In their first of four games against the Brewers on Thursday night, the Phillies were without three of their star players, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Howard got the night off, which is rare for him. Rollins just came off the DL and the Phils will be working him back in slowly. And Utley is back in Philly being examined after getting hit in the head with a fastball on Wednesday.
But even with the lack of star power, the Phillies were still able to handle the Brewers. Early in the game, it did not look like it would be so easy as Brewers pitcher Chris Narveson no-hit the Phils through four innings. Through 5 2/3, the Phillies still had only one hit.
But with two outs in the 6th, the Phillies bats suddenly showed up. Shane Victorino started the rally off with a double that missed going out of the park by about 1/2 inch as it hit near the top of the left field wall. Wilson Valdez then continued his tear with runners on base by doubling to score Victorino.
Things snowballed from there. The Phillies scored six runs in the inning, all with two outs. Those hits included a triple from Hunter Pence, a John Mayberry Jr. single and Carlos Ruiz double. Pence ended the night with three RBI.
And while Narveson self-destructed that inning, Cole Hamels continued to pitch well for the Phillies. Hamels did not allow a run until the 5th when a solo homer put the Brewers on the board. He allowed another solo shot in the 6th, but the Brewers did very little else against Hamels, who went the distance and picked up a complete game win.
The Phillies won the game by a score of 7-2. Game two with the Brewers starts Friday night at 8:10pm. Roy Halladay will face Shaun Marcum.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt took a no-hitter into the 6th inning against the Braves tonight before they finally got to him. Ex-Phillie Michael Bourn doubled and then Chipper Jones knocked him in for their first run, and first two hits, of the game.
Brandon Beachy also pitched very well for the Braves; only Raul Ibanez touched him through five innings with a solo homer. That home run was #250 for Ibanez in his career.
The 1-1 tie held until a ball took a bad hop on Chase Utley in the seventh to score a run for the Braves. Utley had an interesting night. The inning before that hop, he was hit square in the back of the head with a pitch. Utley barely flinched and calmly took first base, probably thanking his helmet on his way down the line.
The Phillies had a chance to break the game open in that same inning. There was a controversy on a ball hit by Placido Polanco which the umpire called a catch. On replay, it was clear the ball was trapped by Jason Heyward. The umpires chatted for a bit and finally ruled it a hit.
The Utley noggin’ assault happened right after Polly’s outfield adventure, which loaded the bases with two outs for Ryan Howard. Sadly, Howard struck out and the Phillies were left in a 2-1 hole.
Another guy having an odd day was John Mayberry Jr. Prior to the game, the New York Post broke a story about Mayberry that was fairly humiliating. Apparently, someone leaked an email where his agency made a plea to another agency to set up a date for Mayberry with an actress he likes. The email even stated, “I hate to even be sending you this e-mail, and I’m quite embarrassed to say the least…” Ouch.
As it turns out, the actress Antoinette Nikprelaj is married and has a kid. Worse than that, Mayberry’s own teammate got on him about the debacle. On his Twitter page, HunterPence3, Pence posted, “So does anybody want a date with Mayberry?….He’s Stanford educated….” Double ouch.
But Mayberry put the incident behind him when he was called upon to pinch hit in the 8th. Mayberry led off the inning with a single to right and later, Polanco knocked him to tie the game up at 2-2. But again, instead of taking the lead, Howard struck out with two men still on base to end the inning.
No worries, Ryan. The 9th inning was still to come. Ibanez made another contribution by walking and then Carlos Ruiz singled. All the Phillies needed was a little magic off the bat of Ross Gload, who has struggled lately with a hip issue. But tonight, Gload came through with an RBI-single to give the Phillies a 3-2 walk-off win.
That hit sent the Braves home crying as the Phillies completed the sweep of this 3-game series. It should be a fun plane ride to Milwaukee. Game time Thursday night against the Brewers is 8:10pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies avoided a sweep at the hands of the Brewers this afternoon with a 4-3 win. The 2-1 series loss was the first series loss of their season.
The Phils offense went 17 straight innings in this series without scoring a run. John Mayberry Jr. got the first hit of the game, but that did not happen until the 5th inning. Then finally in the sixth, Wilson Valdez (photo) drew a walk and Shane Victorino singled. Placido Polanco then smacked his second homer of the week to tie the game up at 3-3.
Cliff Lee had a slightly off day, although he kept the team in the game. Through six innings, Lee allowed two earned runs on eight hits and a walk. The third run was the result of a Valdez error.
Valdez made up for the error in the ninth, after a Victorino homer gave the Phillies the lead the inning before. Valdez ran backwards after a fly ball that was over his head, reached out and snagged the ball. That play saved closer Jose Contreras from a very difficult inning. Contreras then struck out Ryan Braun to end the game.
The Phillies now travel to the West coast for a 4-game series with the Padres. Thursday’s game starts at 10:05pm and Roy Oswalt, feeling better since having back issues, will pitch. Phillies fans, prepare for some late nights in the coming week.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In a week full of opposites, Roy Halladay had a bad game against the Brewers. The night before Joe Blanton had a good game and in both games, the offense did not show up. The Phillies are currently in some sort of cruel and unusual time warp where nothing is as it should be.
To their credit, the Brewers defense stole a few hits from the Phillies with running grabs in the outfield. Those balls looked like they were far out of reach, but the Brewers ran them down.
The Phillies did not look like themselves at all. Carlos Ruiz threw away a ground ball that should have been an out; Ryan Howard missed a grounder at first; and then the bullpen handed the Brewers a bunch of runs in a game that was already out of control.
As Halladay was pulled in a 4-0 game, David Herndon threw two pitches and gave up a 3-run homer. Mike Zagurski, recalled from AAA to take JC Romero’s spot on the roster, also did some damage. He walked the first batter he saw and then allowed a 2-run single. Both run were charged to Herndon and all that happened with two outs in the inning. The score was 9-0 after that seventh inning.
As a side note, Zagurski has been recalled from AAA a number of times over the years in both 2007 and 2010, after multiple injuries and surgeries. His lifetime ERA in the Bigs through 2010 is 6.99. In other words, he does well in the minors and implodes in the majors. It has happened every time and Tuesday night was no different. Although, the runs he allowed will not be charged to him, he still failed to hold the score down and give the Phils a chance to come back.
The Phillies offense is now officially a major problem. They went through these super-slumps all last year, which eventually resulted in the firing of hitting coach Milt Thompson. Like a bad case of deja vu, here we go again.
In fact, the Phillies lead hitter with runners in scoring position is currently Wilson Valdez. Not Ryan Howard, not Jimmy Rollins or even Raul Ibanez…Wilson Valdez, going into today’s game was batting .556 with RISP. Howard is at .286, Rollins is .188…you get the picture. No offense to Valdez who is a very solid player, but if he is the team leader in hits with RISP, there is a serious problem.
The Phillies have one shot left at a win over the Brew Crew tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm. Cliff Lee will pitch and hopefully, the offense will show up for him.
Like they did in their last two games, the Phillies jumped out to an early lead Monday night with a run in the first inning against the Brewers. But also like the previous two games, after scoring in the first, the Phillies offense went to sleep. So the question is, who put the Ambien in the Gatorade?
The offense was off to a very good start early in the season. But suddenly, the bats have vanished. Pitcher Joe Blanton had the opposite start to the season; he was awful in his first two starts.
Now, the roles are reversed. Blanton finally looked sharp tonight, throwing 7 solid innings where he allowed just two runs on seven hits and a walk. The Phillies could not have asked for more from him.
But Blanton should have put in a request for some offense. Because the red-hot bats have gone stone cold. The one run they did score came off a Brewers error which allowed Jimmy Rollins to reach base on what should have been an inning-ending double play ball. Ryan Howard knocked Rollins in with a single and then, it was nap time.
Both Howard and Placido Polanco had two hits each, but no one else really looked conscious. In the seventh, they squeaked out one more unearned run after another Brewers error. That tied the game at 2-2. A freak double play ended the inning as Polanco hit a low line drive that no human being should have been able to catch. The ball ricocheted off the pitcher’s back, flew up into the air and somehow, Yuniesky Betancourt snagged it, doubling Michael Martinez off second.
But then Ryan Madson finally had a bad game and gave up the first run of his season. The Brewers jumped ahead 3-2 in the eighth inning. Could this sleepy Phillies offense bail him out?
The short answer is no. Although Pete Orr smacked a game-tying RBI-double in the ninth, pitcher Kyle Kendrick killed any chance at a win. The game went extra innings and in the 12th, Kendrick had a Murphy’s Law inning. Anything that could go wrong did.
Kendrick walked the first batter on four pitches and then proceeded to screw up in every conceivable way. He made an errant throw, a wild pitch, hit a batter and walked two more intentionally. The only thing he did not do was break down and cry like a little girl, although he probably wanted to.
Three runs later, the Brewers sealed the win at 6-3 as the offense still refused to wake up. It was a sad loss.
On Sunday afternoon, Chase Utley was running the bases during batting practice. Today, he was doing sprinting drills. The fact that he followed a day of running with a day of sprints means he suffered no ill effects from the running. That is very good news.
Utley has been able to take batting practice and do some infield drills as well throughout the rehab process. If he can run full speed without pain, he may be on the field soon that expected.
As for Domonic Brown, his broken hand is healing well and he went 2-for-3 in an extended spring game today.
Roy Oswalt says he feels fine after some back spasms on Friday which caused him to leave the game against the Marlins early. While no official decision has been made, it appears he will make his next start on Thursday.
J.C. Romero left the game in the ninth after getting the first two outs. As he lunged for a ground ball, he began hopping and limping. He has a strained right calf and will likely go on the DL. And MRI is scheduled for Tuesday.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies celebrated the Phanatic’s birthday today. Afterwards, they got to celebrate a win as well. In a very close 3-2 victory over the Marlins, the Phillies saw their season record improve to 10-4 in front of the second largest regular season crowd since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.
All 45,716 people were treated to a birthday party for the Phanatic before the game began. Local Philly mascots and some mascots from other MLB teams joined the party too. The ZOOperstars also attended and yes, there was a cake made entirely of Tastycakes:
As for the game, Placido Polanco got the Phillies off to fast start with a solo homer off Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez in the first inning. A single by Raul Ibanez later knocked Jimmy Rollins in for a 2-0 lead.
And that is how the score would remain for five innings as Cole Hamels looked very sharp. He finally bent in the sixth, allowing two runs, but finished seven full innings without giving up a big inning.
Hamels’ performance was what kept the Phillies in the game as the hits were not coming easily. Polanco would up with three hits and Ben Francisco had two. That accounted for five of the Phillies eight hits total.
There were some odd and sloppy plays throughout the game by both teams. Ibanez made a spectacular running catch in the fourth inning (see photo below). But the next inning, he missed basically the exact same ball. And Shane Victorino stumbled while on first base and got picked off in the fifth:
The third run for the Phillies was courtesy of a Marlins goof in the eighth. Ryan Howard hit a fly ball to left and Logan Morrison somehow missed it as the sun appeared to interfere with his vision. Francisco took advantage and singled and then Ibanez moved Howard to third on a ground out. Carlos Ruiz put the RBI on the board with a sac fly, giving the Phils the 3-2 lead.
In the ninth, Jose Contreras did his best Brad Lidge imitation and scared the crap out of everyone in attendance with a circus-like save. He walked the first batter and a few ground balls moved the runner to third.
As if this were not frightening enough, Contreras then walked Chris Coghlan, who then stole second base. But Omar Infante then grounded out for the third out and Contreras got his third save of the year, although it was not pretty.
The Phillies split the 2 games with the Marlins as Saturday’s game has been rescheduled for 6/15. On Monday night, they begin a 3-game series with the Brewers. Game time is 7:05pm and Joe Blanton will pitch.
The full Photo Album from today’s game, including batting practice and the birthday bash, will be posted tomorrow afternoon. Check back for that.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Win some, lose some…the Phillies could not have done so today in a more upside down fashion. Two games; two very different results:
Vance Worley made his first start in the majors today against the Marlins and did a pretty good job. Certainly it was good enough to de-throne Kyle Kendrick from the 5th starters spot. Kendrick has been awful and the Phillies pitching coach, Rich Dubee, was really upset about his performance yesterday. Worley went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs; he was only pulled after 5 because the offense was sleeping and Charlie Manuel put in a pinch hitter. Worley did his job; the offense did not.
The Phils offense had just 1 hit through 8 innings and that was a Brian Schneider single in the 2nd. They were facing another pitcher making his starting debut, Adalberto Mendez. Rather than beat up on the rookie, the Phillies swung at junk and popped up balls that were right down the middle. They made a first-timer look like a Cy Young winner.
Just as disgusting as the offense was sloppy play in the field. Raul Ibanez made two very bad throws in the 1st inning. Later in the game, Placido Polanco watched a Dan Uggla double sail past him down the 3rd base line. That was just a good hit. But later, with Uggla at the plate again, Polanco was playing off the line…again. Result? Same thing; a double down the line. Why was Polanco playing off the line when he had just gotten burned there in Uggla’s last at bat? Ugh.
A lot about this game was inexplicable, much like the Phillies magical vanishing offense all year long. When you see this team play like this, it makes you wonder how they have stayed in the NL East race all year.
There were some other revelations in the last few days as well. Clearly, Mike Zagurski is not going to make it in the Bigs. This kid has been up, down, multiple injuries, up and down again and today, with yet another chance to show what he has, he failed miserably. 3 runs allowed on 2 hits and a walk…it was bad. Scott Mathieson did the same thing yesterday when he walked 2 batters and showed a serious lack of control. I feel for these guys, but maybe the Phillies need to move on?
Ok, so let’s see if they are still asleep for game two…
Oh, here are the bats! Game 2 was the polar opposite of Game 1. Much like a mental patient suffering from multiple personality disorder, the Phillies played two totally different games today. The Game 2 persona is certainly the one Phillies fans would like to see more of.
A five run 2nd inning got this game off to a good start. Jimmy Rollins, batting from the 5-hole, led off the inning with a single. Raul Ibanez followed his lead and then Domonic Brown walked. With the bases loaded, Carlos Ruiz worked out a walk for an easy RBI. Later that same inning with 2 outs, Placido Polanco hit a 2-run double and then Chase Utley singled to score Polanco.
It was a very upside down kind of day for Utley. He did not have a hit in the first game, but for Game 2, Utley racked up 2 hits, 2 RBI and he was also hit by a pitch. Brown got a rare start as Jayson Werth was rested and he managed to work out 2 walks. But having sat on the bench for a while, Brown looks rusty. Hopefully, this start will get him back into the “swing” of things.
Starting the game was pitcher Roy Oswalt who had some issues with the long ball. He allowed 3 homers for 4 runs in the first 5 innings. This seems to be a “Roy” issue this week; Roy Halladay gave up 4 runs on 4 homers on Saturday against the Brewers. Luckily, the Phillies bats were heating up tonight to bail Oswalt out of trouble, as they also did on Saturday for Halladay.
With a 7-4 lead, Ryan Madson took care of the 8th inning after JC Romero walked the first batter. Brad Lidge pitched the 9th and recorded the save! Lidge has been super lately…keep it up, Brad!
Tomorrow night at 7:05pm, Joe Blanton will pitch in game 3 of this series with the Fish. The Braves lost today so with one win and one loss today, the Phillies are 1/2 game behind them in the NL East.
And a few reminders: Do not forget to check out my new Facebook community page, “I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney.” And when you are done there, hop over to the Phillies #1 fan contest and VOTE for me! You can vote up to 25 times a day :O) Thank you to all for your support!
Worley photo by CBSsports.com; Utley photo by Jenn Zambri Photography