The Phillies looked like a shell of a team last night against the Miami Marlins, who are possibly the worst team in all of baseball. Leave it to the Phillies to make them look like All-Stars. Ugh.
When Domonic Brown smacked a home run in the second innings, it looked like the Phils might have carried over some momentum from Sunday’s dramatic walk-off win. But that was the end of the momentum and the beginning of Spit-Gate.
Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia entered Monday’s game with a dismal 5.00 ERA and a 2-6 record. After the Brown homer, Sanabia apparently thought some cheating was in order. He was caught on camera spitting on the ball and did not make any attempt to hide it.
First of all, this is just gross. It is also against MLB rules. But did it really affect the Phillies hitters? Probably not too much…they have basically sucked all season long. However, it did add insult to injury in this very unsettling loss.
Even Cole Hamels could not hide his emotions as he slammed his glove around on the Phillies bench after his outing. And after the game, he did not speak to reporters. I believe Hamels is feeling the same frustration we all are; specifically, WHY can’t this team score runs?! Poor Hamels is now 1-7 on the season. Last year, he had 6 losses for the entire season…already this year, not even half way through the season, he has that total beat.
Two runs allowed in 6 innings should get you a win…unless you are on the Phillies, apparently. Making matters worse, this team is now riddled with injuries. Carlos Ruiz came back after his suspension to play only 16 games before being put on the DL with a strained hamstring. Mike Adams is on the DL with a bad back. John Lannan is still on the DL with no expected return date being reported. And now Ryan Howard has sat out 2 games in a row with a sore knee and possible a torn meniscus.
And at least half of the bullpen may as well be injured; they might actually pitch better. Because our healthy pen cannot stop runs from scoring. Phillippe Aumont gave up 2 more runs last night and has a 4.15 ERA, plus many inherited runners have scored on him. Pretty much everyone in the pen is guilty of that too. And check out some of the other ERA’s: Chad Durbin, 8.10; Jeremy Horst, 5.09; BJ Rosenberg, 20.25 (1 game). Yikes!
As all the crap keeps piling up on this team, it is going to be harder and harder for them to dig their way out of the heap. And I do not want to hear anyone else talk about how it is still early in the season. As far as I am concerned, it is never too early to play winning baseball. And thus far, this team has not shown they can do that.
Game time tonight is 7:10pm; Tyler Cloyd will pitch.
Photo via NBC Sports
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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After getting destroyed by the Indians earlier this week, the Phillies have won their first 2 games against the lowly Marlins. Both Kyle Kendrick and rookie Jonathan Pettibone pitched well and the offense even managed to score some runs. Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown hit home runs in each of the 2 games.
But keep in mind, all of this was against the smelly Fish, who did not have their best little fishy, Giancarlo Stanton, in the line-up. With an 8-22 record, this team sucks. So please excuse me for not being too impressed with these wins. The Phillies beat bad teams in April as well, but they did not beat too many good ones. So if they finish out this series strong and then give the San Francisco Giants a big-boy spanking, then I might be a little more excited.
What was sort of exciting this week was reading all the stories about the verbal spat between Phillies pitching coach and former-Phil’s closer turned baseball analyst, Mitch Williams. Apparently, Rich Dubee yelled at Williams in Spring Training for trying to interfere with his pitchers. Then this week, Mitchy-Poo went off via the WIP radio show on Dubee for not helping Phillies pitchers fix their mechanical issues.
There is nothing like a good dose of man-on-man hissy-fit drama early in the morning…yum!
But the best part was yet to come…When asked about Mitchy-Poo’s comments, Roy Halladay came to Dubee’s rescue like a knight on a white horse. A normally reserved Halladay called Williams, “the mechanical wonder,” and said he was “completely out of line.” Doc even demanded that Williams “make amends” for his criticism of Dubee.
And in his usual no-nonsense/smarty-pants style, Dubee suggested that Williams “submit a resume” if he wants to be a pitching coach. Oh my.
I’ll say this about it, having spoken to both guys in the past on a variety of occasions. Mitchy-Poo is a guy who, right or wrong, always speaks his mind. I have a great deal of respect for him in that regard. He speaks from his heart. Dubee is very similar; he does not take crap from anyone and will always tell it like it is.
Once in the bullpen at a charity event, Dubee was showing me how to toss a fastball. I quickly realized I had forgotten to take a ring off that I was wearing. In order not to remove my glove and be quick about it, I pulled the ring off with my mouth, spit it into my palm and shoved in my pocket. Dubee folded his arms, grinned and said, “What, you can’t toss a pitch with that rock on your finger?” He then made a sarcastic comment about me trying to throw a spitball. After that, I was videotaping him working in the pen with someone else, and he asked me if I was going to use that video against him later.
Dubee loves a good joke; he is a naturally funny guy, whether he is trying to be or not. And he treats everyone the same, which I love about him. I did not want to be babied in the bullpen just because I was a girl and I was not disappointed.
So maybe Williams should not be butting in with Phillies pitching, but then again, he is just doing his job as an analyst. And Dubee is doing his job, protecting his players. Both are good guys with good hearts.
In that case, who is right and who is wrong is sort of a mute point. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, I do think this little drama might inadvertently be a very good thing for the Phillies. If Phillies pitchers want to defend the honor of their pitching coach, there is only one way to do that effectively…win!
Head shot and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
On Monday night, Phillies rookie Jonathan Pettibone made his major league debut against the Pirates. He went 5.1 innings and allowed only 2 runs after a fairly shaky start and some good defense. The Phillies offense put up 3 runs for the rookie, but two of those runs came from a wild pitch and a hit batter.
The lack of offense took another turn for the worse on Tuesday night. Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing 2 runs over 8 innings. But his teammates did nothing to help him. As a result of the 0-2 loss, Hamels still does not have a win this year. This is exactly what happened to Cliff Lee last year, who ended the season with only 6 wins, despite his 3.16 ERA.
There were only 4 hits for the Phillies last night. Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke had them all tied up in knots that they could not untangle. Sadly, it was a total Locke-Down.
For example, in the 4th inning, John Mayberry Jr. led off with a triple. Still, the Phillies managed to squander that opportunity as well. Not scoring a runner from 3rd with no outs to start the inning is ridiculous. But that has been the story of the Phillies offense for a number of years now, and it does not appear it will change anytime soon.
These guys get anxious at the plate, swing at bad pitches and watch good ones fly past them. There is no discipline at all.
Think about that 4th inning again. With no outs, Mayberry stood at 3rd and Domonic Brown on first after being hit by a pitch. Locke was getting wild and losing his command. So the only thing Ben Revere needed to do was not pop out or hit the ball the 3rd base side of the infield. Even a double play would have scored the run with Mayberry going on contact. So what does Revere do? He swings at the first pitch and hits the ball to third; Mayberry is thrown out at the plate.
This is not Mayberry’s fault either…Ryne Sandberg told him to go on contact which was verified by manager Charlie Manual after the game. As for Revere, remember he is only 24 years old. Clearly, he still has a lot to learn. But the same excuse cannot be made for the rest of the team. This is a very experienced ball club. Yet they continue to approach at-bats like frightened rookies.
When the only relief of the night is seeing bench player Laynce Nix step to the plate, something is very, very wrong.
The Phillies hired not one, but two new hitting coaches this season in an effort to improve the offense. And even though both Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner have gotten rave reviews from the players, nothing changes once a guy steps to the plate. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Apparently not.
Pretty soon they will have a big offensive day again and the critics will be silent until the next several games when the bats go back to sleep again. This has become a pattern. They give us a small bit of hope, and just like that, the hope is squashed the very next day. I am seriously beginning to wonder if this is fixable.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait and see. Roy Halladay will pitch tonight; game time is 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
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
The day began so promising for the Phillies. The sun was shining, people were smiling and the Home Opener was upon us:
The festivities continued with the traditional patriotism, Leap Frog jumpers falling from the sky and team introductions. Retired Phillies Mike Schmidt and Dickie Noles joined their former rival from the 1980 Phillies-Royals World Series, George Brett on the field for some pre-game pitches. All was well with the world…
And then the game started.
The Phillies actually looked like the World Series champs of old for about 4 innings. Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz hit home runs; Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were hitting; and by the end of the 3rd inning, the Phillies had a 4-0 lead.
And then it all went downhill….fast.
Kyle Kendrick, who was solid to start the game, began getting hit hard by the 5th inning. By the 6th inning, Kendrick was out of gas and pulled from the game. But not before the Phils intentionally walked Billy Butler to load the bases with 2 outs. This may have been the one call that sent the game into a real tailspin.
Because once the bullpen took over, all hell broke loose. All 3 of those runs scored, thanks to Jeremy Horst. Additional damage was done by the pen later, as the Royals scored in every single inning from the 5th on.
Ben Revere got called out when he looked safe (see photo)…Brown dove for a ball in the outfield and missed…it was a total disaster.
By the 8th inning, fans were scurrying to the exits like a herd of deer running from a hungry cougar. It was ugly.
With this 4-13 loss, the Phillies have now dropped 3 of their first 4 games, allowing 29 runs in those 3 losses. They seriously need a win tonight.
John Lannan makes his Phillies debut tonight at 7:05pm. Best of luck to him…he’ll need it.
And here is the Photo Album from the game.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies hosted two exhibition games this weekend, signaling the end of Spring Training and the start of the regular season on Monday. As they have the past several years, the Phillies planned a number of special events and surprises on Friday and Saturday.
Friday began with the On-Deck Reception, hosted by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. There were players signing autographs, several Q & A sessions with players and coaches, and an on-field introduction of the entire team:
I personally got autographs from Domonic Brown (and a photo as well), Erik Kratz, John Mayberry Jr. and Antonio Bastardo. This was my first time attending this particular event and it was well worth the effort. The only bummer of the day was I discovered that the autofocus on my very expensive camera had died :O( Ugh. So I apologize in advance for 2 days worth of so-so photos, as I had to use my mediocre eye sight to manually focus a very large lens.
The prior to the evenings game, players wandered around the stadium greeting fans and some stopped for photos. I had my picture taken with John Lannan, Antonio Bastardo, Humberto Quintero and hitting coach Wally Joyner.
Cliff Lee started the game that night and looked ready to go for the season. But his real highlight was helping Cole Hamels man the Phanatic’s hot dog shooter between innings:
To be honest, the game was rather boring, so the hot dog-interlude was a very welcome distraction. The Phils lost 1-0.
More fun was happening prior to Saturday’s game as well. After some very stealth stalking on my part, I managed to get photos with a few new guys and a Hall of Famer: Mike Adams, Ender Inciarte and third-base-coach/HOF guy, Ryne Sandburg. That was pretty awesome. Both exhibitions games were well worth the trip because of these little extras.
The game itself, however, did not go well against a very potent Blue Jays line-up. The Jays beat up on Kyle Kendrick, who gave up 5 runs in 3 innings. John Lannan took over for the next 3 innings and held the Jays to 1
more run. It was not quite out of reach for the Phillies though until very late. Here are a few highlights:
And Cliff Lee finally got his turn at the helm of the hot dog cannon, with Hamels “feeding” the device:
The end result was a 10-4 loss. But luckily, the game did not count.
The Phillies announced the Opening Day roster afterwards. There were not too many surprises there:
Rotation (5): Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan.
Bullpen (7): Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin, Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes.
Catchers (2): Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero.
Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis.
Outfielders (5): Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Ender Inciarte.
Inciarte is a Rule-5 guy; they have to keep him on the roster or offer him back to the D-backs. Only 22-years old, he has never played above High-A level. He offers some depth in the outfield for now. Plus, he is adorable, so I approve ;o)
So here we are, finally! Opening Day! Game time is 7:10pm Monday night in Atlanta.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography