I like the Angels. They have a nice name, a kid from Jersey and Albert Pujols. They seem cool. But could they PLEASE stay out of Philadelphia? Because it wasn’t an angel that came to town; to the Phillies, it was the devil.
And the devil beat the crap out of them 2 days in a row. By the time Tuesday’s game was over, I was certain supernatural forces had to be in play. Because poor Cody Asche was tossed into the fire and brimstone where he committed 3 ridiculous errors and did not have a single productive at-bat in the game. Surely the devil must have cursed him.
The devil also apparently cursed the entire Phillies offense who scored only 3 runs on 9 hits in 2 games combined. Wednesday was a 0-3 shut out that you very well could have napped through. The good news is that 4 guys in the bullpen pitched 4 scoreless innings. But that is also kind of bad news. Because WHY can they not accomplish the same feat when the team is tied or has a lead? Just saying…
So Phillies fans, welcome to hell. This team is in LAST place and showing NO signs of improvement. Now that Mike Trout has left town, I am willing to bet you will be able to hear crickets at the ballpark this weekend when the Phils play the Reds.
The Phillies have yet another day off today to wallow in their misery. They will resume play Friday night at 7:05pm.
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Poor Cole Hamels watched his 133 pitch, 1-run, 7-inning performance and his 100th career win get washed down the storm drain on Sunday against the Mets. The Phillies bullpen flushed it right down the proverbial toilet. And this is only 1 of many frightening bullpen performances this year.
In fact, there are so few players out in the pen that team management trusts, they actually wound up putting in starter Roberto Hernandez in the 9th inning to try to clean up the mess Antonio Bastardo made. Bastardo took a 4-1 Phillies lead and totally obliterated it, allowing 3 earned runs including a 2-run homer.
Apparently, closer Jonathan Papelbon had a sore neck and back and was unable to pitch. Mike Adams and Jake Diekman were both unavailable, I assume because they each pitched in the previous 2 games. So by the 11th inning they were left with Jeff Manship, who walked 2 batters and gave up the winning run to the Mets.
Here is a really not-so-fun statistic for you: Every single pitcher, except Papelbon, in the Phillies bullpen has an ERA at or over 4.50. All of them. This team cannot possibly expect to go anywhere with those numbers.
And now, on top of getting swept by the Jays in 4 games and losing the final game to the Mets for a 2-5 record in 7 games, the Phillies need another starting pitcher because Hernandez was used yesterday in the pen. And the pickings in the minors are slim…
Speaking of the minors, the black cloud apparently followed Freddy Galvis there when he was sent down after the Jays series. He collided with a wall yesterday and broke his left clavicle; he now needs surgery. Earlier in Spring Training, he suffered from an awful MRSA infection and missed the first few weeks of the season. When he finally came back, he had exactly 2 hits in 46 at-bats and was finally sent down to Triple-A. And now he breaks a bone…wow. Maybe this is the universe telling Freddy to just stay in bed. Poor guy.
The Phillies are off today and I am sure the bullpen is very thankful for that. They will play a short, 2-game series with the Angels starting Tuesday night at 7:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The 2013 Phillies Spring Training is turning in a soap opera of sorts. Strange things are afoot. A recent “trade” report may be the strangest of them all.
According to a tweet from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com and a short note in a MLB.com article, the Phillies have literally given away a solid minor league pitcher to the Angels. Right-hander Michael Cisco averaged a 1.70 ERA with a combined 13-3 record over his last 2 seasons in the minors. The 25-year old was sent to Los Angeles without as much as a handshake. I am confused.
Can anyone out there shed some light on why anyone in their right mind would hand over a guy who could be a future major league pitcher for absolutely nothing in return? Did they at least get a fruit basket out of it? Or is this some weird, new baseball Mafia where the Angels will now owe Ruben Amaro Jr. a favor? I guess he made them an offer they could not refuse.
Or worse, did Cisco do something so morally reprehensible that the Phillies would just cut him loose? For a team that signed anger-management frequent flyer, Delmon Young, in the offseason, I find this theory to be highly unlikely.
So if none of the above theories hold water, the only remaining option is sheer stupidity. Either that, or the media did not get the whole story.
And if that story does not make you feel ill, this one will: Roy Halladay went green for St. Patrick’s Day yesterday, and not in a good way. He turned green on the mound and left after only one inning due to an apparent stomach virus. All these little bumps in the road for Halladay this spring are beginning to pile up.
It has not been a good spring thus far for Halladay. He has looked exhausted at times, even without a stomach bug, and his velocity has reportedly dipped. While slow and steady wins the race, all we are seeing so far is the slow part.
This latest illness appears to be legit as teammate Jonathan Papelbon is reportedly sick as well. However, Halladay fell ill a number of times in the last few seasons, plus he seems to tire faster, sweat more and turn red in the face pretty often. And this spring, he has not looked well, even before reports of the stomach issue. One almost has to wonder if there is more to the story here.
But I am not a doctor, so I will not speculate further. Let us hope Halladay is well soon and will be ready for the start of the season. In the meantime, more drama is nearly guaranteed to ensue…stay tuned.
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Anyone who says size does not matter has clearly missed out on some key moments in baseball history.
In the early 1900’s, President Roosevelt borrowed an old African proverb by stating, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” And while he may not necessarily have been referring to baseball, the saying seems to have made impact on the sport anyway.
The following is a list of the top 10 “big” moments, statistics and feats in baseball throughout the years.
The Biggest Bat
Babe Ruth played in the major leagues for 22 seasons, from 1914 to 1935. The 714 home runs he hit in that time span were smacked using the biggest bat in baseball history.
The 52 ounce bat swung by Ruth is the largest recorded bat size ever. Most players today use bats that average around 34-36 ounces in weight.
The Biggest Paycheck
The 10-year, $275 million contract broke A-Rod’s previous record of $252 million.
The Biggest Stature
The tallest player in Major League history is relief pitcher Jon Rauch, who measures six-feet, eleven inches in height.
Currently a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Rauch first took the field on April 2, 2002. This year, Rauch will be competing for the closer role with the Jays.
The Biggest Mass
In 2005, first baseman Walter Young crushed the competition, weighing in at a whooping 322 pounds with a body mass index of 38.2, also the biggest in baseball.
Officially the heaviest player ever to grace a major league field, Young played only 15 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 and batted .303.
Young played in the minor leagues until 2009. Currently, Young serves as a shift sergeant at the county jail for the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department in his home state of Mississippi.
The heaviest current MLB player is pitcher CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees who weighs in at 290 pounds.
The Biggest Home Run
Considered “the longest home run ever,” this ball is estimated to have travelled around 643 feet and was hit against the Detroit Tigers at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan.
However, the longest verifiable home run distance is about 575 feet, which was hit by Babe Ruth on July 18, 1921, to straightaway center field at Tiger Stadium (then called Navin Field). It landed across the intersection of Trumbull and Cherry.
Since 1982, when the technology for accurately measuring home runs was put in place, the longest homer stands at 535 feet. That ball was hit by Adam Dunn against Jose Lima of the Dodgers on August 10, 2004.
The Biggest Dollar Amount Ever Shelled Out For A Baseball
Mark McGwire’s 70th home run baseball, which was hit on September 27, 1998 off pitcher Carl Pavano, fetched a gigantic $3,054,000 dollars at Guernsey’s auction house in New York City.
Sold on January 12, 1999 to action figure and comic book creator Todd McFarlane, his collection also includes McGwire’s #1, 63, 67, 68 and 69 home run Balls, along with Sammy Sosa’s #33, 61 and 66 home run balls.
The over $3 million dollar payment is the most money ever shelled out for a baseball.
The Biggest Payroll
In the year 2010, the New York Yankees continued their streak of breaking the bank with a total team payroll of $206,333,389.
The next closest payroll was that of the Boston Red Sox at $162,447,333. That is a difference of almost $44 million dollars.
The Biggest Arm
Prior to the 2010 season, the fastest reliable recorded speed which a baseball had ever been pitched was 100.9 mph by Nolan Ryan of the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium in California on August 20, 1974.
Since that time, Ryan’s record was broken by Reds rookie Aroldis Chapman on September 24, 2010 at PETCO Park in San Diego. That pitch was clocked at 105.1 mph.
The Biggest Hitting Streak
Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees began an unprecedented hitting streak on May 15, 1941. 56 games later on July 16, the streak ended. This record still stands today.
The only other player who came close was Pete Rose in 1978. His 44 games hit streak lasted from June 14 to August 1, just 12 games short of the record set by DiMaggio.
The Biggest Determination
He is not called the “Iron Man” for no reason. Third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, Cal Ripken Jr. set the record for the most consecutive games ever played with 2,632. The streak lasted from May 30, 1982 until September 19, 1998, spanning 16 seasons.
This feat blew away the previous record which was set by Lou Gehrig from 1925 to 1939 with 2,130 consecutive games.
Ripken played his entire career with the Orioles and retired after the 2001 season.
A-Rod photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Mantle photo by Wikimedia Commons
While the big news of the day was the trade of Roy Oswalt to the Phillies, there was still a game to be played amidst all the hoopla. And tonight, the Phillies were looking for a 7-game home stand sweep.
Kyle Kendrick started against the D-Backs and did very well through 6 1/3 innings, allowing only one run. Kendrick did walk one batter in each of the first 3 innings, but settled in after that. With JA Happ gone in the trade today, the rotation spot belongs to Kendrick and he will need to keep up the solid pitching.
The Phillies offense, which has been on fire this entire home stand, finally sputtered a bit tonight. Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI double in the 5th to score Cody Ransom. The next inning, Raul Ibanez hit a solo homer to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead. But the offense ended there. They did have 9 hits off Joe Saunders, but could not score. Saunders had a very bad year with the Angels and was just traded to the D-Backs. He looked ripe for the picking, but the Phillies let him off the hook.
Chad Durbin finished pitching the 7th and Ryan Madson had a very good 8th inning. But manager Charlie Manuel left Madson in for the 9th. One can only assume this is because his confidence in Brad Lidge with a slim 1-run lead is just not there. And who could blame him. But Madson has not pitched more than an inning since coming off the DL and he quickly got into trouble, giving up a lead-off double to start the 9th.
JC Romero took over and allowed a single; a ground out then scored the runner from third, which was charged to Madson. With the game then tied, the drama continued. After an intentional walk and an unintentional walk, the bases were loaded for Romero. Gerardo Para stepped to the plate and grounded into his second double play of the night. Para was so upset, he slammed his helmet to the ground and was ejected by the first base umpire, Adrian Johnson.
The bad luck for Para seemed like good luck for the Phillies who entered the bottom of the 9th with a chance to win the game. But Jayson Werth, Ransom and Ruiz went down in order and the game headed into extra innings. In the 10th, Lidge was “Light’s Out” finally, sending the D-Backs down in order. So if they had put him in for the 9th, this game may have been over already. Go figure. But you just don’t know what you are going to get out of Lidge these days.
The Phillies loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning with 2 outs. Ryan Howard, who was 0 for 4 on the night to that point, had a chance to redeem himself. But in the past few games, Howard has started to look very, very confused at the plate. And that translated into a strike out in the 10th to end the inning. During this home stand, Howard is hitting only .185 including the 0 for 5 tonight.
But more bottom of the order heroics were on the way. Ransom, Ruiz and Wilson Valdez, the 6, 7 and 8-hole hitters accounted for 7 of the Phillies 12 hits tonight. So it was only fitting that in the 11th, the same three guys would finally win the game for their team. Ransom walked, Ruiz singled and Valdez knocked in the winning run with a liner to centerfield. The final score was 3-2 which completed a 7-game home stand sweep.
By the way, the Braves lost tonight so the Phillies picked up one more game in the standings. They are now 2.5 games out of first place in the NL East.
Tomorrow there will more high drama surrounding the Phillies as Roy Oswalt takes the mound in pinstripes for the first time. He will face the Nationals in DC; game time is 7:05pm. That game marks the first in a 6-game, 7 day road trip; 3 with the Nats and 3 with the Marlins in Miami after the off day on Monday.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, collected his 500th victory for the team today with a 4-game sweep of the Rockies. Only two other Phils managers since 1900 have more wins: Gene Mauch, 645 and Danny Ozark, 594.
The game did not start well as pitcher Joe Blanton quickly gave up 2 runs in the first innings to the anxious Rockies who were hoping to salvage one game in this series. But, despite a few walks, Blanton was sharp after the 1st and wound up going 6 innings.
The Phillies offense got them back into the game quickly, which was also a huge help. In order, Ross Gload singled, Greg Dobbs doubled and Brian Schneider tripled. All that was missing was a home run. Instead of the homer, Blanton reached first on a missed catch by Jason Giambi at first.
But then Jimmy Rollins batted and wound up fouling a ball off his foot, sending him to the ground in pain. He limped through the rest of the game and afterwards had an X-Ray. There was no break; he just has a bruise. However, it is still unknown how long he may have to rest his foot before playing again. Here is the sequence, with a nice moment of sportsmanship too:
Things got quiet for a while after that until the Phillies scored 2 more runs in the 6th. Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each hit RBI-singles to extend the lead. But many players contributed to the offense today, especially Schneider, with the huge triple in the 2nd and he also walked and scored in the 6th. Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 and Polanco had 2 hits as well. Here are a few shot from the game:
There was some great defense and really amazing efforts on tough plays also:
And then came the heart-stopping 9th inning. You know when I mention heart attacks, Brad Lidge must somehow be involved, right? Well he sure was. It started with a double, but Lidge got two outs after that. With just one out to go, ahead of the batter in the count, Lidge grooved a fastball right over the plate which Seth Smith hammered for a 2-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-4. Two walks and a single later and the bases were loaded…again…just like the day before. But Lidge finally got a ground ball, which he fielded himself for the final out.
While Lidge is totally on my last nerve with these cardiac episode inducing outings, what is the alternative? Do we need a new closer? Probably. But has anyone else in the pen proved they can handle the job? No. This is the proverbial rock and a hard place. Others have tried to close and failed, like Ryan Madson, for example. So sadly, it looks like we are stuck with Lidge for now.
As for the recent trade rumors, Dan Haren went to the Angels so it looks like Roy Oswalt is the final option for the Phils to pick up a starter. But as I talked about on yesterday’s Fightin’ Phillies podcast, Oswalt does not seem interested in coming here and with the no-trade clause, he has final say. But do we really want a guy who is scared of the media and shies away from pressure? I know I don’t. It will be interesting to see if anything happens before the trade deadline.
In the meantime, feel free to check out the Photo Album from today’s game. Thanks to my friend, Audrea, I was in one of the business suites today, which are very, very nice. I put a few photos of that in the album as well.
The D-Backs come to town tomorrow. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
So another Opening Day has passed and the Phillies are on their way to global dominance…or, something like it anyway ;o) If you missed my photos from the event, check out the PHOTO ALBUM which includes Opening Day ceremonies, President Obama’s first pitch and game action.
And now it is time to start the season off right and introduce yourselves to the newest members of the 2010 Phillies. The first one is easy…if you do not know who Roy Halladay is, you are clearly not a Phillies fan. No worries though…only one game has passed; you have time to catch up . Here is Mr. Halladay on the right with his very, very serious pre-game face on. This former Cy Young winner goes by the nickname “Doc” and he is pretty amazing. Enough said.
The few players you may not know well include pitchers Danys Baez, Jose Contreras and David Herndon; outfielder Ross Gload, infielder Juan Castro and catcher Brian Schneider, pictured here in that order from left to right, top to bottom:
Both Baez and Contreras are Cuban defectors; Baez is in his 9th major league season, pitched last for the Orioles and has a name that defies normal spelling rules. Contreras, not as hard to spell, is in his 7th season and helped the Yankees coin the term “Evil Empire” when they signed him over the Red Sox back in 2002. In other words, the Sox were pissed….end of story.
Herndon was in the Angels minor leagues last year and this will be his first shot at the bigs. Ladies, he is single and plays the guitar…go get him! I kid…
As for Gload, this is his 9th season in the majors and his 6th team. He is a lifetime .283 hitter and should be a solid bench player for the Phillies. Castro is another veteran going into his 16th season; he will be 38 in June and may start taking the same youth-inducing vitamins Jamie Moyer does ;o) He is not a power hitter, but will be a good defensive back-up for the infield. Schneider, formerly of the Mets and Nationals, is very familiar with the Phillies. And as a former Phillies-killer, we are glad to have him on our side now. His 11th season will be served as back-up to Carlos Ruiz.
And as a bonus, here are a few guys who are not really new, but you may not know them. Pitchers Antonio Bastardo and Drew Carpenter are still rookies who spent a very short time with the Phillies last year. They spent most of 2009 in the Phillies minors.
And then there is Placido Polanco, who returns to the Phillies after almost a 5 year absence; he was traded in 2005 to the Tigers. But after his record-setting performance of 6 RBI in one game yesterday, the most by any Phillie on Opening Day, I am confident you now know who he is. Welcome back, Polly!
Cole Hamels will take the mound against the Nationals in game 2 tomorrow at 7:05pm…Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn