Over the last several years, manufacturing runs and playing small ball has not been the Phillies forte. Predominantly a power hitting line-up, they are suffering from a major power outage with both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley on the DL. But a little small ball tonight helped them crank out some runs to beat the Mets.
In the 3rd inning, Jimmy Rollins singled and then stole both second and third bases with 2 outs in the inning. Shane Victorino doubled to drive Rollins home for their first run of the game. It was Victorino again in the 5th who singled with two outs and stole second. Placido Polanco singled to send Victorino home. Then in the 6th, Jayson Werth led off with a triple and Carlos Ruiz singled him in.
Both Werth and Victorino had a multiple hit night; 2 for Werth and 3 for Victorino. Polanco was hit by a pitch in the hand early in the game but kept playing. Nothing else was said about it so hopefully, he is fine. Although, at the time, it looked painful.
Kyle Kendrick started the game for the Phils and went 6 2/3 innings allowing just one run; it was a home run from Jose Reyes. Kendrick walked only one batter and struck out 4. His last time out, Kendrick allowed 5 runs in only 3 1/3 innings, so this was a great improvement.
With a 3-1 lead, Ryan Madson pitched the 8th without allowing a run. And then Brad Lidge, who has never blown a save against the Mets in his career, came in for the 9th. Lidge kept that streak alive by retiring the Mets in order. The Phillies are now tied for the Wild Card lead and 2 games behind the Braves in the NL East.
In injury news, it appears that Utley may be back with the team as early as Tuesday after having surgery on his thumb for a torn ligament on July 1. He is already playing in rehab games in Clearwater. If Utley does return that soon, we can officially dub him Superman. Either that, or World’s Fastest Healer. Howard may also be back around the same time. That will be a huge boost for the Phillies!
The Phillies have a day off tomorrow before the Giants come to town for a 3-game series starting on Tuesday. If all goes according to plan, I should be at all three games. As usual, I shall return with photos :O)
Pelfrey photo from AP; Werth photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
For the second consecutive night, the first hit of the game for the Phillies came off the bat of the starting pitcher. Unlike last night, that hit by Roy Halladay was not the only hit of the night. Singles by Jimmy Rollins and then Placido Polanco scored Halladay, marking the first run in 38 2/3 innings for the Phillies at Citi Field in NY.
Halladay was on fire tonight. His dominance was very evident in the 4th inning when, after allowing a lead-off triple to Jose Reyes, Halladay buckled down and got the next 3 batters out without allowing Reyes to score. Halladay went 8 innings, allowing only 4 hits, no walks and he struck out 7.
And although the Phillies offense is still not quite clicking in NY, the Mets defense gave them a much needed boost. I was so moved by their play, I just had to write a love letter in their honor:
Dear Mets Defense,
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your efforts tonight. Those three errors and three unearned runs for the Phillies truly exceeded my expectations.
Watching an easy grounder dribble through the legs of All-Star third baseman David Wright was inspiring. I nearly shed a happy tear.
Though you may sometimes feel underappreciated, do not fret. We, the Phillies fans, are very thankful for your hard work and dedication to mediocrity. And if you can repeat the same performance tomorrow night as well, I promise to be your best friend…for at least one day.
Don’t you feel all warm and fuzzy inside now? I know I do.
So last night the Mets shut out the Phillies; tonight, the Phillies returned the favor with a 4-0 win behind the arm of Halladay. The final game of this series with the Mets is tomorrow night at 8:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Last Sunday, the Phillies handled the Mets knuckleballer, RA Dickey, scoring 4 runs. But tonight, Friday the 13th, the Phillies went hitless through 5 innings.
Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels had to break up the no-hitter himself in the 6th inning with a single, since none of his teammates were helping out.
Hamels certainly had a very strange night. In the 4th inning, he was hit in the leg with a line drive but appears to be okay. The next inning, Mike Hessman hit a long fly ball to left field that was called a home run. Raul Ibanez jumped up and down trying to signal to the umpire that a fan reached over the wall and interfered. Upon review, the homer was retracted but Hessman was awarded third base. This is guy who does not run well and the ball dropped close to Ibanez. How exactly the ump determined he would have had a triple is beyond me.
But it did not matter anyway; Hamels struck out the next 2 batters and got Dickey to ground out to end the inning. So the Mets left a runner on third with no outs thanks to the effort by Hamels. Then in the 6th inning, Hamels had two quick outs when David Wright hit a long fly ball to center. Shane Victorino misjudged the ball and it bounced over his head for a double. The inning should have been over; instead, the Mets scored a run after Carlos Beltran doubled next.
Through 8 innings, Hamels only allowed that one run while striking out 8 batters. He was spectacular.
The offense, on the other hand, was not so spectacular. By the 8th, they still had only ONE hit off Dickey; the single by Hamels. This poor guy has gotten NO support from the offense all year long.
The 9th inning was no different; Dickey pitched a one hit shut-out with the only hit allowed coming from the opposing pitcher. The Phillies are now scoreless at Citi Field for 36 straight innings. It was also their 10th time being shut-out this year. Disgusting.
The Phillies will attempt to score a run again tomorrow; game time is 7:10pm.
Dickey photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After the oddities involved in yesterday’s Phillies-Mets match-up, including a game-ending unassisted triple play, the circus act continued into the beginning of today’s game. Yesterday, the Phillies hit two 3-run homers in the first inning; today, they only managed one 3-run homer in the first inning, but still an amazing feat. Ryan Howard provided the power after Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch and Chase Utley walked. Victorino also stole second and then wound up on third base after a throwing error that same inning, leaving the Mets looking like a pack of clowns.
But the spectacle got even weirder in the bottom half of the 1st; Chase Utley must have taken up juggling in his spare time, because that is exactly what he did with a routine pop-up from the first hitter for the Mets, Angel Pagan. Utley dropped the ball as Pagan sped around the bases and then proceeded to join the Mets clown troop by throwing the ball away into left field. The double error allowed Pagan to round the bases and score. Pagan is the same Met who wound up with an inside-the-park homer in the 1st inning of yesterday’s game after Victorino became confused over the Citi Field ground rules and did not field a ball that got stuck under the outfield wall padding.
Next, Jayson Werth put on his clown suit as he over ran a ball to right field, stumbled around trying to catch it on a hop and looked absolutely ridiculous doing it. Gary Sheffield wound up with a triple and eventually scored. And this was only the 1st inning.
Oh yes, the circus has indeed come to town. But Sheffield, despite his triple, was next in line to receive his badge of silliness as in the 2nd inning, he too dropped a routine pop-up which came off the bat of Phillies catcher, Paul Bako.
But after the 2nd inning, things began to calm down and Cliff Lee was amazing, yet again. Ignoring the shoddy defense at the start of the game, he buckled down and pitch 7 solid innings, allowing 6 hits and NO earned runs. Both Mets runs were unearned due to the Utley errors. Lee is now 5-0 as a Phillie and has yet to even walk a batter! Lee is the anti-clown; just amazing.
Howard hit another homer (say that 5 times fast) in the 3rd inning and the 2-run shot plus the 3-run shot earlier was all the offense Lee needed to notch the win. But just for fun, Raul Ibanez knocked in one more in the 9th inning on a double to left that scored Utley.
Chan Ho Park and Brad Lidge took the 8th and 9th inning respectively and shut down the Mets. Lidge looked good which is excellent news, especially considering he went into a non-save situation and still got the job done cleanly.
Player of the Week
Jayson Werth has been on fire! Whatever has been lit under his backside recently has earned him Player of the Week honors for the National League. Werth led the majors with 5 home runs and 29 total bases plus he hit .440 for the week. Today, he did not have a hit in the game, but did walk three times. Congrats to Jayson!
Eric “I am only hitting .158” Bruntlett has been asked to send his jersey to the Hall of Fame. Yesterday, Bruntlett turned an unassisted, game-ending triple play after a horrible start to the inning where he committed 1 official error and bobbled another ball that was eventually scored a hit. But redemption is sweet as Bruntlett not only saved the game, but he made history in the process.
This will actually be the 2nd item for Bruntlett in the Hall; last year, he donated his “Elmer Fudd” cold-weather, ear-flap cap from the World Series.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh to begin a 3-game series with the Pirates tomorrow. Joe Blanton will take the mound for the Phillies; game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn
If you missed this game, I pity you. Complete insanity. But let us begin at the beginning:
Going back to New York for the first time since leaving the Mets, Pedro Martinez had an eventful day on the mound.
However, his start on the mound was actually preceded by his first turn at the plate. The Phillies absolutely destroyed Mets starter Oliver Perez taking him deep twice in the 1st; both Jayson Werth’s and Carlos Ruiz’s homers scored 3 runs each. Down 6-0 with 2 outs, Perez had to face his old teammate and Martinez stood at the plate while Perez tossed three straight balls to him. With that 3-0 count, the Mets manager sprung from the dugout and took Perez out of the game mid-batter. To sum up the inning for Perez: total humiliation.
But the bottom of the 1st inning was no less eventful. The first batter of the game for the Mets hit what looked like a ground rule double to centerfield. As the ball jammed itself under the outfield padding, Shane Victorino threw his arms up in the air to tell the umpires that the ball was unplayable. Raul Ibanez saw that the umpires did not react and quickly snagged the ball and threw home, but the throw arrived too late and Angel Pagan wound up with an inside-the-park home run. Apparently, Victorino was unaware of the ground rules in the new Citi Field and balls stuck under the padding are still considered playable.
Both sides must have felt like they were entering the Twilight Zone after the weird start to the game. Martinez looked uncomfortable on the mound and was missing his spots badly. He allowed 4 runs in the first 3 innings but just when it looked like it was going to be a very bad day for him, Martinez settled in and pitched lights out for the next 3 innings. He was so good the last two innings, it looked like he might go out for the 7th, but Charlie Manuel decided to go to the bullpen. The Phillies are probably trying to continue to ease Martinez into longer outings little by little and did not want to risk an injury.
The Phillies scored a few more runs in the game and even Martinez helped himself to a hit and an RBI in the game. Victorino took a career high 3 walks in the game and Eric Bruntlett had 3 hits in a rare start at second base. But the insanity continued into the 9th inning and most of it had to do with Bruntlett.
Bruntlett hit a line drive to right field in the 9th and it was just barely caught by the outfielder; the umpire ruled he trapped the ball and it looked like Eric had a triple. But the Mets argued and the officials overturned the call; a call that, by the way, was NOT reviewable. Replays showed he did make the catch but he did not show the transfer from glove to hand to the umpire.
Then in the bottom of the ninth Brad Lidge took the mound and all hell broke loose. Ryan Howard missed a ball that rolled past him and gave the Mets a triple when it should have been the first out. The next batter hit the ball to Bruntlett who bobbled it for error #2; the run scored and still no outs. Daniel Murphy hit a single to make it 1st and 2nd, still no outs. And then the unbelievable happened; Jeff Francour, the same Met who caught the Bruntlett liner in the top of the 9th, hit a line drive to guess who? Eric Bruntlett. The runners were off on the pitch so Bruntlett caught the ball for one out, stepped on second for the next out and then tagged Murphy to complete the unassisted triple play! The unassisted triple play to END the game no less. OMG!
The announcers said that this was the first time ever that an unassisted triple play ended a game; but it is actually the 2nd time. Johnny Neun did it on 5/31/27 for the Tigers. But in all of baseball history, it was only the 15th time the unassisted triple play has ever happened. Two of those have now been completed by Phillies; Mickey Morandini did it on 9/20/92 for the Phils. You just saw history people; more rare than the no-hitter or even the perfect game; the unassisted triple play – AMAZING.
Photos by Jenn
No, this is not an April Fools joke. Reed Frazier, a Phillies fan who was working as a cameraman at the Mets new home, Citi Field, was told he could either remove his Phillies rain jacket or leave the building. Frazier, told by his boss to wear rain gear, did not see a problem with his jacket.
It wasn’t even a Mets game; it was the stadiums opening game with the Red Storm vs.
It wasn’t even a Mets game; it was the stadiums opening game with the Red Storm vs.Georgetown. Despite pleading his case that the jacket did not affect his job in anyway, he was still asked to leave.
Personally, I think he should sue for discrimination. If they were not going to provide him with a uniform or company rain gear, they had no right to tell him what logo he could and could not have on his jacket. Poor guy. Well, just let the Mets try to tell opposing fans who paid ridiculous prices for a ticket that they cannot come inside. In fact, I’d be happy to go to a Mets-Phillies game at Citi Field, dressed in all Phillies gear, just to see what would happen. But I am not going to pay more than 3x’s the price to see the Phils play in New York as compared with my ticket price in Philly. If anyone else would like to pay for me to go though, that’s fine :O) Just remember hospital bills may factor in… :O)
In other news, RHP Bobby Mosebach has been offered back to the Angels and they decided to take him. That leaves 3 relief pitchers and 2 spots to fill; JA Happ, Jack Taschner and Gary Majewski will battle for those spots. Happ pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief today against the Yankees and did not fair too well; he gave up 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. Happ may have difficulty adjusting to the pen as this is a role he is not used to. Taschner and Majewski each pitched a scoreless inning in yesterday’s rout of the Blue Jays.
I am still crossing my fingers and toes that Gary Sheffield does not land in Philly. There have been rumors about Andruw Jones as well, but again, this guy is also way past his prime. In 2007, Jones hit .222 and far worse in 2008 with an average of .158 as mostly a pinch hitter. The Phillies need a pinch hitter, but not one batting .158. We already have Miguel Cairo who has performed pretty well this Spring and can still play the field; he is also versatile and can play multiple positions. If it were up to me at this point, I would go with Cairo. You still have Matt Stairs for power and Greg Dobbs for, well, just about everything! Chris Coste can be use off the bench too.
But of course, nothing is up to me…Mr. Amaro needs to work it out. Unless he would like a consultant…if so, I am available. Call me ;O)
(Cario photo & graphic design by Jenn)
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