Early in the final game of the Phillies – Indians series today, things got very, very weird. And just when you thought it could get any stranger, a gigantic storm, which looked like a hurricane and tornado all in one, hit the stadium in the 8th inning.
But early in the 2nd inning, many already thought that this game was going to resemble an episode of The Twilight Zone. 3 straight singles loaded the bases and then Dane Sardinha hit a grounder to third base. The catcher missed the throw to home plate and 2 runs scored. Next, the Phillies pitcher, Joe Blanton, got hit with a pitch.
The oddities continued as Shane Victorino was called out for going out of the baseline on his way to first base. Charlie Manuel was so angry over the call, he got himself thrown out. Blanton was later allowed by the Indians centerfielder to tag up at third and score, even though Blanton did not move until he realized the fielder was paying him no mind. And the Indians left fielder was almost injured badly when he ran for a foul ball and smashed leg first into the wall. As he bounced around, his head hit the wall next and he then began wandering around the field like he did not know where he was.
So to recap the 2nd inning; 5 runs scored on 4 hits, an official error, a mental error and 2 sacrifices plus, the manager is ejected, the Phils pitcher is hit with a pitch and a freak injury. Could this game get any weirder…oh yes, it can…
The Phillies went on a hitting spree after that, scoring 7 more runs. Placido Polanco had 4 hits and 2 RBI; both Chase Utley and Jayson Werth had 3 hits each and Wilson Valdez had 2 hits. The only position player to go hitless was Ryan Howard, although he did collect an RBI. And Sardinha, in his first start as a Phillie, hit his first major league home run in the 6th inning.
In light of the recent offensive woes, the hitting spree was a nice surprise. But it was by far the biggest surprise of the day. With 2 outs in the 8th inning, Mother Nature paid an unpleasant visit to Citizens Bank Park. The rain poured down in buckets and the wind made things begin to swirl wildly in a circular motion, like a tornado. The tarp was half-way whipped up off the field, taking a field vehicle with it! The car was supposed to be holding the tarp down, but the winds were so strong it moved the car! Check out the video from CSN Philly. I have never seen anything like this…ever:
Here is another good one shot by a fan, which gives a really good view of the car being moved around:
So the rain delay lasted for an hour and 37 minutes with the Phillies in the lead by a score of 12-3. They came back and finished the game…nothing changed. The Phillies sweep the Tribe in 3 games. Blanton had a good game, going 7 2/3 before the storm hit and allowing just 3 runs on 6 hits. Nelson Figueroa was called up from AAA and pitched a scoreless 9th. Figueroa takes Chad Durbin’s place as he is now on the DL with a strained hamstring.
Starting tomorrow night, the relocated series with the Blue Jays will begin. It was supposed to be in Toronto, but had to be moved to Philly for security reasons related to the G20 Summit. So the Jays will be the home team in Philly for 3 games. Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Jimmy Rollins officially announced his return to the Phillies tonight with a 2-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th against the Indians.
It was J-Roll’s only hit in two games since coming off the DL. Things looked grim going into that inning as Rollins was just 0 for 4 before that homer, but he hit it when it counted the most and gave his team a 7-6 victory. Welcome back, Jimmy!
Prior to that, the Phillies offense did score some runs, but they still seem to be butting heads with the usual problems; leaving men on base, hitting into double plays and swinging at bad pitches. Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit into double plays, the worst of which was by Ibanez in the 6th inning. With two runners on and no outs, Ibanez tapped one back to the mound and they did not score that inning.
But Howard had 2 hits on the night and Jayson Werth had 3, including a homer. Brian Schneider hit his first homer of the year in the 7th and there were a couple extra base hits in the game as well. The Phillies went only 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but with J-Roll playing the hero, it was enough to win the game.
The pitching was also interesting as the magical see-saw adventures of Kyle Kendrick continued tonight.
When Kendrick steps to the mound, you just never know what tricks he might pull out of his hat next. This evening’s tricks included allowing two 2-run homers to Shin-Soo Choo. Kendrick lasted just 4 innings with 5 runs allowed, although 1 run was unearned after a Chase Utley error.
With Kendrick, the only thing that has been consistent is his inconsistency. And with rumors floating that the Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, it appears they are growing impatient with not only Kendrick, but JA Happ as well. Happ has not been progressing as quickly with his rehab as the Phillies would like. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Courier Press, “”It’s the first time he’s ever had this time off, and (he needs to) come back and cut it loose and get back to that old form. He’s going to have to get to that point or he can’t perform here.” Those are strong words from an obviously frustrated GM.
Another player was injured tonight as well; Chad Durbin came up with a right hamstring strain at the beginning of the 9th inning. According to Charlie Manuel after the game, the injury is “pretty serious.” Not good news; all we can do is hope he will be okay.
In other news, Greg Dobbs did clear waivers and has been sent to AAA to work on his swing. Hopefully, Dobbs can get back into shape and help out later in the year. I know a lot of people have been complaining about Dobbs, and not without cause, but I am rooting for him to return to his 2008 form when he was probably the best pinch hitter in the league. I have been fortunate to speak with Greg on a number of occasions and he is as nice a guy as you could ever hope to meet. He is great with the fans, unselfish when giving his time and has a good heart. For all those reasons, I wish him well and hope we might see him again soon.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The big story going into tonight’s Phillies – Indians match-up was the return of Jimmy Rollins from the DL. While it is great to see J-Roll back, he still needs to shake the rust off. Defensively, he was very solid. Offensively, Rollins went 0 for 4. But he looked healthy and the team is certainly glad to have him back.
The big story after the game was Jamie Moyer. Continuing to defy the laws of time, Moyer is still amazing at 47-years of age. Like a fine wine, Moyer seems to get better with age. He pitched 8 full innings for his second start in a row; tonight, Moyer allowed just one run on a solo homer. And that homer was one of only two hits the Indians managed off Moyer.
Not such a highlight tonight was the Phillies offense…again. They scored two runs in the first with a Ryan Howard RBI-single and a sac fly from Jayson Werth. But after that, the offense went back into snooze-mode. Some Phils are still swinging the bats like they have been drinking some of that finely-aged fermented juice.
A mistake by Raul Ibanez in the 5th inning may have cost the Phillies one run. He interfered with the short stop who was trying to turn a double play, sliding far away from second base. It looked like whether Ibanez went after the short stop or not, the speedy Shane Victorino probably would have been safe and the run that scored from 3rd would have counted. Charlie Manuel argued the call and was ejected, but clearly, it was interference.
So another very tense 9th inning took place for the Phillies bullpen. With a very small 2-1 lead, JC Romero got one out, but then gave up a single and a walk. Brad Lidge, who blew a big save on Saturday, was sent in for an even tougher save opportunity. He struck out the next two batters to earn the save and give Moyer his 266th career win. Another nail biter…whew!
The Phillies will send Kyle Kendrick to the mound tomorrow night at 7:05pm for the second game of the series.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Today the Phillies agreed to terms with 32-year old right-handed relief pitcher Danys Baez, formerly of the Orioles. Pending the physical exam, Baez will be given a 2-year contract. He went 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 59 games last year, did not pitch in 2008 due to ligament surgery on his right pitching elbow and had a dismal 2007 with a 6.44 ERA in 53 games. Baez does have closing experience, which might be helpful if Brad Lidge is not ready to pitch in 2010.
However, this move is still a bit of a head scratcher. Baez had two good seasons; his rookie year in 2001 and with Tampa Bay in 2005. But his lifetime ERA is 4.04 with a record of 35-49. Charlie Manuel managed him from 2001-2001 when he played for the Indians, which we all know means that Chuck likes him a bunch, as he does most of his ex-players. It is easy to assume that played a factor in the decision.
Also, Baez is a righty, and the pen is in desperate need of lefties with only JC Romero signed and a few rookie possibilities. Scott Eyre’s future is still uncertain. So, this move tells us a few things: #1 – The Phillies are not confident that Lidge will be game-ready in April. #2 – The Phillies are willing to take their chances with the left-handed rookies, Sergio Escalona and Antonio Bastardo. #3 – Although we do not know the contract amount yet, it is safe to assume Baez came cheap. That means, the Phillies have blown their payroll and this will be the last big move, aside from handing out a few raises.
Another pitcher whose status is uncertain is Jamie Moyer. He has had 2 surgeries already since September, 3 hospital visits, 2 blood infections, a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, at least there was a little holiday cheer thrown in for him. All that and he is now scheduled for surgery #3 in January on his right knee to repair his meniscus. At 47 years of age, one has to wonder if Moyer will be able to recover from such an ordeal and come back to pitch effectively. Then again, if anyone can defy the laws of aging, it would be Moyer. I wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery!
I would also like to take this time to wish everyone out there a very Happy New Year! Be safe :O)
Photo by Jenn
No more worries about Roy Halladay, trade deadlines and who is going where…the Phillies sealed the deal today with Cy Young award winning pitcher, Cliff Lee. Lee comes to the Phillies from the Indians sporting a 7-9 record and a 3.14 ERA; his record is tainted though due to lack of run support from a struggling Indians team. And last year, Lee won the AL Cy Young. Without giving away either JA Happ or Kyle Drabek, the Phillies made the trade and also received outfielder Ben Francisco who will likely take John Mayberry’s spot on the bench and help to relieve Raul Ibanez. Off to the Indians are pitcher Carlos Carrasco, catcher Lou Marson, infielder Jason Donald and pitcher Jason Knapp.
While I am thrilled with this deal, and even more thrilled that we did not lose Happ or Drabek, I will miss Marson and Donald. I had the opportunity to chat with them both over the last few years and they are really nice, down to earth guys. Not to mention, they are both adorable :O) Ok, so I guess I will get over it. ;o)
A few more reason this is a GREAT trade; Lee will cost considerably less than Halladay next year; his option is 9 million, where Halladay’s is 15.75 million. In addition to keeping Happ and Drabek, the Phillies also retained top prospects Dominick Brown and Michael Taylor. Essentially, the farm system will not suffer.
And a few more odd reasons this is a good trade:
– Lee’s name is easy to spell.
– Cole Hamels will get less attention from the media, thus, we do not have to hear as many weird things come out of his mouth.
– Our bullpen will have someone new to play with :O) Not sure who that will be yet…
– Lee looks good in red.
– Lee is from Arkansas! Actually, I am not sure why that is good, but maybe he knows President Clinton? Just a thought…
The final game of the D-Backs series is about to begin…Go Phillies!
Last night, the Phillies took game 1 against the D-Backs in Arizona with Jamie Moyer pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. They were not easy innings; Moyer worked his way in and out of trouble again and again. But Moyer has been doing this a long time and knows how to make adjustments when he needs to.
The offense took a while to wake up after the long haul out to the West Coast, but finally in the 4th, Ryan Howard got things rolling with a 2-run home. Raul Ibanez had 2 hits and 1 RBI in the game as well.
Ryan Madson did allow 2 runs in the 8th, but the Phillies still went on to win 6-2. With the 6 hits and 4 walks allowed by Moyer, the D-Backs left 11 runners on base and committed 2 errors in the field. You have to wonder if ace pitcher Dan Haren was looking on and wondering what it might be like to play in Philadelphia? Haren is one of 3 pitchers that the Phillies are rumored to be interested in adding to the club and he will face Cole Hamels tonight in the 2nd game of the series at 9:40pm.
However, the most likely names on the horizon as the trade deadline approaches are Roy Halladay of the Jays and Cliff Lee of the Indians. The Jays reportedly rejected an offer from the Phillies which included JA Happ, Michael Taylor, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald so, it is looking less and less like a deal for Halladay may be realistic. But, stranger things have happened.
The countdown to July 31st continues! Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn