There were many positives for the Phillies in last night’s 7-2 win over the Rockies. Cole Hamels returned to form and pitched extremely well. John Mayberry Jr. continued his hot streak with 2 extra base hits, including a homer. And Carlos Ruiz had 3 RBI and 2 hits, also including a homer. Even better, the Phillies finally got through a game without committing an error.
But all those positives were overshadowed by some overwhelming negatives. First, the lost of injuries for the Phillies keeps getting scarier. Laynce Nix had a setback in his recovery, possibly reinjuring the same leg. David Herndon underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.
However, the biggest bomb dropped when it was announced before the game that rookie infielder Freddy Galvis would be suspended 50-games for violating the MLB drug policy. He apparently tested positive for a trace amount of clostebol, an anabolic steroid.
Between this year and last, the Phillies have gone from first to worst. They have seen their All-Star players and important role players decimated by injuries. This is simply not what this team needed to hear right now.
To say this is disappointing is an extreme understatement. Galvis was the one bright light in an otherwise dreary season for this team and now, that has been taken away as well. I suppose the good news is that he can serve the suspension now, while he is in a back brace on the DL. He probably would have missed at least 50 games anyway.
I do not pretend to know whether Galvis is innocent or guilty. Although, you would think if he was juicing he would have hit a lot better than .226 with 15 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 24 RBIs. We will probably never know for sure.
There are several reports in reputable medical journals that say this steroid can show up in urine in trace amounts after ingesting contaminated meat or after having “relations” with a woman who was using a particular cream for a “female condition” that contains clostebol. In other countries, cattle are injected with this drug to “beef” them up, literally.
Even chicken are sometimes injected with steroids. Studies in that area produced similar results, showing trace levels of the drug in those who consumed the meat.
So I suppose you have to be a vegetarian, Catholic priest with some mad baseball skills in order to avoid a false-positive test result?
And this is why I say we will never know for sure. There are too many variables as we have seen in previous cases where athletes tested positive after taking a tainted substance. Former Phillie J.C. Romero is a good example. He won a law suit against the company who made supplements that were laced with a banned substance which was not on the label. But even though MLB now acknowledges this issue, Romero still had to serve the suspension and will forever be judged unfairly in public opinion.
This by no means exonerates Galvis, but it does, once again, call into question the legitimacy of MLB’s drug policy. A more recent example is Ryan Braun of the Brewers, who got off on a technicality involving the “transport” of his sample.
Now that MLB has made announcement about Galvis, we know that either there was no appeal or he already lost the appeal. It is MLB policy to wait until that process is done before making the official announcement.
Regardless of what did or did not actually occur here, Galvis’ reputation is now mud. And that is a real shame for a kid with so much potential. And it is especially a shame for a fan base that has been desperately searching for a small glimmer of hope for this stumbling, last place team.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
There were a number of moves made right before tonight’s Phillies – Athletics match-up. Catcher Brian Schneider came off the DL, while Roy Oswalt went on the DL. With no need for a 3rd catcher, Dane Sardinha was sent back down and pitcher Scott Mathieson was recalled and added to the bullpen. And J.C. Romero cleared waivers, declined a minor league offer and was then given his outright release.
And while that was a whole lot of movement in one day, no one expected these roster moves to be the big action of the night. Because once the game started, it was nap time.
I like a pitcher’s duel as much as the next fan, but this game, although it remained hitless for a long, long time, was not your typical duel. The pitching was not super sharp from either team and both sides issued a bunch of walks.
Despite the slight sloppiness, neither team earned a hit until two outs into the sixth inning. Vance Worley’s no-hitter was broken up by a Hideki Matsui double.
In the bottom of the sixth, Placido Polanco got the first hit of the night for the Phillies with a single against Guillermo Moscoso. Pronouncing Moscoso’s name was more entertaining than his pitching as the game dragged on with little action.
By the eighth inning, each team had only two hits. And both teams had issued five walks each by the time the ninth inning began. Several fans left in the stands appeared to be struggling to keep themselves upright.
As the yawns continued and the Phillies offense snoozed, even my cat fell asleep. But a 0-0 ballgame is no time for a cat nap!
So in the 9th inning, Shane Victorino walked and Domonic Brown got his second single of the night. A sac fly moved them into scoring position. So with two outs, Ben Francisco stepped to the plate, determined to wake up all the sleepy fans in the stands. He smacked an RBI-single to left for the walk-off win.
The Phillies just barely pulled off a 1-0 win to open this home stand. And now, because it took them nine innings to wake me up, I will not be able to sleep for hours. But when I finally do, at least I will have pleasant dreams ;o)
Cole Hamelspitches tomorrow! And with any luck, the offense will join him in the effort; game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
With Roy Oswalt sent to the DL, the Phillies needed a spot starter tonight against the Braves. They went with Kyle Kendrick and the move paid off.
Kendrick has been in the bullpen all year, so his pitch count was limited. But he managed to get through five innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out two.
The Phillies offense came up with a few key hits to give the team a 3-0 lead through those five innings. Pete Orr played second and had an RBI-fielder’s choice in the second for the first run of the game. The second run was a historic one.
Ryan Howard smashed his career 260th home run in the fourth, passing Del Ennis for 2nd place in Phillies career home runs. Mike Schmidt is in first place with 548 homers. Howard has a long way to go to match Schmidt, but 2nd place is very impressive.
Ennis’ widow Liz, an avid baseball fan, called the Phillies after the historic homer and had them leave a note of congratulations for Howard. It was a very classy move. During the game broadcast, announcer Tom McCarthy noted that Liz made the call after realizing the telegram was no longer being used. :O)
Anyway, run #3 in the game came from a Shane Victorino triple in the fifth. Earlier in the day, Victorino was in the Majestic Clubhouse Store at the stadium signing copies of his new book, “Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian.” He must have been really pumped up after the turnout. I heard from a source outside the ballpark that fans who showed up an hour early for the signing were told the line was already cut-off and they were turned away.
I am totally off topic here, but I have one last note about the book. In the next week or so, I plan on writing a review of the book. I will also reveal some personal conversations I had with Shane’s parents and also his wife, Melissa, many years back about one of the main talking points of the book, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I was very glad to hear Shane shared this in the book as I am sure it will help many people suffering from the disorder. So, stayed tuned for that…
Back to the game…by the sixth inning, this turned into a battle of the bullpens and a 3-0 Phillies lead. Coming out of the pen for the Phillies was J.C. Romero, Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson. Each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the Phillies win.
With so many questions surrounding the Phillies bullpen this year, it is very good to see everyone stepping up. Especially for young pitchers like Stutes and Bastardo, their performances so far this year have been outstanding.
The series is now split 1-1. Tomorrow the Phillies will send Cole Hamels to the mound as they try to win the series with the Braves. It is another dreadful ESPN 8pm start on a Sunday; the second Sunday in a row. I will be there and return with photos.
FYI – The MLBlogs conversion to WordPress has been postponed until next weekend, 5/13-5/16…shocking, I know. Anyway, just keep stopping by and if there is yet another delay, I will let you know. Thanks!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography