Last year on Halloween Day, the Phillies were celebrating by parading down Broad Street. This year on Halloween Day, they took a spanking from the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series with an 8-5 loss after a 1 hour and 20 minute rain delay. Cole Hamels did not follow my instructions and wear his “Hamels: Version 2008” costume for the occasion. Instead, Hamels 2009 took the mound and gave up 5 runs in 4 1/3 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks. A scary Halloween, indeed, complete with cloudy skies, rain and a 1-2 game deficit in the series.
This has been the story for Cole all year long; he simply cannot be counted on. He pitched well for 3 innings and then lost composure on a walk to Mark Teixeira that he felt should have been a strikeout in the 4th. A-Rod batted next and launched a controversial home run; the ball hit a FOX TV camera which was sticking out over the field. Instant Replay showed the hit and by rule, the interference made it a home run. This brings up another point: why is a TV camera sticking out over the field? They cannot back up a few inches? That simply should not be allowed. Way to go FOX.
It all fell apart after that. Once again, even though Cole showed signs of impending disaster, manager Charlie Manuel sent him out for the 5th and again, left him in way too long. He even allowed an RBI single to the pitcher, Andy Pettitte, who almost never picks up a bat. 3 runs later and this game was going downhill fast. The bullpen could not hold the Yanks to those 5 either. The next 3 relievers allowed one run a piece in each of the next 3 innings.
Add to that the horrible offensive display and Phillies fans are having flashbacks to slumps from earlier in the season. The Yankees who had not been hitting in this series, like A-Rod and Nick Swisher, found Hamels to be the cure. And the Phillies who were performing all post-season long, like NLCS MVP Ryan Howard, have seemingly lost their bats and cannot find them anywhere.
Jayson Werth looked to be the only Phillie interested in hitting; he knocked two solo home runs in the game. Carlos Ruiz also hit a solo homer and walked twice. The other 2 runs came off a walk to Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded and a Shane Victorino sac fly. And that was basically the sum total of the offense.
Another item that irks me here: Eric Bruntlett was put in as a pinch hitter with a man on base in a situation where a home run was really what they needed. Why not Matt Stairs? Bruntlett should never be used as a pinch hitter unless they are looking to bunt. He had a terrible season and looks like he could not hit the side of a barn. Not to mention, he almost never hits homers.
As for Hamels, he is lined up to pitch Game 7, if it goes that far. In my opinion, this should not even be a consideration. Hamels has proven all year that he cannot get the job done, especially under pressure. He should be done. Come up with a mystery injury, replace him on the roster with another bullpen arm or bench player and send in Cliff Lee on short rest with JA Happ as his back-up. If I was in charge, that is what would happen. But since I am not in charge, hang on Phillies fans, it is going to be a bumpy ride if this goes 7 games.
The Phillies can try to tie up the series tonight with a win, but it will be Joe Blanton against CC Sabathia. Blanton has not done very well this post-season and is sporting a 4.66 ERA. Sabathia is the better pitcher, but does have awful memories of last post-season to overcome, including his lost battles with Brett Myers at the plate, a Grand Slam by Victorino and the banter of the home crowd. Plus he is on 3 days rest, same as that game last year where the Phillies beat up on him when he was with the Brewers.
My tummy hurts just thinking about this. Plus, I have an awful hangover from last night’s game, and I did not drink anything but water. Yet somehow, the nausea and headache still persist. Hmmmmm….wonder why? ;o)
Here is the full Photo Album from Game 3. I took a lot of photos of both teams, something I normally do not do. I also got some great pre-games shots which include Hall of Famers and old-timers, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox. Some are a tad blurry as it rained most of the game and I had water on my lens :O( But I still did pretty well. At least this will be more enjoyable than the game was :O)
Photos by Jenn
As I mentioned yesterday, we all hope that Cole Hamels comes in costume to World Series Game 3 against the Yankees dressed as “Hamels: Version 2008.” He is facing one of the best pitchers in post-season history, Andy Pettitte. Hamels has his work cut out for him. If he cannot channel the 2008 Hamels, it is going to be a long and scary night.
In the spirit of Halloween fun, I have made some costumes for a few of the other players. We already know that Cliff Lee is a Magician but J-Roll Smurf wanted to see his idol, Jimmy Rollins, dressed properly as well:
Everyone knows Shane Victorino is the Flyin’ Hawaiian and JA Happ is a Rookie who has garnered all kinds of awards already this season, including the Sporting News Rookie of the Year and the Players Choice National League Outstanding Rookie for 2009. So young and yet, so talented:
Nice legs too. ;O)
And my personal favorite, Ryan Howard as The Incredible Hulk!
I am getting ready to head out to the stadium…I did finally get a ticket at the last minute, although it looks like rain is in the forecast. Hopefully it will hold off enough to get the game in and for me to get a few photos. Wish me luck!
Photoshopping by Jenn
Pop the champagne Phillies fans; for the 3rd year in a row, this team has won the NL East and will be playing in the post-season. In a game that included at least one RBI from every starting position player except lead-off hitter Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies powered their way to a 10-3 mashing of the Astros to win the title. Rollins did have 2 hits in the game though, plus a walk and he scored twice.
A true team effort, the win included back-to-back triples by Rollins and Shane Victorino, a massive 2-run homer by Raul Ibanez, a sac fly, a stolen base and 3 doubles. Pedro Martinez pitched only 4 innings and allowed 3 runs, but his teammates picked him up with their hitting and some great relief pitching. Kyle Kendrick, who spent nearly the whole year in the minors, pitched 3 innings of scoreless ball allowing only 2 hits. Chad Durbin picked up the 8th; Scott Eyre got the 1st 2 outs in the 9th and, believe it or not, Charlie Manuel put Brad Lidge in to finish the game. Lidge got his old buddy Lance Berkman out on 1 pitch.
So, it is time to rejoice! Since I was not able to attend the game tonight, I broke out some old photos from the 2007 NL East clinching game. Here are a few ways the Phillies may now be celebrating:
Now just take a deep breath and exhale…ahhhhhh! Time to relax…for now. Home field advantage is still up for grabs. That challenge will begin with tomorrow night at 7:05pm in the last game of 4 against the Astros. Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn
Except champagne photo by: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/t
Since Friday night’s game did not go well, I decided that it was time for J-Roll Smurf to intervene and add a little Phillies Smurf magic to the equation. So, before the game on Saturday against the Cardinals, J-Roll Smurf enjoyed visiting personally with many of the Phillies players. The real J-Roll was excited to see his old buddy again and Ryan Howard laughed out loud as he thinks J-Roll Smurf is too awesome for words. Also rubbing the luck from J-Roll Smurf yesterday was Brad Lidge, JA Happ, Chad Durbin, Pedro Feliz, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, John Mayberry, Kyle Kendrick and Tyler Walker. And although a few Phillies, like Chan Ho Park and Jamie Moyer, seemed confused by the little blue mascot, J-Roll Smurf rubbed his luck upon them anyway :O) You’ve gotta LOVE Photo Day:
And the Smurfy magic paid off with wins both Saturday and today for a series win over the Cards! In fact, the original J-Roll Smurf, Jimmy Rollins, nailed a GRAND SLAM on Saturday and then a 2-run homer today! There is no stopping him now!
All these wins and entertainment too! On Saturday, some crazy guy tried to interrupt the game with a laser pointer to distract the Cards hitters and a very drunk guy named, “Sully” distracted the entire outfield crowd later on:
Here is the Photo Album from the entire 3-game series!
So the Phillies will hit the road for 3 games against the D-Backs and then 4 with the San Francisco Giants. I will be in San Francisco for all 4 – hope to see you there!
Photos by Jenn
Having blown six saves already this season amidst various complaints of a sore knee, Brad Lidge recently insisted that his knee troubles were in the past. However, he was placed on the 15-day DL today, which will be retroactive back to June 7th. Does this explain his 7.27 ERA? Maybe. But placing him on the DL may very well be a combination of the knee issue plus his bad performance. Perhaps the knee, which may well be feeling better, threw off his mechanics and now he needs time to straighten things out. Lidge was looking better his last few outings, but is still not the Lidge of last season.
Ryan Madson will take over the closers role in Lidge’s absence and a new face was added to the club to fill the hole. Paul Bako, 36, has been called up from AA. Bako is a catcher who hit .357 in 10 games so far this year with the R-Phils. One can only assume he will be used as an additional bat off the bench, as we do not need two 30-something year old catchers (Coste), plus a starter (Ruiz). This still seems an odd choice though, as Bako bats lefty. I would love to look into my crystal ball to see what the Phillies are thinking here. Then again, if I could read minds, I would be making a lot more money ;O)
The draft is upon us and word has it that the Phillies will take a high school prospect for their first pick (75th overall). They had a first round pick, but that went to the Mariners in the Raul Ibanez deal. We are all fine with that though, I assume :O) The draft kicks off at 6pm.
Yes, it is back. The Mets voodoo is ON! J-Roll Smurf and friends have prepared the hex for this 3-game series which kicks off tonight at 7:10pm. Power of the mind, people – get out your pins and take a stab to help out J-Roll Smurf!
Photo by Jenn
The horrendous commencement to the season for the Phillies starting pitching staff has left many wondering, what can be done to turn it around? However, the last two outings from Joe Blanton and then last night from Chan Ho Park have given Phillies fans hope. How did Charlie Manuel and gang get these guys to turn things around? The threat of losing their jobs may be a big factor, but I suspect a few more creative measures may be in play.
Did Manuel whip out the Spanish Inquisition? Nobody ever expects that…
Or maybe he pulled out the Comfy Chair. NO! Not the Comfy Chair!
And in an even more diabolical scheme, I also suspect the starting rotation was tortured further with the Slapping Fish:
Whatever the device, I fully support them. If these guys need a fishy slap in the face to wake them up, then so be it! Jamie Moyer will take the mound tonight and try to continue the improvement of the rotation. But after last night’s loss, despite the great performance of Park, I feel a little extra help may be needed. And so, again I give you the Smurfy Mets voodoo:
Yes, J-Roll Smurf and friends are back with their voodoo magic! The Phillies no longer have any excuses. They must beat the Mets tonight! Go Phillies!
Photo by Jenn
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Turns out, I am not the only one around here who is counting the days until Spring Training. The lack of newsworthy events and baseball activities are simply mind-numbing. J-Roll Smurf and Chutley Smurf have been as bored as the rest of us. With the big news in Phillies land this week being Carlos Ruiz deciding to join Team Panama for the World Baseball Classic, poor J-Roll Smurf thought maybe he’d pass the time surfing the net, or maybe reading a mildly entertaining book:
Could Ryan Howard bring us all out of our slumber and actually agree to a contract this week? Noooooo… So, J-Roll Smurf was off to raid the fridge and then decided to call over a few friends for a party:
But the only one to show up was Chutley Smurf, as everyone else was already asleep. J-Roll Smurf tried to show Chutley Smurf some photos from the World Series Trophy tour, but you all know what a trouble maker Chutley Smurf is. All he wanted to do was ride his motorcycle through the living room and raid the cookie jar:
J-Roll Smurf began telling stories about his idol, Jimmy Rollins, and how he stopped by a YMCA on Friday to talk with local children; but all Chutley Smurf did was steal a bottle of my best Soprano’s wine and snort a few lines!
All that partying got the best of these Smurf buddies and things went awry from there. Frankly, I did not see this next one coming, and neither did the poor cats:
Hours passed, still without arbitration news or the swing of a bat…what is a Smurf to do? Well, after all the booze and happy candy, I can tell you what they did next:
Ahhhhhh….and now for some much needed sleep. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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