Tagged: Brian Schneider

Upside Down Doubleheader

Win some, lose some…the Phillies could not have done so today in a more upside down fashion.  Two games; two very different results:

Game 1

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.PXS106090614_large.jpg

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…

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.

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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

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Full Team Effort Produces Series Win

Throughout most of the year, Roy Halladay has not gotten a great deal of run support from his teammates.  Today, he had a rough time against the Mets, allowing 2 runs in the first inning alone to put the Phillies in a quick hole.  Halladay seemed off but he did pitch 7 innings; on 9 hits and a walk, he allowed 5 runs while striking out 10 batters.

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But the offense did not let Halladay down this time.  After a Jimmy Rollins 1-out double in the 3rd, the Mets short stop Jose Reyes committed a fielding error that allowed Placido Polanco to reach base.  From there, a rally was born.  Remember yesterday when mascot J-Roll Smurf put the voodoo hex on Reyes?  Coincidence?  Well, who cares…it worked, whatever it was.

The Reyes error sent the Phillies on a huge tear; Ross Gload singled, which scored Rollins.  And then the super-hot Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a career high 16 games with a 3-run homer.  Later, a Brian Schneider single scored Jayson Werth for the 5th run of the inning.  Werth had also homered the inning before.  Here are a few shots of the home runs and subsequent celebrations:

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The effort was all around for the Phillies.  Not only did the offense score 6 runs for Halladay, they played solid defense as well.  Halladay kept running into trouble, but some good pitches, a double play and a few diving grabs helped him out.  Gload especially gave a great effort at first base filling in for the injured Ryan Howard.  Here are a few more action shots from the game:

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Another huge positive to come out of this 6-5 win was the back-end of the bullpen.  Ryan Madson played “Bridge to Lidge” in his former excellent fashion, shutting the Mets down in the 8th.  And then Brad Lidge, with his usual tense moments, did finally get the save with only a 1-run lead.  Both pitchers have been up and down so it was nice to see the pen work the way it is actually supposed to in a tight game.

There was positive news before the game as well.  Both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino were out running around and playing Frisbee on the field.  This is meant to be a conditioning exercise, and Utley was quite serious about getting the job done.

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Victorino, on the other hand, while still getting the job done, looked more like a kid playing in his back yard than a professional ballplayer.  He even raced someone’s kid at one point.  Nothing wrong with a little fun ;o)  Victorino was running very well and it looks like he may be activated soon.  He will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday and may be back by next weekend.

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Also before the game, the Alumni Batting Challenge took place with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles.  Stocker and Bottalico took home the prize.  You can see many photos from the even in the full game Photo Album.

The Phillies have a day off tomorrow before the Dodgers come to town.  Kyle Kendrick will start Tuesday’s game which is scheduled for 7:05pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Big Man Down: Howard To The DL


Phillies titanic.jpgThe Phillies 2010 season is beginning to resemble the sinking of the Titanic.  Ryan Howard was placed on the DL today with a left ankle sprain.  So it is official; every single infield starter for the Phils has been on the DL this year.  The only two team starters who have escaped a DL trip so far are Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez.  That makes player #15 on the DL this year.  Take a look:

1B

Ryan Howard

DL

8/3 – now

Starter

CF

Shane Victorino

DL

7/28 – now

Starter

P

Jamie Moyer

DL

7/21 – now

Starter

2B

Chase Utley

DL

6/29 – now

Starter

3B

Placido Polanco

DL

6/26 – 7/17

Starter

C

Carlos Ruiz

DL

6/22 – 7/10

Starter

P

Chad Durbin

DL

6/2 – 7/15

Relief pitcher

P

Antonio Bastardo

DL

6/17 – 7/15 to AAA

Relief pitcher

C

Brian Schneider

DL

5/9-5/24

Back-up

P

Ryan Madson

DL

4/29 – 7/8

Relief pitcher

P

JA Happ

DL

4/16 – 7/6 to AAA

Starter

SS

Jimmy Rollins

DL

4/13-4/17, 5/22-6/22

Starter

P

Joe Blanton

DL

3/26-5/3

Starter

P 

Brad Lidge

DL

3/26-4/30, 5/10-5/31

Closer

P

JC Romero

DL

3/26-4/22

Relief pitcher

 

Is this a sign that 2010 is just not the Phillies year?  I hope not.  Filling in at first base likely will be Ross Gload and maybe Cody Ransom.  John Mayberry Jr. was called up to fill the roster spot and will be used off the bench.

Howard and Chase Utley are the Phillies biggest producers; having them both out of the line-up is going to make an already struggling offense even less effective.  Not to mention, the Phillies bullpen is still suspect.  Manager Charlie Manuel has no idea what to expect from the pen from day to day.  And with fewer runs being scored, odds are good that the pen is going to decide the outcome of a lot of games.  This is not good news.

If you are looking for some good news, Roy Halladay is pitching tonight in Miami.  Even better news; the last time this match-up occurred, Halladay threw a Perfect Game.  The Marlins may be more prepared this time out, but anytime Halladay pitches, you have to like this team’s chances.

Manuel Wins #500; Phillies Sweep Rockies

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.

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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:

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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:

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There was some great defense and really amazing efforts on tough plays also:

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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.

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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

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Phillies Win In Extra Innings

Cole Hamels did everything humanly possible today against the Cardinals to get himself and his team a win.  In fact, he pitched 8 shut-out innings, allowing only one hit.  Hamels was on fire.  Too bad that fire did not rub off on the rest of the team.  Seriously…what will it take to get the Phillies hitting again?  If this spectacular performance from Hamels did not inspire them, then is there anything that can help?

Charlie Manuel keeps shifting the line-up around, praying for a miracle.  But it looks like he is just throwing names into a hat and picking them out randomly.  Jimmy Rollins usually only produces in the lead-off spot; it is what he is used to.  P6203489 Polonco.jpgPut him back or sit him down.  Placido Polanco needs to stay in the 2-hole.  Just put the line-up back the way it was intended to be, except for the 3-hole, which was Chase Utley’s spot.  Raul Ibanez has been ok in that spot, but the rest of the line-up needs to settle in so they know what to expect each day.

The Phillies did scatter 9 hits through the first 9 innings today but went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.  Ryan Howard, Polanco and Brian Schneider each had multi-hit games.  But once they got on base, someone would either strike out or hit into a double play.  Jayson Werth went hitless through 9 innings.  And he killed more than his share of possible rallies.

In the month of July through the 9th inning today, Werth is hitting only .215 with no home runs and only 3 RBI.  Shaving the beard apparently did not help him.  Rollins has been even worse; as of the 9th inning today, he was batting .184 with 8 RBI in July.  Basically, the only Phillies that have been hitting consistently are Howard and Polanco.

But extra innings seemed to be the kick in the rear that the Phillies were in need of.  Polanco was getting tired of being left on base so in the 11th inning, he hit a solo homer to break up the stalemate between these two teams.  A walk by Ibanez and another single from Howard set the table for Werth…again.  But Werth finally came through with a double.  It was his first hit with runners in scoring position since June 24th; nearly an entire month.

So the Phillies went into the bottom of the 11th with a 2-0 lead and would have to rely on Brad Lidge to save the game.  And while the inning was not without drama as Lidge walked the lead-off batter, he did finally get the job done.  Phillies win, 2-0.



DSCF8051bA.jpgThe Phillies will head back to Philadelphia after this dismal road trip where they won just 2 games out of 8.  Roy Halladay will pitch against the Rockies tomorrow; game time is 7:05pm.  The starters for the rest of the weekend have not yet been announced.  But frankly, if they do not get out of this hitting slump, they could throw a Siberian Tiger out on the mound and it would not make a difference.  We hope it does not come to that.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

An Ugly Win; But Still A Win

Before the Phillies – Cubs game today, Placido Polanco returned from the DL.  Juan Castro, who has not contributed too much lately, was released to make room.  It is good to have Polly back!  But instead of giving the team a spark, they kept playing like they were in a coma.

By the 9th inning, down 0-1, it looked like the sleeping Phils were about to lose their 3rd straight to the Cubs.  But then a miracle occurred; the Cubs bullpen took pity on them and walked two batters.  Then with two outs, Polly came through with a base hit and Brian Schneider tried to score.  He should have been out by a mile, but the very kind Cubbies took pity again; an off-line throw home kept Schneider safe. 

However, the Cubs bullpen was not fully satisfied with their charity.  Pitcher Carlos Marmol tossed a wild pitch and Ross Gload scored.  Then Marmol intentionally walked Ryan Howard and not-so-intentionally walked Jayson Werth to score another run for the Phillies. 
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Pitcher James Russell wanted in on this charitable action!  So he gave up a single to Raul Ibanez, which scored the 4th run of the inning.  Ok, maybe Ibanez had a little to do with the hit…

Actually, Ibanez had two hits in the game, as did Werth and Shane Victorino.  But they left many, many men on base through 8 innings and could not score a run.  Of course, the Phillies will take a win anyway they can get it, even if it is handed to them on a silver platter.

So they went on to win by a score of 4-1.  However, something still seems to be very wrong with the Phillies.  Is it a lack of enthusiasm?  Or perhaps it is just another slump?  No, I think not.  Based on the evidence, I am going to have to say it must be brain damage.  Take a look at the facts from today’s game:

– Victorino got thrown out at second base…twice.  Once, he was stealing and once he was trying to stretch a single into a double.  Conclusion: brain damage.


Phillies brain.jpg– Ibanez stole second base and then somehow, with his super-slow motion running abilities, thought, hey, I’ll steal third!  Nope…he was out.  Conclusion: brain damage.

Wilson Valdez forgot to cover first base on a Cubs bunt and allowed the runner to get safely to first while a run scored.  And later in the game, Valdez dropped a pop-up.  Conclusion: brain damage.

Cole Hamels pitched an AMAZING game, allowing only 1 run in 7 innings.  Yet, the offense did NOTHING to help him out.  He got a no decision.  Conclusion: brain damage.

– The Phillies lost the first two games of this series to a team that sucks.  Sorry Cubs fans, no disrespect, but this team is not good and is now 10 games under .500.  Conclusion: You guessed it, brain damage.

So the question now remains, will this 9th inning comeback today be the cure for their brain damage?  They swept the Reds going into the All-Star break, with 3 of the 4 wins coming in extra innings.  They returned from the break and dropped two to the Cubs.  So the Reds series did not have a huge impact.  Will today’s game propel them forward?  We shall see…

Roy Halladay will be the next Phillies pitcher to pray for some runs.  Game time tomorrow is 8:05pm.

 

Howard & Pinella photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Comedy or Tragedy? Another Walk-Off Answers The Question

The start of tonight’s Phillies – Reds match-up was anything but funny.  The game began with a fielding error by Jimmy Rollins on the very first batter Joe Blanton faced. 
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Blanton went on to allow a single and then Jonny Gomes smacked a 3-run homer.  While ahead in the count, Blanton threw Gomes a fast ball right down the middle of the plate.  Was it Gomes’ birthday or something?  Because I just cannot see any reason for the generous gift from Blanton.

The very next batter was the recipient of yet another Phillies error, as Ryan Howard over-threw Blanton who was running to cover first base.  The bottom half of the 1st inning was no better.  Rollins hit a single, which was great, but then he got picked off at first while leaning off base too far.  Rollins may have been able to score on the Raul Ibanez double that followed, but he was no longer on base.  Inning over; no score for the Phils.

The insanity did not end there.  Greg Dobbs missed a ball at third that he should have caught and that would have ended the 2nd inning.  Instead, another run scored.  Then Howard got tagged out trying to stretch a single into a double in the 4th inning.  The Phils did score one run that inning on a sac fly by Jayson Werth, but in the 5th, the Phils gave the Reds two more runs.

Blanton was pulled after 5 ½ innings after allowing 12 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 2 walks and 2 hits to the opposing pitcher.  Blanton has been struggling all year, but this was perhaps the most disturbing outing so far.  Usually, he has several good innings and starts to give up runs in the 5th or 6th when he tires.  But today, he was bad almost the entire time.  Add in the hits allowed to the pitcher and giving up big hits while he was ahead in the count and it was definitely not a comedy; tragedy is more like it.


padded room.jpgAlthough, with how things have gone so far this season, it is plausible to think that many fans may still not be sure whether to laugh or cry about it.  While little is funny here, the bad play does conjure images of fans wrapped with tiny white coats in a padded room while cackling hysterically as their sanity slowly drips away.  Are they coming to take me away yet?  Now that actually would be funny ;o)

To make matters worse, the Phillies looked like they had given up by the time they were down 6 runs to 1.  They did not hit at all and in the 9th, JC Romero gave up another run.  He also gave up another hit to Mike Leake, the Reds pitcher.  It was Leake’s 3rd hit of the night!  So, not only did he totally mow over the Phils with his pitching, but he hurt them with the bat as well.

And then something very weird happened.  The Phillies offense suddenly woke up.  But in the bottom of the ninth, down 7-1, would it be too little too late?  Shane Victorino doubled and Howard singled to drive him in. 
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Werth singled next and then Greg Dobbs performed a miracle; he hit a 3-run homer!  With one out and the score now 7-5, Leake was finally pulled out of the game and it became a save situation for the Reds.

Francisco Cordero came in to pitch and Brian Schneider hit a ball well, but it was right to the center fielder.  Ben Francisco drew a pinch hit walk and then with two outs, down two runs, Cody Ransom stepped to the plate with a chance to be the hero.  And just like that, BAM, a HOME RUN to tie the game!  Are you kidding me??  The Reds could not believe what was happening; the Phils fans were going nuts in the stands; and the poor Reds pitcher, Mike Leake, looked like he might cry while watching from the dugout.

And he had reason to cry…because in the 10th inning, Ryan Howard smashed a walk-off 2-run homer to win the game!  Unbelievable.  Down 7-1 in the 9th, the Phillies come back to win by a score of 9-7.  It was the second extra innings game in a row with a walk-off homer two nights in a row.  Comedy or tragedy?  Keep laughing, Phils fans…that was an INSANE win!  Whoo Hooo!

 

Dobbs photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*