The Phillies had a chance to sweep the Red Sox today in this 3-game series, but once Cole Hamels was pulled early, that opportunity passed by. In the fourth inning, a line-drive from Adrian Gonzalez knocked the glove off Hamels’ non-pitching hand. He exited the game to receive treatment.
The injury is being called a bruise but it is unclear if Hamels will make his next start. It will depend on whether or not he can grip his glove and bat.
So the game was handed over to a very young, inexperienced bullpen. David Herndon allowed three runs over two innings. Then Drew Carpenter gave up two more.
But the bullpen’s performance really made little difference as the Phillies mustered only four hits in the game and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The only scoring was a 2-run bomb from Ryan Howard in the ninth inning.
The lack of offense is gruesome as usual. And with pitchers dropping like flies, the Phillies may have to lean on their bats in the near future. So, someone better figure out where they hid those bats…fast.
This weekend, the Phillies face the Blue Jays for three games and I am here in Toronto to bring you all the torrid details. Kyle Kendrick pitches tomorrow but Saturday is a big one. It will be the first time Roy Halladay pitches against his old team in Toronto.
The people of Toronto are so excited to see Roy Halladay again, the local TV station is even running a promo about it detailing Halladay’s time in Toronto and how much he meant to the city. The ad encourages fans to come to the game and cheer for Halladay to welcome him back. It is a real class move by Toronto. However, I assume the cheering will stop once Halladay starts mowing down Jays.
Tomorrow is also Canada Day here, which celebrates the country’s independence from the United Kingdom. I find it odd, however, that their currency still bears the Queen’s image on their $20 bill. I would tell you who is on the $100 dollar bill, but sadly, I don’t have any of those ;o)
But I digress…anyway, check back for updates on the games and, of course, photos! Speaking of which, here is one I took of Niagara Falls before I headed over to Toronto:
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
The Phillies won their 4th game in a row tonight with an amazing start from Cole Hamels. The Brewers did not get a hit off Hamels until the 5th inning as he mowed down hitter after hitter. He walked 3 batters, gave up just 3 hits and struck out 7.
Most impressive with Hamels tonight was his demeanor. Even thought the Phils have not scored for him basically all year long, he did not let it bother him that the offense gave him only one run to work with…again. Hamels got into some trouble in the 7th when he issued a lead-off walk and then a single but he worked out of the jam.
Although it did not appear to affect him, Hamels must be wondering what he has done to offend his teammates. In his last 6 games, including tonight, the Phils offense scored 2 runs or less for him in five of those games, with two of them being shut-outs. Perhaps he needs to change deodorants?
Whatever the reason, runs seem to be impossible to come by when Hamels is on the mound. The one run scored tonight was after a 2nd inning Shane Victorino double; Raul Ibanez moved him to third and Carlos Ruiz grounded out to score him. But after that…nothing. The Phillies even left the bases loaded with NO outs in the 4th and did not score. Ibanez struck out and Ruiz hit into a line-drive double play, catching Jayson Werth off the bag. As a team, the Phillies went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Despite the offensive struggle, the Phillies went on to win 1-0 and Ryan Madson got the save in the 9th. Roy Halladay will pitch tomorrow; game time is 7:05pm.
A few roster moves were made today also; Greg Dobbs was brought up from AAA and Ross Gload was activated off the DL after a groin injury last month. A few more moves will be made in the next few days as the Monday double-header approaches and an extra pitcher will be needed. No word yet on who will be called upon, but it may be Vance Worley who pitched very well in AAA and pitched one scoreless inning for the Phils in July. Other possibilities may be Nate Robertson or Drew Carpenter. We shall see.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Before today’s game against the Cardinals, the Phillies announced that Jamie Moyer would be placed on the DL after injuring his elbow yesterday. Vance Worley, 22, was called up from AA Reading to take his roster spot. Nelson Figueroa was claimed off waivers from the Astros, which is not great news. But that was the chance the Phils took when they designated Figueroa for assignment. Andrew Carpenter, who pitched 3 innings last night, was sent back to AAA.
We may see a lot of odd moves this week as the Phillies are trying to make a trade, probably for a pitcher. Rumors have Roy Oswalt in the works, but it appears he want guaranteed money through 2012, which the Phillies probably cannot afford. Ruben Amaro Jr. is probably regretting kicking Brett Myers to the curb right about now, among other things.
The Phillies have not been playing well; perhaps this is an understatement. But what makes it even harder to swallow are things like this: With 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 7th inning, the Phillies do NOT pinch hit for the pitcher, Joe Blanton. With a 1-1 tie, knowing that Blanton has not gone past 6 innings all year without running into trouble, how do you not pinch hit for him here?
So the Phillies do not score as Blanton strikes out. Then in the bottom of the 7th, Blanton threw ONE pitch and it went straight out of the ballpark. Am I really the only one who saw this coming? Really? This is just one more piece of evidence to indicate that manager Charlie Manuel has NO confidence in the bullpen.
I do not know conclusively what Blanton’s issue has been this year and I do not really care at this point. Because what I do know, with overwhelming evidence, is that he cannot be counted on past 6 innings, especially in a tight game like this one. He did not enter today’s game with a 6.21 ERA for no reason. The Phillies have to know this as well, unless they are just closing their eyes and praying instead of watching the game.
Yes, the Phillies faced a very good pitcher today. So, knowing runs would be tough to come by, the Phillies should have been ready to use the bullpen. Blanton did get out of the 7th with just the one run, but he gave up the lead and then they sent him out again for the 8th.
And without recording an out, he gave up 2 runs to cushion the lead for the Cards, 4-1. Shocked? I was not. If Manuel keeps turning a blind eye in these situations, this team may not recover.
Fans are frustrated, and with good reason. Philly fans are passionate and understand the game. So it is easy to see how bad moves like we saw tonight infuriate people. We want to see our team win and these mistakes make it seem impossible. How many times do you have to bang your head against a brick wall before you realize it hurts? Not pinch hitting for the pitcher in the 7th inning with the bases loaded is equivalent to the brick wall-head scenario. Of course, that is just one gals humble opinion ;o)
So the Phillies went on to lose by a score of 5-1. The only run for the Phillies was a solo homer from Ryan Howard. Tomorrow afternoon, Cole Hamels will pitch and everyone is praying he can help this team avoid a demoralizing 4-game sweep. Game time is 2:15pm; tune in if you can stomach it. Just load up on Tums first.
Cartoon by http://carablake.wordpress.com/
In the make-up game tonight against the Padres, the Phillies brought out the big guns. Both Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz each had 3 hits and 1 RBI a piece. Every other position starter had at least one hit with Raul Ibanez collecting 2 RBI and Jimmy Rollins with 2 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.
Cole Hamels was not spectacular, but he did put in a quality start. Hamels got through 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone for Hamels to get back to his MVP form. The Phillies won the game, 9-4 and will start a 3-game series tomorrow with the Cardinals.
Helmet Saves A Life
Many coaches, including ex-Phillies manager Larry Bowa, have grumbled over having to wear batting helmets while on the field coaching 1st or 3rd base during a game. This action was taken when minor league coach, Mike Coolbaugh, was killed after being struck in the head with a foul ball in July of 2007. Well tonight, the rule saved a life. Padres 1st base coach, Rick Renteria, was hit directly in the helmet with a hard line drive off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez. The crowd gasped as Renteria hit the ground, but thanks to the helmet, he was fine and went right on coaching. Whew! A very tense moment, to say the least.
Both JC Romero and Chad Durbin, big pieces of the Phillies bullpen, were placed on the 15-day DL today. Romero is having a minor forearm strain and should be quick to return. Durbin, on the other hand, has apparently been suffering from a back injury for a month now and neglected to tell anyone. But after giving up 3 runs in a game last night which killed any shot the team had at a rally, Durbin finally fessed up. Ugh.
So, Tyler Walker returns from the Iron Pigs to fill one of the spots and Drew Carpenter gets the second spot. It is Carpenter’s 2nd stop to the team this year and his 3rd trip to the majors overall.
And congrats to Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox who threw a perfect game today against the Tampa Bay Rays! And then, Buehrle got a congratulatory call from President Obama. And then, I mentioned him in MY blog! What a lucky, lucky guy :O)
Photo by Jenn
The Phillies wrapped up the series with the Blue Jays today and also ended interleague play for the year…finally! As usual, interleague play was not kind to the Phillies and most are happy it is over.
However, there were a few highlights, including JA Happ’s first career complete game shut-out yesterday. Happ allowed only 5 hits in the game and gave the bullpen a much needed rest. The Phillies offense found their bats after a spanking from manager Charlie Manuel in a closed door meeting, and the team racked up ten runs in the game for Happ. The very Happ-Y pitcher is now 5-0 on the season with a 3.00 ERA.
Today, the Phillies sent Jamie Moyer to the mound and he allowed 4 runs in 5 innings, including 3 home runs. After the 5th, Manuel decided to take advantage of his rested pen and sent Chan Ho Park in who pitched 2 scoreless, hitless innings. It is nice to see Park finally settling into his role and feeling good after getting hit with a batted ball two days ago.
With the Phillies up 5-4 in the 8th, Ryan Madson was set up to have an easy inning; he got the first out, Scott Rolen hit a single, but then a routine double play ball to Eric Bruntlett turned into a disaster. Bruntlett, filling in for Jimmy Rollins the last 3 days, dropped the ball leaving 2 runners on with only 1 out. Poor Madson was sweating by the time he got to the 3rd out, but he got there and Pedro Feliz snagged a pop-up to end the threat.
Brad Lidge came in to get the save and, as usual, it was an adventure. A bunt single, then a walk and hearts were racing again. But Lidge got a pop-out, another out on a run down and finally capped it off with Bruntlett snagging a grounder and tossing to Ryan Howard for the final out. Whew! Finally…a series win. Time to exhale…
Iron Pigs (AAA)
Yesterday, I attended an Iron Pigs game and saw Drew Carpenter pitch. Carpenter has been a highly touted player in the minors and he did pitch a shut-out through 8 innings. However, his fastball tops out at around 80mph (or at least it did last night). Solid pitcher, but I am not sure the Phillies need another Jamie Moyer in the rotation. Carlos Carassco and Kyle Drabek (AA) may still be possibilities to fill the hole left by Brett Myers. Going outside the organization to get an experienced arm would be much better, but there are still very few pitchers available. We shall see…
Mike Cervenak (photo) is doing very well after suffering a broken wrist last month; he was 2 for 5 in the game and is batting .313. Mike Spidale (OF) led the pack with 3 hits and is batting .353; and Lou Marson (C) has been doing better of late – he had 2 hits and 2 RBI last night.
Here is a PHOTO ALBUM from the Iron Pigs game, including shots from the fireworks show afterwards and even a 3-D fireworks shot! I held the camera up to the 3-D glasses and it actually worked…check it out!
The Phillies have the day off tomorrow to travel to Atlanta for a 3 game series before returning home on July 3rd to face the Mets. Joe Blanton will pitch on Tuesday; game time is 7:00pm.
Photos by Jenn