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
Just when it looks like Jamie Moyer might fold, like after allowing 9 runs in one inning in his last start, he comes out firing again. In 8 innings against the Yankees tonight, Moyer gave up two solo homers, a single, a walk and that is all; no other hits and no other base runners.
The 47-year old Moyer simply does not let a bad start get him down. It is a really amazing thing to see.
Moyer’s great performance came on the anniversary of his major league debut, June 16, 1986. Yankee batters had an eye-popping experience as they were mowed down by Moyer’s slow-motion pitches.
AJ Burnett pitched for the Yanks and as his history dictates, he either runs hot or cold. Luckily for a sleepy Phils offense, Burnett was running cold tonight. They took advantage and scored six runs off him.
There were many things that occurred tonight which Phillies fans have not seen in a long time:
– Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth hit homers.
– Those homers were of the back-to-back variety.
– A triple! A’la Shane Victorino :O)
– Raul Ibanez stole a base; last time that happened was May 2009.
– Greg Dobbs got a hit – Dobbs has only 10 hits all season so far.
– Wilson Valdez avoided hitting into a double play; Valdez has grounded into 10 double plays this year in only 25 games started and 34 games played total.
– Jamie Moyer pitched at least 8 innings for only the 3rd time this year in 13 starts.
– Smiles from the Phillies players.
– I watched a Phillies game through 8 innings without screaming cuss words at the TV or downing a bottle of Tums. This is a real accomplishment. However, I do not want to talk about the 9th inning…
And I suppose a win is something we have not seen much of this past month either so, hallelujah for that! The 6-3 win was capped off by Brad Lidge in the 9th who ran into some trouble, allowing a run in the inning. He also managed to get two runners on base and bring the tying run to the plate with two outs. But finally, he struck out Jorge Posada and ended it. Whew!
Kyle Kendrick will pitch in the finale of the series tomorrow night at 7:05pm. If he can gather some inspiration from Moyer’s comeback and the offense can pick it up, a win is possible. Cross your fingers and toes…
Jeter photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Once again, things did not go well for the Phillies tonight. The way they have been playing, most expected them to struggle against the Yankees. But with Roy Halladay on the mound, you had to figure tonight would be their best chance at a win. No such luck…
In the first of a 3-game series in New York, the Phillies went down in flames by a score of 8-3. Halladay had a very bad day, allowing 6 runs, including 3 homers. Halladay has only given up 3 homers in a game nine times in his career; the last 3 times have been against the Yankees. Visably upset at the home plate umpire in the second inning,
Halladay nearly imploded while giving up a triple that scored 2 runs. The next inning was worse as he surrendered 2 homers and 3 runs. Halladay had trouble containing his emotions tonight and it hurt him.
The Phillies offense did not help either as they put forth a real effort in only one inning. With the bases loaded and no outs in the 4th inning, the Phils scraped 3 runs off CC Sabathia with a bunch of singles and a force out that scored a run. They should have scored more, but Juan Castro was fanned on a 96mph fastball and Carlos Ruiz followed up with a weak ground out. And after that inning, the offense went right back to sleep.
Manager Charlie Manuel tried to shake up the lineup by flip-flopping Placido Polanco and Chase Utley, with Utley batting second. Utley did have 2 hits in the game, but still does not look like his old self. Todd Zolecki tweeted today, “”Asked Chase Utley before the game if he’s healthy. “As far as I know I’m healthy, yes,” he said. “That’s cryptic,” I said. He did not laugh.”” Read what you would like into that, but it does seem that Utley may be having another mystery issue.
The bottom line here is, the offense has shown no signs of life. The Phils have been so awful, I think they may have better success with brain surgery than hitting a baseball. And the pitching has suddenly taken a crap, as witnessed tonight and also by the 9 runs each allowed by Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer in their last starts. And when Halladay is allowing 6 runs a game, you know that things are very, very bad.
Even worse, the next two starters scheduled to pitch are Moyer and the wildly inconsistent Kyle Kendrick…against the Yankees. If it were the Orioles, maybe they might stand a chance. Instead, this match-up looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Hope that the veteran Moyer can rebound and inject some life into this team! Game time Wednesday night is 7:05pm.
Happy Bunny by Jim Benton
Is it bad luck or bad baseball? It looked like luck may have been in the Phillies favor when Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent to the DL minutes before the game started today. Dice-K beat up the Phillies in their last meeting, so this must be good news. Scott Atchison, a career minor leaguer who also played in Japan, made his first career major league start in place of Dice-K. Again, this seemed like good news, right?
