Where did this Phillies team come from? It looked early on like another bad, rebuilding season was upon us. But this young team has now won 9 of their last 10 games, sweeping both the Nationals and Indians in the last week. Crazy.
Before the big win, the Phillies hosted their annual Mother’s Day celebration which began with Cameron Rupp’s mom tossing him the first ball; that was adorable. And, of course, the Phanatic’s mom was around later in the game as well.
Vince Velasquez started the game in the rain and miserable cold. Still, he pitched well without allowing any runs over 6 innings.
There was not much offense in the game; it was certainly not hitting weather today. But the Phillies managed a few hits and scored twice in the 3rd inning.
Some adventurous plays in the field were also on the schedule. Darin Ruf had the highlight of the game with a diving catch in left field. When did Ruf suddenly become Mr. Super-outfielder? And then Maikel Franco turned a routine pop-up into a dare-devil grab:
So the Phillies walked away with a 2-1 win. They are back on the road tomorrow after this brief home stand, playing St. Louis on Monday night. Can they keep the win streak alive? We shall see…
Here is the full Photo Album from the game.
“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!
Photos by Jenn Zambri
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
Yes, it is May. And yes, it is a new day. But although Wednesday’s May-day marked the start of a new month for the Phillies, it did not appear to be any different than the month of April; or any different than the year 2012, for that matter. Now, cries of “Mayday!” can be heard throughout Philadelphia. This team has serious problems.
Over 2 games against the Indians, the Phillies were outscored 20 runs to 2. And last night’s 0-6 shut-out was even worse than the 2-14 pounding they look on Tuesday. The Phillies had only 3 hits in last night’s game against a rookie pitcher, who was so wild, he walked 6 batters. With 7 walks total handed to the Phils, they still could not manage to score a single run. That is nearly impossible, but this team found a way to do it.
And here is a thought; perhaps someone should come up with a fun drinking game for every time Michael Young or Ben Revere hits into a double play? Including one last night, Young has 7 already on the season and Revere has 5. Then again, that may not be frequent enough to really put me out of my misery. So let’s add in runners left on base! There were 9 of those last night, plus the Phillies went 0-10 with runners in scoring position. Now we can do some serious alcoholic damage!
Yes, this team is driving me to drink. As I predicted about a week ago, the Phillies have kept us all on this sickening roller coaster ride. They suck, then bounce back for a few games (like the 3-game sweep of the Mets this past weekend) and then they go right back to sucking, once again proving that they just cannot get the job done on a consistent basis.
Both Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young are now in the line-up and nothing has changed. Sure, it has not been very long for either, but it is not like they both arrived cold, having not played in a while. Both guys were baseball-ready after playing in rehab games. Still, after one day of excitement for seeing Chooch again, the thrill is already gone and the offense is still stagnant.
Even Cliff Lee could not get the job done against the Indians, his former team. Roy Halladay was awful the day before that. The only highlight last night was watching Layne Nix rob an Indian of a home run with a leaping catch just before the ball cleared the wall. And this is not the first time this season that Nix has been the only bright spot in a game. That is a very, very bad sign.
And this has all been going on far too long for it to just be a slump. I am seriously beginning to think this team will not be able to recover. Could all of this be the beginning of the end for this era in Phillies baseball? Only time will tell; and the Phillies are quickly running out of that time…
After 3 straight solid starts, things seemed to be looking up for Roy Halladay. That all changed last night when he got scalped by the Indians. The Tribe took Doc deep 3 times; all 3 times there was a man on base. Those 6 runs, plus 2 more, chased Halladay from the game after only 3 2/3 innings. His ERA is now 6.75. Ouch.
But the pain did not end there. Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes each gave up 2 home runs each in relief. More accurately, it was the exact opposite of “relief”…agony.
That was 7 home runs total for the Indians, 5 of which were 2-run bombs. Those guys that hit the 2 solo shots should be ashamed. Clearly, they are underachievers.
Seriously, this game was painful to watch. It was so painful that I actually began paying more attention to the commercials than to the game. And when my mind begins to wander, strange things can happen.
For example, I began to wonder who would win a fight between Jan, the Toyota spokesperson and Flo, the Progressive Insurance chick. Both are equally annoying, but Flo has a clear advantage as the game was being played last night in Progressive stadium. Hmmmm…
Bad Phillies games are simply not good for my brain.
There was one small tidbit of good news last night. Delmon Young was activated off the DL and finally joined the team as the DH last night. Looking as if he were determined for fans to like him, he began his Phillies career with a home run in his first at-bat. Young went 2-for-3 on the night and was also hit by a pitch.
But the good news ended there. Chase Utley hit a solo homer and that was the end of the scoring for the Phils. The 2-14 final score looked more like 2 touchdowns and a safety than a baseball score. And the way the Phils were beat up also resembled a football game, minus all the concussions.
Although, after sitting through those 9 innings of torture, I feel like I have a concussion; or some minor brain damage, at least. Ugh.
Today is another day though. And tonight, Cliff Lee will face his old team for the first time in his career. Hopefully, some of that old Cy Young magic still resides in Progressive stadium for Mr. Lee. Game time is 7:05pm.
Perhaps it is fitting that Cole Hamels did not get his first win of the season until the day Carlos Ruiz returned from a 25-game suspension. Throughout the weekend, the Phillies suddenly began to show signs of life. Maybe a lot of that had to do with the anticipation of Chooch’s return.
After losing 3 of 4 to the Pirates, the Phils proceeded to storm New York and sweep the Mets in 3 games. Kyle Kendrick shut them out on Friday and Jonathan Pettibone collected his first major league win on Saturday. Then Sunday afternoon, Hamels held the Mets to 1 run to complete the sweep.
While Ruiz did not have a huge impact on the game, going 1 for 4, his mere presence did seem to have everyone in high spirits. The game was tied 1-1 going into the 7th; in previous games, this lack of offense would have had the entire team tied up in knots, pressing at the plate. But today, everyone was a little more relaxed.
That 7th inning was the key; Laynce Nix came through again as a pinch-hitter with a 2-out single and Jimmy Rollins followed with a single of his own. Then Ryan Howard, who did not start the game, smacked a 2-run, pinch-hit double to put the Phillies on top. Chase Utley singled to score Howard and add to the lead.
Even the bullpen finally looked normal. Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a scoreless inning to nail down the 5-1 win. This is the team we have all been waiting to see. The question is, can they keep the momentum going?
Monday is an off day and Tuesday, the Phillies will be in Cleveland to take on the Indians at 7:05pm.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Please excuse the following outburst of unbridled enthusiasm for a move that many may view as not very exciting: The Phillies have signed our old friend Chad Durbin!!!! Whoo hoo!!!! Durbin was a big part of the 2008 World Championship team; he spent the last 2 years with the Indians and the Braves.
Durbin adds much needed depth and maturity to the Phillies bullpen. In his first stint with the Phillies, he was known as the intellectual of the bullpen group. He has a great personality and is extremely fan-friendly, as well. Durbin was one of my personal favorites for those reasons and I am glad he is back!
Durbin, 35, did very well with the Braves last year, pitching in 76 games with a 3.10 ERA. His new contract with the Phillies is for 1 year with an option for a second year.
The Phillies also signed a utility infielder this week to a minor league deal. Yuniesky Betancourt, who turns 31 in a few days, will join the team for Spring Training. He hit .223 with the Royals last year, but was designated for assignment in August when the team manager, Ned Yost, became unhappy with his attitude. “Yuni did a great job for us. But he was a guy that wanted more playing time, and he would get upset when he didn’t,” Yost said.
So add Betancourt to the Phillies list of problem children headed to camp next month. If nothing else, Spring Training looks a lot more entertaining now!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Earlier today, the Phillies finally got the deal done with manager Charlie Manuel. The two-year extension will take him through the 2013 season.
In a press conference, Manuel expressed his desire to stay with the Phillies until he leaves baseball. Manuel discussed other teams he has worked with and then stated, “I’m a Phillie. If I cut my arm it’s going to be red blood, not blue.”
Well, unless Charlie is a horseshoe crab or an octopus, I am pretty sure he bleeds red. But seriously, it is great to have a guarantee for Charlie before the season starts.
During Manuel’s time in Philly, the team has the best record in the National League. Manuel has won 544 games with the Phillies plus four division titles, one league title and , of course, the 2008 World Series Championship.
Spring Training Update
The Phillies are plugging along through spring training despite losing both Chase Utley and Domonic Brown to injuries. Utley is still out indefinitely. Brown had successfully surgery to remove the hamate bone in his hand and is expected to play again in four to six weeks.
Today, Roy Halladay pitched six scoreless innings against the Yankees, allowing only four hits. Halladay was sharp and used his curve ball more than usual in preparation for the season.
While winning by a score of 7-0, the Phillies saw contributions from several lesser-known players. One of those players, Josh Barfield, went 2 for 3, including a triple today. He is hitting .538 in 13 at-bats so far this spring. Barfield is a second baseman who spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Indians and Padres. He hit .294 with 36 RBI last year in the Indians AAA club.
Barfield has been impressive, which may be of great importance now that Utley’s future is uncertain. Wilson Valdez is an option as well, but it could not hurt to have an extra infielder right now.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography