This has certainly been an interesting week for the Phillies. Let us review the many weird happenings:
– First, manager Charlie Manual got the axe last Friday and Ryne Sandberg took over.
– People cried, complained and gave Charlie lots of hugs.
– Manual admitted to CSN Philly’s Leslie Gudel that he knew he could not win this year or last year with the team assembled as it was. Shocker. Not really…
– On Monday, David Murphy of Philly.com posted an article about how the front office was to blame for the Phillies failures. Also not a shocker…
– The Phillies Triple-A Iron Pigs gave away a free funeral valued at $10,000 as part of a promotion. Seriously.
– After 2 losses, Sandberg got his first win as manager on Sunday.
– Sandberg got that win, despite starting Michael Martinez at short stop. Martinez was boo’ed throughout the game, I assume because starting him or just the fact that he is on this team at all, is emblematic of a very troubled 2013 Phillies season.
– On Tuesday, Roy Halladay made a rehab start in Lakewood. He appear to be near-MLB ready.
– After Tuesday’s game, Roy Halladay spoke out on the firing of Manual.
In his comments, he added that he thought things were being “overlooked” and said, “I mean guys being at places on time, being on the field on time, taking ground balls and taking extra bp and all those little thing that nobody thinks make a difference.”
As those word emanated from Roy’s mouth, the Phillies experienced something like a meteor/asteroid shower as their happy little universe slowly imploded. All Halladay really said was what we have all been thinking/wondering about for years. This team lacks discipline and focus.
But the media took those comments to a whole new level, posting headlines that seemed to indicate that Halladay endorsed Manual’s firing, to which he took great offense.
– Also on Tuesday, the Phillies hosted their 6th annual Jewish Heritage Celebration. I think we can all agree that releasing Delmon Young prior to this event was a good idea. Because, man, that would have been AWKWARD.
– On Wednesday, Halladay “clarified” his comments and reiterated his love for Charlie, saying he did not endorse anyone being fired.
– Also on Wednesday, the Phillies took out the Washington Nationals’s trash by signing Roger Bernadina, who was cut by the Nats on Monday. Bernadina is hitting .176 this season and has not had a hit in over a month. He will fit right in.
– On Thursday, Philly.com reported on the secret pornography stash at Veteran’s Stadium, presumably, because they had nothing better to report on.
And yes, all of that and more happened in just under a week. Is this a great time to be a bored Phillies fan, or what?
Maybe don’t answer that question. Please feel free to go on with your life as originally planned. Thank you!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Hey Phillies fans…anyone else out there suffering from a severe case of the baseball blues? It is hard not to be down in the dumps after watching this Phillies team continue to suck, game after game. Getting swept in a 3-game series by the Nationals this weekend had to be the pinnacle of shame and embarrassment in an already dreadful season.
Even dumping Delmon Young could not cheer me up. Young, who they never should have signed in the first place, was designated for assignment on Friday and replaced by White Sox reject, Casper Wells. Nothing on Wells’ stat sheet gives me any reason to hope either. This is the 5th team for Wells this year; that alone is telling.
Just three days earlier, the Phillies also nixed Laynce Nix. I guess his .180 batting average was just not getting it done (*note sarcasm here).
Know which other Phillies are also just not getting it done? You guessed right…ALL of them! So perhaps the entire team will soon be designated for assignment and subsequently be replaced by little league-trained robots. That would at least sell some tickets.
Oh, Jayson Werth, where have you gone? That’s right…to the Nationals, where with 7 hits, 4 RBI and a homer he nearly single-handedly beat the Phillies in all 3 games this weekend. He did look a lot better in red pinstripes….sigh.
The Phillies were outscored 23 to 7 runs this weekend and outhit 36 to 16. I could count the Phillies runs and hits on my fingers, but had to bust out the calculator to find the totals for the Nats. That alone was depressing.
So what reason do we all have to keep watching this season? Here are a few:
– It is like a train wreck; one cannot help but wonder what form this ongoing disaster will take next.
– With 45 games left, can the Phillies still prevent Charlie Manual from getting his 1,000th career as a manager? He has 999 right now and #1,000 is looking tenuous.
– Can a guy with a .151 batting average this year who is named after a ghost bring this team back from the dead? C’mon Casper, you’ve got to at least try!
– Will the Phillies single-handedly put Papa John’s pizza out of business with their “50% Off After Phillies Win and score 5 or more runs” deal?
– Every time the Phillies bullpen gives up a run, I get to drink another Mai Tai! (Insert your own drinking game here)
That’s all I’ve got. Oh, and the Braves are up next…what could be more fun than watching the division leader beat the Phillies to a pulp? Game time is 7:10pm. Whoo…hoo.
Werth Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies have done themselves no favors during the first half of the season. Their mediocre play has left them in 3rd place in the NL East and 9.5 games out of first. Losing 3 out of 4 against the Dodgers this past weekend did not help their case either.
And so the rumor mill begins to turn with names like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon in the mix. If the team does not pick up their play significantly in the next few weeks, this could signal the end of an era. It is hard to envision a Phillies team without Utley or Rollins, but that may soon be the reality.
The most persistent rumor recently has the Red Sox making a run at 3rd baseman Michael Young. The Phillies signed Young as basically a 1-year rental, so his departure would not be surprising. Utley is in the last year of his contract, so losing him is also a possibility, although not one that most people would be very happy about.
Utley may be the most beloved player in franchise history. If the Phillies trade him, they run the risk of alienating a large portion of their fan base. This is guy who blurted out the F-word on national television, not once, but twice, and people still say he can do no wrong. That is a powerful show of affection, especially in a city like Philadelphia.
Rollins, on the other hand, may not be missed quite as much. While he is the longest tenured active Phillie and a former MVP, Rollins still has that magical ability to piss people off. He has made derogatory comments in the past about Philly Fans and he has been criticized for a lack of hustle. More recently, Rollins said he was “not disappointed” with the team’s 1-3 performance in Los Angeles this past weekend.
While Rollins has a point, that being he believes the team will overcome, it still rubs some people the wrong way. Personally, I like Jimmy. He speaks his mind and I respect that. So seeing him in another uniform would be quite a shock. It would not, however, induce the same type of freak-out that losing Utley would.
On Tuesday night, the Phillies pulled out a 3-1 win over the best team in baseball right now, the Pirates. That is still weird to say… However, even that win may not help quite the trade rumors. A sweep of the Bucos might be helpful, but even in a win, the Phillies still have some very obvious, glaring problems.
The bullpen, for example, is a huge mess. It took 3 pitchers who combined to load the bases to get the Phillies through the 8th inning last night. It did work out, but could have easily ended in disaster. The offense is getting better, but they are still not hitting consistently with runners in scoring position. And the defense is very shaky; Delmon Young dropped a routine fly ball last night which is a prime example of the issues on the field.
All we can do now is hold our collective breaths, wait and hope the Phillies can pull out a string of convincing wins before the All-Star break.
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
After an abysmal road trip where the Phillies lost 7 out of 10 games, this team had to be relieved to be back in Philadelphia last night. They took an absolute beating from the Brewers, Twins and the Rockies. If you Google the meaning of “bad baseball,” this road trip should be used as an example.
But things looked a tad brighter after last night’s 5-4 walk-off win against the Nationals. John Lannan returned to the rotation after a knee injury and pitched well; Ryan Howard finally broke out of his home run drought; and Domonic Brown seems to be getting hot again. He even delivered the game-winning RBI single in the 9th.
Despite the win though, I simply cannot stop thinking about the awful road trip. In particular, I am greatly disturbed by the events that have taken place at and around third base and home plate lately. Most of these little disasters seem to revolve around veteran third-baseman Michael Young.
I hate to keep picking on Young, who seems like a very nice guy, and maybe some of this is not his fault at all. Did you notice that Young got thrown out at home plate THREE times in the last 6 games of the road trip? My question is, does he run home on his own or is Ryne Sandburg sending him? I understand being aggressive, but Young is one of the older and slower players on this team. This is not the guy you send on a close play.
I have begun leaning towards Sandburg’s lack of experience coaching third base as the issue, especially after last night. Because it appears he got Howard into a similar jam. He was sending Howard home and quickly changed his mind, signaling for Howard to stay at third. But his momentum was already heading home and Howard got tagged out at third. Sandburg is a Hall of Famer…I get that. So he should know that you cannot stop a moving train. Either make the decision quicker or take your chances that Howard will bowl over the catcher at home.
Then again, guys have been getting tossed out on the base paths all over the place all by themselves. Young also got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double last Tuesday. He also had a bad fielding error and hit into 2 more double plays on this road trip.
None the new players Ruben Amaro Jr. brought in this year, including Michael Young, are holding up their end of the bargain. Delmon Young is hitting only .231; Mike Adams has a 4.13 ERA and cannot seem to pitch a clean inning; Ben Revere has started out super slow, although he is improving. And Revere is young so he has a lot to learn yet. Lannan has been ok, but the injury was a huge setback.
As for the returning Phillies, too many of them are hurt or under producing. I hate to be such a downer after a rare Phillies win, but this team is just so frustrating! Who are they? Are they going to get any better? Will some of these guys ever be healthy? Your guesses are all as good as mine.
Maybe another win tonight will improve my mood? Hope so!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
I returned from my trip to the Galapagos Islands this weekend just in time to attend today’s Phillies – Reds game. But before we get to that, check out what my little friend the Phanatic was up to on our trip to his homeland. He visited 5 different islands, some beaches and even a distant relative, the Marine Iguana:
Yes, the Phanatic and I had a lovely vacation where we swam with sharks, rays, turtles and fish and wandered the land with giant tortoises. It was amazing!
I had to catch up on my Phillies news when I returned and it appears much has happened. Roy Halladay is having surgery (yikes!), the Phils signed hot-head Carlos Zambrano to a minor league deal (double-yikes!), Raul Valdes became the first regular bullpen guy to get sent down to the minors (more may be coming), Mike Adams has a bad back (oh my…), Tyler Cloyd started a game, Kyle Kendrick returned to earth in a loss yesterday after an amazing start to the season….and oh yeah, the offense still sucks. Did I miss anything?
All that drama aside, the Phillies did manage to pull out a win today, which based on the first 7 ½ innings, did not look likely. Jonathan Pettibone was very solid again, only allowing 2 runs, and the defense backed him up.
But once again the offense was asleep and the feeling of dread grew deeper when Carlos Ruiz was pulled from the game with a strained hamstring.
Finally, the Phillies scratched out a run in the 8th, thanks to Ben Revere legging out a base hit. Revere led the team with 3 hits today. Then in the 9th, it appeared as if the Phils were going down in flames, despite getting the first runner of the inning on base against flame-thrower Aroldis Chapman. Because as soon as Cliff Lee came in to pinch run for Delmon Young, he got picked off at first. Ugh.
But when Erik Kratz smacked a home run to tie the game, the tide turned quickly. Freddy Galvis was up next and hit a line-drive homer just over the left field wall for the walk-off win! It was the first time Chapman gave up more than one homer in a game…ever. Go figure.
So even after a 0-10 pounding on Saturday, the Phillies still walked away with the series win and, hopefully, some momentum going into Miami tomorrow. Game time is 7:10pm.
And here is the Photo Album from today’s win.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
In only a few short days, many things have changed for the Phillies. Roy Halladay was placed on the DL with what is still a mystery injury. The entire team appeared lifeless and ready to give up. Then a cross-country road trip suddenly gave the Phillies unexpected energy. They have taken the first 2 games of this series against the Giants who were the hottest team in baseball coming into this series.
So is this the team we have waited to see all year, blown in by the western winds of AT&T Park? Or is this another 2-game mirage? Let us examine the evidence:
Both games ended in a 6-2 score. Both Chase Utley and Michael Young have 4 hits each and at least 2 RBI in the series. Utley, Ryan Howard and Dom Brown each homered. The pitching was very good.
On the other side of the coin, the Phils still left 16 runners on base total between the 2 games. Jimmy Rollins only has 1 hit and a sac fly. Delmon Young is hitting .150. Yikes! The other Young still loves hitting into double plays; he leads the majors with 10.
So, mirage or the real deal? Sadly, there are still too many inconsistencies and guys not getting hits to go with “real deal” just yet. But finishing the series with a sweep today would certainly be a huge boost.
