Game 1 of the NLDS is scheduled for a 5:07 start tonight. Here is the post-season roster for the Phillies:
- Catchers (2): Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.
- Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez.
- Outfielders (6): Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco and Ross Gload.
- Pitchers (11): Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton.
- Extras: Infielder Pete Orr and Catcher Erik Kratz will travel with the team. RHP Justin De Fratus, LHP Joe Savery and outfielder Domonic Brown will work out in Clearwater, FL and Outfielders John Bowker and Brandon Moss and RHP Michael Schwimer have been sent home.
The only slightly interesting move here is that Blanton was chosen for the roster instead of David Herndon, despite missing most of the season with injuries. The Phillies chose experience over a younger guy, even though Herndon was with the team most of the year.
As for the pitching match-ups in the series, here are the probable starters for the Phillies and Cardinals:
- Game 1: Roy Halladay vs. Kyle Lohse (ex-Phillie)
- Game 2: Cliff Lee vs. Chris Carpenter (on 3 days rest)
- Game 3: Cole Hamels vs. Jaime Garcia
These are some odd moves by Tony LaRussa. It will either turn out to be genius, or a huge mistake. The Phillies should be able to handle Lohse and will then get Carpenter on short rest. That is another situation they can probably take advantage of.
The pitcher the Phils have the most trouble with is Garcia, who was pushed back to Game 3 because his home numbers are much better than his road numbers.
This all seems to add up to a Phillies advantage, however, that remains to be seen. Also of note, Game 2 has been pushed back to 8:37pm (ugh) on Sunday due to the Yankees – Tigers rain postponement.
I also wanted to share with you an article I just read about how Danys Baez has helped Antonio Bastardo out of his recent pitching funk. Baez was released by the Phillies in July and was not picked up by another team. He has been sitting at home in Miami watching and noticed Bastardo, a player he previously mentored, was having problems. He reached out to Bastardo and helped him find the issues in his mechanics.
Bastardo has bounced back since then and it seems that Baez is the reason. The story made me a little sad, thinking about how much criticism Baez took while he was in Philly from fans and media. For him to swallow his pride and reach out to an ex-teammate like that is a sign of true character. He may not have been the bullpen solution the Phillies hoped for, but he gets huge brownie points in my book for just being a great guy.
Hope to see you all at the game tonight! Go Phillies!
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After a horrible start in New York where he gave up seven runs in 4.1 inning, Cole Hamels needed a bounce-back game. And there was no better time to bounce-back than in a throw-back, 1980’s retro night game.
Wearing the maroon pinstripe uniform from 1984, Hamels found his old-self against the Padres. Through eight innings, Hamels gave up only one run on three hits while striking out 10 batters. It was 120 degrees on the field at game time, but the Padres biggest issue was the heat on Hamels’ fastball, not the heat on the field.
Some of the 1980’s player intro’s also added to game intensity:
Chase Utley was hot on the scoreboard and hot at the plate with two hits tonight. Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry Jr. added an RBI-double each which, along with one unearned run, was plenty for Hamels to work with.
To close the game, Ryan Madson came out in the 9th for his first save attempt since returning from the DL. He sent the Padres down in order to record the 3-1 victory. It was Madson’s 16th save and Hamels’ team-leading 12th win of the year.
Earlier today, the Phillies activated pitcher Brad Lidge from the DL; he is expected to be broken in slowly in non-crucial situations until he gets settled in after missing the entire first half. A roster move had to be made and that wound up being Danys Baez. If Baez is not picked up by another team, he will likely play for Triple-A.
Many fans celebrated the move, as Baez has been inconsistent and mostly ineffective both this year and last. His 6.25 ERA over 36 innings was not helping his case.
But while this was clearly the best business decision for the team, Baez was well-liked in the clubhouse and is an all-around nice guy. He is the only player I have never seen ignore a fan or refuse an autograph. Baez had a smile and for everyone, despite what must have been a really tough year for him. In that respect, it is a bit sad.
Charlie Manuel also had a difficult time with the decision as he has know Baez for a long time. He said in an interview on SportsNite that Baez came to his office a week ago to talk about his situation and Baez all but offered himself up. He told Charlie he would understand if he needed to make a move for the betterment of the ballclub. So while his pitching was not great, I am impressed with the way he has handled himself and wish him all the best.
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Photos from Comcast SportsNet Broadcast
On Tuesday night, the Phillies pounded the Marlins to the tune of 14 runs, their highest run total for a single game this year. The Phils played solid baseball while winning the first two games of this series. But tonight was a different story.
Sloppy play and mental mistakes highlighted Wednesday night’s game. Chase Utley got caught in a run down after wandering too far off first base after getting a hit in the first. John Mayberry Jr. dropped a ball in center that hit the webbing of his glove. Domonic Brown let an easy ball bounce right past him in left, allowing two runs to score in the third. And Michael Stutes made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt in the eighth.
In the midst of all the errors, Brown was called out after a triple; the umpire says he did not touch the base. In the replay, it looks like the umpire, who did not get in proper position to make such a call, screwed up. Frankly, if the ump is too lazy to get into position, he has no business making these calls.
There were still a few highlights. Mayberry had his first multi-home run game of his career with two homers and three RBI on the night. Jimmy Rollins hit a homer as well and has six hits in the last two games.
But the pitching tonight was not great. Even with six runs scored, the Phils could not hang onto the lead. Kyle Kendrick gave up three runs in five innings; David Herndon allowed two runs in 2/3 of an inning. Then Andrew Carpenter collected a blown save in the seventh, allowing the Fish to tie the game, 6-6. And the final blow came from Danys Baez who allowed a game winning homer in the 10th to Mike Stanton.
The Phillies have Thursday off to get their heads back on straight before facing the Braves on Friday. That will be a huge series as the Braves are right on the Phillies heels for first place in the NL East.
Neither Shane Victorino or Placido Polanco are available to play right now either, which complicates the situation. Victorino has a mild thumb sprain and Polanco is going to see a back specialist. More on that later…good night, all!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Cliff Lee must be wishing that the month of June would never end. Because he has been insanely good in each of his five starts this month.
Today’s 5-0 win over the Red Sox marked Lee’s 32nd consecutive scoreless inning pitched. With only two hits allowed, this game was Lee’s third consecutive complete game shut-out. The last Phillie to accomplish that feat was Robin Roberts in 1950.
For the month, Lee went 5-0 and had only one run allowed in 42 innings. The man is simply amazing.
But Lee did not just pitch well, he also collected an RBI with a sac fly. And while Lee dealt on the mound and at the plate, the Phillies offense pounded Josh Beckett. A pair of two run homers, one from Domonic Brown and the other from Shane Victorino, highlighted the scoring. Brown also had a double on the night.
With this victory, the Phillies became the first team in the majors to reach 50 wins this season.
Vance Worley will pitch tomorrow. And after Lee’s performance tonight, he has very big shoes to fill. Game time is 7:05pm.
The Phillies placed closer Ryan Madson on the DL before today’s game. After getting whacked in the hand with hit ball back in May, Madson has had issues off and on and finally needed a cortisone shot to reduce the chronic swelling.
This means that the Phillies are now on their fourth closer of the season, which will likely be Antonio Bastardo. Each of the first three closers, Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and Madson, are all on the DL now. Drew Carpenter was brought up from Triple-A to fill the roster spot.
Of the seven pitchers left in the bullpen, only two have not been in the minors this year and only Danys Baez has more than 71 innings pitched in the majors. Scary.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
This has not been a good couple of days in the injury department for the Phillies. Here is a quick look at the damage:
– Jose Contreras was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season with elbow inflammation. Lefty Juan Perez was called-up from the Triple-A Iron Pigs to take his roster spot. Perez played for the Pirates in 2006 & 2007 for a short time, but has spent most of his seven-year career in the minors.
– The Phillie Phanatic suffered an injury as well. While entertaining atop the first base dugout at an Iron Pigs game, the Phanatic was hit in the neck with a foul ball. For the Phanatic’s best friend Tom Burgoyne, the neck area was actually Tom’s face.
The Phanatic went to the hospital; I am not sure whether they called a doctor, a veterinarian or an environmental biologist, but the Phanatic will not be joining Contreras on the DL. He should be ready for the weekend series at CBP.
– And finally, Roy Oswalt was pulled from today’s game against the Cardinals after two innings where he allowed four runs. After about one out in the second, Oswalt began teetering sideways off the mound after his delivery. It got worse as the inning went on, where he began hopping and stumbling after pitches while grabbing his lower back.
Why no one else saw this is curious. I was screaming at the TV, but sadly, no one heard me ;o) Oswalt was left in to finish the inning and reports are that he has back spasms.
I suppose the spasms are no surprise; Oswalt has a history of back issues and has been on the DL once already this season with the same issue. In his last four starts, Oswalt has allowed 15 runs in only 21.1 innings.
As for the new bullpen piece, Perez pitched the seventh and walked two batters, but did not allow a run. Kyle Kendrick pitched the 3rd-6th innings and gave up two runs, adding to Oswalt’s four.
So with 6 runs, the Cardinals were ready to run away with the game as the Phillies offense was lulled to sleep. It did matter too much though as Danys Baez put the game well out of reach for the Phillies in the 8th inning. He walked in a run, gave up a 3-run homer and ended up with six earned runs handed over to the Cards. You could say he added insult to all the injuries.
The Phillies went down in flames by a score of 12-2. They travel back home tonight to go back to Interleague play. The Athletics are first on the schedule; Vance Worley will pitch at 7:05pm.
An NL East Update
This has been a weird week overall for the NL East. First, the Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez suddenly quit after the Fish went on a real bender, losing 18 of 19 games in the month of June.
Not to be outdone, the Nationals manager Jim Riggleman one-upped Rodriguez. After the Nationals WON 11 of their last 12 games, the opposite of the Marlins month, Riggleman gave the Nats an ultimatum. He told his GM in a meeting they needed to extend his contract then and there or he would not get on the bus for the Nats next game.
Riggleman quit, just like that. And just like that, he will probably never work in baseball again. Who in their right mind would hire a guy who just quits when he does not get his way? It was unprofessional and just plain stupid. I do not care how disrespected he felt that his contract was not extended sooner. If the team felt it should wait until the end of the year, then he should have just waited it out. Abandoning his team like that is just wrong. Nats fans should be livid.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Who was that pitcher on the mound for the Phillies Tuesday night? Certainly it could not be Cliff Lee. At least not the one we are used to. He must be an imposter!
After a careful review of the statistics, the mystery Lee went only 5.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits to a last place Nationals team. He also walked three batters and gave up two home runs.
Upon witnessing this disastrous outing, I can come to only one conclusion: Cliff Lee has been abducted by aliens. They are conducting a number of probing experiments on him in order to clone the near-perfect pitcher. This totally explains why an imposter was sent in his place to give up six runs in less than six innings.
Perhaps many do not agree with my assessment. However, I assure you that the alternative is much more difficult to swallow. Cliff Lee had a horrible game? Against a crappy team?? No way. Aliens…I tell you, it must be aliens.
On the other hand, many pitchers sucked without alien intervention. Danys Baez has been returned to earth after a spectacular five innings in last week’s 19-inning marathon. On this night, Baez coughed up three runs in just one inning.
And then lefty Mike Zagurski, called up to take Vance Worley’s roster spot, walked the opposing pitcher, gave up one run and another walk in just one inning. Zagurski has been given a plethora of chances in the Bigs over the years. But each time, despite doing well in the minors, he tanks as soon as he is called up.
The offense took the night off as well, apparently refusing to play with imposter aliens. The only excitement was when Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. smacked back-to-back homers in the fifth.
So the Phils went down in flames by a score of 10-2…against the Nationals. Ugh. Well, tomorrow is another day and with any luck, the aliens have returned the real Cliff Lee and maybe will visit the Marlins or Braves next. ;o)
Lee Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
As far as headlines go, the one above is not what Phillies fans generally expect to see. But it was a back-up player and a much maligned bullpen pitcher who saved the day for the Phillies on Wednesday night against the Reds.
It took more than six hours and nine pitchers, but the Phillies finally pulled out a 5-4, 19-inning win. Both offenses struggled to score runs and for the Phils, this has been problematic all season.
I have two words rattling around my brain in regards to the Phillies offense: frustrating and painful. This team has been painful to watch most of the season so far. And they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, which is incredibly frustrating.
For example, Raul Ibanez led off the sixth inning with a triple. So with NO outs and a man on third, what should happen just doesn’t. Carlos Ruiz swung at the first pitch and popped out. John Mayberry Jr. watched a called-strike three go by. And then Wilson Valdez is walked intentionally to get to the pitcher. Result: NO run, when all they needed was a sac fly or some form of contact with the ball that did not turn into a pop-up.
And this is exactly the sort of thing that is plaguing the Phillies offense. They faced a Reds pitcher who was off his game and they did not take advantage. Instead, they got themselves out by being impatient and swinging at bad pitches.
So just like Tuesday night, with a 3-1 lead, the Phillies watched the Reds come back to tie the game, 3-3 by the seventh inning. They got hurt, again, by Jay Bruce with two outs and the bases loaded. He hit a two-run single off Roy Halladay, who had a few issues tonight. However, the defense behind him did little to help.
But once the game entered the wee hours of the morning, many forgot that Halladay had even started the game. The bullpen took over for a total of 12 innings.
Danys Baez, who has taken a lot of abuse from Phillies fans for his lack of consistency, was one of the hero’s in this game. He pitched a career-high five innings and 73 pitches to carry the Phils through the 18th inning. He allowed only one hit, one walk and zero runs.
Last year, Baez was so bad that many hoped he would be cut. And this year has been up and down for him. But rest assured that after an effort like this, Baez is keeping his job.
After Baez exited, the unexpected happened. Wilson Valdez stepped onto the pitcher’s mound. And he was tasked with facing the heart of the Reds line-up in Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce, who had absolutely been killing the Phils all series long.
But Valdez gave a valiant performance, even clocking over 90mph on the radar gun. He got Votto to fly out to deep center, hit Rolen with a pitch and then two more fly-outs to end the inning. As he exited the field, the crowd went crazy cheering for him.
Valdez is the first player to start in the field and move on to pitching since Babe Ruth. Seriously. He is also the first Phillies position player to pitch since Tomas Perez did it in 2002. The game win went to Valdez and afterwards he told Comcast Sportsnet, “I like to win,” in response to why he agreed to pitch. He also joked that he could have gone three or four more innings.
Raul Ibanez hit a sac fly to score Jimmy Rollins for the win in the 19th inning. In a game where an infielder pitched, a catcher (Carlos Ruiz) played third base and the team left 16 men on base, this win has to be a huge boost for the Phillies.
The last game with the Reds comes quick after this one; Thursday afternoon at 1:05pm. Cliff Lee will pitch.
Ross Gload is not playing right now due to a slight muscle tear in his hip. This is same sort of injury that Chase Utley played through in 2008, which eventually required surgery. Gload is expected to play through it as well.
Jose Contreras should return to the team sometime this week. Odds are good that David Herndon will be sent down to make room.
Chase Utley got a day off today, except for a pinch-hitting appearance, in what appears to be an effort to err on the side of caution by not pushing him too hard, too soon. He should play again Thursday.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography