Tagged: CC Sabathia

Phils Take Game 1 With Lee’s Complete Game

The Phillies got off to a great start with a 6-1 win in game 1 of the World Series against the Yankees.  P8195426 Lee.jpgCliff Lee was a magician on the mound, going the distance and not allowing any earned runs.  The 1 Yankees run came on a Jimmy Rollins error.  Lee dominated; he struck out 10 batters and looked like a giddy kid tossing a little league game, running in and out of the dugout and fielding balls with youthful nonchalance.  A few waves of the Lee magic wand, and the Yanks were sunk.

A few waves of Chase Utley’s bat worked a little magic as well.  Utley hit 2 home runs off CC Sabathia, putting the Phillies up 2-0 in the 6th inning, with the first homer coming in the 1st inning.  The pitching duel continued until Raul Ibanez knock 2 runs in with a single in the 8th to pad the lead.  The Phillies added 2 more runs in the 9th on singles by Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard.  Victorino was thrown out at the plate right after Rollins scored, but the score was 6-0 at that point so the aggressive move to send Victorino made sense.

The Phillies have now taken the Home Field advantage away from the Yankees and silenced doubters who thought the Yanks would walk all over this team.  Clearly, the Yankees have some trouble in their bullpen which will be an advantage for the Phillies who did a great job working Sabathia’s pitch count up to get to their pen.

In addition, I personally cannot wait to see what the New York media decides to post after this loss. 

Before the series began, the NY media took shots at the Phillies and their players that resembled high school bullying. 

This cover of Shane Victorino is just one example of how New York is taking this team way too lightly.  Shane thought it was funny but ultimately, it is irresponsible journalism, if you can even call it journalism.  But that is fine; the Phillies showed them what this team is made of.  They should be afraid….very afraid.

Game 2  is tonight with Pedro Martinez  on the mound!  Another media spectacle, for sure, but it will be a very entertaining game.  Go Phillies!!!  And for the Cliff Lee fans….Go PhilLEEs!!!!!

Lee photo by Jenn


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World Series Game 1 Break Down

The Phillies – Yankees World Series is just a day away.  Wednesday night at 7:57pm in New York, the fun begins!  Let us examine the position by position match-up based on 2009 post-season results:

Starting Pitchers:  Cliff Lee vs. CC Sabathia

The match-up of two former Cy Young winners who played together in Cleveland is a dream pitching duel.  h4ti1eczjwyhrg0woeh381gj2.gifStatistically, this is a close one to call.  Lee led all team in ERA with a 0.74 this post-season and Sabathia pitched at a 1.19 ERA.  Lee has been lights out in the post-season, but did have a few struggles in September.  However, this appears to be a non-issue for him in big games.  Sabathia, on the other hand, has been just as good, but the Phillies have an advantage; they beat up on Sabathia last post-season and therefore have at least a mental edge in the situation.  It is a new year and a new team for Sabathia though, so how much this will factor in remains to be seen.  I am calling this one a draw.

Closers: Brad Lidge vs. Mariano Rivera

This one goes easily to Rivera, who is possibly the best closer ever in baseball.  Lidge appears to be past his struggles, but there is still a shadow of doubt hanging over him.

Catchers: Carlos Ruiz vs. Jorge Posada

As far as ability to call a game, these two are evenly matched.  At the plate, Ruiz has been hot, hot, hot this October.  Add his youth to the equation and he has the advantage.  Ruiz batted .346 this post-season with 7 RBI vs. Posada’s .258 average and 3 RBI.  Winner: Ruiz

First Base: Ryan Howard vs. Mark Teixeira

While Tex has the advantage defensively, in terms of sheer wrecking power, Howard wins it hands down.  Howard batted .355 with 14 RBI compared to Tex’s .205 and 5 RBI.  While the low numbers are not typical of Tex, Howard is clearly in the zone.

Second Base: Chase Utley vs. Robinson Cano

Utley had a few brain farts in the NLCS on defense and his bat seemed to be up and down, but with the week off, Utley should be back to top form.  Cano batted .229 and had a few more RBI and extra base hits than Utley; but Utley still batted .303 despite the struggles and continues to find ways to get on base.  Utley is one of the best overall hitter in all of baseball; this one goes to him.