Jonathan Pettibone will pitch today at 3:45pm. In other news, Tyler Cloyd has been called up to temporarily take Halladay’s spot in the rotation. The Phillies are expected to make a corresponding roster move Thursday or Friday.
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Yes, it is May. And yes, it is a new day. But although Wednesday’s May-day marked the start of a new month for the Phillies, it did not appear to be any different than the month of April; or any different than the year 2012, for that matter. Now, cries of “Mayday!” can be heard throughout Philadelphia. This team has serious problems.
Over 2 games against the Indians, the Phillies were outscored 20 runs to 2. And last night’s 0-6 shut-out was even worse than the 2-14 pounding they look on Tuesday. The Phillies had only 3 hits in last night’s game against a rookie pitcher, who was so wild, he walked 6 batters. With 7 walks total handed to the Phils, they still could not manage to score a single run. That is nearly impossible, but this team found a way to do it.
And here is a thought; perhaps someone should come up with a fun drinking game for every time Michael Young or Ben Revere hits into a double play? Including one last night, Young has 7 already on the season and Revere has 5. Then again, that may not be frequent enough to really put me out of my misery. So let’s add in runners left on base! There were 9 of those last night, plus the Phillies went 0-10 with runners in scoring position. Now we can do some serious alcoholic damage!
Yes, this team is driving me to drink. As I predicted about a week ago, the Phillies have kept us all on this sickening roller coaster ride. They suck, then bounce back for a few games (like the 3-game sweep of the Mets this past weekend) and then they go right back to sucking, once again proving that they just cannot get the job done on a consistent basis.
Both Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young are now in the line-up and nothing has changed. Sure, it has not been very long for either, but it is not like they both arrived cold, having not played in a while. Both guys were baseball-ready after playing in rehab games. Still, after one day of excitement for seeing Chooch again, the thrill is already gone and the offense is still stagnant.
Even Cliff Lee could not get the job done against the Indians, his former team. Roy Halladay was awful the day before that. The only highlight last night was watching Layne Nix rob an Indian of a home run with a leaping catch just before the ball cleared the wall. And this is not the first time this season that Nix has been the only bright spot in a game. That is a very, very bad sign.
And this has all been going on far too long for it to just be a slump. I am seriously beginning to think this team will not be able to recover. Could all of this be the beginning of the end for this era in Phillies baseball? Only time will tell; and the Phillies are quickly running out of that time…
After 3 straight solid starts, things seemed to be looking up for Roy Halladay. That all changed last night when he got scalped by the Indians. The Tribe took Doc deep 3 times; all 3 times there was a man on base. Those 6 runs, plus 2 more, chased Halladay from the game after only 3 2/3 innings. His ERA is now 6.75. Ouch.
But the pain did not end there. Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes each gave up 2 home runs each in relief. More accurately, it was the exact opposite of “relief”…agony.
That was 7 home runs total for the Indians, 5 of which were 2-run bombs. Those guys that hit the 2 solo shots should be ashamed. Clearly, they are underachievers.
Seriously, this game was painful to watch. It was so painful that I actually began paying more attention to the commercials than to the game. And when my mind begins to wander, strange things can happen.
For example, I began to wonder who would win a fight between Jan, the Toyota spokesperson and Flo, the Progressive Insurance chick. Both are equally annoying, but Flo has a clear advantage as the game was being played last night in Progressive stadium. Hmmmm…
Bad Phillies games are simply not good for my brain.
There was one small tidbit of good news last night. Delmon Young was activated off the DL and finally joined the team as the DH last night. Looking as if he were determined for fans to like him, he began his Phillies career with a home run in his first at-bat. Young went 2-for-3 on the night and was also hit by a pitch.
But the good news ended there. Chase Utley hit a solo homer and that was the end of the scoring for the Phils. The 2-14 final score looked more like 2 touchdowns and a safety than a baseball score. And the way the Phils were beat up also resembled a football game, minus all the concussions.
Although, after sitting through those 9 innings of torture, I feel like I have a concussion; or some minor brain damage, at least. Ugh.
Today is another day though. And tonight, Cliff Lee will face his old team for the first time in his career. Hopefully, some of that old Cy Young magic still resides in Progressive stadium for Mr. Lee. Game time is 7:05pm.
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