The Phillies first game of the regular season began with a bang to the tune of 14 runs on 17 hits including 3 homers, one of which was a Grand Slam. It was a record-setting day on many levels.
First, Phillies ace Cliff Lee allowed 8 earned runs and still got the win. That is only the 8th time in MLB history that a pitcher gave up 8 runs in at least 5 innings and still won. It is also only the 3rd time in history that happened on Opening Day.
Then in his first Opening Day start, Cody Asche ended the game just a triple short of the cycle. With his parents looking on, Asche had a career day with 3 hits, 2 RBI including a solo homer, a walk and 4 runs scored.
But the biggest day record-wise was had by Jimmy Rollins who belted a Grand Slam in the 2nd inning, marking his 200th career homer. That home run made him only the 19th player in baseball history to have 400 or more doubles, 100 or more triples and 200 or more home runs in a career. He also tied a record with Cal Ripken Jr. for 14 consecutive Opening Day starts at shortstop with the same team.
Rollins may have had some extra inspiration yesterday as he is on baby-watch. His wife Johari is expecting their second child any minute now. Rollins stayed an extra day in Philly in case she went into labor and then joined the team in Texas on Sunday night, one day after the team arrived.
Records aside, many Phillies had big days in this game. Both Chase Utley and Ben Revere had 3 hits, Marlon Byrd went 2-for-6 with a solo homer and Ryan Howard had 2 hits and a walk. Maybe the biggest hit of the day, besides the grand slam, was a pinch hit 2-run double in the 5th inning by John Mayberry Jr. In his first big move of the season, manager Ryne Sandberg had a gut feeling to switch Junior’s; Mayberry Jr. in place of Tony Gwynn Jr. That double broke a 7-7 tie and propelled the Phillies to the win with some much needed momentum.
While I do not think the Phillies are going to score 14 runs again soon, this was an uplifting start the season. Enjoy it! Tonight, A.J. Burnett will make his Phillies debut; game time is 8:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies had a single make-up game against the Rockies today in Colorado before heading home. The first 6 innings of the game were a disaster with careless plays and missed scoring opportunities. Until the 7th inning, you had to think there was no way the Phils were going to win this game. But this is baseball…never say never.
Here is a quick recap of the sloppy seconds that dominated the game through 6 innings:
– The 2nd place Phillies made their 2nd trip this year to Colorado today.
– The 2nd run of the game for the Phillies was scored on a sloppy slide from pitcher Joe Blanton.
– After 1 run scored in the 5th inning, Jimmy Rollins had the bases loaded with 1 out. He grounded into a sloppy and hugely disappointing double play to end the inning without scoring a 2nd run.
– Catcher Brian Schneider had a runner easily picked off at 2nd base in the 6th inning but Rollins dropped the ball.
The 6th inning got worse as the first base umpire called a runner safe that was out. Then a ball hit up the middle for what should have been an easy double play was deflected off the glove of pitcher Antonio Bastardo. Instead of getting out of the inning, another run scored.
Earlier in the 6th, Mike Sweeney was hit in the hand while checking his swing and let out a painful scream. The bases were loaded so a run scored, but Sweeney looked hurt. Everyone is hoping he will be alright. Feel free to join my Facebook group, I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney, and show your support :O)
But down 7-3 going into the 7th, someone flipped a light switch on. The Phillies managed to climb back into the game with a double by Placido Polanco, an Utley single and a 2-run homer from Ryan Howard. Not to be outdone, Jayson Werth followed with a solo homer to tie the game at 7-7. A single by Ben Francisco then gave the Phillies the 8-7 lead.
But the Phillies were not done yet in the 7th. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Utley made up for his 2nd inning error with a GRAND SLAM! Wow. Phillies led at that point, 12-7 after scoring 9 runs in the 7th.
While a 5-run lead is nice, the Rockies were not done yet either…they scored 3 runs off Chad Durbin in the bottom of the 7th. So entering the 9th with a score of 12-10, Brad Lidge came in for the save attempt. And here comes the “sloppy” again…the first batter hit an easy ground ball to first but Howard dropped it! That dropped ball turned into an unearned run, cutting the lead to one run.
Lidge gave up a single next and one out later, walked Todd Helton. Phillies fans started getting nauseous. But Lidge worked out of the mess; he struck out Clint Barmes and the next batter hit a ball to Polanco at third. Polly made a tough play and stepped on third for the force out to end the game. And……exhale…..whew! This was a huge win for the Phils!
Since the bullpen was pretty much used up tonight, I hope the Phillies are prepared to bring up a few pitchers from the minors before tomorrow’s game against the Brewers. The only September call-up so far has been catcher Paul Hoover. Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.
#1 Phillies Fan
Autotrader.com is running a contest to find the #1 Phillies Fan. I am constantly teased about being an obsessive Phillies fan and all my friends complain they never see me during baseball season. So, I decided to enter the contest. If you agree that I am a huge Phan, please feel free to VOTE for me :O) Your support is appreciated!
Nyjer Morgan: Poster Child For Anger Management
Nyjer Morgan of the Washington Nationals has issues. On August 21st, Morgan was accused of purposely throwing a ball at a fan in Philadelphia after being heckled. The fan was hit in the head and did not see the throw coming. MLB suspended Morgan for 7 games, which he is currently appealing.
As if that were not bad enough, on Wednesday night, Morgan charged the mound with his fist in the air after a pitch from the Marlins Chris Volstad sailed behind him. Morgan swung and the benches cleared. Worse than that, Morgan showboated after the brawl ended as he walked off the field, proud of his bad behavior. Check out the video:
Morgan’s behavior this year has been reprehensible. Even his own manager has benched him for prior bad behavior. He does not deserve to wear a major league uniform; here’s hoping MLB takes appropriate action.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The post-game shaving cream pie to the face has become a celebratory Phillies tradition over the years. One reader wanted to know where it all began. In my own experiences, I have been able to trace the practice as far back as 1993 where it happened on a semi-regular basis. Here are a few shots from 1993 where Mitch Williams pied Andy Ashby. You can see the pie in mid-air as Ashby tried to avoid contact during his post-game interview with Harry Kalas:
Usually when a player gets a game winning, walk-off hit, they can expect to get pied. However, sometimes this prank is also carried out following any outstanding performance. For instance, on June 2, 2002, pitcher Robert Person hit two home runs in a game against the Expos, the first of which was a Grand Slam. The result? 7 RBI for Person, a win for the Phils and yes, a pie to the face.
In the 1990’s, the pie incidents were sort of random. But when Tomas Perez joined the Phillies in 2000, he became the “official” Pie Guy and for the next 6 years, he did not miss a beat. Perez pied everyone. And his teammates loved him; Perez was riot in the clubhouse, keeping things loose and fun. And for me personally, Perez was the nicest, most approachable player I had ever met. I always stood in the same place before games and Perez took notice. All I had to do was wave at him, and he would run right over. We spoke before many games and I got countless autographs from him.
The day the Phillies released him in 2006, we had a conversation about his tenure in Philly during batting practice. I told him how glad everyone was that he was still with the team and that his smile always brightened my day. Literally, ½ an hour later, he was released. :O(
Not only was I devastated, but so were Perez’s teammates. Ryan Howard said after the game, “I will miss the pies in the face.” And catcher Mike Lieberthal, another frequent pie’ing victim, added, “He is one of my favorite players I ever played with. He was not only a good player, but he kept everybody loose and is one of the best personalities I have ever been around.”
With the departure of Perez, the torch was passed to Shane Victorino who became the new Pie Guy and has been basically in charge of the prank ever since. Although, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs and others have been known to help out on occassion. And these days, no one is safe from the Pie Guy:
In fact, some pie pranks are not even reserved for the playing field. This pie attack occurred during an interview with Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick on NBC’s Today Show. The attack starts at about 2 minutes, 45 seconds into the video:
And some players even get double teamed; check out Carlos Ruiz:
There are some varying opinions on the pie pranks. Some players think it is funny; some are not so thrilled about it. As for the fans, I have heard everything from how funny it is to how stupid it is. One fan told me it is annoying because it ruins the post-game interview. Others wonder if it could be dangerous. And yet others look forward to it and find it entertaining. What do you think? Feel free to comment below.
What I can tell you is this; the Pie Guy is a Phillies tradition that does not appear to be going away any time soon.
Photo credits: Ibanez, Howard, Perez by Jenn; Ashby & Williams by Diana Dickerson; Rollins: NY Daily News; Victorino: CBSsports.com; Lieberthal: http://www.usat-rockymountain.org
Is it bad luck or bad baseball? It looked like luck may have been in the Phillies favor when Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent to the DL minutes before the game started today. Dice-K beat up the Phillies in their last meeting, so this must be good news. Scott Atchison, a career minor leaguer who also played in Japan, made his first career major league start in place of Dice-K. Again, this seemed like good news, right?
Wrong. Because absolutely nothing has gone well for the Phillies lately, and this game would be no different. Joe Blanton has been as bad as he could be since coming off the DL in early May. By the 2nd inning of this game, Blanton had given up 34 runs, 11 homers and 11 walks in 45 innings pitched this year.
And the damage did not end there…Blanton allowed 9 runs total, matching Jamie Moyer yesterday, on 13 hits and a walk by the time he was done, after 4 pathetic innings. His ERA is now 7.28.
Blanton loaded the bases in the 2nd inning, right after the offense scored two runs for him. He then threw ONE pitch to rookie, Daniel Nava, who in his first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam! Unbelievable. It looked like the Phillies had morphed into a black cat with a #13 tattoo, under a black cloud standing on top of a broken mirror, sprinkled with spilled salt. But was that bad luck or just Joe Blah-anton?
Blanton needs to go. Obviously, no one will want him with his gigantic 7.28 ERA and gigantic salary, so what are the options? Put him back on the DL or send him to the minors. Brett Myers did this voluntarily back in 2008 and came back to help them win the World Series. The Phillies can bring back Nelson Figueroa or someone else from the minors. I would rather see a rookie get raked for 9 runs than a veteran who is not living up to his end of the deal. How about Nate Bump? He has some experience and was recently clocked at 103mph. Go get him!
The Phillies have made a lot of mistakes this year and last, many of which have been overshadowed by the acquisition of Roy Halladay. Letting Myers go was clearly an error in judgment. I said it before, but because most people have a personal dislike of Myers, most were happy to see him go. For the Astros this year, Myers has not allowed more than 4 runs in any game, has not pitched fewer than 6 innings in any game and his ERA is a very respectable 3.18.
And do not even get me started on Cliff Lee. Because the Mariners are not doing well, Lee will likely be traded before the deadline and it looks like he may wind up in the NL East. Imagine this: Lee goes to Mets or the Braves who make the playoffs, leaving the Phillies in the dust. You want to throw up right now, don’t you?
And remember signing a 36 year-old Raul Ibanez, now 38, to a 3-year contract? It looked like a good idea for ½ a year in 2009; now, not so much. Raul, we still love ya, but things are not going well. Ibanez is hitting .247 and is getting slower in the outfield.
The Phillies also extended Blanton’s contract this off-season, giving him 3 more years and $24 million dollars. They noted his “consistency,” which I have never agreed with, and his ability to pitch many innings as reasons for the extension. Well, all those innings have taken their toll as evidenced by Blanton’s current ERA plus the pre-season injury and DL stint.
By the way, the Phillies offense died after Blanton dug a huge hole for them. The managed only 7 hits and 3 of those came from back-up catcher Brian Schneider. The Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 2-10.
I could go on, but I think that is enough for one day. The Phillies have now slid from 1st place to 3rd place in the NL East and if the Marlins keep winning, they will be in 4th place shortly. I mentioned holding off on hitting the panic button last week; well, it is now time. Let the panic begin. This past month may be a foretelling of the horror to come.
Photoshopping by Jenn
After sending Phillies fan everywhere into panic mode with some really bad baseball, the Phillies finally got their act together last night.
They beat the Astros 7-4 behind the pitching of rookie JA Happ and a Grand Slam from Pedro Feliz.
Happ won his 12th game of the year, which leads all rookie pitchers. He had a lot of base runners, but worked out of jams by remaining calm and throwing strikes. In 5 2/3 innings, Happ allowed 3 earned runs on 9 hits and 1 walk. An interference error by Paul Bako behind the plate gave the Astros one additional run, which was unearned. But once again, it was a Happ-Y day for the rookie.
Jamie Moyer pitched 1 1/3 after Happ left the game and did a great job. But on the last pitch of the inning, he strained a groin muscle and the extent of the injury is still unknown. Everyone is crossing their fingers that Moyer will recover quickly.
Ryan Madson pitched a 2-inning save and it looks like we have a new closer. And the offense finally came to life with 11 hits, the biggest of those being the slam by Feliz in the 4th inning. It was the Phillies 11th Grand Slam of the year. Jayson Werth also helped out with a 2-run shot in the 5th to break the game open for the Phils.
Add this win to a loss by the Braves and the Phillies need only one more win or one more Braves loss to clinch their 3rd consecutive NL East title. Bring a camera if you are headed to the game tonight because today may be the day! Pedro Martinez will pitch and, if he is healthy, it should be a good game. Go Phillies!
Photo by Jenn
It was a weird 6-1 win tonight for the Phillies. To start with, Joe Blanton had an odd game against the Nationals; he did not look very solid, walked 4 batters, but still only gave up 5 hits and shut-out the Nats through 6 innings. Blanton also went 1 for 2 at the plate with an infield single.
The weirdness continued as Chase Utley stole home plate in the 1st inning; the Nationals tried to get Ryan Howard out stealing 2nd and forget all about Utley. Chase made them pay…after all, who could possibly forget Utley? The nerve of them!
Then in the 7th inning, Howard committed an error which gave the Nats 1st and 2nd with no outs and the Phillies only had a 2 run lead at that point.
But that is okay, because Howard made up for the blunder by getting an unassisted double play to end the inning. Howard caught a line drive and then did a diving belly flop (scored 9.5 by the Olympic judges) at the runner who was leaning too far off first base and tagged him out.
Chan Ho Park appeared to pull a hamstring on that last pitch of the 7th inning. No word yet on how serious the injury is. Hopefully, he will be ok!
The following inning, the Phillies loaded the bases with 2 outs and Jayson Werth stepped to the plate. I yelled at the TV, “Hey Jayson, hit a grand slam!” And guess what? He did. I would like to take credit for that, but then so would the other couple thousand people who also yell at their TV’s.
Ok ladies, it is drool time…women everywhere LOVE Jayson Werth. And a guy is never hotter than when he is nailing a grand slam into the centerfield seats. I was even curled up with my Jayson Werth blanket when it happened. (Note to Chase Utley: you know you are still my #1…no worries :O)
So in honor of Werth’s heaving lifting, here is an encore performance of my favorite Werth moment:
You can all thank me later ;O) In the meantime, get ready for the SWEEP (we hope)! 7:05pm tomorrow, Cole Hamels will try to swat the Nats!
PS: The Magic Number is now 11!
Video by Jenn