Tagged: Citizens Bank Park

Phillies Will Meet The Giants In The NLCS

The San Francisco Giants defeated the Braves last night to advance to the NLCS against the Phillies.  This match-up promises to be a hard-fought duel to the death between two great pitching staffs.  The season series between the two teams ended in a draw with 3 wins each out of 6 games.  These teams are very closely matched.

The real drama will unfold in Game 1 on Saturday when two Cy Young winners face off.  Tim Lincecum of the Giants has won the award the past two years and Roy Halladay of the Phils is the favorite to win the award this year.  Halladay already has won the award once before.


Halladay Lincecum.jpgIn 2010, Halladay finished the year with a 21-10 record and a miniscule 2.44 ERA.  Lincecum went 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA, a disappointing year by Lincecum standards.  But in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves, Lincecum pitched a complete game 2-hitter.  He was outdone only by Halladay who pitched a no-hitter in his postseason debut against the Reds.  A slight edge goes to Halladay with this match-up, but only by a hair.  The deciding factor is likely to be the offense of both teams.

Here are some stats for the last 5 years of Phillies batters vs. Lincecum and Giants batters vs. Halladay:

VS. Lincecum

AVG

AB

HR

RBI

Dobbs, Greg

.200

5

0

0

Gload, Ross

.400

5

0

0

Howard, Ryan

.250

16

2

4

Ibanez, Raul

.143

7

0

0

Polanco, Placido

.500

2

0

0

Rollins, Jimmy

.167

18

0

0

Ruiz, Carlos

.250

8

0

0

Schneider, Brian

.000

5

0

0

Utley, Chase

.118

17

1

1

Victorino, Shane

.222

18

1

2

Werth, Jayson

.500

6

1

1

 

VS. Halladay

AVG

AB

HR

RBI

Burrell, Pat

.333

18

0

1

Fontenot, Mike

.333

3

0

0

Huff, Aubrey

.238

42

0

2

Renteria, Edgar

.286

7

0

0

Ross, Cody

.250

4

0

1

Sanchez, Freddy

.333

3

0

0

Uribe, Juan

.167

12

0

0

 

For the Phillies, Jayson Werth and Placido Polanco have the best shot at rattling Lincecum.  And for the Giants, our old pal Pat Burrell has done well against Halladay in 18 at-bats.  However, several big guns for the Giants like Pablo Sandoval and rookie Buster Posey have never faced him.  So, there is no telling how they may fare.

Another possible factor in the game is the lengthy lay-off before the series begins.  However, both teams will be dormant for almost the same amount of time; the Phillies ended their NLDS on Sunday and the Giants ended on Monday.  The same concern was expressed back in 2008 and the Phils won the World Series that year.  Also, I think the time-off will be good for the Phils who have a lot of banged up players like Polanco with his bum elbow and Jimmy Rollins, who is still nursing a hamstring injury.

My biggest personal concern is the Phillies having to play 3 games in San Francisco.  They lost 2 of 3 there this year and 3 of 4 the year before, with their only win coming in Cliff Lee’s Phillies debut.  I was there for the entire series and can tell you, this team does not like playing in AT&T Park.  It is bitterly cold, windy, the ballpark is huge with odd dimensions and the bullpens are uncomfortably close to the field.  Not to mention the visitor’s clubhouse is cramped and awkward…I know; I have been in there.  In short, it is a hostile environment.


P9213064 Burrell2.jpgThe Phillies will need to use the home field advantage to jump on the Giants quickly.  Fans can help out by bringing their usual fervor and enthusiasm to the ballpark.  Feel free to give Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand their proper welcome back, but after that, all bets are off. 

Burrell should not be allowed to get too comfy coming back home because he can really hurt the Phillies; he loves hitting in Citizens Bank Park.  And yes, it pains me to think of heckling Burrell; he helped bring us the 2008 championship.  But fans need to suck it up and treat him like the enemy!  After the series, we can all give him a group hug to make up for it ;o)

 

 

Photo and head shots by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Disappointing Final Home Game For Phillies

My day at Citizens Bank Park for the Phillies final home game today against the Mets started off a bit dreary.  It was rainy and cold.  But soon after entering the park, two Phillies players walked right past me; Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr.  I said, “Hey Dom Brown!” and he said hello back and waved.  I then proceeded to follow them through the park.  They stopped at the first base gate and began handing out rally towels to fans coming through the turnstiles as part of the Fan Appreciation Day surprises.

0926 Brown Mayberry.jpg

Once the crowd died down and Brown looked bored, I asked an usher if I could go up close and take a photo.  He said I could so I walked over, said hi and asked Brown to take a photo with me. 
DSCF6710.JPG
I held up the camera and pushed the button; as I did, two security guards started yelling at me to stop and go away.  I turned my head to see what they were yelling about and the shot to the right is the result.  Well, at least we are both in it…lol  I thanked Dom as I ran off before I got yelled at some more.

So while that was fun, the rest of the day was not.  Cole Hamels did not pitch well and allowed 5 runs over only 4 innings while looking visibly frustrated at both himself and many of the umpires’ ball-strike calls.  As a result, there were a lot of pitchers used in the game, including rookie Vance Worley who pitched a scoreless inning:

0926 pitching.jpg

Down 5-0 in the 5th, things look grim for the Phillies who were getting beat by a very average pitcher in Pat Misch.  They finally scored when Chase Utley smashed a 3-run homer.  But that was the only highlight of the game as the Phillies went on to leave 9 men on base and were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

0926 offense.jpg

Defensively, they did at least embarrass Jose Reyes one more time.  In all 3 games this series, Reyes was picked off base.  Today, he was thrown out at home and also caught stealing third base; Shane Victorino got the assist on the out at home.  The Phillies defense also turned one double play while Carlos Ruiz hit into a double play to end a scoring threat in the 4th.

0926 defense.jpg

This loss was disappointing on many levels.  First, the Braves lost which means, had the Phillies won, they could have clinched the NL East at home and the fans, myself included, would have been able to participate in the celebration. 


P9261856Q.jpgAlso, it was Fan Appreciation Day which means after the game, the players traditionally would toss t-shirts and signed Nerf-like balls into the stands.  But since they lost, they all went to the clubhouse instead of thanking the fans who stayed to the end.  The ball girls were left to handle the duty.  As the bullpen members walked in, a few of them, like Brad Lidge and JC Romero, stopped and helped out the ball girls, which was nice.  But overall, it was a very disappointing day and a letdown for the fans.

The good news is, the magic number is now just ONE.  So the Phillies only need one more win or one more Braves loss to clinch.  Right now, the worst they can do it tie with the Braves for the NL East title. 

The Phillies go to DC now for 3 games against the Nats; tomorrow’s game time is 7:05pm and Roy Halladay will pitch.  Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

 

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 Cannot Pull Off A Sweep Against The Giants

Well, it was nice thought, but ultimately, the Phillies could not sweep the Giants tonight.  When the game started off with Cole Hamels giving up 3 runs in the first inning, some thought that maybe this was just the starting pitchers new style.  Both pitchers in the first two games of the series gave up first inning runs too, but the Phillies came back to win those games.  Not tonight…

Hamels looked about as bad as we have seen him.  He lasted only 5 innings, allowed 5 runs and looked like his pitch control was on vacation for the day.  Knowing that he has gotten little to no run support this year, giving up 3 runs in the first must have seemed like an insurmountable hole from which Hamels could not climb out.

0819 Hamels.jpg

On the other side, Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez wiped the infield dirt with Phillies batters.  He allowed only 2 hit in 8 innings of work and both hits came off the bat of Shane Victorino, who also played well on defense. 
0819 Victorino.jpg

No one else could touch him.  Knowing that Sanchez leads the leagues in walks issued, one might think the Phillies batters would have been patient at the plate.  But many players swung early and swung often…at bad pitches.  Thus, 2 hits in 8 innings.

The offense did attempt a 9th inning rally, something that has been common with the Phillies lately.  But although Mike Sweeney knocked in 2 runs to avoid the shut-out, the rally ended there and the Phils took the 5-2 loss.  Here are a few more shots from the game:

0819 action.jpg

The Braves lost today as well so the Phillies still sit 2.5 games back in the NL East and lead the Wild Card race over the Giants by 1 game.  A 3-game series with the Nationals starts tomorrow at 7:05pm.

Here are the full Photo Albums from the last 2 Giants games as promised:  August 18, 2010 and August 19, 2010.

And as a side note, today’s game marked the 100th consecutive sell-out at Citizens Bank Park.  Manager Charlie Manuel came out before the game to speak to the crowd and thank the fans for their support.  After that, the players waved and tipped their caps to the crowd.  The 45,449 people in attendance also marked the largest crowd of the 2010 season so far.

0819 Manuel.jpg

Phillies, you are welcome :O)

 

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 Survive Near Tornado To Sweep Indians

Early in the final game of the Phillies – Indians series today, things got very, very weird.  And just when you thought it could get any stranger, a gigantic storm, which looked like a hurricane and tornado all in one, hit the stadium in the 8th inning.

But early in the 2nd inning, many already thought that this game was going to resemble an episode of The Twilight Zone.  3 straight singles loaded the bases and then Dane Sardinha hit a grounder to third base.  The catcher missed the throw to home plate and 2 runs scored.  Next, the Phillies pitcher, Joe Blanton, got hit with a pitch. 

The oddities continued as Shane Victorino was called out for going out of the baseline on his way to first base.  Charlie Manuel was so angry over the call, he got himself thrown out.  Blanton was later allowed by the Indians centerfielder to tag up at third and score, even though Blanton did not move until he realized the fielder was paying him no mind.  And the Indians left fielder was almost injured badly when he ran for a foul ball and smashed leg first into the wall.  As he bounced around, his head hit the wall next and he then began wandering around the field like he did not know where he was.


P6203445 Sardinha.jpgSo to recap the 2nd inning; 5 runs scored on 4 hits, an official error, a mental error and 2 sacrifices plus, the manager is ejected, the Phils pitcher is hit with a pitch and a freak injury.  Could this game get any weirder…oh yes, it can…

The Phillies went on a hitting spree after that, scoring 7 more runs.  Placido Polanco had 4 hits and 2 RBI; both Chase Utley and Jayson Werth had 3 hits each and Wilson Valdez had 2 hits.  The only position player to go hitless was Ryan Howard, although he did collect an RBI.  And Sardinha, in his first start as a Phillie, hit his first major league home run in the 6th inning.

In light of the recent offensive woes, the hitting spree was a nice surprise.  But it was by far the biggest surprise of the day.  With 2 outs in the 8th inning, Mother Nature paid an unpleasant visit to Citizens Bank Park.  The rain poured down in buckets and the wind made things begin to swirl wildly in a circular motion, like a tornado.  The tarp was half-way whipped up off the field, taking a field vehicle with it!  The car was supposed to be holding the tarp down, but the winds were so strong it moved the car!  Check out the video from CSN Philly.  I have never seen anything like this…ever:

http://www.csnphilly.com/common/CSN/csnphi/csnphiembedplayer.swf

 

Here is another good one shot by a fan, which gives a really good view of the car being moved around:

 

So the rain delay lasted for an hour and 37 minutes with the Phillies in the lead by a score of 12-3.  They came back and finished the game…nothing changed.  The Phillies sweep the Tribe in 3 games.  Blanton had a good game, going 7 2/3 before the storm hit and allowing just 3 runs on 6 hits.  Nelson Figueroa was called up from AAA and pitched a scoreless 9th.  Figueroa takes Chad Durbin’s place as he is now on the DL with a strained hamstring.

Starting tomorrow night, the relocated series with the Blue Jays will begin.  It was supposed to be in Toronto, but had to be moved to Philly for security reasons related to the G20 Summit.  So the Jays will be the home team in Philly for 3 games.  Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm.

Do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:

Chase Utley    Ryan Howard    Raul Ibanez    Placido Polanco

Carlos Ruiz    Jayson Werth    Shane Victorino    Jimmy Rollins

Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

 

Offense Wakes-Up; Moyer Amazes Again


Wake up call.jpgAfter a long, drawn-out slump, the Phillies offense was in need of a serious wake-up call.  After wasting a lead-off triple by Shane Victorino in the 1st inning, the Phillies found themselves down 2-0 in the 3rd against the Padres.  But Victorino did not give up and started the 3rd off with a single.  Three more hits followed as did 4 runs in the inning.  Wake-up call: received.

Fueled by the strong performance of Jamie Moyer and some really nice defense, two more runs followed in the 5th on a Ryan Howard single and a Jayson Werth homer.  The bell at Citizens Bank Park in centerfield finally had some of the rust knocked off it as it rang with enthusiasm for the Werth home run.


Howard SMan.jpgHoward helped out at first base by snagging balls that were all over the place.  He looked like Spiderman, shooting webs to snare hits that should have shot past him and he dug several low throws out of the dirt to make outs.  One of those throws was from Chase Utley who was literally falling to the ground as he threw the ball after a very tough catch and spin towards first.

Moyer kept right on pitching with confidence…and a 4 run lead.  By the end of the 8th inning, he had tossed only 82 pitched, allowed 7 hits and just 2 runs.  So Moyer came out for the 9th inning and, despite a lead-off walk, he got the next 3 batters out and ended up with a complete game win.  Moyer became only the 3rd pitcher ever to win 100 games after the age of 40.  He also has 2 complete games at the age of 47.  Jamie Moyer is unbelievable.

After a horrific road trip, can the Phillies now come back home and continue winning?  It looks possible after today’s game.  The pressure will be on Joe Blanton tomorrow afternoon in the 3rd game of the series; game time is 1:35pm.  Go Phillies!

 

Howard head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

To Taser Or Not To Taser

Shakespeare would have loved this dilemma.  After last night’s on-field incident at the Phillies – Cardinals game, the use of a Taser Gun on unruly fans is being questioned.  Steve Consalvi, 17, is a senior at Boyertown High who made a very bad decision.  He jumped onto the field in the middle of the game and ran around while waving a towel.  Here is the video:

The prank was pre-meditated as Consalvi consulted both friends and family members before committing the act.  In other words, he knew exactly what he was doing and therefore should have been prepared for the consequences.

And while those consequences may not previously have involved taser guns, my feeling is, if you play with fire, you are going to get burned.  Many people around the Philly area are whining about excessive force.  Get over it.  Whether the person is 17 or 45 years old should not make a difference.  How were they supposed to know his age anyway?  The officer and Phillies staff had no way of knowing this person’s age or intentions and as such, he was a threat to the players and everyone involved.

If that were my very own teenage child who did that, I’d still vote to taser him.  Then again, my child would never act this way; he has been raised properly.  As both a parent and a high school teacher, I can tell you that the major problem with kids these days is a lack of discipline and/or total parental disinterest.    Hopefully, this will be an important lesson learned for Mr Consalvi.

And maybe now people will think twice before attempting to make total fools out of themselves in Citizens Bank Park.  Heck, if they vote to give tasers to the ushers too in order to control all the drunk idiots who are making descent fans lives miserable, I am all for that as well.  It is time to grow a pair and stop babying America’s idiots!  If we all considered the consequences of our actions before doing something stupid, the world would be a much more peaceful place, even with the taser guns.

You do not have to agree with me, of course.  But watch your back; I have an entire arsenal of witty words directly at my disposal and I am not afraid to use them ;o)

Lee Is Mortal; Offense Still Missing

Cliff Lee had his first rough outing in a Phillies uniform last night against the Braves.  Allowing 6 runs on 10 hits over only 5 innings, it does appear that Lee is not Superman after all.  But no one expects him to be; every pitcher is bound to have a rough outing now and again.

The concerning part of the game was not Lee’s pitching, but the continued lack of offense from the Phillies bats.  The slump has gone on way too long and is beginning to raise eyebrows.  The Phillies left the bases loaded twice without score, the worst of which came in the 7th inning, when with no outs, both Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth struck out and then Raul Ibanez flied out to left.  Leaving the bases loaded with no outs is simply unacceptable, especially for a team who prides themselves on their big offense. 

Where has that offense gone?  Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins were the only two Phillies who seemed interested in participating last night; Utley smashed a solo home run the first inning and ended up hitting 3 for 4 in the game.  Rollins went 2 for 4 but no one was able to score him.  And Howard, who looked unbeatable the game before, appeared to be swinging at grains of rice last night.  Put out an APB on the Phillies bats, quick!  Clearly, we have been robbed.  The criminal who has perpetrated this heinous act must be caught and locked up for good!  The Phillies simply cannot perform without that offense!stealing bats copy.jpg

I will put my investigative skills to use tonight as I wander through Citizens Bank Park searching for the perpetrator.  Once I find him, I promise to show no mercy!  And if that doesn’t work, I guess I may have to jump onto the field and smack some sense into these guys once and for all!  Wish me luck…

 

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