Wrong. Because absolutely nothing has gone well for the Phillies lately, and this game would be no different. Joe Blanton has been as bad as he could be since coming off the DL in early May. By the 2nd inning of this game, Blanton had given up 34 runs, 11 homers and 11 walks in 45 innings pitched this year.
And the damage did not end there…Blanton allowed 9 runs total, matching Jamie Moyer yesterday, on 13 hits and a walk by the time he was done, after 4 pathetic innings. His ERA is now 7.28.
Blanton loaded the bases in the 2nd inning, right after the offense scored two runs for him. He then threw ONE pitch to rookie, Daniel Nava, who in his first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam! Unbelievable. It looked like the Phillies had morphed into a black cat with a #13 tattoo, under a black cloud standing on top of a broken mirror, sprinkled with spilled salt. But was that bad luck or just Joe Blah-anton?
Blanton needs to go. Obviously, no one will want him with his gigantic 7.28 ERA and gigantic salary, so what are the options? Put him back on the DL or send him to the minors. Brett Myers did this voluntarily back in 2008 and came back to help them win the World Series. The Phillies can bring back Nelson Figueroa or someone else from the minors. I would rather see a rookie get raked for 9 runs than a veteran who is not living up to his end of the deal. How about Nate Bump? He has some experience and was recently clocked at 103mph. Go get him!
The Phillies have made a lot of mistakes this year and last, many of which have been overshadowed by the acquisition of Roy Halladay. Letting Myers go was clearly an error in judgment. I said it before, but because most people have a personal dislike of Myers, most were happy to see him go. For the Astros this year, Myers has not allowed more than 4 runs in any game, has not pitched fewer than 6 innings in any game and his ERA is a very respectable 3.18.
And do not even get me started on Cliff Lee. Because the Mariners are not doing well, Lee will likely be traded before the deadline and it looks like he may wind up in the NL East. Imagine this: Lee goes to Mets or the Braves who make the playoffs, leaving the Phillies in the dust. You want to throw up right now, don’t you?
And remember signing a 36 year-old Raul Ibanez, now 38, to a 3-year contract? It looked like a good idea for ½ a year in 2009; now, not so much. Raul, we still love ya, but things are not going well. Ibanez is hitting .247 and is getting slower in the outfield.
The Phillies also extended Blanton’s contract this off-season, giving him 3 more years and $24 million dollars. They noted his “consistency,” which I have never agreed with, and his ability to pitch many innings as reasons for the extension. Well, all those innings have taken their toll as evidenced by Blanton’s current ERA plus the pre-season injury and DL stint.
By the way, the Phillies offense died after Blanton dug a huge hole for them. The managed only 7 hits and 3 of those came from back-up catcher Brian Schneider. The Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 2-10.
I could go on, but I think that is enough for one day. The Phillies have now slid from 1st place to 3rd place in the NL East and if the Marlins keep winning, they will be in 4th place shortly. I mentioned holding off on hitting the panic button last week; well, it is now time. Let the panic begin. This past month may be a foretelling of the horror to come.
Photoshopping by Jenn
Fenway Park in Boston is endearingly referred to as the Green Monster. The Phillies went to Boston today and shortly thereafter, pitcher Jamie Moyer was served up on a silver platter for appetizer, entrée and dessert as a human sacrifice to the Green Monster. The Phillies lost 12-2 to the Red Sox; it was a complete and utter annihilation.
Moyer gave up 5 runs in the first inning and followed that with 4 more in the 2nd without recording an out. Moyer was pulled and left the game with an official record of 1 inning pitched, 9 runs and 9 hits. That calculates to an ERA of 81.00 for the game. Luckily, when it is rolled into the rest of his stats for the year, it is a slightly less frightening 5.03 ERA.
The offense, again, did themselves no favors. They scored only 2 runs and the usual problems, like grounding into double plays with the bases loaded, prevailed again. By the 4th inning, the Phils basically threw in the towel and sat stars Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino in favor of bench players, giving them some playing time.
The other big loser in the game besides the Phillies was Bill Hall of the Red Sox. While the rest of his team pounded Phillies pitching mercilessly, poor Hall was the only starter who went hitless. I actually felt bad for the guy. Maybe he is secretly a Phillies fan? Nah….
Still looking for that elusive silver lining? Ok, well the recently super-bad Jayson Werth finally started hitting again. He went 3 for 4 at the plate, although he still managed to leave 3 men on base. But a good day for Werth will hopefully get him back on track.
As for the rest of the team, I personally think they all need either a butt-kicking or a group hug. The fact that I cannot decide which would be more helpful is a testament to the complete horror of the past month in Phillies baseball. Ok, let us count today as the butt-kicking then, just to be more upbeat about it.
However, the Phillies are in big, big trouble. Fans are all familiar with the Phillies Interleague play follies of years past and this year has begun no differently. If they continue on this path, they may dig a hole too deep to climb out of. Start praying that tomorrow will be a better day. Joe Blanton will pitch and game time is 4:10pm.
Moyer photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After a long, drawn-out slump, the Phillies offense was in need of a serious wake-up call. After wasting a lead-off triple by Shane Victorino in the 1st inning, the Phillies found themselves down 2-0 in the 3rd against the Padres. But Victorino did not give up and started the 3rd off with a single. Three more hits followed as did 4 runs in the inning. Wake-up call: received.
Fueled by the strong performance of Jamie Moyer and some really nice defense, two more runs followed in the 5th on a Ryan Howard single and a Jayson Werth homer. The bell at Citizens Bank Park in centerfield finally had some of the rust knocked off it as it rang with enthusiasm for the Werth home run.
Howard helped out at first base by snagging balls that were all over the place. He looked like Spiderman, shooting webs to snare hits that should have shot past him and he dug several low throws out of the dirt to make outs. One of those throws was from Chase Utley who was literally falling to the ground as he threw the ball after a very tough catch and spin towards first.
Moyer kept right on pitching with confidence…and a 4 run lead. By the end of the 8th inning, he had tossed only 82 pitched, allowed 7 hits and just 2 runs. So Moyer came out for the 9th inning and, despite a lead-off walk, he got the next 3 batters out and ended up with a complete game win. Moyer became only the 3rd pitcher ever to win 100 games after the age of 40. He also has 2 complete games at the age of 47. Jamie Moyer is unbelievable.
After a horrific road trip, can the Phillies now come back home and continue winning? It looks possible after today’s game. The pressure will be on Joe Blanton tomorrow afternoon in the 3rd game of the series; game time is 1:35pm. Go Phillies!
Howard head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography
While it was far from perfection from Roy Halladay last night in his first start since pitching the Perfect Game, he was effective. Halladay allowed just 2 runs on 10 hits over 7 innings. He worked in and out of several jams with multiple base runners against a very good Padres team to keep the Phillies in the game.
Halladay even helped himself out at the plate, knocking a 1 out single in the 3rd that led to Shane Victorino’s 2-run homer. With the Phillies offense still struggling, those two hits turned out to be a big key in winning the game. Jayson Werth collected the 3rd RBI in the 3-2 win by walking with the bases loaded in the 5th inning. Of course, the Phillies offense also left the bases loaded twice and as a team, left 9 men on base.
The lack of scoring was again highlighted in the 8th inning when Jose Contreras hit a batter and then issued a walk. JC Romero was brought in to stop the bleeding and began by walking the next batter to load the bases with 1 out. But it was JC’s birthday, and his present to himself was getting a ground ball double play to end the inning. Happy Birthday, JC!
The real highlight of the evening, however, was Brad Lidge. In his first save opportunity since coming off the DL for the second time this year, Lidge looked like Mr. Perfect from 2008. Lidge mowed down the Padres in order with a nasty slider and good movement on his fastball. His speed clocked in at 94mph on a few pitches. Is this a sign that all is now well with Lidge? Cross your fingers…
Game 2 against the Padres is tonight at 7:05pm. Jamie Moyer will pitch against Jon Garland.
By the way, have you seen the new player-designed apparel at the Phillies MLB Shop? If you have not, be sure to check it out. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Cole Hamels and Raul Ibanez all designed jerseys, tee-shirts and hats for the new collection. Here is a sample of what they designed:
Other teams got into the action as well, so if you are a fan of another team (although I find that hard to imagine ;o), check out their MLB Shop site too. I believe the Mets, Yankees and Twins also participated. Hey, if it is cool looking, maybe I’ll pick up a Mets jersey….or, not. ;o)
And do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars! Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.
Lidge photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; apparel by MLB.com