Tagged: Eric Bruntlett

Slaughter in San Francisco

So much for the presence of Cliff Lee taking some of the pressure off Cole Hamels; you can officially take that theory and flush it down the toilet.  And down the toilet is exactly where this four game series went today as Hamels was destroyed by the Giants in a 7-3 loss.  The Phillies lost 3 of 4 here in the city by the bay.


Thumbnail image for P8024045 Hamels.jpgIt all began to unravel in the 5th inning when, with 2 outs in the inning, Giants pitcher Barry Zito nubbed a good luck broken bat single up the middle.  Instead of taking it for what it was, a stroke of luck, Hamels let the hit get into his head and chaos ensued.  3 runs later, the Giants moved onto the 6th inning with Hamels still annoyed about the previous disaster and 3 more runs scored in that next inning. 

Hamels is looking more and more like a mental patient on the mound instead of an MVP.  Can someone please call Dr. Phil?  This guy needs a serious sit down.  It does not matter how good a pitchers arm is; if he cannot handle the pressure, he will crack.  And Hamels is cracking to the point of breaking.  Let me ask you this; when Pedro Martinez arrives and one of the starters is going to get bumped to the bullpen, can the Phillies justify doing this to JA Happ when he has outpitched Hamels?

Think I am nuts?  Look at the numbers:  Hamels has a 7-6 record with a 4.68 ERA.  Happ, in 17 fewer innings due to a season start in the pen, has a record of 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA.  Hamels is averaging 5 2/3 innings pitched per game for the season; Happ is averaging 6 2/3 in his last 10 starts (could not use games he pitched from the pen, so went with last 10) and therefore, going deeper into games. 

Is Cole the staff “ace”?  Supposedly.  And there is no denying the job he did last season.  But why hurt the team while he gets his head on straight?  Brett Myers knew that was the wrong thing to do last year when he accepted a minor league assignment in order to straighten himself out.  Will Hamels ever follow suit?  That is doubtful.  Then it is up to the manager to make the decision for him.  I am not saying he should be demoted to the minors, but Hamels needs to show this team that he can handle pressure and adjust in tight situations.  If he cannot turn things around, I think a “spanking” of some sort is in order here.

And there is my Hamels rant for the day.  The rest of the team did not do much this series to help out either.  The offense was lacking and defense was sloppy, as evidenced by a Ryan Howard goof today that cost the team another run.  In fact, the biggest hit of the day, besides a Jimmy Rollins solo shot, was a double off the bat of Eric Bruntlett that went deep into left field.  When the standout star of the day is Eric “I am batting below .150” Bruntlett, you know it is going to be a very bad day.


080209.jpgAside from the blunders, the best entertainment of the day was watching Pedro Feliz try to wrestle the Giants mascot, Lou Seal and then Jayson Werth stole the poor critters hat:

But tomorrow is another day and the Phillies are still in first place.  A three game series with the Rockies may be just what the doctor ordered Tuesday night beginning at 7:05pm. 

I will be taking a tour of AT & T Park tomorrow morning and flying home tomorrow evening.  I hope to post a review of San Francisco, both the city and the ballpark, sometime on Tuesday.  I will also be posting a Photo Album from the entire West Coast trip and all 4 games with the Giants.  For now, let’s see if the Phillies return home can spark some offense!  Go Phillies!

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Phinally – A Series Win

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.

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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)

Pigs (28).jpgYesterday, 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!

Up Next

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.

VOTE

The clock is ticking…please keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!  Voting ends at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, July 2, 2009.

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Day Dreamin’ In Tampa

The past few days have left Phillies fans wondering who turned the lights out.  The mental mistakes, lack of concentration and outright wackiness of this team begs the question, where have the Phillies head’s gone?  Did they drink too many Slurpee’s in the hot weather and are suffering from severe brain freeze?  Or, are they day dreaming of midget clowns, fire eaters and candy?  Hmmmm….dreaming.jpg

At the plate, they appear to be asleep; weak swings at bad balls, staring like a deer in headlights at strikes down the middle of the plate and base running that brings back memories of their little league days.  Tonight, Pedro Feliz killed an inning that had real potential by forgetting how many outs there were.  1 out in the 6th, Pedro on 1st and Matt Stairs on 3rd, Eric Bruntlett did his job and hit a sac fly to center.  Feliz, however, thinking there were two outs, ran all the way to second and got doubled up at 1st before Stairs could score.  The run did not count and the threat was over.

But this is only one of several examples of spontaneous stupidity displayed by the team this week.  It has made most fans wish they really were living in la-la-land, as the Phillies appear to be.  At least in la-la-land, the rest of the NL East catching up to the Phils may not factor in.  However, in the real world, the Phillies have run themselves into big trouble.

And trouble rolls downhill, starting with the starters.  Antonio Bastardo was given a 4 run lead to start the game and immediately gave 3 runs right back to the Rays in the bottom of the 1st inning.  And as expected, it all went downhill from there.  Maybe if Bastardo more closely resembled another Antonio, I would be able to cope with his lack of control:

A Bastardo.jpg
Put Banderas on the mound and I don’t care if he walks in 12 runs…at least he would look good doing it ;O)  But Bastardo still needs work before he is major league ready.  And he may have taken that decision out of the manager’s hands anyway tonight, as he left the game early with a left shoulder strain.  The Phillies need a starting pitcher – real bad.  The hole in the rotation left by Brett Myers continues to haunt the team, with no answer yet in sight.  And even worse, because the Phillies have let so many teams in the NL catch up to them over these last few weeks, most teams are not ready to give up and start unloading talent.  They all still have a shot at the Wildcard, thanks to the Phillies bad play.  And therefore, the pickings are slim for starting pitchers.  Talk about shooting themselves in the foot…ouch!

Hey, maybe Antonio Banderas IS available?  I have no idea if he has ever picked up a baseball, but I am willing to give him a shot.  Hey Tony…call me ;O)

Reminder:  Despite the brain freezes of the week, please keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address! 

Player photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Offense & Defense Waste Good Pitching

The Phillies had a 3-2 lead going into the 9th inning last night in their 2nd game against the Dodgers, but missed opportunities and shoddy defense gave the game away.  Going 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position, the Phils wasted an outstanding performance by Jamie Moyer.  P5314951 Moyer.jpgMoyer had his longest outing of the year, going 7 innings and only allowing 2 runs on 4 hits with no walks.  You could not have asked for more from the veteran lefty.

But the bats went silent after the 4th inning and of 11 runners left on base, Jimmy Rollins accounted for 4 of those in scoring position, going 0 for 5 in the game.  Rollins is now batting a very sad .219.  Five other Phillies, including Chase Utley with 2 RBI in the game, had 2 hit nights, but most of them were not at key times. 

The big blow came in the 9th when Brad Lidge took over to attempt the save, which started out well.  He retired the first 2 batters quickly, but then gave up a hit and a walk, both coming after having the batters down in the count 1 ball, 2 strikes.  But when Russell Martin stepped up to the plate and hit an easy ground ball to third base, it looked like the Phils had the game in the bag.  One out and they were done.  No one expected Pedro Feliz to let the ball hop off his glove to load the bases, but that is exactly what happened.  Feliz, normally a stellar fielder, missed a routine play that a little leaguer could have handled.  And he cost the Phillies the game.  The next batter smacked a hit down the right field line, 2 runs scored, game over; Dodgers win.

Of course, you cannot blame it all on Feliz; the offense should have scored more runs.  All of the blown opportunities came back to bite them.  Shane Victorino was held out of the line-up again, which does not help, but Eric Bruntlett who replaced him had 2 hits.  So, you cannot say too much about that, except Bruntlett did miss a ball in the outfield that cost Moyer a run earlier in the game.  Add the awful defense together with the sleepy bats and this is the result; a very sad, very disappointing loss in a game that should have been won.

So the 7 game win streak comes to an end and the Phillies will try to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get a win this afternoon.  Joe Blanton will attempt to right the ship; game time is 4:10pm.

Reminder:  Keep VOTING for our Phillies All-Stars!  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!

Photo by Jenn

***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***

(Store is non-profit, but lots of fun!  I hope you enjoy our artwork!)

*Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGEPhillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Remember also to check out the homepage, My Team Rivals and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!

 

Phils Win Series, Despite Lidge’s 2 Blown Saves

P5244535 Lidge.jpg

The bloom has definitely fallen off the rose; Brad Lidge is our fallen hero who gave us perfection in 2008 and now nothing but headaches in 2009.  Sorry Brad, but it is time to surrender your cape.  With a 2-run lead in yesterdays’ game, Lidge gave up 3 runs in the 9th and handed over the win to the Yankees.  Tonight, he gave up 1 run in the 9th to tie up the game, but Clay Condrey emerged as the unlikely hero to bail him out.  Condrey managed 2 scoreless innings and the Phillies won 4-3 in 11 innings.

But what has happened to Lidge?  He swears he is not injured, so what are we to think?  I know what I thought in the 9th today – that I was going to leap out onto the field, grab him by the shoulders and shake him violently until the sludgy alien-oil that has obviously taken over his brain came oozing out and gave us our hero back.  It really is an X-Files kind of mystery what has become of Mr. Perfect these days.

But a win is a win and 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.  Shane Victorino gave CC Sabathia fits today at the plate; both he and Carlos Ruiz had a 3 hit night.  And Ryan Howard shocked the crowd when he laid down a slap-bunt towards third base for a hit; there’s something you won’t see every day.  Hey, whatever works!

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Cole Hamels
had it working too through 6 innings of 2-run ball.  He did fall behind in counts quite a bit, but recovered nicely, although you could tell he wanted to smack Eric Bruntlett in the 4th after an error that extended the inning.  Hamels smack his fist into his glove as he arrived at first base and realized Bruntlett would not be throwing over as he dropped the ball.

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And here is my “Shame On You” for the day:  after striking out rookie John Mayberry in the 8th to end the inning, CC Sabathia hollered and pumped his fist as the strode off the mound, as if he had just won the game in grand fashion.  His showboating was less than appropriate for several reasons; he had just struck out a rookie in his 2nd major league game and, the Yankees were losing the game 3-2 at that point.  Much ado about nothing?  I’d say so.

So how was my first, and probably my only visit to new Yankee Stadium?  Pretty good.  It is a very nice stadium; almost identical to the old one, only bigger, nicer seats and it doesn’t smell like cat pee :O)  The seats in the lower level from foul pole to foul pole have waiter service, which was convenient, but they could certainly benefit more from lowering the cost of those seats and skipping the waiters.  A bit excessive, I thought.  Loved the padded seats, Monument Park was nice, huge team store with a great variety of stuff and TONS of employees everywhere you turn to direct people and answer questions.  The concourse even had a fresh fruit stand.  I was not impressed with the murky, drab gray underground tunnel system which you have to walk through to get to Monument Park and the centerfield gate.  It reminded me of Veterans Stadium; dark, creepy and nothing to look at.  Literally…nothing.  Blank, gray walls.  But overall, it is a very nice place; just WAY overpriced and excessive in a lot of areas it does not need to be.

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More game and stadium photos are coming!  I will post those tomorrow at some point, but for now, I am nursing a wicked bad sunburn (ouch!) and dragging after a long 3 ½ hour drive home.  So, off to bed for me!  Must find the aloe…

UPDATE: Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the game including photos of new Yankee Stadium!

Keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!  Florida series starts tomorrow at 7:05pm…Jamie Moyer will try to fry some fish ;O)

Photos by Jenn

***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***

(Store is non-profit, but lots of fun!  I hope you enjoy our artwork!)

*Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGEPhillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Remember also to check out the homepage, My Team Rivals and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!

Moyer Loves Fish…Mmmm!

Fish Fry Moyer.jpg

Jamie Moyer completed the sweep of the Florida Marlins today by frying the pesky Fish; his record now stands at 12-1 against the Marlins.  This win was a back breaker for the Marlins, who lost 13-2, and even had to use their right-fielder, Cody Ross, to pitch the final inning.  Moyer’s pitching baffled the aggressive young hitters who struck out 6 times and managed only 1 run against Moyer.  Great defense was a help as well, with Raul Ibanez making an unbelievable snag of a long fly ball against the wall in left.  Had he missed it, it would have plated at least 2 more runs for the Fish.  Ibanez continues to impress, silencing all doubters who were upset by the exit of Pat Burrell.

Jimmy Rollins got the day off to reflect on his awful start to the season and Eric Bruntlett filled in nicely, going 1 for 4 with 1 RBI, 1 walk and 2 runs scored.  Pedro Feliz must like fried Fish as well; he had 3 hits, 2 RBI, 1 walk and 2 runs scored.  Yummy!  In fact, all of the Phillies, Moyer included, had at least one hit in the game except Chris Coste.  Coste also had a brain-fart in the 5th inning when he grabbed a bunted ball and threw to 2nd instead of getting the sure out at first base.  Not his day, for sure.  But luckily, the rest of the team was hungry and happy to gobble up the Fishies.  My favorite part of the following video is about 1 min, 15 seconds in…you’ll see why:

The Phillies would love to continue their feeding frenzy tomorrow when they take on the Washington Nationals at home with Joe Blanton on the mound.  Start time is 7:05pm and if you are hungry too, head out to the ballpark; it is dollar dog night!  Not as fun as Fish heads, but still pretty good.

In case you missed it in my earlier blog, I have posted a Photo Album of the Iron Pigs game from yesterday.  You will see shots of Carlos Ruiz rehabbing, Kyle Kendrick pitching, the park, the mascots and much more!  Enjoy :O)

And as usual, don’t forget to VOTE for your All-Star’s today!  Get your Phillies into the game!!  Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address.

Photo by Jenn

***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***

(Store is non-profit, but lots of fun!  I hope you enjoy our artwork!)

*Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Remember also to check out the homepage, My Team Rivals and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!

 

Fried Fish & Iron Pigs

This team sure loves playing from behind; all 8 wins this year so far have been comeback wins, including yesterday’s 10-inning 6-4 win over the Marlins.  Losing 3-4 in the 9th inning, Eric Bruntlett stepped in to pinch hit and hit a chopper up the third base line well enough to score Jayson Werth from third and tie up the game.  In the 10th, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Werth all singled, plus a stolen base from Victorino, and the Phillies took the lead, 6-4.  Brad Lidge tried to give us all a tummy ache in the bottom of the 9th as he loaded the bases full of Fish, but managed to escape unscathed.

Chan Ho Park had a better game this time around; he started off red-hot, but cooled a bit in the 4th inning when he gave away back-to-back home runs.  The first was a 3-run homer to Jorge Cantu and then a solo shot to Dan Uggla.  But Park did keep the Phils in the game and even accidentally ran into an opposite field home run of his own in the 3rd inning.  It was Park’s first home run since 2000.

The bullpen including Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson held the game at 4 runs for the Fish and ultimately, gave the Phillies an opportunity to come back and win.  Great job from the pen! 

Speaking of pens, I was actually sitting in the “pig pen” at Coca-Cola Park watching the Phils game on my phone while watching our AAA club, the Iron Pigs play the Pawtucket Red Sox.  And yes, everything in this park is “pig” themed.  From the mascots, to the game program, which is called “Pork Illistrated.”  Besides the “oinking” from the crowd and other silliness, the park is beautiful, has comfortable seating and it was a really entertaining time overall.

The Pigs game actually mirrored the Phillies game through the 9th inning; both clubs were tied 4-4 and went 1 extra inning!  Sadly, the Pigs game had a different result, as they lost to the Sox, 5-4.  But I did get to check out Carlos Ruiz in his first rehab assignment.  Ruiz was the DH; he went 0-3 at the plate, walked twice and scored a run.  The good news is, he looked ok swinging the bat.Kendrick Ruiz Pigs.jpg

I also saw former major leaguer, Kyle Kendrick pitch; Kendrick went 5 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks.  Not good.  He looked like a minor league pitcher and appears to have a long way to go before cracking the majors again.  We wish him luck!

Spring training stand-outs John Mayberry Jr. and Jason Donald each smacked a home run in the game and were impressive defensively as well.  Mike Cervenak and Andy Tracy collected the other 2 RBI’s, which were hard to come by as they faced pitchers who were throwing in the 40’s and 50’s.  I am so not kidding; it looked like a tee-ball game.  One pitcher for the Sox was being clocked regularly at around 41mph!  Wow.  Most AAA players are not used to such slow deliveries and it will mess up their timing.  Hey, maybe the Sox would like to sign me up?  Pretty sure I can top 41mph.

Jason Donald HR.jpg

Here is the Photo Album of the Iron Pigs game; I have included more shots of Ruiz, Kendrick, Coca-Cola park, the mascots and many others!

Back to the majors: Don’t forget to VOTE for your All-Star’s today!  Get your Phillies into the game!!  Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address. 

And tune in now to the Phillies-Marlins 3rd game of the series which had a very early start at 12:10pm.

Photos by Jenn

***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***

(Store is non-profit, but lots of fun!  I hope you enjoy our artwork!)

*Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Remember also to check out the homepage, My Team Rivals and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!