Tagged: Derek Lowe

Phillies Pulverize Braves To Win 1st Game of Series

In the first of a 3-game series with the Braves tonight, the Phillies were out to send a message to their division rival.  With a brutal 9-0 beating, the Braves definitely received the message.

Leading the assault was pitcher, Cliff Lee, who has now not allowed a run in 29.2 consecutive innings.  Tonight, he dominated the Braves in his 6th complete game shut-out of the year.  He basically took Atlanta’s signature hatchet and turned it around against them.

After a lack of offense in Sunday’s game against the Marlins, the Phillies finally found their bats again and seriously punished pitcher Derek Lowe.  Four starters had a multiple-hit game, including Ryan Howard with a homer and Chase Utley with a triple.  Hunter Pence led the team with three RBI; his one-out RBI-single in the first inning set the tone for the game.

The defense played well behind Lee as well.  Howard ran down a foul ball pop-up near the fence along the 1st base line.  In a sliding grab, the ball slid out of his glove and Howard caught it with his bare hand.  That was the sort of effort that was seen all night long by the Phillies.

But before the Phillies can officially send the Braves crying home to their mommies, there are still two games to go.  Vance Worley will face Tim Hudson on Tuesday night at 7:05pm.

 

“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Enter All-Star Break With a Bang

It seems to be feast or famine with this Phillies team lately.  Saturday, Cliff Lee homered for the only Phillies run of the game.  Sunday, the offense exploded to the tune of 14 runs behind pitcher Cole Hamels.

It was evident early in this game that Hamels was on top of his game.  Over eight innings, Hamels allowed only one run on three hits and struck out six Braves.  His command was spot-on and the Braves looked a bit silly swinging at his pitches.

 

This was also a huge game for many Phillies batters as well.  Raul Ibanez, who struggled most of the first half, led the offense today with six RBI on two hits, including a three run homer.  He also made several great plays in the outfield, including a home-run saving catch in the eighth.

 

John Mayberry Jr. also found his swing against Derek Lowe and the Braves bullpen.  His three hits were all doubles and he collected four RBI as well.  Mayberry also made some nice plays in center field.

 

For Michael Martinez, it was a career day.  There has been much debate over the Phillies keeping this Rule-5 utility player on the roster this year as he has not been productive.  Today, he earned the job with four hits, a career high.  Martinez also showed heart and hustle when he flipped over the Braves dugout railing catching a foul ball.

 

It seems a little playing time was all Martinez and Mayberry needed to get them going.  And thanks to a ton of Phillies injuries, they are getting that time.

The Phillies went on to wipe the floor with the Braves in a 14-1 win, matching their biggest run total of the year and racking up 20 hits, a season high.  They maintain the best record in all of baseball at 57-34 to enter the All-Star break.

Before the game today, the Phillies All-Stars were handed their All-Star jersey’s and Shane Victorino thanked a fan who voted for him over 10,000 times in the final vote.  I am guessing they later awarded him with a tee-shirt that said, “I have no life.”  10,000 votes?  I love Shane, but please, someone give this man a real job.

 

Both Victorino and Placido Polanco will go to Arizona, but due to their injuries, neither will play in the All-Star game.  Hamels will also not pitch because he started today.

Here is the full Photo Album from the Sunday game.

 

“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Lee’s 1st Career Homer Only Offense in Phillies Loss

Saturday’s Phillies game against the Braves featured Cliff Lee doing it all and everyone else, not so much.  Lee pitched eight very solid innings of one run ball, allowing only three hits and striking out nine batters.  he even made a few diving plays on the field.

But the Braves starting pitcher, Tommy Hanson, matched Lee.  He also allowed just one run.

 

And that one run was something very special.  After a 10-pitch at-bat and six foul balls, the Phillies pitcher, Cliff Lee, smashed his 1st career home run off Hanson in the third inning.  Yes, the man really can do it all.

 

Lee ran the bases smiling and even looking a little giddy as fans went wild, realizing the importance of the moment.  It is not every day we see a pitcher hit a home run.  And for a guy like Lee, who gives it 110% every time he is on the field, it was especially rewarding.

While Lee did everything he could to help the team win, sadly, the rest of the team did not join him.  Of course, they were facing an amazing pitcher so most expected this to be a close game.  But the Phillies had some opportunities to score and did not execute.

 

John Mayberry Jr. doubled in the sixth, but then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th.  Ryan Howard went 0-5, leaving two men on base in the sixth, including Mayberry.   And Raul Ibanez, the hero of Friday night’s 10-inning win, made the last out Saturday in the 11th with a fly ball.

In extra innings, the Phillies leaned on the same bullpen pieces as they had the night before, only in a different order.  Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez pitched a scoreless the 9th and 10th.  And then Michael Stutes gave up three runs in the 11th.

 

A foul ball pop-up made the 11th interesting as Howard dropped the ball, but it was a very tough play in and out of the shadows.  Overall, the defense was solid, but that one, plus a walk to start the inning, turned out to be important later.

 

So the Phillies lost 4-1 and go into today’s game with a chance to win the series.  Game time is 1:35pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.  Derek Lowe is scheduled to start for the Braves.

Here is the full Photo Album from the Photo Day event and also from the game.  I will have photos from the Sunday game hopefully later today.

“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Cliff Lee Is Not Feeling The Love From The Phillies Bats

While Phillies fans have certainly shown their support of Cliff Lee since his return, his teammates are a bit lacking in that department.  In Lee’s last three starts, the Phils have scored a grand total of ONE run for him.

Last night, the huge “zero” on the board amounted to a very odd outcome.  Lee struck out a career-high 16 batters in the 5-0 loss to the Braves.  This tied Steve Carlton for the most strikeouts over nine innings by a lefty in Phillies history.

 

The third inning was not great for Lee, as he allowed three runs.  But aside from that inning, Lee was lights out, keeping pace with Derek Lowe who had a no-hitter going into the seventh.

But if you allow just three runs over seven innings, you are supposed to get a win, right?  Sadly, that did not happen.  Instead, the Phillies offense continues to be a dark cloud over Lee’s head.

The most frustrating offense came in the seventh after Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter with a single to left.  Placido Polanco knocked a ground rule double, which as the ball hopped over the fence in center, actually prevented Victorino from scoring.

With two men in scoring position and no outs, the Phillies bats failed again.  Lowe left the game with an injury and Eric O’Flaherty replaced him. 

Facing O’Flaherty should have been a relief after Lowe had mowed the Phils down in six straight innings.  Instead, the next three batters, Ryan Howard, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez, all struck out swinging.  Not one of them could even make contact.

And that continues to be the Achilles heel of this team.  These severe hot and cold streaks at the plate are going to catch up to the Phillies eventually.  The team’s 21 wins behind a stellar pitching staff is covering the multitude of offensive sins right now.  But that cannot last for long.

The Phillies bats will need to get serious very, very soon.

Injury Update

Roy Oswalt came back from his tour of duty in the Mississippi tornado sector, but apparently, his lower back did not come with him.  He is now on the DL, retroactive for 10 days, which means he could return on Friday.  Oswalt has a history of back issues, so this is potentially very bad news.  Stay tuned…

Catcher Carlos Ruiz is also still on the shelf with a strained lower back and he remains day to day.  The Phils may place him on the DL, but if they do, it will have to be sometime today so they can backdate it.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

 

Phillies Sweep Nats With Another Great Halladay Performance

Happy Cinco De Mayo!  To celebrate, Roy Halladay pitched another great game and the Phillies swept another series, taking the Nationals down in three-straight games with a 7-3 victory.

Through seven innings, Halladay was his usual, amazing self.  He allowed only two runs on six hits while striking out 10 batters. 

The Phillies offense broke the game open in the third inning, scoring six runs and chasing Nats starter John Lannan out of the game before even recording an out in the inning.  Lannan is now 0-10 against the Phillies in his career while Halladay is the polar opposite against the Nats with 10 wins.

Raul Ibanez led the offense tonight.  He is so happy to be out of the slump that his bat was on fire.  Ibanez went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run plus three RBI.  The home run was hit off Nats pitcher, Todd Coffee, which went into the second deck in right center field.

Right before the home run, Coffee was mysteriously stricken with a bloody nose, which delayed the game.  The Nats trainer stuffed tissue up his nose as they waiting for the bleeding to stop.  What exactly started the bleed?  My guess is that Coffee had a mind-blowing, brain-straining premonition of the upcoming Ibanez homer.  Quick, someone get that man a tampon before he bleeds all over the mound!  Gross.

 

All of the starting position players except Ryan Howard had a hit in the game.  And two players hit career milestones at exactly the same time.  With a double steal in the sixth, Jimmy Rollins collected his 250th career stolen base.  And for Shane Victorino, it was his 150th career stolen base.

Before the game, Roy Oswalt returned and threw a bullpen session.  He is probably going to start on Saturday, but nothing is official yet.  Oswalt spent just over a week in his home town in Mississippi helping clean up after tornado damage and checking on his family, all of whom are just fine, thankfully.

A new series starts tomorrow with the Atlanta BravesCliff Lee will pitch against Derek Lowe, who was arrested for DUI and reckless driving last Thursday.  This is just one of the recent Braves personal disasters.  Earlier this week, Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was suspended two weeks without pay for making lewd gestures and homophobic remarks at a group of fans during a game.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Ibanez photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

 

Hamels Finds His Groove In Win Over Braves


0819 Hamelsb.jpgAfter a nightmarish start to his season, Cole Hamels was hoping to shrink his enormous 20.25 ERA today against the Braves.  In the final game of this three-game series, Hamels came out firing bullets.

For the Phillies offense, scratching out a few runs against the Braves starter Derek Lowe was not going to be an easy task.  So Hamels knew he had to be sharp.  As expected, a pitcher’s duel broken out in Atlanta.

Hamels was on a mission.  Through seven strong innings, he allowed only four hits, no runs and struck out eight batters.  Even better, Hamels looked relaxed and in control, able to work out of what little trouble he got into.

The offense did manage to post a few runs for Hamels, mostly due to a spectacular game from Shane Victorino.  Going 3-for-4 at the plate, Victorino hit two singles and a home run.  The other run scored when Jimmy Rollins hit into a double play with no outs, allowing Victorino to score in the fourth.

Carlos Ruiz also continued his hot streak with two hits.  Then in the ninth inning, Rollins got his first hit of the game, a double that landed him on third base after a Braves error.  Ryan Howard was able to get Rollins home on a ground ball out, giving the Phillies an insurance run and a 3-0 lead.

Jose Contreras entered in the ninth to save the game in what would be a very good test of his skills as a closer.  With rookie second baseman Michael Martinez making a few nice defensive plays plus good pitching, Contreras got the job done.

The Phillies won the series with the Braves two games to one.  After a day off on Monday, the Phillies will take on the Nationals in D.C. on Tuesday.

You Be The Judge

Totally off topic, have you seen the new MLB campaignAlways Epic“?  Released on March 31, 2011, Giants closer Brian Wilson stars in a video series that covers various adventures inside Wilson’s beard. 
Feb 2011 collage beard.jpg
The
video with the tiny ninja’s is especially interesting.  Follow the link to watch it.

Back on February 22, 2011, I posted that exact idea on this MLBlogs site, except I used the beard of Raul Ibanez.  I was making a joke about the magical powers of the Ibanez beard and decided tiny ninja’s would be funny.  Apparently, MLB liked it as well:

So, coincidence or did MLB totally rip off my idea?  You be the judge.

Perhaps it is simply that great minds think alike.  In which case, I expect a job offer from MLB any day now.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Phillies Win Series In Atlanta

Two old dudes battled it out tonight in Atlanta; the Braves Derek Lowe, 36, and the Phillies Jamie Moyer, 47.  When I say I old, I am talking in baseball terms, of course.  Jamie Moyer2.jpgThe elder Moyer out-dueled Lowe allowing just 4 hits and no earned runs in 6 innings.  Lowe fell victim to the powerful Phillies offense which ran him out of the game after only 5 innings and racked up 5 runs.

Moyer continues to amaze and defy the laws of time with every victory.  And tonight, he did something I had never seen before; in the 2nd inning, he hit the Braves rookie Jason Heyward with a pitch.  That was not the fun part though.  As the ball left Moyer’s hand, you could hear him yell to Heyward, “Look out!” as the pitch ran too far inside.  Moyer is a true gentleman.  Of course, the ball was only travelling about 74 mph so I think Heyward will be okay ;o)

The defense behind Moyer was pretty good, although Chase Utley did have one adventurous inning.  Right after announcer Tom McCarthy commented on how much Utley has improved and that he has a shot at a Gold Glove one day, Utley’s ears must have been burning because he committed two errors in the 5th inning. 

While trying to turn a double play, Utley bobbled the feed from Juan Castro, dropped the ball twice and a run scored.  The very next play, he tried another double play but threw the ball wide to 1st, which flew past Ryan Howard and allowed another run to score.  So it is official; no one is allowed to talk about Gold Gloves in relation to Utley for the rest of the year.  Clearly, it was a jinx.

Utley’s offense has not been affected by a jinx though, as he has now reached base safely in every game so far this year.  He had one hit and 2 walks tonight.  Greg Dobbs did a great job filling in for Placido Polanco; he went 2 for 3.  Castro went 3 for 5 and had 1 RBI, making it 5 for 8 from the back-up starters.

Actually, the only other jinx I can see for this team is the bullpen, which has been fairly awful.  Roy Halladay avoided that jinx yesterday by pitching all 9 innings himself.  Moyer only went 6, which is about average from him so sadly, the pen had to be counted on.  Chad Durbin worked his way into a bases loaded jam with 1 out in the 7th and then ran a 3-0 count to the next batter.  Fans everywhere had to be saying, “Oh crap…here we go again…”

Durbin got a sac fly out of that one and thanks to the Braves generosity in swinging at balls, he escaped the inning having allowed just the one run.  But there was no one exhaling just yet.  The Phillies had an 8-3 lead, but still 2 more innings of scary bullpen work to get through.

This bullpen could totally blow a 5-run lead….I have seen it happen.  But tonight, Danys Baez rebounded from his last disastrous outing and got through the 8th inning with no damage.  In the 9th, rookie David Herndon pitched and things got hairy with a few base runners.  But Herdon worked through it and the Phillies won, 8-3.

JC & Happ.jpg
There was a bit of bad news today before the game began; pitcher JA Happ has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 16th.  The left forearm strain that was revealed after an MRI is apparently a bigger issue than the Phillies first anticipated.  Nelson Figueroa will take Happ’s place in the starting rotation for now and his spot in the bullpen will be taken over by JC Romero, who was removed from the DL today.  Welcome back, JC!  We missed you!

So it is a bit of good news with a bit of bad news.  As for 3rd baseman, Placido Polanco, he was left out of the line-up tonight after being hit by a pitch in the elbow yesterday.  Polanco told the media today that he should be ready to play again tomorrow night.  Assuming this is the case, that is very good news.  Losing another starter right now could be a small disaster.

And yes, it is already that time again…All Star Voting.  Why they start this so early in the season always puzzles me, but nonetheless, VOTING began yesterday.  Let’s get a head start; VOTE for your Phillies today!

homer earth day.jpg
And Happy Earth Day everyone!  Remember to recycle and conserve energy…for Phillies fans, that might mean drinking a beer from a recycled can and lazing on the couch to conserve energy.  But hey, every little bit helps. :O)

 

Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*