Philadelphia fans…(pause)…Because there’s no worse fans.  The same people who boo Santa Claus are now getting it from the Pirate Parrot.”

First of all, the Santa Claus incident was in 1968 at an Eagles football game.  Get over it.  Secondly, there are “no worse fans?”  Seriously?  Apparently, Mr. Neverett must be a world traveler who has first-hand knowledge of such things.  While I am not going to waste time comparing Philly fans to experiences I have had elsewhere, I will say that such a general statement is both ignorant and rude. 

A small segment of fans of ANY team are bound to be obnoxious and disruptive.  That is human nature.  You expect to hear this sort of prejudice from those obnoxious fans, not from the radio announcer who is being paid to be objective and professional.  You want rude?  Ok then, BOO YOU Mr. Neverett!  You should be ashamed.

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Photos by Jenn

 

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All-Star Game 2009 – The Curse Continues

The curse continues for the National League as they lost their 12th consecutive All-Star Game tonight against the American League.  And poor Charlie Manuel became the first Phillies manager in history to lose the All-Star game :O(  Phils now hold a record of 6-1.  No worries Charlie…just bring us another Championship and all will be forgotten :O)

The first inning did not exactly kick the game off right for the National League as Tim Lincecum struggled and allowed one earned run.  An unearned run also scored in the inning after an error.  Yes folks, as Albert Pujols booted a ball at first base, an angel lost its wings…and the American League took a 2-0 lead.  It’s ok though…we still love Albert :O)

The NL battled back and scored 3 in the 2nd inning thanks to hits by David Wright, Shane Victorino (yeah!) and Yadier Molina.  After that, offense all around was fairly quiet until the 8th inning.  Curtis Granderson tripled, Victor Martinez was given the intentional walk and then Adam Jones hit a sac fly to score Granderson and give the AL a 4-3 lead.   The NL got their shot in the bottom half of the inning; Ryan Howard was sent in to pinch hit with 2 outs and 2 on in the 8th and he went down on strikes to end the threat.  Ugh.  The ever-adorable Mariano Rivera closed out the game for the AL in the 9th and so, the curse goes on.

As for the rest of the Phillies, Chase Utley went hitless, but had several stellar defensive plays.  Victorino ended up 1 for2 with a run scored; Jayson Werth struck out after a great at-bat against Jonathan Papelbon and later, made an amazing running catch in centerfield; P5314810 Ibanez.jpgand Raul Ibanez went 0 for 2, but looked thrilled anyway just to be playing.  It was his first All-Star appearance in his 14th major league season at 37 years of age.  Congrats to Raul for finally getting there!

As for the broadcast, FOX was annoying as usual.  I think I heard more about Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza than I did about the game.  And while it was nice to hear the President Obama in the broadcast booth, was it really necessary to see him?   Don’t get me wrong;  I love Obama and all that, but I already know what he looks like.  I’d have been just as happy to hear him speak while the game was showed in its entirety on the TV screen, instead of the annoying flashes back and forth from individual pitches to a visual of Obama in the booth.

Pedro – Say It Ain’t So!

Much to the dismay of Phillies fans everywhere, Pedro Martinez passed his physical and has been signed by the Phillies.  Pedro will get 1 million plus another possible 1.5 million in incentives.  He will need about 3 weeks of rehab and minor league work to be ready.  The good news is that the price is cheap; however, we are all familiar with the saying “you get what you pay for.”  If Martinez has some magic left in that arm, then this deal will turn out to be a real bargain; if not, at least they did not overpay. 

Personally, I worry more about the clubhouse chemistry being disrupted than anything else.  Martinez is notorious for his sandpaper-like personality and penchant for creating controversy.  If he does not pitch well, no biggie.  It was a small investment.  But if he wreaks havoc on the peaceful and serene Phillies-vibe, then the deal will not have been worth the risk.  We shall see how it goes…

A Day Without Baseball?

So no baseball tomorrow…except for the Double-A All-Star Game in Trenton, NJ.  I will be risking life and limb as I venture into Trenton, the dregs of Jersey, but will be attending the game anyway. ;O)  Four Phillies prospects will be in the game, with Michael Taylor participating in the Home Run Derby. I will return (I hope) with photos and all body parts still in place.  Wish me luck :O)

Photo by Jenn

 

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Home Run Derby 2009

P2283235 Howard.jpg

The St. Louis crowd loves Ryan Howard.  But when Albert Pujols made his entrance, the fans officially went nuts.  Both sluggers were favorites to win the 2009 Home Run Derby; Pujols playing for the Cardinals and Howard, a St. Louis native, both had a lot of support going into the contest.

The first round results, which put Pujols into a swing-off with Joe Mauer and Carlos Pena, ended with both Pujols and Howard making the second round along with Prince Fielder and Nelson Cruz.  Pujols ended round #2 with 11 total homers and Howard wound up hitting 15.  Cruz stepped in for his turn and out-did Howard by just one home run for 16 total.  Howard’s last hope was that Fielder, the final batter in round 2, would not surpass his 15 homers.  Sadly for Phillies fans, Fielder wound up hitting 17, knocking Howard out of the contest.  Ryan seemed relieved though, as exhaustion set in and he was likely happy to be done.


It was a nice effort all around, although not as exciting as last year’s derby where Josh Hamilton put on a show that will probably never been repeated.  Hamilton hit 28 homers in the first round, many of which disappeared from sight in old Yankee Stadium.  Although he went on to take 2nd place to Justin Morneau, those of us who witnessed the amazing display of power and grace will not soon forget it.  I had a feeling this year’s derby would pale in comparison, but how could it not?

But the derby is always an entertaining event that I look forward to seeing every year.  And the 2009 champion is Prince Fielder, who hit 6 in the final round to Cruz’s 5.  Congrats to Fielder!

Tune in for the All-Star Game tomorrow night at 8pm on FOX.  Tim Lincecum will start for the NL and Roy Halladay for the AL.  As for your Phillies, Chase Utley gets the start at 2nd, Raul Ibanez in left and Shane Victorino in center.  Howard and Jayson Werth will be available on the bench.

My predictions for the game are as follows:

– The NL will finally break the curse of 11 straight AL wins (plus 1 tie) and win the game!

– Chase Utley will look FABULOUS, even if he strikes out multiple time.  I guarantee it.

– Tim Lincecum will be asked by at least 15 fans if he is the teenage son of one of the other players.

– St. Louis fans will chant “RAUUUUUUL!” even if they do not know why they are doing it.

– The broadcasters for FOX will screw up simple facts at an approximate rate of 2.3 times per inning.

– The FOX broadcast will also be boring, redundant and completely void of any redeeming value…sorry to have to break it to you.  But, enjoy the game…with the volume turned down :O)

Photos by Jenn

 

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Phils Sweep The Cards

Pitcher Brett Myers did not look happy with his performance today as Charlie Manuel pulled him in the 6th after he gave up a hit and an RBI to the opposing pitcher.  Myers lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up 5 run on 9 hits, including 2 home runs.  Luckily, the offense bailed him out and the Phillies went on to a 10-7 victory over the Cardinals.

P2232834 Victorino.jpgShane Victorino continued his 14-game hitting streak today by going 4 for 5 with 3 RBI and ended up just a triple short of the cycle.  His only blunder of the day was getting picked off at first base when the pitcher faked to 3rd and then came back to 1st.  Victorino is very aggressive on the bases so this is bound to happen occasionally. 

Jayson Werth, with his family in attendance, hit another home run today; this one was 3-runs.  Yesterday, he hit a 2-run homer.  Werth also had a sac fly in the game, which gives him 4 RBI on the day.  A base running mistake on the sac fly by Werth may have cost the Phillies a few extra runs as Raul Ibanez got doubled up; he apparently thought it was going to be a hit and wandered way off 2nd base. 

P4139697 Werth.jpg
Ibanez also fumbled a ball in left field; he may have been able to throw a runner out at home had he not let the ball slip away.  And then he got tagged out at home plate in the 9th.  But really, it was Ibanez’s first “bad” day as a Phillie.  So, we totally forgive him :O)

Brad Lidge was sent in for the 9th in a non-save situation and immediately gave up a home run to Albert Pujols.  Lidge may have experienced some bad flashbacks about Pujols taking him deep in the NLCS of 2005.  However, he bounced right back and sent the next 3 batters down in order to end the game.  In fact, Pujols was almost non-existent in this 2-game series, save for that one home run, which was his only hit in the series.

Chase Utley was not in the line-up today; Manuel decided to sit him down after he suffered from a sore foot last night as a result of getting hit by a pitch days earlier.  Reports are that Utley is fine and was rather annoyed that he was scratched from the line-up.  He should be good to go tomorrow for the start of another short, 2-game series against the Mets.  Chan Ho Park will take on Johan Santana.  Do I really need to watch or can I just assume this one will be a lost cause?  Park has been awful and is probably only still in the rotation due to concerns about Cole Hamels getting well after an ankle sprain.  Cole – PLEASE get better!!!

Don’t forget to get on-line and VOTE for your All-Stars!  Get the Phillies to the game in St. Louis!

Photos by Jenn

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As The Ankle Turns

The soap opera that is the Curse of Cole Hamels continues…  First, he hurts his left elbow in Spring Training and misses his Opening Day start; then in his last start, he gets hit in his pitching shoulder (left arm) with a line drive; and yesterday, he turns his left ankle while fielding a bunt that he knew ahead of time was going to be coming.  The batter turned and squared to bunt before Hamels threw a pitch.  So, is this man made of glass or is he just cursed on the left side of his body?  Will he ever finish a game in 2009?  Maybe we should cover him up in bubble wrap and then seal him in a hermetic chamber.  Just a thought…Hamels ankle.jpg

Cole tossed one warm-up pitch after the turned ankle and then, in obvious frustration, he tossed the ball at manager Charlie Manuel and walked off the field in dramatic fashion.  Cue the cheesy soap opera music…  The good news is, the MRI’s were negative and it appears to be only a sprain.  Hamels told the media he expects to be ready for his next start, but that remains to be seen.  After being very disappointed last year when he did not make the All-Star team, it looks like this year will be no different after this roller coaster start to the season.

The real shame of it all is that Hamels was off to a great start in these last few outings, only to be pulled due to injury.  Last night, he had only given up 4 hits and not surrendered a run before leaving in the 5th with only 1 out recorded.  Chad Durbin came in to take over for Hamels though and pitched a superb 3 2/3 innings of 1-run ball.  That run, an Adam Dunn solo shot, was the only hit recorded off Durbin.  Kudos to Durbin for saving the day!  What an effort to pick up his teammate!

Also doing a lot of the heavy lifting last night was Chase Utley; Utley took his revenge on John Lannan, the same pitcher who broke his hand 2 years ago.  In the 3rd, Utley took Lannan deep for a 2-run shot and then completed the humiliation with a solo shot in the 5th.  That’s what you get for breaking this super-star’s hand!

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Pedro Feliz hit a 3-run homer in the 3rd, continuing his hot streak.  Feliz is now batting .333.  And Raul Ibanez is relentless in his pursuit to call Philly his new home, blasting a solo home run in the 8th.  Ibanez and Utley are now tied for first place in home runs in the majors with Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez; all four players have 7 homers.

042809b.jpg
 

Congrats also to Jimmy Rollins who finally recorded his first stolen base of the season last night!  J-Roll was 1 for 4 at the plate and seems to be in the midst of waking up offensively and getting his batting average out of the gutter; it currently stands at .195, which should change very soon.

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And now on to our Fan of the Game:  This is Buddy from Philadelphia and he is a big Phillies fan.  Buddy was especially high on Raul Ibanez, as I heard chants of “Pat who?” echo throughout the outfield.  Well, we do still miss Pat Burrell, but Ibanez has left no doubt that not only will that role be filled, but he will give us a more consistent bat and so far, great defense as well.  Let’s hear it for RAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL!

I have posted a Photo Album from the game; these will be a bit different than what you usually see from me as I had a seat in straight away centerfield at the top of the section last night.  A different, and much more distant, perspective for sure.

Romero Sues

JC Romero is suing the company of the supplement he took that was tainted with an unlisted ingredient which caused him to test positive for steroids and resulted in a ridiculous 50-game suspension.  He is also suing the manufacturer and one of the people named in the law suit is Patrick Arnold, a chemist who has already spent time in jail after the BALCO scandal.  Just a few things to note here: Supplements are not regulated by the government and therefore, even if MLB approves of a supplement, it can still cause a player to test positive if it has been tainted in the manufacturing process.  Romero did get an ok from the MLBPA to take the supplement, but did not call some 800# to check again, and so MLB decided he was negligent.  He got the same suspension as would a person who actually took steroids.  Disgusting.

I have been thinking this over for the last few days now and trying to put those thoughts into words.  This has been an emotional ride for JC, his family, his teammates, and his fans.  As for myself, I know personally what an honest and forthright human being JC is and can tell you that not only is he innocent, but he is a victim here.  I hope he takes these people for all that they have and that this sets a precedent for other players who may be victimized by this system.  MLB needs to revisit their policies and create a fair regulation process.

There have been some questions about why Romero is not suing MLB.  What may not be widely known is that when he first tested positive, he was offered a reduced suspension, 25 games to begin immediately, if he agreed to waive his rights to an appeal.  However, he would have missed out on playing in the World Series if he took the deal.  Not wanting to let down his team and knowing he was innocent, he turned down the deal and chose his TEAM over his own personal well-being.  He knew that if he lost the appeal, he would get the 50 game suspension and lose out on more than a million dollars in salary.  And still, Romero did the right thing and should be commended for that.  This is a man who always does the right thing and yet, MLB punished him for it.  The reason he is not suing MLB is probably because as another term of going to appeal, he most likely had to waive his rights to future litigation.  A very sad an unfortunate set of circumstance; so again, I hope he slaughters these companies in court.

Next Up

So the Phillies will work on their 2nd straight sweep tonight, trying to beat the Nationals again starting at 7:05pm.  While you are watching the game, log on to VOTE for your All-Stars!  Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address.  Get the Phillies to St. Louis!!  And as always, feel free to leave your comments and thoughts below.  Go Phillies!

Photos by Jenn

 

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Trading Places

Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols have swapped MVP titles:  In 2006, Howard was the MVP winner for the National League while the Phillies missed the playoffs by one game and Pujols was a World Champion.  This year, Pujols snagged the MVP and Howard went home with the World Series ring, coming in 2nd in the MVP voting.  A little ironic though that Pujols won this year, because in 2006, he stated that a player should not get the MVP award if his team did not make the playoffs.  Well, Pujols is now eating those words as his team finished FOURTH in their division and were obviously, nowhere near going to the playoffs.  And still, he won the award.  On the flip side, Howard carried the Phillies into the playoffs during the month of September where he batted .352 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs.  For the season, Howard had a Major League leading 48 home runs and 146 RBI.  But Howard came out on the losing end, likely due to his batting average.  Frankly, I do not care what his average is if he is hitting in key situations.  He was there when this team needed him the most and that, I do believe, is the definition of an MVP.  Nothing taken away from Pujols though; he is also a great player.  And apparently, the voters had a few other players in mind too.  Here is how the voting played out:

2008 NL MVP Award Voting

Player, Club

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

Points

Albert Pujols, STL

18

10

2

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

369

Ryan Howard, PHI

12

8

6

 

1

1

2

 

 

1

308

Ryan Braun, MIL

 

2

3

5

5

2

2

3

2

1

139

Manny Ramirez, LAD

 

2

4

7

2

3

2

 

1

2

138

Lance Berkman, HOU

 

2

4

4

1

3

3

4

1

1

126

CC Sabathia, MIL

 

4

5

1

2

2

3

 

1

2

121

David Wright, NYM

 

2

1

4

3

3

2

5

2

1

115

Brad Lidge, PHI

2

 

2

 

4

3

2

3

1

2

104

Carlos Delgado, NYM

 

 

5

1

2

5

 

2

3

 

96

Aramis Ramirez, CHC

 

 

 

2

4

1

1

4

3

1

66

Hanley Ramirez, FLA

 

 

 

2

2

2

1

2

2

5

55

Chipper Jones, ATL

 

1

 

 

 

2

4

1

2

2

44

Geovany Soto, CHC

 

 

 

3

1

 

3

 

1

 

41

Johan Santana, NYM

 

1

 

1

 

1

1

 

2

1

30

Chase Utley, PHI

 

 

 

1

1

1

1

 

3

2

30

Ryan Ludwick, STL

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

1

17

Brandon Webb, ARI

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

 

14

Adrian Gonzalez, SD

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

1

4

13

Matt Holliday, COL

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

1

 

1

13

Prince Fielder, MIL

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

1

1

1

11

Derrek Lee, CHC

 

 

 

 

1

 

1

 

 

 

10

Carlos Beltran, NYM

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

 

1

10

Tim Lincecum, SF

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

2

9

Jose Reyes, NYM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

3

Jose Valverde, HOU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

3

Stephen Drew, ARI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

2

Nate McLouth, PIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

Brad Lidge came in 8th place, and I am happy to see him get some recognition.  Chase Utley got some votes and ended up in 15th place.  Some VERY odd choices to even be on this list…Nate McLouth, for instance.  And there are FIVE Mets on the list, which is truly baffling.  This team chokes again and still has 5 potential MVP’s?  Just goes to show you how the New York area is still considered THE big market amongst media people.  So, what are your thoughts?

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