Short Stop: Jimmy Rollins vs. Derek Jeter

Last year and even in Spring Training this year, Rollins had a clear advantage over Jeter.  He got more playing time and performed better in the World Baseball Classic and had a better 2008 season overall.  But J-Roll has been in and out of a funk all year long in 2009.  Jeter has been solid and continually finds ways to makes plays.  Both are stellar on defense, but Jeter’s bat has been a lot hotter than Rollins lately.  Winner: Jeter

Third Base: Pedro Feliz vs. Alex Rodriguez

Ok, duh.  Just hand this one over to A-Rod and be done with it.  12 RBI vs. 2 and .438 average vs. .161 – no brainer.  Feliz is looking sluggish; and while he has a slight edge defensively, this is no competition.  A-rod all the way.

Right Field: Jayson Werth vs. Nick Swisher

Another no-brainer, but this one favors the Phillies.  Werth can be streaky, but his .281 average, 5 home runs and 10 RBI blows away Swishers .125 and 1 RBI.  Winner: Werth

Center Field: Shane Victorino vs. Melky Cabrera

The Flyin’ Hawaiian vs. The Melk Man: Shane wins on the cooler nickname alone.  Ok, seriously, this one is a little closer than some.  The batting averages are both good; .361 for Victorino and .314 for Cabrera.  But Victorino’s 26 total bases and 7 RBI beats Cabrera who had 13 bases and 4 RBI in the post-season.  Victorino’s speed is also a huge plus; Shane takes this competition.

Left Field: Ben Francisco vs. Johnny Damon

Francisco is a bench player who will take left field in game 1 while Raul Ibanez serves as the DH.  His lack of experience in the field this year and few at-bats may be a detriment, although he does have more speed in the outfield than Ibanez.  Damon is a solid veteran who should do well under the pressure of the familiar World Series lights; he got his ring in 2004 with the Red Sox.  The winner here is Damon, based on experience and a solid 2009 season.

Designated Hitter: Raul Ibanez vs. Hideki Matsui

Both hitters have had a similar down post-season; Ibanez is batting .226 and Matsui is at .233.  Each has 1 homer and 7 hits.  Ibanez has driven in 4 more runs than Matsui, but has also been playing hurt.  Sports Illistrated reported last week that Ibanez has been playing since June with a torn abdominal muscle, which does explain his second half slump.  But Ibanez, a 14-year veteran, is excited for his first World Series and will not let the injury slow him down.  For his determination alone, I am giving a slight edge in this battle to Ibanez.

The tally then is Phillies, 6 and Yankees 4, not counting the starting pitchers, which appears to be a tie.  So it looks good for the Phillies on paper, but the game is played on the field.  We shall see how it goes!

Comment Corner

I asked all my readers to let me know what their dream World Series would be and here is what we know:

Peter of Outside the Phillies Looking In prefers a Phillies – Cleveland series for geographical reasons.  He lives near the home of the Tribe.

Buz of Yesterday’s Hitter agrees that the Phillies – Yankees are the dream match-up because of all the talent on both sides!

And a few other interesting comments:

Jeff of Red State Blue State is rooting for the Phillies for the first time ever!  Congrats Jeff…you have finally come to your senses ;o)

 Jane of Confessions of a She-Fan already has a tummy ache just thinking about the Lee-Sabathia match-up; don’t we all!

Go Phillies!

Victorino’s Final All-Star Bid With Walk-Off Win

P6135786 Werth.jpg

Tonight the Phillies faced the Reds in game 3 of this 4-game series and drama ensued.  Homer Bailey started the game for the Reds and true to his name, gave up a homer to Jayson Werth in the 6th inning, Werth’s 19th of the season.  What a horrible name for a pitcher…Homer.  Poor guy.  But for most of the game, he was very good and kept the Phillies hitters off balance.

The home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa, created a lot of controversy with his rather large strike zone; 20 strikeout’s were recorded in the game and 14 of those batters went down looking.  And so the game remained very tight throughout.

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The Phillies entered the 9th inning with a 2-2 tie and needed a hero to nail this one down.  With 2 outs and 2 on, The Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, stepped to the plate and solidified his campaign for an All-Star roster spot.  Shane singled into centerfield and Pedro Feliz scored to win the game, 3-2!

Rules of Engagement

One of the more entertaining aspects of tonight’s game, as I mentioned earlier, was watching the Reds hitters argue and scream and cuss at the home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa.  To sum it up, basically every pitch was bound to be called a strike.  But he called it the same way for both side.  Yet, no less than 3 Reds players got right up in his face and yelled about strike calls.  It makes you wonder, why were none of these players thrown out of the game?  Not that I like watching guys get tossed, but how much grief is any umpire supposed to take?  Granted, this was one of the worst umpiring jobs I have seen in a long time, but the Phillies maintained controlled and did not try to rip his head off like the Reds did.  In fact, it is a rule that no one is allowed to argue balls and strikes (Official baseball rules section 9.02(a)).  After the first or second player, the ump needs to start ejecting guys.  Just sayin’…

Pitching Possibilities

Rodrigo Lopez did a great job through 5 innings tonight, but was removed from the game early with right shoulder inflammation.  That is certainly not good news.  However, maybe the push to get a quality starting pitcher like Roy Halladay of the Jays will reach a new level with the possibility of Lopez no longer being available. 

The Phillies front office has been insistent that certain minor league prospects are “untouchable” but frankly, that attitude will not get them far when competing with other teams who are more flexible.  Understanding the value of prospects in the farm system, teams need also be reminded of the value of winning, and winning right now.  With the Phillies core players in place, coming off a World Championship, the window of opportunity to win it again will likely only remain open for a few years.  So, if they need to give up 2-3 big prospects to get another ring, it seems like a fair trade off.

If the Phillies can get a #1 starter like Halladay, they would be foolish to let him go to another team.  Last year, they did miss out on CC Sabathia and even Manny Ramirez, and yes, they still won it all.  But the 2009 team has run into pitching trouble after losing Brett Myers, who was a big part of the World Series win.  The bullpen has been overworked and their production is way down from 2008.  This is a different team; the Phillies need a big starter if they are to have a shot at repeating.

Keep Voting!

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The clock is ticking!  Shane Victorino has a chance to go to the All-Star game in St. Louis but he needs our help!  Gizmo the Chinchilla has been typing away all day long, but his little paws are getting tired.  Won’t you please help him out?  You can
VOTE as many times as you are able to!  Humans and rodents alike have until tomorrow at 4pm to get Shane in! 

Photo by Jenn


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Phils Win Series, Despite Lidge’s 2 Blown Saves

P5244535 Lidge.jpg

The bloom has definitely fallen off the rose; Brad Lidge is our fallen hero who gave us perfection in 2008 and now nothing but headaches in 2009.  Sorry Brad, but it is time to surrender your cape.  With a 2-run lead in yesterdays’ game, Lidge gave up 3 runs in the 9th and handed over the win to the Yankees.  Tonight, he gave up 1 run in the 9th to tie up the game, but Clay Condrey emerged as the unlikely hero to bail him out.  Condrey managed 2 scoreless innings and the Phillies won 4-3 in 11 innings.

But what has happened to Lidge?  He swears he is not injured, so what are we to think?  I know what I thought in the 9th today – that I was going to leap out onto the field, grab him by the shoulders and shake him violently until the sludgy alien-oil that has obviously taken over his brain came oozing out and gave us our hero back.  It really is an X-Files kind of mystery what has become of Mr. Perfect these days.

But a win is a win and 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.  Shane Victorino gave CC Sabathia fits today at the plate; both he and Carlos Ruiz had a 3 hit night.  And Ryan Howard shocked the crowd when he laid down a slap-bunt towards third base for a hit; there’s something you won’t see every day.  Hey, whatever works!

Cole Hamels
had it working too through 6 innings of 2-run ball.  He did fall behind in counts quite a bit, but recovered nicely, although you could tell he wanted to smack Eric Bruntlett in the 4th after an error that extended the inning.  Hamels smack his fist into his glove as he arrived at first base and realized Bruntlett would not be throwing over as he dropped the ball.

And here is my “Shame On You” for the day:  after striking out rookie John Mayberry in the 8th to end the inning, CC Sabathia hollered and pumped his fist as the strode off the mound, as if he had just won the game in grand fashion.  His showboating was less than appropriate for several reasons; he had just struck out a rookie in his 2nd major league game and, the Yankees were losing the game 3-2 at that point.  Much ado about nothing?  I’d say so.

So how was my first, and probably my only visit to new Yankee Stadium?  Pretty good.  It is a very nice stadium; almost identical to the old one, only bigger, nicer seats and it doesn’t smell like cat pee :O)  The seats in the lower level from foul pole to foul pole have waiter service, which was convenient, but they could certainly benefit more from lowering the cost of those seats and skipping the waiters.  A bit excessive, I thought.  Loved the padded seats, Monument Park was nice, huge team store with a great variety of stuff and TONS of employees everywhere you turn to direct people and answer questions.  The concourse even had a fresh fruit stand.  I was not impressed with the murky, drab gray underground tunnel system which you have to walk through to get to Monument Park and the centerfield gate.  It reminded me of Veterans Stadium; dark, creepy and nothing to look at.  Literally…nothing.  Blank, gray walls.  But overall, it is a very nice place; just WAY overpriced and excessive in a lot of areas it does not need to be.

More game and stadium photos are coming!  I will post those tomorrow at some point, but for now, I am nursing a wicked bad sunburn (ouch!) and dragging after a long 3 ½ hour drive home.  So, off to bed for me!  Must find the aloe…

UPDATE: Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the game including photos of new Yankee Stadium!

Keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!  Florida series starts tomorrow at 7:05pm…Jamie Moyer will try to fry some fish ;O)

Photos by Jenn

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Nothing But Air

Much like the winter season, the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas are creeping along slowly for the Phillies.  A whole lot of hot air and that’s about all.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has disclosed that he and his team have met with Derek Lowe and his agent.  That’s the good news.  That bad news is that the other leading suitor for Lowe is the NY Yankees, who have already signed CC Sabathia for 7 years, but seem to still be interested in Lowe.  With the Yankees seemingly unlimited payroll, the Phillies will likely be outbid if this is the case.  Sabathia AND Lowe – that’s just plain greedy!

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In other news, Pat Burrell’s agent came out and told the Courier Post that he believes the Phillies are not at all interested in retaining Burrell.  Agent Ed Hayes was quoted as saying, “I’m hopeful but I’m also a realist, and I’d be surprised…I have not heard anything that would lead me to believe the club wants to have him back.”  Sad news there for Phillies fans everywhere – the GQ Handsome quotient of the team is about to be significantly lowered.  Nothing has been decided yet, but reports are that Burrell wants three years and there is no way Amaro is going to offer that.  Unless Burrell settles for a 1 or 2 year deal, it looks like he’ll be telling the Phils to stick it and move on.

As for an additional infielder, the Jake Peavy / Mark DeRosa rumors have progressed.  The MLB Hot Stove reports that the trade may involve moving Phillies prospects JA Happ, Jason Donald and/or Carlos Carrasco.  Any combination of these players would wind up going to the Cubs, the moved to the Padres with a few other Cubs in exchange for Peavy.  Is your head spinning yet?  I really do not like the idea of losing young players with big potential.  Is DeRosa worth it?  Last year he hit 20 homers with an average of .285 and 87 RBI’s.  He has a lifetime .976% fielding percentage.  Knowing Burrell was going to be a free agent this year, if they intend to sign DeRosa, based on these numbers, the Phillies may as well have kept Aaron Rowand.  They may have saved some money.  DeRosa will not be cheap and may cost us some great young talent.  I’ll be keeping an ear to the ground to see where this goes.

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Best Moments of the 2008 World Champs!

In chronological order, here are my Best Moments of the 2008 season for our World Champion Philadelphia Phillies:

·         April 17 – 21:  Chase Utley goes on his first of two 5 game home run hitting streaks, hitting 6 homers in 5 games and earning the National League’s Player of the Month Award for April.

·         Jayson Werth hits 3 home runs in one game on 5/16/08 vs. Toronto, tying a Phillies record with a career-high 8 RBI in one game.

·         Phillies score 35 total runs between two games from 5/25-5/26.  They beat the Astros 15-6 and then followed it up with a win over the Rockies by a score of 20-5.

·         5/28 – 6/2:  Chase Utley goes on another 5 game home run hitting streak and he also hits 7 homers total in 8 games (5/25-6/2).  Utley won the National League Player of the Week Award during this run.

·         Phillies send 2 players to the All-Star Game in mid-July:  Chase Utley and Brad Lidge.

·         After a bad start to the season, Brett Myers returns from a voluntary stint in the minor leagues on 7/23/08.  He goes 8-4 with a 3.06 ERA for the rest of the regular season after getting off to a 3-9 start with a 5.84 ERA.

·         Greg Dobbs sets the all-time Phillies single season pinch hit record on 7/26/08 with 21 total pinch hits.  The last person to do it was Doc Miller in 1913, almost a century ago.

·         After being swept by the LA Dodgers in a four game series in early August, the Phillies come back and return the favor later that month.  They sweep the Dodgers in their four game series at home in Philly.

·         Phillies Complete a Road Season Series Sweep of the Braves in Atlanta on 9/18/08.

·         Phillies win the NL East, ending the game on an amazing double play to preserve the save for Brad Lidge.  Jimmy Rollins makes a diving grab for the ball, flips to Chase Utley and then Utley completes the throw to Ryan Howard at first base to end the game.

·         Ryan Howard becomes the first Phillie ever with 3 consecutive 40 home run seasons.  Howard is also now the 3rd player ever for the Phillies to have at least 120 RBI’s in one season; the last time it happened was 1933.

·         Shane Victorino hit the first Grand Slam in Phillies post-season history during Game 2 of the NLDS on 10/2/08 against CC Sabathia of the Brewers.

·         Brett Myers’ batting performance in the same game, Game 2 of the NLDS, against CC Sabathia of the Brewers – Myers went 1 for 2 and also had a key 9-pitch walk in the 2nd inning to help set up the Victorino Grand Slam.

·         10/15/08:  Phillies beat the LA Dodgers 4 games to 1 in the NLCS behind the rocket arm of series MVP, Cole Hamels.  They clinch their 6th opportunity ever in franchise history to compete in the World Series.

·         Jamie Moyer pitches Game 3 of the World Series on 10/25/08 while sick with the stomach flu.  His wife says he was up all night getting sick and sweating through a fever.  Despite this, he pitches 6 1/3 innings of 3 run ball.  The Phillies go on to win the game.

·         Brad Lidge gets the final out, striking out Eric Hinske of the Rays, to clinch the 2008 World Championship!  He goes 48 for 48 in save opportunities this year.  And all this came after injuring his knee on the very first pitch he threw in Spring Training. Lidge comes back from surgery and has the perfect season.

·         And my #1 moment:  Phillies win the World Series and become “World F*#@ Champions!”  Well spoken, Mr. Utley. J

So that’s a wrap!  Please add any of your favorite moments in the comments section below to share with everyone.  Phillies are World Champions!!!!!!!!!!  Celebrate!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Phillies Sink Sabathia

Brett Myers was amazing in his post-season appearance; both while pitching and at the plate.  He pitched 7 innings and gave up only 2 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks.  His first inning was very shaky again, but he escaped with only 1 run scoring.  And at the plate, he drew a walk off of CC Sabathia with 2 outs in the second…it was a NINE pitch at bat as Myers kept fouling them off and made Sabathia work.  Myers also had a hit in the 5th also with 2 outs, which loaded the bases.  Sadly, Jimmy Rollins lined out and ended the inning, but the Phillies we ahead at that point 5-1, thanks to Shane Victorino.

Victorino whacked the very first post-season Grand Slam in Phillies history with 2 outs in the 2nd inning, after Myers drew the walk and Rollins also walked.  It was also Shane’s first career Salami and in front of the largest crowd in CBP history – 46,208 fans! People were so happy, they were hugging and high-fiving complete strangers!  I know because I was attacked by multiple drunken males who were a tad over-zealous.  But who could blame them, really?  So at that point, Sabathia was in shock.  In fact, as far as the Brewers were concerned tonight, here is a list describing their evening:  You know you are having a bad day when…

·         The entire crowd of 46,208 fans are screaming your name, and it is not because they are showin’ you the love (CC Sabathia; chants of “CC, CC, CC…”).

·         You walk the opposing pitcher and he eventually scores on a Grand Slam.  The Slam came after you were ahead of the batter by a count of 1-2.

·         That same pitcher is so comfy at the plate, he gets a hit later in the game.

·         You walk Shane Victorino intentionally to bring up Chase Utley, and then proceed to unintentionally walk Utley.

·         Your first baseman is more concerned with the hot dog wrapper blowing around the field than he is in fielding his position (Prince Fielder chased down a wind-blown wrapper and after multiple attempts, finally stepped on it, picked it up and put it in his pocket!  There was a man on first base at the time.)

·         You have 98 pitches after only 3 2/3 innings.

·         You are sweating profusely while it is a chilly 61 degrees, dark and cloudy outside.

·         The Sausage Racers are more productive than your offense.

·         On your way back to the dugout, after being pulled from the game, you ask a Phillies fan to borrow a Rally Towel so you can cry into it.

And on that note, here are some fun photos from the game:  Top row – Myers fouls off another pitch; Sabathia prays for the 2nd inning to be over.  Bottom 3 – The Phanatic beats up a fan for stealing his foul ball; J-Roll gets caught stealing 2nd; Victorino hits a Grand Slam.

The Phanatic tackles the Milwaukee Sausages; Brett Myers watches the attack and is shocked!

Brad “Lights Out” Lidge gets the job done right!; Rollins and Pedro Feliz are about to collide while chasing a foul pop-up…all is well though; no one was hurt & Feliz caught the ball.

And on the 3rd day, they rested…  Well, actually, they will be travelling to Milwaukee.  Game 3 will be Saturday at 6:30pm on TBS; Jamie Moyer gets the start.  Go Phillies!

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