Tagged: Brian Roberts

Here Come The Boo’s

Let the Boo’s begin…now, I do not condone booing, but there will be no avoiding it after the Phillies blew another lead today for their 5th loss in a row; 7 losses in their last 8 games.  And they blew it yet again in spectacular fashion.

The offense had only two hits through the 6th inning; one from Greg Dobbs and one from Paul Bako.  No runner had advanced past first base either.  And JA Happ had an adventurous start on the mound; Happ allowed only 2 runs, but had a lot of base runners.  With 10 hits and 4 walks given up to the Orioles, Happ was having some issues.  But to his credit, he got out of the jams and nailed down 6 innings to keep the Phillies in the game.

Despite all that, the Phillies were poised to win the game after Ryan Howard tried to play hero.  its alive.jpgIn fact, maybe Howard should get sick more often…he spent time in the hospital earlier today with a 104 degree temperature and was held out of the game’s staring line-up tonight.  Dobbs started at 1st base, Matt Stairs started in left and Bako got his first start at catcher.  But it was Howard who tried to break the game open in the 7th inning, despite his fever.  Coming in to pinch hit with 2 men on base, 2 outs and the Phillies trailing by a score of 2-3, Howard nailed a 3-run homer to straight away center field.  And just like that, the Phillies who had been silent all game long, suddenly seemed to develop a heartbeat.  It’s Alive!!  Or, is it?

Well, things got bad again, very quickly…and again, it was Ryan Madson who did the damage.  He gave up a solo home run to Greg Zaun in the 9th and then, with 2 strikes on Brian Roberts and 2 outs, he threw a fastball down the middle of the plate and Roberts knocked it over the fence, scoring 2 runs.  Madson blows another save.  OMG.  I am sure no one feels worse about how this week has gone than Madson, but do we all see now why he should NOT replace Brad Lidge?  Many critics have complained about Lidge blowing saves this year and suggested Madson take over; clearly, this is not the role for Madson.  He tries too hard, he over throws and you see the results.  I feel for Madson; this is not the role for him.  But this was apparent to me 2 blown saves ago, so why has nothing changed?  JC Romero is better suited to close.  Can we give it a try at least?  Please?  It is not fair to anyone, including Madson, to let this go on as is.

I will be at the game tomorrow and return with photos and a report on how the crowd reacts to the team after this disastrous home stand.  Wish me luck…

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USA Eliminated Despite Rollins’ Perfect Game

P3056801.JPGNo one can say that Jimmy Rollins did not do his part to help Team USA advance in the World Baseball Classic; but despite his best efforts, the USA was eliminated by Japan last night.  Rollins, in the DH role yesterday, went 4 for 4 at the plate, including a triple; he also stole a base, had 1 walk and scored a run.  But in all 5 times Rollins was on base, only one time was he able to score.  The other 4 times, he was left stranded.  J-Roll ended his stint in the Classic with a .417 batting average, putting him 3rd place overall for the USA.

Some rather controversial moves by the USA manager, Davey Johnson, also seem to have contributed to the loss.  At times, it seemed more like Johnson was trying to make everyone happy, rather than trying to win the game.  This is an unfortunate consequence of the presser put upon Johnson by Major League coaches to only use their players in certain ways, at certain positions.  For example, pitcher Roy Oswalt was left in the game too long; he should have been pulled earlier in the 4th inning, before the 5 run explosion by Team Japan.  But, likely because Johnson felt a duty to Oswalt’s team, the Astros, he was left in to stretch out his arm in preparation for the upcoming MLB season.  By the time Oswalt got his pitch count in, the damage was done.

Another issue arose in the 8th inning when, with the USA down 6-4, Shane Victorino stood in the on deck circle to pinch hit with a runner on 3rd and 1 out; at the last minute,
Thumbnail image for P3056631.JPGJohnson pulled Victorino and sent Evan Longoria to the plate.  Johnson was obviously hoping for a long ball from Longoria, but the problem was that Longoria, being right handed, was going to have to face a right handed pitcher and monster winds that were blowing towards right field.  Victorino, who is a switch hitter and could have batted left-handed, had a much better shot at getting a hit off the righty and could have used the wind to his advantage.  So, why would Johnson put Longoria in?  One possible reason is that Longoria was a late addition to the team and had not yet gotten an at-bat.  Johnson likely felt indebted to Longoria for making the trip out and decided he should at least get one at-bat out of the trip.  While this is very nice and thoughtful of Johnson, it was not in the best interest of Team USA.  Longoria struck-out, Brian Roberts grounded out and that was the end of the threat.

Defense also hindered the Americans from advancing; with 3 errors in the game, Mark DeRosa playing first base, where he had never started before, and Adam Dunn in right field, Team USA was just not able to keep pace with Japan.  Dunn, put in the game for his bat even though he is a below average fielder, wound up going hitless in 5 at-bats with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts.  In the future, if the USA intends to compete, they are going to have to prepare much earlier for this tournament; plus, players and managers will have to understand that these are real games and that they will be expected to play accordingly.  Will this ever actually happen?  Your guess is as good as mine.

So the good news for the Phillies is that J-Roll and Victorino will be returning to camp.  After a 3-0 loss to the Red Sox yesterday, the Phils will be hoping that J-Roll can kick start the offense for them.  Jamie Moyer gets the start today against the Yankees at 1:05pm.  Less than 2 weeks until Opening Day…things are going to get a lot more interesting the closer we get to April 5th.  More on that later…

(All Photos by Jenn)

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Phillies and Mets Unite!

Ok, well not really.  But Phillies Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino did participate with David Wright of the Mets yesterday to advance Team USA to the semi-final round of the World Baseball Classic.  In fact, all three Phillies that were still involved with the Classic had a hand in the victory along with Wright.  JC Romero, playing for Team Puerto Rico, did not exactly get the outcome he wished for, but he did play a role in this very exciting game.

By the bottom of the 9th inning, Team USA was losing by a score of 5-3 to Puerto Rico.  Enter, Shane Victorino; Victorino smacked a single down the 1st base line off his own Phillies teammate, Romero, to start the comeback.  Victorino played a huge part in the entire game, going 3 for 4 with an RBI. Next up, Brian Roberts singled; Victorino then tagged on a Jeter long fly ball to move to 3rd base.  Enter Rollins, who was issued his 2nd walk of the night to load the bases.  Romero was lifted from the game, shaking his head as he walked off the mound, having given up a hit and a walk to his own Phillies teammates.

Fernando Cabrera came in to relieve Romero, but then proceeded to walk a run in (Victorino), making the score 5-4.  Wright then took over, whacking a 2 run walk-off single, on which Rollins and Roberts scored.  Game over – Team USA wins, 5-6.  See video of the final hit and celebration HERE.

But the most fascinating part of the win for me was seeing Wright, Rollins, Victorino, and even Mike Schmidt, not only get the job done together, but then watching them celebrate together afterwards.  As heated as the Phillies – Mets rivalry has become over the past several years, you never would have known it watching these NL East opponents working together to attain a common goal.  Here is a still shot from the video of the last hit and the celebration:Team USA.jpg

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?  Ok, well, perhaps that is going a bit far… ;o)

Team USA will travel to the west coast after tonight’s game against Team Venezuela, which will determine the top seed.  Team Korea will join them in Los Angeles as well, to prepare for the next round of the Classic.  The final team has yet to be decided; Japan and Cuba will battle tonight for that remaining spot.


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A Happy Buttday

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Thanks to my friend Sue at Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts, it has indeed been a Happy Buttday.  Check out her birthday gift to me.  Great stuff…Thanks Sue!  Chase Utley wanted to wish me a Happy Birthday too, but he was busy being harassed by Dan Uggla.  So, I offer this photo tribute, in keeping with the Buttday theme ;O)

Sadly, Cole Hamels was also unable to participate in my birthday celebration, as he is on his way back to Philadelphia to have his head….errrr, I mean his elbow, examined.  Although, he may want to consider the head exam while he is at it :O)  Seriously, Hamels has been experiencing soreness in his elbow, not while pitching, but apparently afterwards.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. seems to think it is not serious, but they are being very careful with the staff ace.  After pitching more innings in 2008 (227.3) than he had in his entire minor league career (201 IP from 2003-2006), Hamels may just need some extra time to get ready for the season.  Fingers crossed…

Kyle Kendrick got another spring start today, as he struggles to stay afloat in the battle for the 5th starters spot.  He did not fair very well.  Kendrick did get out of some jams, as Phillies fans have gotten used to with him; but he also got into situations where he could not bail himself out.  Kendrick wound up surrendering 5 runs and 3 walks in 4 innings.  It looks more and more like Kendrick may have punched his ticket back to the minors.

Currently in the 6th inning, the Phillies are losing 6-0 to the Yankees.  Joba Chaimberlain got the start for New York and gave up only 2 hits in 3 innings.  If there are any significant game developments, I will update them here later.

WBC Highlights

Jimmy Rollins led the charge for Team USA yesterday as they ran the Netherlands out of the classic; Rollins went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI, including a 2-run homer.  Helping him out was Brian Roberts who just joined the team to replace the injured Dustin Pedroia; Roberts ended the game 1 home run short of the cycle with 3 hits, 2 walks and 1 RBI.

Although the USA took a convincing lead early and won 9-3, the game was not without drama.  USA pitcher, Matt Lindstrom took exception to Dutchman, Bryan Engelhardt’s  lolly-gagging around the bases after hitting a home run off him in the 8th; Lindstrom took aim in retaliation at the next batter, Vince Rooi, and tossed the ball at his rear-end.  Obviously, he was just preparing to celebrate my Buttday, along with everyone else.  But Engelhardt and the rest of the Netherlands apparently did not get the Buttday memo; the benches nearly cleared as the Dutch shouted out at Lindstrom in anger.  The fray was over before it began and the game went on; all butt’s still intact ;O)

More Thanks!

Thanks to everyone who voted for my blog on The Max’s “Max Madness” bracket challenge.  I have made it past the 1st round by defeating NL East rival blog, Pick Me Up Some Mets.  In round 2, I fully expect to go down in flames, as I have been pitted against super-blogger, Julia’s Rants.  But if I have to lose to anyone, I do not mind losing to Julia…she is a sweetheart :O)  So, thanks again for your votes and maybe I’ll get a couple in round 2, so I am not totally embarrassed when I crash and burn ;o)

Next up for the Phillies

Tuesday at 1:05pm, the Phillies will take on the Reds at Bright House field in Clearwater, FL.


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***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***

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*Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose,  Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!