Since Friday night’s game did not go well, I decided that it was time for J-Roll Smurf to intervene and add a little Phillies Smurf magic to the equation. So, before the game on Saturday against the Cardinals, J-Roll Smurf enjoyed visiting personally with many of the Phillies players. The real J-Roll was excited to see his old buddy again and Ryan Howard laughed out loud as he thinks J-Roll Smurf is too awesome for words. Also rubbing the luck from J-Roll Smurf yesterday was Brad Lidge, JA Happ, Chad Durbin, Pedro Feliz, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, John Mayberry, Kyle Kendrick and Tyler Walker. And although a few Phillies, like Chan Ho Park and Jamie Moyer, seemed confused by the little blue mascot, J-Roll Smurf rubbed his luck upon them anyway :O) You’ve gotta LOVE Photo Day:
And the Smurfy magic paid off with wins both Saturday and today for a series win over the Cards! In fact, the original J-Roll Smurf, Jimmy Rollins, nailed a GRAND SLAM on Saturday and then a 2-run homer today! There is no stopping him now!
All these wins and entertainment too! On Saturday, some crazy guy tried to interrupt the game with a laser pointer to distract the Cards hitters and a very drunk guy named, “Sully” distracted the entire outfield crowd later on:
Here is the Photo Album from the entire 3-game series!
So the Phillies will hit the road for 3 games against the D-Backs and then 4 with the San Francisco Giants. I will be in San Francisco for all 4 – hope to see you there!
Photos by Jenn
This team is fun to watch; you never know what is going to happen next. Notching their 10th win in a row after a 13 inning pitching knock-down, drag-out fight, the Phillies enter this afternoon’s game with a 6 ½ game lead in the NL East.
Joe Blanton was as good as you could ask for in a starting pitcher, going 7 innings and allowing only 1 run while striking out 5 batters. The problem was that the Cubs pitcher, Rich Harden, was just as good. Former teammates, the pair looked determined to duke it out on the diamond. The result ended in a draw and the bullpens continued the fight through 13 innings.
Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Chan Ho Park and Clay Condrey combined for 6 scoreless innings to give the Phillies a chance at winning the match.
Lidge contributed in a very unique way in the 9th inning when a little soccer action helped him out. With a runner on first and one out, Lidge needed a double play to end the inning. The next batter lined a ball up the middle and away from Lidge’s glove, so Lidge kicked the ball towards second and it landed right in the glove of Jimmy Rollins who turned two easily. Brad Lidge: Part man, part Pele.
But the big kick came off the bat of Jayson Werth; with 2 out in the lucky 13th inning, Werth blasted a ball over the left field wall to score 3 runs and win the game.
The Phillies will try to sweep the Cubs this afternoon with an early 1:05pm start. Jamie Moyer will take on the emotional, and usually entertaining, Carlos Zambrano. Talk about polar opposites…this should be another good one to watch!
Everything was looking great for the Phillies last night until the rain came. Cole Hamels appeared to be slowly returning to form; he pitched 5 innings before the delay and allowed one solo home run, 4 hits and struck out 5. The offense too, seemed ready to pounce on the Marlins for a second day in a row. In the 1st inning, Jimmy Rollins started the game off with a double and Chase Utley hit a home run to drive them both in. They scored 2 more runs in the 4th with singles by Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth; then Pedro Feliz doubled and the Phillies went up 4-1.
But Mother Nature thought it would be fun to interrupt the momentum and a downpour stopped the game in the middle of the 6th inning. After a 1 hour 18 minute rain delay, the game resumed and the Phillies looked like they had not woken from the nap they took in the clubhouse. Chan Ho Park allowed 1 run over 2 innings of work, which is not too bad. And Park has been very solid out of the pen lately. But then Ryan Madson came in for the 8th and could not make it through a whole inning; he did record 2 outs, but also gave up 2 more runs to tie the game at 4-4.
Both JC Romero and Chad Durbin wound up pitching in the same inning, which seemed like it would never end as ex-Phillies players put a hurting on the pen. Ronny Paulino, who was with the Phils in Spring Training, obviously has a chip on his shoulder when playing the team who let him go. Having gone 0 for his last 13 at-bats, Paulino rallied for 3 hits, 1 RBI, 3 runs scored and a walk against the Phils. Even Wes Helms got in the action with a hit and an RBI.
Once it went into extra innings, the potential outcome appeared bleak as the Phillies began to run out of players.
The umpire was no help in this game either; Mark Wegner, a 10 year veteran, did not have a good game behind the plate. His strike zone was all over the place and both teams argued with him all night. Then, with the potential go-ahead run on 3rd base for the Phillies, the Marlins pitcher balked – an obvious balk. But all 4 umpires missed it so the extra innings continued. All I can figure is that the umpires brought their sleeping bags and were content to make this game go all night long.
But the Phillies finally woke up in the 12th inning as singles from J-Roll, Utley and Werth turned into 2 runs and put the Phillies up 6-4. Brad Lidge came in to close it out, and it was another ugly, ugly turn of events. Stomaches churned as Lidge walked 2 batters in a row and then uncorked a wild pitch to score a run. With the tying run on 3rd and the winning run at the plate, Lidge finally got Dan Uggla to ground out and end the game; final score 6-5, Phillies. And all in Phillies-land rejoiced as we staggered sleepily to our beds after the 4 hour ordeal.
And we will do it all over again tonight! Same time, same place; Joe Blanton will take the mound at 7:10pm in Land Shark Stadium (formerly Dolphins Stadium). We all hope the Phillies can win it in NINE innings tonight. Please and thank you. ;O)
Howard Photo by Jenn
The Phillies got behind early against the Reds last night who scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning, but Chase Utley was not giving up so soon. In the 3rd, Utley hit a ball which bounced off the centerfield wall as he rounded the bases; Utley was so fast that he scored standing and the Reds did not even bother throwing home. Here are a few shots from that home run:
After that, back-to-back doubles from Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth brought the Phillies within a run. Werth also hit a solo homer, the over-the-wall kind, in the 6th; it was his 4th consecutive game with a home run and his 20th of the season. In fact, that home run made history for the Phillies; they are the first National League team ever to have 4 players with 20 home runs before the half way point of the season.
Jamie Moyer struggled last night, but the offense picked him up and even got him the win with a final score of 9-6. Moyer pitched 5 innings and allowed 6 runs on 8 hits and a walk. Chan Ho Park was amazing through 3 innings of relief pitching and did not surrender any hits. Park has really found his groove in the pen and triumphed over his disappointment about not starting. He appears so happy and relaxed that on Wednesday, he danced around the field with a “Vote Victorino” sign and then last night, I watched during batting practice as he played catch with a bunch of kids in the stands for a good 5 minutes. Park has really found a home here in Philly and, more importantly, in the bullpen.
Rumors abound that the Phillies are close to a deal with former Met, Pedro Martinez. Many teams have scouted Pedro, but none have shown any interest. Martinez returned to the Mets in 2008 after a hamstring injury and was simply not the same pitcher after that. No one picked him up in 2009 so he continues to try to prove he can still pitch. In my opinion, this guy is done and the Phillies need not take out the trash. But if you follow the Phillies, you know that they have a penchant for doing just that. It is the trash to treasure mentality. Sometimes it works out (ie: Scott Eyre) and sometimes, it is a disaster (ie: Freddie Garcia…the 10 million dollar disaster). To me, Martinez is a disaster waiting to happen. He is almost 38 years old, appears unable to recover from injury and has a long history of mental issues. Not to mention, can every other team in major league baseball who has passed on him be wrong? It is a scary thought.
Phillies fans united this week and voted Shane Victorino into the All-Star game! Victorino thanked the fans last night as he waved to the crowd during warm-ups. He will join teammates Utley, Ibanez and Howard in St. Louis for his first All-Star experience. Congratulations to Shane!!!!!
And as always, here is a Photo Album from last night’s game. I did not have great seats, so these are not as fun as the ones I usually post, but it is a different perspective :O)
And finally, I would like to dedicate this blog to the memory one of my best friends, Fuzz the cat, who had watched Phillies games with me for the last 15 years. He was a big fan as well and I will miss him very much :O(
Photos by Jenn
After a horrific month of June, the Mets proved to be the cure for what has been ailing the Phillies. Even the great Johan Santana could not hold them down today. With little offense on either side, a pitching duel erupted and Joe Blanton emerged the victor. In perhaps his best outing of the year, Blanton nailed down 7 1/3 scoreless innings of 4-hit ball. Santana was not too shabby either; he allowed only 3 hits. But 2 of those hits won the ballgame for the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins led the game off with a home run and later, in the 6th inning, Chase Utley went deep to give the team a 2-0 lead, which was the final score. There were some spectacular defensive plays as well, which added to the drama. Overall, it was a very entertaining game for both teams.
Also noteworthy, Carlos Ruiz did start the game after a suspicious absence the last few games. I had speculated that he may have been possible trade bait, but he is still with us :O) Maybe Charlie Manuel was just giving him an extra long rest? That remains to be seen…
Before the game, the Phillies hosted their annual Father-Child wiffle ball game which can only be described as adorable! Little ones scattered the field, running amuck while their parents chased them around the bases. We have some awfully good-looking families in the Phillies organization. Take a deep breath; the cute is about to get out of control; (top to bottom, left to right) Ibanez Family; Greg Dobbs & daughter; Brad Lidge & baby; The Romero Family; Chad Durbin & son; Chan Ho Park’s baby:
Also announced today, the Phillies will send at least 3 players to the All-Star game in St. Louis; Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez were voted in as starters and Ryan Howard, as chosen by Manuel, will be a reserve, along with 3 other very deserving 1st basemen (Pujols, Fielder, A. Gonzalez)! Nice to see Charlie did not worry about positions as much as who deserved to be there. That is not usually the case with most managers who are chosen to pick players.
The Phillies centerfielder, Shane Victorino, also has a chance to go to St. Louis. He is one of 5 candidates to fill the final roster spot which will be voted on by the fans. Victorino is batting .300 with 5 homers, 35 RBI and 13 stolen bases so far this year. His defense has been outstanding as well. Please VOTE FOR SHANE! He deserves to be there!
Tomorrow, the Phillies begin a 4-game series with the Reds and Cole Hamels will attempt to put the spring back in his step. Game time is 7:05pm.
Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game and also the Father-Child game which includes the photos above and many more! Enjoy!
Photos by Jenn
Both literally and figuratively, the Phillies dropped the ball tonight. After an off-day yesterday, the team sauntered into Atlanta and looked a bit sluggish, instead of rejuvenated. Batting against Derek Lowe is generally no picnic, but they had some opportunities. Chase Utley did his part, going 2 for 5 with a solo home run; and Pedro Feliz had a good night at the plate, playing outstanding defense in the field as well. Joe Blanton had a so-so start; he went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs. But most of the game was tight, without much action.
In fact, up until the 8th inning, the most entertaining part of the game was watching Braves pitcher, Mike Gonzalez swoon back and forth on the mound like a weeble-wobble. No one was sure whether he was going to pitch or break dance. That is one confused dude. But his antics on the mound translated into back-to-back solo homers for the Phillies to give them a 4-3 lead. John Mayberry and Feliz joined forces to knock the silliness right out of the Braves pitcher.
But the Braves tied the game back up in the bottom of the 8th, thanks to a dropped ball by Ryan Howard (bad feed from Madson), which allowed a runner to advance, and then Jayson Werth juggled another ball in the outfield. Poor Ryan Madson just cannot catch a break lately when he is on the mound. And these defensive mishaps would cost the Phillies the game. Chan Ho Park got into trouble in the 10th inning with runners on 1st & 3rd and 1 out; the next batter hit a long fly ball to left field, which sealed the deal.
In addition to the loss, what also rings a few alarm bells around Philadelphia is the performance of Jimmy Rollins. After being given a 4-game “mental” break / benching, Rollins came back today to resume his leadoff spot. But frankly, it appears that nothing has changed. Rollins still swung at bad pitches, very early in his at-bats and he had one shaky play in the field as well, missing a fairly routine ground ball that he normally would have snagged. J-Roll ended the game without a hit in 5 at-bats and looks no closer to waking up than he did a week ago. Has someone chained him down with Kryptonite? Or is this just a phase? A long, drawn-out, ridiculously bad phase… Only time will tell. However, the Phillies are nearing the half-way point of the season and time is a luxury they will not soon have.
Rollins Photo by Jenn
The Phillies wrapped up the series with the Blue Jays today and also ended interleague play for the year…finally! As usual, interleague play was not kind to the Phillies and most are happy it is over.
However, there were a few highlights, including JA Happ’s first career complete game shut-out yesterday. Happ allowed only 5 hits in the game and gave the bullpen a much needed rest. The Phillies offense found their bats after a spanking from manager Charlie Manuel in a closed door meeting, and the team racked up ten runs in the game for Happ. The very Happ-Y pitcher is now 5-0 on the season with a 3.00 ERA.
Today, the Phillies sent Jamie Moyer to the mound and he allowed 4 runs in 5 innings, including 3 home runs. After the 5th, Manuel decided to take advantage of his rested pen and sent Chan Ho Park in who pitched 2 scoreless, hitless innings. It is nice to see Park finally settling into his role and feeling good after getting hit with a batted ball two days ago.
With the Phillies up 5-4 in the 8th, Ryan Madson was set up to have an easy inning; he got the first out, Scott Rolen hit a single, but then a routine double play ball to Eric Bruntlett turned into a disaster. Bruntlett, filling in for Jimmy Rollins the last 3 days, dropped the ball leaving 2 runners on with only 1 out. Poor Madson was sweating by the time he got to the 3rd out, but he got there and Pedro Feliz snagged a pop-up to end the threat.
Brad Lidge came in to get the save and, as usual, it was an adventure. A bunt single, then a walk and hearts were racing again. But Lidge got a pop-out, another out on a run down and finally capped it off with Bruntlett snagging a grounder and tossing to Ryan Howard for the final out. Whew! Finally…a series win. Time to exhale…
Iron Pigs (AAA)
Yesterday, I attended an Iron Pigs game and saw Drew Carpenter pitch. Carpenter has been a highly touted player in the minors and he did pitch a shut-out through 8 innings. However, his fastball tops out at around 80mph (or at least it did last night). Solid pitcher, but I am not sure the Phillies need another Jamie Moyer in the rotation. Carlos Carassco and Kyle Drabek (AA) may still be possibilities to fill the hole left by Brett Myers. Going outside the organization to get an experienced arm would be much better, but there are still very few pitchers available. We shall see…
Mike Cervenak (photo) is doing very well after suffering a broken wrist last month; he was 2 for 5 in the game and is batting .313. Mike Spidale (OF) led the pack with 3 hits and is batting .353; and Lou Marson (C) has been doing better of late – he had 2 hits and 2 RBI last night.
Here is a PHOTO ALBUM from the Iron Pigs game, including shots from the fireworks show afterwards and even a 3-D fireworks shot! I held the camera up to the 3-D glasses and it actually worked…check it out!
The Phillies have the day off tomorrow to travel to Atlanta for a 3 game series before returning home on July 3rd to face the Mets. Joe Blanton will pitch on Tuesday; game time is 7:00pm.
Photos by Jenn