The Phillies squandered an opportunity for a series win today, losing to the Reds by a score of 3-4. Roy Halladay has now lost 6 of his last 9 games, even though he has pitched at a 3.19 ERA during those 9 games. He did not have his best stuff today, allowing 2 big homers and 13 hits in an 8-inning complete game. But as has been the case all year, the offense did little to help him out.
It looked like the back-up players might carry the team for the second day in a row when 3rd string catcher Dane Sardinha hit a 3-run homer in the 4th inning. Wilson Valdez had 2 hits again and Greg Dobbs had a hit and a walk. But with both Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez going 0 for 4, no Chase Utley or Placido Polanco, the offense did not get anything else done.
Games like these are when the Phillies are going to feel the full effect of having 7 players on the DL. The injuries are out of control and as a result, this is going to be a very rough ride for the rest of the season.
Yesterday, Brad Lidge said that the Phillies players were going to have to “step-up” during this trying time. I found that comical after Lidge became the only player yesterday who did not step-up. However, he has a point. The question remains though, can these bench guys get the job done?
Once the team has a better idea of how long Utley and Polanco will be out, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have some very serious decisions to make. Can they go out and get a descent infielder while still adding to the pitching depth? All Phillies fans can do right now is hang in there and hope that this team can weather the storm.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh now for a 4-game series. The first game is Thursday night at 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the final game of the series against the Blue Jays who served as the home team in Philly this weekend, the Phillies walked away with an 11-2 win. The 47-year old pitcher, Jamie Moyer, walked away with his 9th win of year and a few more entries in the baseball record books.
Moyer gave up a 2-run homer in the 2nd inning which propelled him past former Phillie Robin Roberts for the most home runs allowed by any pitcher. The 506 record breaking home runs were allowed to a total of 322 different batters in 42 different ballparks. There has been some debate over whether or not Moyer should be proud of such a record. But this type of record simply means that he has been pitching for a very, very long time. Not too many other players have been around this long.
Adding to that thought, Moyer broke another record today. He became only the 40th player in history to have pitched 4,000 innings. This is another testament to the longevity of Moyer’s career. And to still be pitching, and being successful, at his age is just amazing. He went 7 innings against the Jays on Sunday and that 2-run homer mentioned earlier was the only scoring he allowed.
Jimmy Rollins helped jump start the offense with a single in the first at-bat of the game. Rollins ended with 3 hits, each hit to a different part of the ballpark; one down each baseline and one up the middle. Rollins plus Ben Francisco and Dane Sardinha each had 2 RBI a piece. Francsico looked good in left and was 3 for 5 at the plate. Could this be the end of Raul Ibanez as an everyday player? If Ibanez does not start hitting, it very well could.
So the bats were popping and some great defensive plays highlighted the win as well. Both Rollins and Jayson Werth were all over the place snagging balls out of the air:
The Phillies were ahead 7-2 by the 7th inning and that is when the bottom really fell out for the Jays. The play on the field began to resemble a long series of sight gags that The Three Stooges may have attempted in one of their comedy bits. Throws by Jays fielders sailed into no-man’s land, balls were mishandled and there was even a passed ball at the plate. By the end of the 7th, the Jays had committed 3 errors, 4 total for the game, and the Phillies had scored a total of 6 unearned runs in the 11-2 win.
Wilson Valdez, who is officially the Master at hitting into double plays, tried to do so twice in this game only to have his attempts foiled by the Jays sloppy defense. Darn those errant throws! Wilson is clearly going for some sort of DP record and they may have ruined his chances. (Please note the sarcasm in the above paragraph)
The series win went to the Phillies with 2 out of 3 games. To commemorate this unique occasion of playing an American League game in a National league ballpark while giving home field to the AL team (did you follow all that?), I have put together a short “Canadian’s In Philly” montage:
Is it just me, or does the woman hugging both the Blue Jays stuffed toy and the Phanatic stuffed toy seem confused? Or perhaps a tad conflicted? We wish her well.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
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.
So 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:
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.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies scored only 22 runs in the latter half of May, from the 18th to the 31st. But in the last 4 games, the Phillies have exploded to the tune of 31 runs. Today against the Twins, they scored 9 runs, had a 5-run lead in the 8th inning, and still lost the game.
The Phillies hit five home runs in the game. Here is a recap of the first four: The usual suspects, Ryan Howard and Werth, nailed two of those homers. Not as common was a blast from Raul Ibanez, who was on base three times. Even less common was a homer from Wilson Valdez, who had his only other big league homer in 2006. Yes, 4 years ago. If Valdez can smack a homer, then the stars must really be aligning for the Phillies, right? Maybe not…
Cole Hamels got off to a bad start in the first inning, giving up 3 runs. A passed ball by catcher Brian Schneider and a bad throw to second by Hamels added fuel to the fire. But the offense immediately picked Hamels back up by getting those 3 runs right back in the bottom of the inning. Chase Utley led the way with a 2-run triple and Jayson Werth hit a sac fly to score Utley.
Every starter in the game, including Hamels, had at least one hit today. On the mound, Hamels later allowed a solo home run to Justin Morneau and ended the day with 4 runs allowed over 7 innings. If you forget about the first inning mishap, Hamels had a great day.
But, as has been a common story line this year, the Phillies bullpen blew a FIVE run lead. In the 9th inning, former-Phil, Jim Thome hit a 2-run homer off Jose Contreras. As it was then a save situation, Brad Lidge was brought into the game. And Lidge proceeded to blow the save and the remaining 3-run lead. He gave up an RBI-single and a 2-run homer to Twins catcher, Joe Mauer.
With a 9-9 tied game in the bottom of the 9th, the Phils got 2 hits but still failed to score and win the game. Howard and Werth both struck out. Chad Durbin came in for the 10th inning and as soon as I saw him on the mound, I thought, “Oh crap, he is going to give up a homer to the first batter.” Why do I think this? Because he has done it many times in the exact same situation. How many times, I do not know except to say that I have nightmares about it. Sure enough, 1st batter: homer.
The inning ended with a tag out at the plate, which normally would have been very exciting. But at that point, who cares? The Phillies are losing 9-10 with the bottom of the batting order coming up. Do you think Valdez can hit his 3rd homer in 4 years to win the game? No? Neither do I…
Valdez did not get a chance. Greg Dobbs popped out, Schneider grounded out and Ross Gload pinch hit for Valdez. Now, Gload did a homer with 2 outs to tie the game again. But again, no need to get excited because Danys Baez was going to pitch the 11th inning. Baez has been awful and today did not change that. He gave up THREE runs in the 11th just to make sure the Phillies had NO chance at a win.
The Phillies went down in the 11th. It was a pathetic end to a pathetic loss. The final score was 10-13 and the Phils now have one game left against the Twins. If Roy Halladay can get back on his game after allowing 6 runs in his last outing, the Phils could maybe salvage a series win. Game time is 1:35pm and I will return with photos.
In other news, Carlos Ruiz will get a few days off after being nailed in the head with a broken bat while behind the plate yesterday. He will not need a trip to the DL, which is great news. Scott Mathieson was designated for assignment to make room for catcher Dane Sardinha who will back-up Schneider until Ruiz is healthy.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick are making the competition for the 5th starters spot a bit complicated. Both have performed well. And yesterday against the Orioles in his first “A” game start, Moyer made the decision even more complex by pitching 5 innings of one run ball. If the race remains close throughout the next few weeks, odds are that Moyer will get the nod based on experience and payroll and Kendrick will begin the year in the pen. But, as happened with Chan Ho Park and JA Happ last season, the roles could be flipped if Moyer falters.
Then today against the Yankees, Cole Hamels ran into a few complications of his own. Hamels has pitched well this spring…that is, until today. Giving up 6 earned runs over just 4 innings, Hamels got spanked by the Yanks. That brings his spring ERA to 4.91, which is not too awful. Plus, these games do not count anyway. Should we be worried about Hamels after one bad outing? Probably not. If it stretches into 2 or 3 bad outings, then we’ll talk.
What is not so complicated now is the Opening Day pitching roster. Having sent lefty Mike Zagurski to the minors, there are exactly 12 healthy pitchers remaining: Starters Roy Halladay, Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ and Kendrick or Moyer. The pen will be Ryan Madson, Danys Baez, Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, David Herndon, Antonio Bastardo and then either Kendrick or Moyer. If the Phillies pick up another piece along the way, this can change, but odds are this will be the pitching staff. Of course, once Brad Lidge and JC Romero are ready, more changes will be made.
On the offensive end, there was an odd standout performance today. Hawaiian born 3rd/4th string catcher, Dane Sardinha, previously of the Tigers, went 2 for 4 against the Yankees with 4 RBI on a 3-run double and a solo homer. The unlikely performance came from a guy who hit .097 with the Tigers in 2009 and was arrested for a DUI in Clearwater, FL last month. Like Tiger Woods, I suppose he is making his case for forgiveness ;o)
Those four runs today helped the Phillies to the 9-7 9th inning comeback win over the Yanks. Wilson Valdez, another non-roster invitee like Sardinha, knocked a 2-run homer for the walk-off win. Next up: Tampa Bay on Tuesday and the Braves on Wednesday…
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Photo by Jenn