Hey Phillies fans…anyone else out there suffering from a severe case of the baseball blues? It is hard not to be down in the dumps after watching this Phillies team continue to suck, game after game. Getting swept in a 3-game series by the Nationals this weekend had to be the pinnacle of shame and embarrassment in an already dreadful season.
Even dumping Delmon Young could not cheer me up. Young, who they never should have signed in the first place, was designated for assignment on Friday and replaced by White Sox reject, Casper Wells. Nothing on Wells’ stat sheet gives me any reason to hope either. This is the 5th team for Wells this year; that alone is telling.
Just three days earlier, the Phillies also nixed Laynce Nix. I guess his .180 batting average was just not getting it done (*note sarcasm here).
Know which other Phillies are also just not getting it done? You guessed right…ALL of them! So perhaps the entire team will soon be designated for assignment and subsequently be replaced by little league-trained robots. That would at least sell some tickets.
Oh, Jayson Werth, where have you gone? That’s right…to the Nationals, where with 7 hits, 4 RBI and a homer he nearly single-handedly beat the Phillies in all 3 games this weekend. He did look a lot better in red pinstripes….sigh.
The Phillies were outscored 23 to 7 runs this weekend and outhit 36 to 16. I could count the Phillies runs and hits on my fingers, but had to bust out the calculator to find the totals for the Nats. That alone was depressing.
So what reason do we all have to keep watching this season? Here are a few:
– It is like a train wreck; one cannot help but wonder what form this ongoing disaster will take next.
– With 45 games left, can the Phillies still prevent Charlie Manual from getting his 1,000th career as a manager? He has 999 right now and #1,000 is looking tenuous.
– Can a guy with a .151 batting average this year who is named after a ghost bring this team back from the dead? C’mon Casper, you’ve got to at least try!
– Will the Phillies single-handedly put Papa John’s pizza out of business with their “50% Off After Phillies Win and score 5 or more runs” deal?
– Every time the Phillies bullpen gives up a run, I get to drink another Mai Tai! (Insert your own drinking game here)
That’s all I’ve got. Oh, and the Braves are up next…what could be more fun than watching the division leader beat the Phillies to a pulp? Game time is 7:10pm. Whoo…hoo.
Werth Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Alumni Weekend for the Phillies is something for fans to look forward to each year. Players of the past come back to be celebrated and adored once again. This year, Brad Lidge retired as a Phillie; Curt Schilling was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame; and the 1993 NL Championship team was honored on their 20-year anniversary.
The following is a photo diary of Sunday’s events and, unfortunately, a few not-so-fun happenings from the Phillies 1-4 loss to the Braves.
Here is a photo of 1993 manager Jim Fregosi signing my championship pennant and another of the joining the celebration:
Players of old joined current Phillies players at their respective positions prior to the game as the National Anthem was played. Having the 1993 and 2013 players together was a very nice touch. And Darren Daulton got a standing ovation for the 3rd consecutive day. Surviving brain cancer surgery and being able to walk out onto the field with his friends was worth at least that, and much more. It was great to see Dutch still fighting.
But the fun ended there. Unless of course, you count the following events: The top photo shows a camera man focusing in on Kevin Fransden’s rear-end. And I can tell you, he lingered there for quite a while. I want that job.
And the photos below the Frandsen camera-rape episode show that Dan Uggla still has a serious man crush on Chase Utley as he tries to get as close to him as possible during the game. Remember my shocking 2008 All-Star photo of Uggla goosing Utley? In case you do not, I of course included it here for your enjoyment:
And then there was the rest of the game, which was horrible. The only events worth mentioning are the 2 times Braves players were caught in a rundown. One ended peacefully, with Carlos Ruiz applying the tag. The other was not so nice. Total jerk Jason Heyward, rather than take getting picked off like a man, decided to ram Frandsen, sending him flying into the air. I had nothing against Heyward (beside him being a Brave) until that moment. That was completely unnecessary, especially with a 3-run lead and the Braves about to sweep the series:
If a picture paints a thousand words, then these shots speak volumes. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley look downright infuriated by the team’s current situation. And manager Charlie Manual just looks defeated:
Defeated is a good word; it covers all of angles of this team. They have been defeated literally, figuratively, emotionally and any other way you can think of. The suspension of pitcher Antonio Bastardo today was just adding salt to the wound.
This is about as ugly as one can imagine for the Phillies. The only thing they can hope for now is maybe to find some new, young talent in the coming weeks. And perhaps they are also hoping for a quick end to this painful season.
Here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s events.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Remember back on Friday night when the Phillies pounded the Mets to the tune of 13 runs? Remember all those hits and homers? Ah, memories…
Now back to reality…and reality has hit the Phillies hard this weekend as they dropped 2 games out of 3 to the Mets. Saturday’s game was winnable, but Cole Hamels floundered again and the offense blew many opportunities. Sunday’s game was an utter disaster that marked the Phillies 9th time being shut-out this year.
Pitcher Cliff Lee was, once again, killed by the long ball. The 5 Mets’ runs came off 2 homers and both were hit with 2 outs in the inning. With All-Star game starter Matt Harvey on the mound for the Mets, Lee did not stand a chance unless he controlled the long ball, which he did not.
The Phillies offense was just as awful; they managed only 3 hits off Harvey and piled up 12 strikeouts. Domonic Brown got the Golden Sombrero with 4 K’s in the game. Was it not just 2 days ago this team scored 13 runs? After their performance on Sunday, you would never imagine this was the same group of guys.
Granted, Harvey is one of the best pitchers in the game right now. But the 12 K’s tells you that the Phillies could not even manage to make contact with the ball. Zero walks then equals zero patience at the plate as well. It was just plain ugly.
And now the Phillies are once again in limbo as management decides whether or not they have any shot at all at making the playoffs. Personally, I do not see it happening. This team has lacked consistency all season long; they have too many injuries and no sense of urgency. But since both the Braves and the Nationals went cold this weekend as well, the Phillies did not lose or gain any ground in the division. And that will make the decision to buy or sell before the trade deadline even more difficult.
Then again, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may already have made up his mind after this weekend’s performance. And certainly no one can blame him if he goes into sell-mode. This team has not given anyone any real reason to hope, especially after their 2 best pitchers bombed on back-to-back nights.
The Phillies are off today before starting a 3-game series with the Cardinals on Tuesday. The Cards have the best record in the majors…and that is not good news for the Phillies.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Atlanta Braves did not think it was very sunny in Philadelphia after losing to the Phillies by a score of 7-3. Even in blinding sunshine and near 100 degree temperatures, it was a dark day for the Braves.
Rookie pitcher Jonathan Pettibone was outstanding against a heavy-hitting Braves line-up. Freddie Freeman was so frustrated after striking out at one point that he smashed his bat into the ground, picked it up and then smashed it again. And B.J. Upton was thrown out of the game after mouthing off to the umpire about calling him out on strikes in the 5th inning.
Pettibone went only 5.1 innings, likely due to the excessive heat. It was obvious he was getting tired. But he did manage to leave with only 1 run allowed.
Both the Phillies offense and defense were solid. Domonic Brown had 2 hits, including his 23rd homer of the year. Darren Ruf, starting for Ryan Howard who is now on the DL, had a hit, a walk and scored twice. Carlos Ruiz added 2 hits as well.
The only defensive snafu was when Michael Young, who has been not great at third base lately, nearly ran over Jimmy Rollins going after a pop-up:
And for the most part, the Phillies bullpen held steady. J.C. Ramirez allowed 2 runs in the 6th; those were his first runs allowed since being called up. Aside from that, things were mostly quiet from the 6th inning on.
The Phillies took 2 of 3 from the Braves with this win today. Still, with Howard’s future uncertain and a very young and inexperienced bullpen, this team is going to have to annihilate the Nationals this week to keep GM Ruben Amaro Jr. from breaking up the team.
Here is the Photo Album from today’s game, including shots of Roy Halladay actually throwing pitches before the game! The Doc may not be done just yet…
Game time Monday night is 7:05pm. John Lannan will pitch.
In 2012, the Phillies faced Reds pitcher Mike Leake twice and destroyed him to the tune of 13 runs. He had an overall ERA against the Phils of 17.55. Ouch. But last night, this team sprung Leake from his Phillies prison, allowing him to mow them down one hitter after another.
Ah, sweet freedom for Mr. Leake. He must be quite relieved this morning.
On the exact opposite side, the Phillies probably got little sleep due to nightmares. Some people have nightmares about standing naked in a crowd. The Phillies are probably having nightmares about standing at home plate without a bat. They may as well have been standing there without one if they were never going to use it.
And that pretty much describes this entire 6-game road trip which went down in flames after getting swept in 3-games by the Reds. They scored only 10 runs in all 6 games and came away with just 2 wins, both against the Marlins.
Granted, it is very, very early in the season. The Phillies have time to make up ground, however, these are very serious issues. At some point, one has to question whether or not this team is capable of more. But we will not really know until we see the whole team together as it was meant to be; that means when Carlos Ruiz returns and we also finally see what Delmon Young has to offer. Ruiz cannot return due to suspension until April 28th. And Young is still on the DL, although he has been participating in extended Spring Training games.
To make matters worse, Domonic Brown left the game early with a sore back; he will have an MRI today. And John Lannan, who got pounded for 6 runs in 1.2 innings last night, complained of a sore knee after the game. His status is unknown.
Do not be surprised if manager Charlie Manual decides to shake up the line-up tonight against the Cardinals. And say a prayer that Cole Hamels can get his first win of the season; although, he may need a little offense to get that done. *Sigh.*
Game time is 7:05pm.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Let us examine the latest Phillies performance last night in Cinncinatti: The starting pitching was solid, the offense was mostly absent and the bullpen blew the game in the 8th inning, resulting in a loss. Sound like a familiar scenario? It should; that describes most of the 2012 season. Ugh.
Is this Déjà vu or Déjà voodoo? Has someone or something cast a sleepy spell over this team for the second consecutive year? It is like Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs in the bullpen passing the cursed apple around to the rest of the team. If the drowsy Phils are waiting for Prince Charming to deliver true love’s kiss and wake them up, they may be waiting for quite a long time…
Because if Chase Utley’s 2 run bomb to tie the game up in the 8th inning wasn’t enough to light a fire under this team, I cannot imagine what would be enough. Or how about Cliff Lee’s gutsy performance after a very weird 7th inning? He wound up only allowing 2 runs in 7 innings, which is a pretty good day.
And then there was the amazing, stupendous, brain-warping, Superman catch that Ben Revere made earlier in the game. Nearly everyone on the team starred in awe as Revere flew through the air backwards and nearly horizontal to snag this ball. He even had the presence of mind to throw the ball in to double up the runner, even after smashing face first into the ground after the catch.
Still, this team could not rally late in the game. They had only 5 hits total on the night. Both Jeremy Horst and Mike Adams struggled in the 8th, allowing 2 more runs to the Reds who had also had difficulty finding hits early in the game.
Worse, the Reds came into this game on a 5-game losing streak. The Phillies should have crushed them. Instead, they went down in flames, losing by a score of 4-2. Their offense has been on the Most Wanted list for 4 straight games now. No one seems to know where it went.
Meanwhile, the Braves still only have 1 loss (to the Phils, oddly enough) and the Fightins’ are lurking near the bottom of the NL East in 4th place. Ok, it is only April, I know…still, this team needs to WAKE UP!
Perhaps I am being a little rough on the team here. But it is easier to be angry about a silly baseball game than have to think about what a sad day it was yesterday. Although Monday was Jackie Robinson day, sadly, this was overshadowed by the tragedy in Boston earlier that day. So while I am in the mood to rant, can I just say, what is with these freaking psychopaths bombing innocent people?? I am outraged, as are the rest of the sane to mostly-sane people of the world.
My heart goes out to all the people affected by this senseless act of evil. I wish I had better words to convey my sympathies. But all I can think is sad, sad, sad… :O(
Photo courtesy of ESPN.com
After Roy Halladay began his first outing of the year by giving up 3 runs in the first inning, it was apparent that things were not headed in a good direction. Pitching in the sloppy, cold rain did not help either, but it was the perfect metaphor for what was about to unfold for the Phillies. It was indeed a sad rainy and dreary day.
Halladay did not even make it past the 4th inning. In 3 1/3, he put the Phils in a 5-0 hole. And then Raul Valdes added 2 more for the Braves in that 4th inning, to make matters worse.
But I refuse to spew bad things about the Doc. I will give him 3 strikes, as is appropriate, before I count him out. While this should not happen, 3 bad starts in a row would signal the beginning of the end.
However, let’s not even go there. On the bright side, Halladay did strike out 9 batters in just 3 1/3 innings. And he totally made the day for Braves rookie, Evan Gattis, who pounded a home run off Doc for his very first major league at-bat. There is night he won’t forget. Halladay is clearly a generous man.
Was that stretching for a bit of good news? Probably. But it is preferable to hanging my head and crying into my oatmeal over 1 starting pitching performance.
On the other hand, this is going to be a very long 5 days…
The Phillies have one last hope to grab a game from the Braves tonight…Cliff Lee takes the mound at 7:10pm.