So this is what I get for being optimistic…a clunker from Cliff Lee. Ugh. The Phillies lost the 3-game series to the Red Sox today with a 5-1 loss. Lee still does not have a win on the season, although the previous losses were not his fault.
The offense kept letting Lee down. Today, it was Lee’s turn :O( The first batter he faced smacked a home run to center, which was not a good omen. Through 7 innings, Lee surrendered 5 runs, all of which came in the first 3 innings. Lee found his groove after that, but it was too late.
The offense simply stunk again. Lee created the most excitement at the plate with a double in the 3rd. But while there was plenty of action at second base, the Phillies could not seem to find home plate.
Hunter Pence had two hits in the game and missed what may have been a third hit except that it was lined sharply to first. I do not know why the Red Sox were belly aching about having less defense with David Ortiz at first base due to National League rules, because Big Papi snagged every ball that came his way. He was quite annoying.
But Big Papi also had a little fun with rookie Freddy Galvis when they met at first base. Galvis had one hit in the game and played amazing defense, like usual. And now, he has been officially baptized in the majors as Ortiz appeared to razz him a bit. Although the look on Galvis’ face in the photo to the far right below says about all you need to know about how this game went…
But do you want to know what the real problem with the Phillies offense is? For starters, Jimmy Rollins has been quietly having an awful year. He is batting .229. Shane Victorino is not far off with a .253 average. Essentially, all of the regular starters (meaning, those not on the DL) are underperforming while the “bench” guys or secondary starters are doing most of the damage.
Oh, and the other issue. A photo is worth a thousand words (see photo to the right)…need I say more?
In the “good news” column, Jake Diekman appears to be back on track after one bad outing. He was really sharp as he struck out the side in the 8th inning.
The Phillies squeaked out one run in the bottom of the 8th, but left the bases loaded…again. They seem to be allergic to home plate. Benadryl, anyone? Ah-chooo!
And just in time, when the offense has begun to stink again, here come the Nationals…Game 1 is Monday night at 7:05pm.
Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The National League entered today’s All-Star Game not having won against the American League since 1996. That win took place in Philadelphia. Manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies coaching staff had a huge task on their hands for the second consecutive year, trying to win World Series home field advantage for the NL.
Two Phillies took part in the game today; Chase Utley stayed home as he is recovering from surgery on his thumb. Ryan Howard served as the DH and went 0 for 2; but hits were difficult to come by in this game. Through 6 innings, the both teams had only 4 hits each. Two of the hits for the AL came off Phillie Roy Halladay, although one hit was a pop-up that landed in the middle of nowhere and ex-Phillie Marlon Byrd could not quite get to it.
The AL struck first in the 5th as Dodger’s pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo allowed an unearned run after a costly error where he overthrew 1st base on an easy grounder. He had already walked a batter, then the error gave the AL two runners and a sac fly scored Evan Longoria.
But the NL fought back in the 7th. Another ex-Phillie, Scott Rolen, singled followed by a Matt Holliday single. Rolen’s aggressive base running put him on third base. Byrd walked with 2 outs and then Braves catcher, Brian McCann, hit a bases-clearing double to give the NL the lead. Two runs were charged to Yankee Phil Hughes and another to White Sox Matt Thornton.
In the bottom of the 7th, Holliday took a bad route to a ball in left and it went off his glove, giving Blue Jay John Buck a double instead of an out. Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals was pitching but Holliday could not help out his teammate. Shane Victorino could have caught that ball from either left or center…just saying ;o)
So it would come down to the 9th inning. The NL did not score and Manuel brought in another Dodger, Jonathan Broxton, to try and nail down the save and the win for the NL. Broxton gave up a hit right away to the Home Run Derby champ, David Ortiz. He struck out the next batter but gave up a single to Buck. However, with Big Papi Ortiz running, Byrd was able to throw him out at second from right field. That was an amazing, heads-up play by Byrd! The next batter flew out and the National League won it!! FINALLY! A win for the NL! Way to go, Charlie! Now, let see if the Phillies can actually use the home field advantage this year; that, of course, would require a third straight trip to the World Series. Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
But to Wainwright’s credit, he worked out of the inning without allowing a run. Whew! So the NL went into the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead. The NL did not score in the 8th and Giants closer, Brian Wilson, erased the AL batters in the bottom of the inning. Personally, I think the mohawk is his secret weapon.
So it would come down to the 9th inning. The NL did not score and Manuel brought in another Dodger, Jonathan Broxton, to try and nail down the save and the win for the NL. Broxton gave up a hit right away to the Home Run Derby champ, David Ortiz. He struck out the next batter but gave up a single to Buck. However, with Big Papi Ortiz running, Byrd was able to throw him out at second from right field. That was an amazing, heads-up play by Byrd!
The next batter flew out and the National League won it!! FINALLY! A win for the NL! Way to go, Charlie! Now, let see if the Phillies can actually use the home field advantage this year; that, of course, would require a third straight trip to the World Series.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the first Interleague game of 2010, Cole Hamels pitched a gem. In 7 innings, Hamels allowed just one run on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 8 batters. Hamels looked sharp against the Red Sox and if he can keep up this pace, he may put together a solid season.
Another first for 2010 was the Phillies putting their usual line-up on the field at a home game. Jimmy Rollins came off the DL on Monday and today, finally landed in his usual lead-off spot.
But in the 6th inning, Rollins led off with a single and limped to first base. Rollins just came off the DL with a calf strain and reports are that he now has a “mild” calf strain in the same leg.
Oh please, say it ain’t so…J-Roll has given the Phillies a much needed boost with a 3-run homer yesterday and a hit and a walk today. To lose him again would be a serious punch in the gut. When Rollins’ biggest supporter, J-Roll Smurf heard the news, he began to wonder if he had fallen down a rabbit hole and gone tripping on some funky shrooms. Because seriously, this cannot be happening. And if it is, perhaps J-Roll Smurf can just pretend it is not while rolling around in his little garden of happiness.
Before that 6th inning, things looked very good for the Phillies. Ryan Howard smacked a homer in the 4th to tie the game and Jayson Werth went even deeper in the 5th, hitting a 2-run shot into the second deck of left field. Shane Victorino had an RBI single in the 4th and also walked twice. Even Hamels had a hit in the game, just to round out his great pitching performance.
But then in the 9th, the hallucinations returned as pitcher Danys Baez allowed a single and a walk. JC Romero hit the next batter to load the bases and bring Big Papi, David Ortiz, to the plate with a chance to tie the game. We must really be tripping now. By the way, the Urban Dictionary lists one definition for “tripping” as “A psychological phenomenon in which a person can feel an even higher-than-normal state of emotion due to some repeated external stimulus.”
In this case, the repeated external stimulus is the Phillies bullpen, which continues to induce a heart attack-like state among fans watching them pitch. But Romero had the remedy, as he induced a fly ball from Ortiz to end the game with a 5-1 win for the Phillies.
The remedy for Rollins however, still remains elusive. Currently, he is listed as “day-to-day,” but with the exact same injury repeated, which took him more than a month to recover from, I would expect that good news is not on the horizon. Then again, if they can find some magic mushrooms that hold the cure for the calf strain, hand me a shovel. I’ll start digging. ;o)
Smurf photo by Jenn Zambri Photography