Remember back on Friday night when the Phillies pounded the Mets to the tune of 13 runs? Remember all those hits and homers? Ah, memories…
Now back to reality…and reality has hit the Phillies hard this weekend as they dropped 2 games out of 3 to the Mets. Saturday’s game was winnable, but Cole Hamels floundered again and the offense blew many opportunities. Sunday’s game was an utter disaster that marked the Phillies 9th time being shut-out this year.
Pitcher Cliff Lee was, once again, killed by the long ball. The 5 Mets’ runs came off 2 homers and both were hit with 2 outs in the inning. With All-Star game starter Matt Harvey on the mound for the Mets, Lee did not stand a chance unless he controlled the long ball, which he did not.
The Phillies offense was just as awful; they managed only 3 hits off Harvey and piled up 12 strikeouts. Domonic Brown got the Golden Sombrero with 4 K’s in the game. Was it not just 2 days ago this team scored 13 runs? After their performance on Sunday, you would never imagine this was the same group of guys.
Granted, Harvey is one of the best pitchers in the game right now. But the 12 K’s tells you that the Phillies could not even manage to make contact with the ball. Zero walks then equals zero patience at the plate as well. It was just plain ugly.
And now the Phillies are once again in limbo as management decides whether or not they have any shot at all at making the playoffs. Personally, I do not see it happening. This team has lacked consistency all season long; they have too many injuries and no sense of urgency. But since both the Braves and the Nationals went cold this weekend as well, the Phillies did not lose or gain any ground in the division. And that will make the decision to buy or sell before the trade deadline even more difficult.
Then again, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may already have made up his mind after this weekend’s performance. And certainly no one can blame him if he goes into sell-mode. This team has not given anyone any real reason to hope, especially after their 2 best pitchers bombed on back-to-back nights.
The Phillies are off today before starting a 3-game series with the Cardinals on Tuesday. The Cards have the best record in the majors…and that is not good news for the Phillies.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
It was a very weird weekend for the Phillies heading into the All-Star break today. Sunday’s game commenced a 3-game series with the White Sox that included a postponed game turned into a doubleheader, during which another rain delay occurred. All 3 games went extra-innings, with the teams playing 24 innings total in one day; each game on Saturday lasted exactly 3 hours, 53 minutes, excluding the 41 minute rain delay. In the midst of all that, Ben Revere broke his foot by fouling a ball off it; he will be out for about 6-8 weeks. Very sad news for the Phillies :O(
Sunday’s game went 10 innings, 3 hours and 26 minutes. Jonathan Papelbon blew his 5th save of the year in this one, denying Cole Hamels yet another win. But Hamels pitched very well, allowing just 2 runs over 8 innings, which is what kept the Phillies in line for the win.
The offense started strong, but sputtered again later in the game, which has become a pattern with this team. Still, they managed enough runs to get by. Hamels, in addition to pitching well, led the team in hits with two; he also had a fabulous sacrifice bunt and a crucial RBI in the 4th inning.
The defense was a bit better on Sunday, although Chase Utley still had a blunder. Luckily, no damage was done.
The only real damage was Papelbon’s blown save. However, his teammates got him off the hook. Utley redeemed his previous fielding error by leading off the 10th inning with a double. And John Mayberry Jr., getting playing time since Revere is on the DL, singled the winning run in for a 4-3 victory.
Prior to the game, the Phillies All-Star’s, Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown, got their jerseys:
This win was a nice way to send them off to New York and finally put the Phillies at the .500 mark.
The Phils are now 6.5 games out of 1st place and a half-game behind the 2nd place Nationals. But whether or not they can make a run at the playoffs still seems like a long shot after watching their struggles against a last place White Sox team this weekend.
In 3 games, they left 25 men on base and went 6-for-28 with runners in scoring position. In Saturday’s 1st game loss, the Sox practically handed the game to them. But with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs in the 9th, they failed to score. That just cannot happen. Similar situations played out in the 10th and 11th innings with the same result. It was gut-wrenching; very difficult to watch.
Now with Revere gone and the bullpen situation still tenuous, there is no way to know how the 2nd half will play out, but the odds are certainly stacked against the Phillies.
While we all wait and see, here is the Photo Album from Sunday’s game. Enjoy!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
This has been an awful year for Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. Predicted by many to be a Cy Young candidate this year, Hamels has gone in the exact opposite direction. After last night’s game, Hamels has a 2-11 record with a dismal 4.58 ERA. He allowed 5 runs (4 earned) in 6 innings; luckily, the rest of the team picked him up in a 13-inning 7-5 win.
The Padres are a mediocre team who committed 3 errors in this game, so please excuse me if I am not doing cartwheels after this win. There were a number of positives, though. First, we finally got a glimpse of what Delmon Young is capable of offensively. He drove in 2 runs with a homer to tie the game in the 8th inning. Defensively, he is still awful and had the only Phillies error in the game.
And then there is the bullpen to consider. This group of youngsters has been terrible most of the year. But last night, 5 guys combined to pitch 7 scoreless innings. It was a small miracle. Even Jonathan Papelbon finally got back on the horse after blowing 4 of his last 5 save opportunities; he held the Padres down in the 13th inning for his 15th save of the year.
But the Padres basically handed this win to the Phillies. The 2 runs scored in the 13th inning were a direct result of Padres’ 2nd baseman Logan Forsythe bobbling a Ben Revere grounder. So thank you, Padres! The Phillies were really in need of a boost heading into a 4-game series with the Dodgers.
Game time tonight is 10:10pm EST. Jonathan Pettibone will pitch.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies looked like a shell of a team last night against the Miami Marlins, who are possibly the worst team in all of baseball. Leave it to the Phillies to make them look like All-Stars. Ugh.
When Domonic Brown smacked a home run in the second innings, it looked like the Phils might have carried over some momentum from Sunday’s dramatic walk-off win. But that was the end of the momentum and the beginning of Spit-Gate.
Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia entered Monday’s game with a dismal 5.00 ERA and a 2-6 record. After the Brown homer, Sanabia apparently thought some cheating was in order. He was caught on camera spitting on the ball and did not make any attempt to hide it.
First of all, this is just gross. It is also against MLB rules. But did it really affect the Phillies hitters? Probably not too much…they have basically sucked all season long. However, it did add insult to injury in this very unsettling loss.
Even Cole Hamels could not hide his emotions as he slammed his glove around on the Phillies bench after his outing. And after the game, he did not speak to reporters. I believe Hamels is feeling the same frustration we all are; specifically, WHY can’t this team score runs?! Poor Hamels is now 1-7 on the season. Last year, he had 6 losses for the entire season…already this year, not even half way through the season, he has that total beat.
Two runs allowed in 6 innings should get you a win…unless you are on the Phillies, apparently. Making matters worse, this team is now riddled with injuries. Carlos Ruiz came back after his suspension to play only 16 games before being put on the DL with a strained hamstring. Mike Adams is on the DL with a bad back. John Lannan is still on the DL with no expected return date being reported. And now Ryan Howard has sat out 2 games in a row with a sore knee and possible a torn meniscus.
And at least half of the bullpen may as well be injured; they might actually pitch better. Because our healthy pen cannot stop runs from scoring. Phillippe Aumont gave up 2 more runs last night and has a 4.15 ERA, plus many inherited runners have scored on him. Pretty much everyone in the pen is guilty of that too. And check out some of the other ERA’s: Chad Durbin, 8.10; Jeremy Horst, 5.09; BJ Rosenberg, 20.25 (1 game). Yikes!
As all the crap keeps piling up on this team, it is going to be harder and harder for them to dig their way out of the heap. And I do not want to hear anyone else talk about how it is still early in the season. As far as I am concerned, it is never too early to play winning baseball. And thus far, this team has not shown they can do that.
Game time tonight is 7:10pm; Tyler Cloyd will pitch.
Photo via NBC Sports
Perhaps it is fitting that Cole Hamels did not get his first win of the season until the day Carlos Ruiz returned from a 25-game suspension. Throughout the weekend, the Phillies suddenly began to show signs of life. Maybe a lot of that had to do with the anticipation of Chooch’s return.
After losing 3 of 4 to the Pirates, the Phils proceeded to storm New York and sweep the Mets in 3 games. Kyle Kendrick shut them out on Friday and Jonathan Pettibone collected his first major league win on Saturday. Then Sunday afternoon, Hamels held the Mets to 1 run to complete the sweep.
While Ruiz did not have a huge impact on the game, going 1 for 4, his mere presence did seem to have everyone in high spirits. The game was tied 1-1 going into the 7th; in previous games, this lack of offense would have had the entire team tied up in knots, pressing at the plate. But today, everyone was a little more relaxed.
That 7th inning was the key; Laynce Nix came through again as a pinch-hitter with a 2-out single and Jimmy Rollins followed with a single of his own. Then Ryan Howard, who did not start the game, smacked a 2-run, pinch-hit double to put the Phillies on top. Chase Utley singled to score Howard and add to the lead.
Even the bullpen finally looked normal. Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a scoreless inning to nail down the 5-1 win. This is the team we have all been waiting to see. The question is, can they keep the momentum going?
Monday is an off day and Tuesday, the Phillies will be in Cleveland to take on the Indians at 7:05pm.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
On Monday night, Phillies rookie Jonathan Pettibone made his major league debut against the Pirates. He went 5.1 innings and allowed only 2 runs after a fairly shaky start and some good defense. The Phillies offense put up 3 runs for the rookie, but two of those runs came from a wild pitch and a hit batter.
The lack of offense took another turn for the worse on Tuesday night. Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing 2 runs over 8 innings. But his teammates did nothing to help him. As a result of the 0-2 loss, Hamels still does not have a win this year. This is exactly what happened to Cliff Lee last year, who ended the season with only 6 wins, despite his 3.16 ERA.
There were only 4 hits for the Phillies last night. Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke had them all tied up in knots that they could not untangle. Sadly, it was a total Locke-Down.
For example, in the 4th inning, John Mayberry Jr. led off with a triple. Still, the Phillies managed to squander that opportunity as well. Not scoring a runner from 3rd with no outs to start the inning is ridiculous. But that has been the story of the Phillies offense for a number of years now, and it does not appear it will change anytime soon.
These guys get anxious at the plate, swing at bad pitches and watch good ones fly past them. There is no discipline at all.
Think about that 4th inning again. With no outs, Mayberry stood at 3rd and Domonic Brown on first after being hit by a pitch. Locke was getting wild and losing his command. So the only thing Ben Revere needed to do was not pop out or hit the ball the 3rd base side of the infield. Even a double play would have scored the run with Mayberry going on contact. So what does Revere do? He swings at the first pitch and hits the ball to third; Mayberry is thrown out at the plate.
This is not Mayberry’s fault either…Ryne Sandberg told him to go on contact which was verified by manager Charlie Manual after the game. As for Revere, remember he is only 24 years old. Clearly, he still has a lot to learn. But the same excuse cannot be made for the rest of the team. This is a very experienced ball club. Yet they continue to approach at-bats like frightened rookies.
When the only relief of the night is seeing bench player Laynce Nix step to the plate, something is very, very wrong.
The Phillies hired not one, but two new hitting coaches this season in an effort to improve the offense. And even though both Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner have gotten rave reviews from the players, nothing changes once a guy steps to the plate. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Apparently not.
Pretty soon they will have a big offensive day again and the critics will be silent until the next several games when the bats go back to sleep again. This has become a pattern. They give us a small bit of hope, and just like that, the hope is squashed the very next day. I am seriously beginning to wonder if this is fixable.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait and see. Roy Halladay will pitch tonight; game time is 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In 2012, the Phillies faced Reds pitcher Mike Leake twice and destroyed him to the tune of 13 runs. He had an overall ERA against the Phils of 17.55. Ouch. But last night, this team sprung Leake from his Phillies prison, allowing him to mow them down one hitter after another.
Ah, sweet freedom for Mr. Leake. He must be quite relieved this morning.
On the exact opposite side, the Phillies probably got little sleep due to nightmares. Some people have nightmares about standing naked in a crowd. The Phillies are probably having nightmares about standing at home plate without a bat. They may as well have been standing there without one if they were never going to use it.
And that pretty much describes this entire 6-game road trip which went down in flames after getting swept in 3-games by the Reds. They scored only 10 runs in all 6 games and came away with just 2 wins, both against the Marlins.
Granted, it is very, very early in the season. The Phillies have time to make up ground, however, these are very serious issues. At some point, one has to question whether or not this team is capable of more. But we will not really know until we see the whole team together as it was meant to be; that means when Carlos Ruiz returns and we also finally see what Delmon Young has to offer. Ruiz cannot return due to suspension until April 28th. And Young is still on the DL, although he has been participating in extended Spring Training games.
To make matters worse, Domonic Brown left the game early with a sore back; he will have an MRI today. And John Lannan, who got pounded for 6 runs in 1.2 innings last night, complained of a sore knee after the game. His status is unknown.
Do not be surprised if manager Charlie Manual decides to shake up the line-up tonight against the Cardinals. And say a prayer that Cole Hamels can get his first win of the season; although, he may need a little offense to get that done. *Sigh.*
Game time is 7:05pm.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography