The Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, collected his 500th victory for the team today with a 4-game sweep of the Rockies. Only two other Phils managers since 1900 have more wins: Gene Mauch, 645 and Danny Ozark, 594.
The game did not start well as pitcher Joe Blanton quickly gave up 2 runs in the first innings to the anxious Rockies who were hoping to salvage one game in this series. But, despite a few walks, Blanton was sharp after the 1st and wound up going 6 innings.
The Phillies offense got them back into the game quickly, which was also a huge help. In order, Ross Gload singled, Greg Dobbs doubled and Brian Schneider tripled. All that was missing was a home run. Instead of the homer, Blanton reached first on a missed catch by Jason Giambi at first.
But then Jimmy Rollins batted and wound up fouling a ball off his foot, sending him to the ground in pain. He limped through the rest of the game and afterwards had an X-Ray. There was no break; he just has a bruise. However, it is still unknown how long he may have to rest his foot before playing again. Here is the sequence, with a nice moment of sportsmanship too:
Things got quiet for a while after that until the Phillies scored 2 more runs in the 6th. Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each hit RBI-singles to extend the lead. But many players contributed to the offense today, especially Schneider, with the huge triple in the 2nd and he also walked and scored in the 6th. Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 and Polanco had 2 hits as well. Here are a few shot from the game:
There was some great defense and really amazing efforts on tough plays also:
And then came the heart-stopping 9th inning. You know when I mention heart attacks, Brad Lidge must somehow be involved, right? Well he sure was. It started with a double, but Lidge got two outs after that. With just one out to go, ahead of the batter in the count, Lidge grooved a fastball right over the plate which Seth Smith hammered for a 2-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-4. Two walks and a single later and the bases were loaded…again…just like the day before. But Lidge finally got a ground ball, which he fielded himself for the final out.
While Lidge is totally on my last nerve with these cardiac episode inducing outings, what is the alternative? Do we need a new closer? Probably. But has anyone else in the pen proved they can handle the job? No. This is the proverbial rock and a hard place. Others have tried to close and failed, like Ryan Madson, for example. So sadly, it looks like we are stuck with Lidge for now.
As for the recent trade rumors, Dan Haren went to the Angels so it looks like Roy Oswalt is the final option for the Phils to pick up a starter. But as I talked about on yesterday’s Fightin’ Phillies podcast, Oswalt does not seem interested in coming here and with the no-trade clause, he has final say. But do we really want a guy who is scared of the media and shies away from pressure? I know I don’t. It will be interesting to see if anything happens before the trade deadline.
In the meantime, feel free to check out the Photo Album from today’s game. Thanks to my friend, Audrea, I was in one of the business suites today, which are very, very nice. I put a few photos of that in the album as well.
The D-Backs come to town tomorrow. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
After four amazing starts for his new team, all of Philadelphia is in love with Cliff Lee. At this point, the man can do no wrong. Lee could start smacking babies and rather than be outraged, the parents would thank him for keeping their kid in line. He is that popular. Having seen in person three of those first four starts, I can see why.
Last night, Lee did it all…again. He pitched a complete game and did not give up an earned run. The only run of the game was unearned due to a Pedro Feliz error. Into the 6th inning, Lee was working a no-hitter when a D-Back finally got lucky and shot one up the middle. But by the end of the game, Lee had given away only 2 hits, no walks and struck out 11 batters. UnbeLEEvable!
And as if that were not enough, Lee went 2 for 4 at the plate and even scored a run. He is now hitting .278. The first hit was a solid shot up the middle and second was a swinging bunt that rolled up the third base line and stayed fair as it hit the bag. The only feat he failed to execute was a stolen base; instead, he executed D-Back hitters all night long.
But Lee was not the only story of the night; the Phillies offense beat up All-Star pitcher Dan Haren to the tune of 9 hits and 6 earned runs in only 5 innings. D-Backs relief pitchers allowed 2 more runs for a final score of 8-1. Chase Utley stared the charge by knocking a 2-run homer in the 3rd inning. Incidentally, Utley hits a home run nearly every time I am at a game…coincidence? Hmmmmm….
Utley’s blast seemed to rattle Haren and after that, the real fun began. In the 5th inning, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth went back to back; Howard knocked in 3 runs with his homer and Werth then took the first pitch he saw deep for a 420-foot homer. Werth is on fire right now; he hit another solo shot later in the game and ended up with 3 hits, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game last night, including batting practice shots. Tonight, the Phillies will go for the sweep of the Diamondbacks at 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn
To all the critics who said my 5 ½ man rotation idea with Jamie Moyer and Pedro Martinez sharing the 5th starters spot would not work, it is my pleasure to report that in fact, it did work. The Phillies did not enter into the situation purposely as Mother Nature intervened with a long rain delay, but maybe that was a sign from a higher power? Even former pitcher Ricky Botallico said after the game, “These two guys maybe should be our 5th starter together.”
Pedro Martinez pitched 3 very good innings allowing only a lead-off home run; after that, the rain came. Enter Jamie Moyer: True to his word to be ready when the team needed him, Moyer pitched the final 6 innings brilliantly. Without allowing a run, Moyer gave up only 2 hits and at one point, he retired 11 batter in a row. The bullpen was given a much needed rest and the Phillies won the game against the D-Backs 5-1. Anyone care to tell me how that is a bad thing?
After the game, Martinez commented on the situation by saying, “You never know what you’ll get when you put two old goats out there… See what you get? Two for the price of one.” If these two “old goats” can combine for a 1 run, 4-hit game every time, why would you not do that? Even if it means having to use an extra pinch hitter, it is worth it. Will it happen again? That remains to be seen, but Martinez and Moyer are now on the exact same schedule – coincidence or fate? You be the judge.
As for the offense, despite leaving the bases loaded twice, once with no outs and a second time with 1 out, they still got the job done. Jayson Werth hit his career high 25th home run of the year and also had a double that scored another run. Carlos Ruiz was on fire as well, going 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and a solo homer. And the other offensive star? Jamie Moyer. Putting many other Phillies to shame, Moyer went 2 for 3 in the game. Maybe Moyer should have batted with the bases loaded instead of Ryan Howard, who struck out twice in the situation? Ok, maybe not ;O)
Tonight should also be an epic day for pitching as Cliff Lee will face the D-Backs ace, Dan Haren. I will be at the game and report back with photos as usual. Go Phillies!
Last night, the Phillies took game 1 against the D-Backs in Arizona with Jamie Moyer pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. They were not easy innings; Moyer worked his way in and out of trouble again and again. But Moyer has been doing this a long time and knows how to make adjustments when he needs to.
The offense took a while to wake up after the long haul out to the West Coast, but finally in the 4th, Ryan Howard got things rolling with a 2-run home. Raul Ibanez had 2 hits and 1 RBI in the game as well.
Ryan Madson did allow 2 runs in the 8th, but the Phillies still went on to win 6-2. With the 6 hits and 4 walks allowed by Moyer, the D-Backs left 11 runners on base and committed 2 errors in the field. You have to wonder if ace pitcher Dan Haren was looking on and wondering what it might be like to play in Philadelphia? Haren is one of 3 pitchers that the Phillies are rumored to be interested in adding to the club and he will face Cole Hamels tonight in the 2nd game of the series at 9:40pm.
However, the most likely names on the horizon as the trade deadline approaches are Roy Halladay of the Jays and Cliff Lee of the Indians. The Jays reportedly rejected an offer from the Phillies which included JA Happ, Michael Taylor, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald so, it is looking less and less like a deal for Halladay may be realistic. But, stranger things have happened.
The countdown to July 31st continues! Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn