Tagged: Jamie Moyer

Big Man Down: Howard To The DL


Phillies titanic.jpgThe Phillies 2010 season is beginning to resemble the sinking of the Titanic.  Ryan Howard was placed on the DL today with a left ankle sprain.  So it is official; every single infield starter for the Phils has been on the DL this year.  The only two team starters who have escaped a DL trip so far are Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez.  That makes player #15 on the DL this year.  Take a look:

1B

Ryan Howard

DL

8/3 – now

Starter

CF

Shane Victorino

DL

7/28 – now

Starter

P

Jamie Moyer

DL

7/21 – now

Starter

2B

Chase Utley

DL

6/29 – now

Starter

3B

Placido Polanco

DL

6/26 – 7/17

Starter

C

Carlos Ruiz

DL

6/22 – 7/10

Starter

P

Chad Durbin

DL

6/2 – 7/15

Relief pitcher

P

Antonio Bastardo

DL

6/17 – 7/15 to AAA

Relief pitcher

C

Brian Schneider

DL

5/9-5/24

Back-up

P

Ryan Madson

DL

4/29 – 7/8

Relief pitcher

P

JA Happ

DL

4/16 – 7/6 to AAA

Starter

SS

Jimmy Rollins

DL

4/13-4/17, 5/22-6/22

Starter

P

Joe Blanton

DL

3/26-5/3

Starter

P 

Brad Lidge

DL

3/26-4/30, 5/10-5/31

Closer

P

JC Romero

DL

3/26-4/22

Relief pitcher

 

Is this a sign that 2010 is just not the Phillies year?  I hope not.  Filling in at first base likely will be Ross Gload and maybe Cody Ransom.  John Mayberry Jr. was called up to fill the roster spot and will be used off the bench.

Howard and Chase Utley are the Phillies biggest producers; having them both out of the line-up is going to make an already struggling offense even less effective.  Not to mention, the Phillies bullpen is still suspect.  Manager Charlie Manuel has no idea what to expect from the pen from day to day.  And with fewer runs being scored, odds are good that the pen is going to decide the outcome of a lot of games.  This is not good news.

If you are looking for some good news, Roy Halladay is pitching tonight in Miami.  Even better news; the last time this match-up occurred, Halladay threw a Perfect Game.  The Marlins may be more prepared this time out, but anytime Halladay pitches, you have to like this team’s chances.

Phillies Big Bang Theory

According to Wikipedia, the Big Bang Theory refers to the idea that the universe was originally extremely hot and dense at some finite time in the past and has since cooled by expanding to the present diluted state and continues to expand today.  The same theory can be used to explain the Phillies 2010 season thus far.  They got off to a very hot start in April, cooled off from May to most of July and are now “expanding.”  Although, “exploding” may be a more accurate term.

At first, having to face the best pitcher in the National League today did not seem like good news for the struggling Phillies offense.  But after scoring 6 runs yesterday, maybe they got some of their Mojo back.  Because they absolutely destroyed the Rockies ace, Ubaldo Jimenez. 

Jimenez entered the game with a record of 15-1 and a miniscule 2.38 ERA.  But he left the game after only 2 innings and 6 runs allowed on 3 hits and 6 walks.  All 6 runs scored in the top of the 3rd inning without Jimenez even recording an out. 
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It was starting to look like the “diluted” state of the Phils offense was about to pass.  The Rockies bullpen gave up one more run, but finally, after 30 minutes, got out of the bottom of the 3rd inning.

Jimmy Rollins, very comfy back in his leadoff spot, kicked off the 3rd inning with a single to left.  The next two batters walked as Jimenez started to look rattled.  Then Ryan Howard smacked a triple down the 1st base line.  The walks kept coming and Rollins hit a triple to score two more runs in his second at-bat of the inning.   The Rockies must have wondered if that inning was ever going to end.

While the inning did have to end eventually, the Phillies kept trying to add on and give pitcher Kyle Kendrick a huge cushion.  Kendrick had extra motivation to pitch well today.  In his last outing, Kendrick allowed 7 runs and was then demoted to the minors.  You had to expect a solid effort today as the injury to Jamie Moyer forced the Phillies to give Kendrick one more shot.

Kendrick took advantage of the unexpected opportunity and pitched very well.  By the 7th inning, Kendrick had an 8 run lead to work with and he had allowed only 1 run at that point.  He loaded the bases in the 7th with 2 outs, but managed to get out of it with a fly ball to center.  So Kendrick went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on a solo homer.  This result was more than anyone could have hoped for from Kendrick.


110A.jpgThere were a number of positives to come out of this game, aside from the obvious…a win.  Rollins looks like the player of old again with 3 big hits, a stolen base and 3 RBI.  Raul Ibanez is still loving the 3-hole in the line-up; he had his own big bang with 2-run homer in the 6th.  Jayson Werth had 2 hits and Howard racked up 3 more RBI.  Placido Polanco played 2nd base today and Greg Dobbs was at third, which turned out to be a good move.  Polanco had 2 hits and Dobbs added a hit, an RBI and a walk and played well at 3rd.  Even Ben Francisco got a pinch-hit double.

So is this the big bang the Phillies have been waiting for to kick start their offense?  A 10-2 win preceded by a 6-0 win should serve as a very good sign.  The players that have not been hitting are coming back to life.  It is a welcome sight for sure.

Another note of interest, rookie Vance Worley made his major league debut today, pitching the 9th inning for the Phillies.   The 22-year old righty starter was 9-4 with a 3.20 ERA in AA ball for the R-Phils; he had pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings in his last two games before being called up to the Phils to work in the bullpen.  Worley was a 3rd round draft pick in 2008 and has made considerable strides since pitching at a 5.34 ERA last year.

In today’s 9th inning, Worley’s fast ball topped out at 95 mph with a 76 mph curve ball and an 83-84mph slider.  He looked solid, changed speeds well and the end result was 2 strikeouts and a fly ball out to center.  Great job by the rookie!

So, if JA Happ can give the Phillies a solid start tomorrow, they have a shot at winning 4 in a row which has not happened since before the All-Star break.  I will be at the game and shall return with photos.  See you there!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Firing Of Hitting Coach Lights a Fire Under The Offense

The Phillies returned home today after a very bad road trip hoping to turn things around against the Rockies.  For starters, they fired their hitting coach, Milt Thompson and replaced him with Greg Gross.  Thompson is the fall guy for this severely underachieving offense.  But would this slap to the face be the wake-up call the Phillies are certainly in need of?

At first, it looked like the same old routine of hitting into double plays and leaving the bases loaded.  But in the 5th inning, the offense woke up and figured out how to score some runs.  Three straight hits, including an RBI double from Raul Ibanez, got things started. 
P6254147 Gload.jpg
Ryan Howard even stole a base, as his teammates giggled in the dugout after seeing the big man scamper to second.  Jayson Werth hit a sac fly and then Ross Gload, getting a rare start in the outfield, smacked a 2-run homer for his second hit of the night.

The only starter who did not contribute tonight was Wilson Valdez who went 0 for 4.  Everyone else, even the pitcher, got a hit.  Ibanez finally looks like RAUUUUUULLL again!  He had 3 hits and 3 RBI tonight.  Ibanez likes hitting 3rd, as I mentioned yesterday.  Jimmy Rollins, back in the lead-off spot as I also suggested yesterday, seems to have found his groove as well.  J-Roll collected 2 hits and a walk.

On the mound, Roy Halladay returned to his usual dominating form after allowing 6 runs (5 earned) in his last outing.  Tonight, he pitched extremely well, allowing only 5 hits and no runs over 8 innings.  Oddly enough, the hitting was a bigger story today than 8 shut-out innings from Halladay.  Because we expect Halladay to be good; but the offense has been so bad, seeing the Phillies score 6 runs was more exciting. 

JC Romero pitched an easy 9th inning and looked very sharp.   He hit the leadoff batter, but was lights-out after that.  The Phillies won by a score of 6-0 and Halladay finally experienced some run support.  Hopefully, this win will be a much needed boost for the team.

The starting pitching for the rest of the weekend has finally been announced.  Kyle Kendrick will be brought up to pitch Saturday as Jamie Moyer is placed on the DL.  And on Sunday, JA Happ will get his first start since 4/15/10 when an injury sent him to the DL.

As for Moyer, the news is not good.  An MRI showed that he has both a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor pronator muscle; those injuries are to the left forearm and elbow.  The two injuries may require surgery and this may also signal the end of Moyer’s career.  He is going for another exam early next week and should know for sure after that.  Either way, the injuries are more serious than what Happ had this year and Happ missed more than 3 months.

Moyer is in the last year of his contract with the Phillies and it is unlikely that a team would sign a 48-year old pitcher fresh off multiple injuries and possibly surgery.  So Moyer may have pitched his last inning.  Then again, if anyone can bounce back after such damage, it would be Moyer.  I wish him luck :O)

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Brick Wall: Meet Head

Before today’s game against the Cardinals, the Phillies announced that Jamie Moyer would be placed on the DL after injuring his elbow yesterday.  Vance Worley, 22, was called up from AA Reading to take his roster spot.  Nelson Figueroa was claimed off waivers from the Astros, which is not great news.  But that was the chance the Phils took when they designated Figueroa for assignment.  Andrew Carpenter, who pitched 3 innings last night, was sent back to AAA.

We may see a lot of odd moves this week as the Phillies are trying to make a trade, probably for a pitcher.  Rumors have Roy Oswalt in the works, but it appears he want guaranteed money through 2012, which the Phillies probably cannot afford.  Ruben Amaro Jr. is probably regretting kicking Brett Myers to the curb right about now, among other things.

The Phillies have not been playing well; perhaps this is an understatement.  But what makes it even harder to swallow are things like this:  With 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 7th inning, the Phillies do NOT pinch hit for the pitcher, Joe Blanton.  With a 1-1 tie, knowing that Blanton has not gone past 6 innings all year without running into trouble, how do you not pinch hit for him here?

So the Phillies do not score as Blanton strikes out.  Then in the bottom of the 7th, Blanton threw ONE pitch and it went straight out of the ballpark.  Am I really the only one who saw this coming?  Really?  This is just one more piece of evidence to indicate that manager Charlie Manuel has NO confidence in the bullpen.

I do not know conclusively what Blanton’s issue has been this year and I do not really care at this point.  Because what I do know, with overwhelming evidence, is that he cannot be counted on past 6 innings, especially in a tight game like this one.  He did not enter today’s game with a 6.21 ERA for no reason.  The Phillies have to know this as well, unless they are just closing their eyes and praying instead of watching the game.

Yes, the Phillies faced a very good pitcher today.  So, knowing runs would be tough to come by, the Phillies should have been ready to use the bullpen.  Blanton did get out of the 7th with just the one run, but he gave up the lead and then they sent him out again for the 8th. 
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And without recording an out, he gave up 2 runs to cushion the lead for the Cards, 4-1.  Shocked?  I was not.  If Manuel keeps turning a blind eye in these situations, this team may not recover.

Fans are frustrated, and with good reason.  Philly fans are passionate and understand the game.  So it is easy to see how bad moves like we saw tonight infuriate people.  We want to see our team win and these mistakes make it seem impossible.  How many times do you have to bang your head against a brick wall before you realize it hurts?  Not pinch hitting for the pitcher in the 7th inning with the bases loaded is equivalent to the brick wall-head scenario.  Of course, that is just one gals humble opinion ;o)

So the Phillies went on to lose by a score of 5-1.  The only run for the Phillies was a solo homer from Ryan Howard.  Tomorrow afternoon, Cole Hamels will pitch and everyone is praying he can help this team avoid a demoralizing 4-game sweep.  Game time is 2:15pm; tune in if you can stomach it.  Just load up on Tums first.

 

Cartoon by http://carablake.wordpress.com/

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Moyer Injured; Losing Streak Continues

Before tonight’s 7-1 loss to the Cardinals, Kyle Kendrick was sent back to the minors.  Yesterday, he allowed 7 runs to the Cards in 5 innings and has been inconsistent all year. 
P4035655 Carpenter.jpg
Andrew Carpenter was called up to play the long-man role in the bullpen until a new starter is announced to take Kendrick’s place.  It will likely be JA Happ, but an outside trade is not out of the question either.

In fact, the Phillies have now been forced to look even harder for starting pitching help as Jamie Moyer lasted only 1 inning tonight and left with a left elbow strain.  Carpenter got into a game a lot quicker than he probably anticipated.  He took over for Moyer in the second and pitched 3 innings, allowing 3 runs on a 2-run homer and a wild pitch that scored a runner from third.

Given the circumstance, Carpenter did a decent job.  But now the Phils are in a very, very bad spot.  They need pitching help and they need it now.  It is unknown right now how serious Moyer’s injury may be, but the fact that it is his elbow does not bode well.

The need for pitching help was magnified in the 5th inning by another very bad outing from reliever, Danys Baez.  Without recording an out, Baez walked two batters and then gave up a 3-run homer to dig a deeper hole for his team.  Many people, including manager Charlie Manuel, have defended Baez throughout the year.  But there is just no excuse anymore; he is clearly not the pitcher he once was and shows no signs of improving.  By the way, Ruben Amaro Jr. signed this dud to a 2-year contract.  Ugh.

As for the offense, it was non-existent again.  Shane Victorino hit a double for the lone RBI of the game.  Jayson Werth and Placido Polanco had 2 hits each, but that was basically all that happened that was positive.  The Phillies did have runners on first and third with one out on the 3rd inning, thanks to great base running from Wilson Valdez.  But Jimmy Rollins blew it and hit into a double play.  When the guy that makes your team “go” is now making them “stop,” things are very bad.

Before tonight’s game, Rollins expressed his displeasure with the recent media coverage of the Phillies to Todd Zolecki of the Zo Zone.  He said, “It’s not over.  You can write it like it’s over. But the guys with the bats and the balls they control what the pen says.”  Really?  Well then Jimmy, show us a different result and we will show you some more positive media coverage.

Because right now, this team looks like a sunken ship.  I would not even mind the losses so much if the Phils acted like they were putting up a fight. 
dead_leaves_221706.jpg
Instead, they look like zombies out there; the spark is gone.  It is like watching the colorful fall leaves turn brown, wither and die.  It is a slow, painful and depressing process.  Watching the life being slowly sucked out of this once great team is about as much fun as a root canal.

The Phillies still have time, but as each day passes and they fall further behind in the standings, the less likely it becomes that they will snap out of this funk before it is too late.  In short, the Phillies may wind up skipping right past Fall and move straight into Winter.

 

Carpenter photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Kendrick Defeated By The Cardinals

The Phillies jumped out to a 3 run lead in their first inning against the Cardinals tonight, giving false hope to Phillies fans everywhere.  Mr. Inconsistent, Kyle Kendrick, took the mound and quickly dashed those hopes.  Kendrick allowed 1 run in each of the first two innings and then plunged the dagger into our hearts with a 5-run 5th inning.

The killer 5th inning started with a walk, a double and then a 2-run homer from Albert Pujols.  Kendrick gave up two more home runs before the Phillies even bothered to get the bullpen warming up.  What was manager Charlie Manuel waiting for?  Did he think Kendrick was going to magically morph into Roy Halladay (oh yeah, Halladay got rocked yesterday)?  How about Jamie Moyer (nah, 5 runs in 3 innings last time out)?  Ok then, Cliff Lee?  We wish…


Kendrick Cards.jpgActually, when Manuel had not pulled Kendrick after the 3 home runs, I was waiting for Kendrick to throw his hands in the air and yell, “I surrender!” to the Cardinals.  They could have just slapped the cuffs on him and taken him away to the clubhouse like a prisoner.

So Kendrick did not get dragged off the mound and he certainly did not morph into a better pitcher.  But reliever Chad Durbin tried to follow in his footsteps, giving up a solo homer in the 6th inning.  Meanwhile, the Phillies offense scored a few runs, but they were facing the Cards worst pitcher.  They should have destroyed this guy.  Instead, they collected only 4 runs, even when Blake Hawksworth walked Kendrick…twice.

Many players, like Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard, had multi-hit nights; Shane Victorino had 2 RBI with his one hit.  But most hits were not timely, or something stupid happened right afterwards.  Like Jayson Werth, who is not hitting at all, finally dribbled a bunt down the third base line for a hit and then proceeded to get himself picked off at first base.  The Phillies went on to lose by a score of 8-4.

The Cardinals will be sending 3 very good pitchers to the mound in the next 3 games.  The Phillies may have blown their chance today to show off some offensive power before having to face the better pitchers.  Tomorrow’s game time is 8:15pm. 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Cubs Slaughter The Phillies…Twice

In the first game of the Phillies – Cubs series last night, it started well for the Phils with a two-run homer from Ryan Howard in the first inning.  But right away, pitcher Jamie Moyer gave those runs back.  By the end of 3 innings, Moyer gave up 6 runs on 5 hits and had to be pulled from the game.

The Phillies wound up using 7 different pitchers in the game.  The worst of those were Jose Contreras, allowing 5 more runs and Danys Baez adding one more to the thumping.  The offense did nothing after the Howard homer until the 9th inning. 
Cubs Phillies.jpg
By that time, the Phils were down 12-2 so the 4 runs they scored in the 9th made little difference.  Although, Howard hit bookend homers in the game; the 2-run shot in the 1st and another 2-run shot in the 9th.

Coming into today’s game having lost the first, Howard tried again to spark his team.  After Shane Victorino homered in the 4th, Howard hit another 2-run bomb in the 6th, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead.  But as was the case the day before, the starting pitcher gave those 2 runs right back again.

Joe Blanton looked like he might have a good outing until in the 5th, with the bases loaded, he walked the opposing pitcher.  And then in the 6th after the Howard homer, Blanton gave up a 2-run homer to former Phillie Marlon Byrd to tie the game.  And to make matters worse, all 3 of those runs scored with 2 outs in the inning.

Ryan Madson ran into the same 2-out trouble in the 8th inning.  Aramis Ramirez hit a solo homer, giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead.  The Phillies did nothing to help themselves in the 9th.  Jayson Werth struck out looking for the 3rd time in one game and he has no hits in the series so far.  Ben Francisco also struck out looking 3 times.  As a team, the Phillies struck out fourteen times!  Disgusting.

The Phillies offense, except for Howard, looks pathetic right now and the pitching has not been good.  While we are only 2 games out of the All-Star break, this is very concerning.  The good news is, Cole Hamels pitches tomorrow and Roy Halladay on Sunday.  But as far as the good news goes, that is it.

So let us have a little fun for a moment.  Is it just me, or did anyone else think that the Cubs catching gear looks a bit like R2D2?


R2D2 catcher.jpgMaybe this is Cubs secret pitching weapon?  It sure would explain a lot about the last 2 games.  *SIGH*