Do not make Ryan Braun angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry. The Phillies found that out the hard way during Tuesday’s 1-day delayed Home Opener. First it rained (Monday), then it poured (Braun).
The day must have been cursed from the start as Chase Utley was sent home with the flu before the game. But aside from that, the day started off so nice, who would have guessed it would turn into a massacre? The pre-game festivities, as always, were colorful:
Of course, for the umpteenth, the Navy parachuters jump was cancelled due to wind. I seriously do not know why the Phillies bother scheduling this every year. It almost never happens.
Instead, we got 2008 World Championship pitcher and current broadcaster, Jamie Moyer to toss the first pitch with his baseball idol, Steve Carlton looking on. He had a nice reunion with Carlos Ruiz as well:
And then the game started and it was all downhill from there. In his typical inconsistent behavior, Kyle Kendrick followed up a good 1st start with a horrible one on Tuesday. Adding insult to injury, he pitched against former Phillie Kyle Loshe and gave up the first 2 of Braun’s 3 home runs.
A former All-Star, Braun is actually best known for his steroid use and overall bad behavior. He got away with a positive test by blaming the Fed Ex man, who was then fired from his job after Braun’s adamant denials. But then Braun did finally get caught afterwards and was suspended 65 games. The number of people Braun hurt with his lies is what makes him, in my opinion, one of the worst offenders in baseball. It is also what prompted all of the boo’s and chants of “Cheater!” throughout the ballpark.
But those chants did nothing but fuel Braun’s fire to beat the Phils. He even killed a Phillies rally in the 2nd inning with a diving catch in right field that would have scored 2 runs.
All of the good plays were unfortunately overshadowed by 3 errors and some head scratching misreads in the outfield. The worst of the day was Ben Revere in deep center, who had the ball lined up to catch and then just missed it. The 3rd photo below is the most interesting as you can see Revere’s head and face smashed into the fence. That pretty much sums up the day:
That misplay put another run on the board for the Brewers. Then in the next inning, Braun hit his third homer of the day. He finished with 7 RBI and single-handedly crush the Phils. I seriously hope someone checked his urine after the game (insert your own sarcastic remarks here).
The 4-10 loss was a disappointment, to put it mildly. But today is another day and maybe the Phillies can bounce back with a strong start from Roberto Hernandez. Game time is 7:05pm.
Here is the full Photo Album from the Home Opener, including batting practice, pre-game festivities and more.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Well, it took a few days, but the Phillies finally squeaked out a win for interim manager Ryne Sandberg. The 3-5 win over the Dodgers ended yet another long losing streak for the Phils who are now solidly in 4th place in the NL East, 2.5 games behind the Mets for 3rd place.
Getting this win against the hottest team in baseball was going to require a combination of things to occur. Pitcher Cole Hamels had to be good, which he was. Hamels went 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs.
The Phillies offense had to produce. And although it was not at all pretty at times, 7 hits and 3 RBI did the trick. Carlos Ruiz, who has struggled lately, went 4 for 4 and Darin Ruf smashed a solo homer in the game.
Defensively, the Phillies were coming off a game in which they committed 3 errors. On Sunday, they managed to cut that down to 1 error. Ah, progress!
And for once, the bullpen did not implode in late innings. Both B.J. Rosenberg and Jonathan Papelbon pitched scoreless innings to maintain what was at that point a 2-2 tie game.
And in the bottom of the 9th, a little bit of luck was in order to seal the Phillies win. Two errors by Dodgers shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, allowed the Phillies to walk off with the victory. Michael Young got the game-winning RBI as Ramirez fumbled his grounder with the bases loaded. Casper Wells scored on the error and Ryne Sandberg finally got a win!
Here is the full Photo Album from the game, which includes some fun shots of the Dodgers as well. Fun stuff like this right here:
Is he pitching or trying some new form of karate? I cannot decide.
The Rockies come to town for a 4-game series tonight. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos 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
With a 3-1 win on Thursday night, the Phillies managed to just barely squeak out their 3rd win in the 4-game series with the Nationals…and it was not without drama, as usual. Even with 4 errors in the game, somehow, this team found a way to win.
Of those 4 errors, 3 belonged to Chase Utley. He was so off-kilter in the field, one may have wondered whether or not someone spiked his Gatorade. But he did have a hit in the game and also ran the bases well, scoring a crucial run in bottom of the 8th inning.
The real heroes of the night however, were Darin Ruf and Kevin Frandsen…again. Ruf started off the 7th inning with a double off the Nat’s lone All-Star, Jordan Zimmerman. Carlos Ruiz bunted him to third and then, Mr. Clutch, Kevin Frandsen stepped to the plate. Frandsen smacked a double into no-man’s land in right-centerfield to score Ruf and give the Phillies their first lead of the night.
In the midst of all that, Kyle Kendrick managed to pitch a very solid 7 innings, despite all the fielding errors and the lack of run support. And then both Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon broke recent routine and pitched one drama-free inning a piece to nail down the win. It was as if the stars had finally aligned….
But even after taking 3 of 4 from the Nats, and 2 of 3 from the Braves, the Phillies still have a lot of work to do.
Slightly off topic here, did anyone else see the interview with Darin Ruf that aired a few days ago on CSN Phillly? He was asked why his offense has improved since being called up. While I cannot find a video of this anywhere (and there may be a reason for that), he said basically that he was taking advantage of the “detailed scouting reports” that were available in the majors, but not in the minors.
Here is my question – do they seriously not have scouting reports in Triple-A? Or perhaps they have generic, inferior reports? Either way, am I the only one who thinks this is a major problem? You cannot tell me this organization cannot afford to pay someone to produce minor league scouting reports. Heck, I’ll do it for a very modest paycheck and some free baseball!
Just sayin’… Thoughts anyone?
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.
Prior to this past week, Jonathan Papelbon had converted all 13 of his save opportunities. But last night against the Padres, he dropped another bomb on the Phillies; it was his 4th blown save in his last 5 attempts. Red alert! The Phillies have been Papelbombed!
Worse than that, starting pitcher Cliff Lee took a 3-0 lead into the 9th inning before the bomb dropped. After putting 2 men on base, Lee was pulled and the air raid ensued. Papelbon gave up a 2-run single, hit the next batter and then managed a double-play ball. But with 2 outs and a runner on third, catcher Carlos Ruiz let the next pitch sail past him, which scored the tying run.
The end result was a mind-blowing, 10-inning 3-4 loss to the Padres. Please excuse me while I vomit…
The Phillies bullpen is the worst in all of baseball with a 4.67 ERA entering last night’s game. Now every starter on this team has to think that if he cannot go all 9 innings, he has no shot at a win. Just take a quick look at the pen’s instability:
– Raul Valdes bombed and was sent to the minors in May
– Veteran Chad Durbin was so bad they released him
– Mike Adams, the $12 million dollar man, has been on the DL twice and may not pitch again this year.
– Jeremy Horst was awful all year and is now on the DL
– Michael Stutes, having missed all of 2012 and part of 2013 due to surgery, is once again on the DL.
– Papelbon has lost his mind/command/sanity??
– The rest of the pen, except Antonio Bastardo, consists of rookies, most of whom have bounced back and forth from the majors to the minors.
It is sad to say, but this team may have just hit rock bottom. Start bracing yourselves…I predict more bombs to be dropping in the very near future. Duck and cover!
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
It is a very good thing that I already have a college degree. Because this Phillies season is giving me many compelling reasons to hate math, which is generally not a good thing where school is concerned. If I had to walk into a calculus class right now, I may run screaming from the room instead.
Call it a math hangover. Or just call it the 2013 Phillies season, which has been a statistical nightmare.
For example, let us discuss OBP. It is really too bad that the on-base percentage statistic does not include how many times a player wiped himself and others off the bases after getting on. If it did, Michael Young’s .355 OBP would not look so great. Young has hit into 13 double plays in 57 games. He has more double play balls than he has RBI’s (11) even though his .355 OBP leads all starters on the team. This is a frightening statistic.
Did you also know that Ryan Howard, making $20 million this year, has hit only 1 home run in his last 103 plate appearances? With 7 homers total on the year in 59 games, Howard is averaging 1 home run every 8.5 games. Say Howard plays 145 of 162 games this season; at this rate, he would end the year with 17 home runs. That means the Phillies are paying him $1.2 million dollars per home run. Ouch.
Erik Kratz has 8 home runs in 43 games, more than Howard. And now, he is on the disabled list after hurting his knee this weekend. So one of the guys picking up the slack is now gone. Not to mention, the Phillies are on their 3rd string catcher with Carlos Ruiz still out as well.
And how about Mike Adams, who was supposed to be the savior of the 8th inning for the Phillies? He has already been on the DL with back pain and is now suffering from a mystery bicep issue. Despite coming off surgery in the off-season for thoracic outlet syndrome, the Phillies still paid aging, injury-prone Adams $12 million for 2 years.
Adams has given up runs in 5 out of his last 7 appearances; that is a rate of 71%. His ERA has ballooned to 3.92. Plus, no one has any idea when or if he will be pitching again. He has pitched in only 23 of 64 games so far this season.
And here are a few random stats, just to add to the misery: 10 out of 16 position players on the roster have batting averages at or below .250; that is 63%. The team average is .247. Only 3 teams in the National League have a worse team ERA than the Phillies 4.15. And with 38 errors on the season, the team fielding percentage is .984.
There is plenty more disturbing data where this came from, but I must stop here before my head explodes. The Phils just got swept out by the Brewers so I think we have all been tortured enough for now.
Put down the calculator…no matter how hard you try to change it, this math adds up to a very bad season.