After the amazing perfect game by Roy Halladay yesterday, today’s game against the Marlins was bound to be disappointing. But for the Phillies to fall 0-1 to the Fish with their 5th shut-out in the last 8 games is not what anyone expected.
Every player is struggling to hit the ball right now. Charlie Manuel may want to give Dr. House a call to either diagnose the problem or provide some sort of magic pill, because no one seems to have an explanation for this awful offensive output. Jayson Werth wore the Golden Sombrero, striking out 4 times today and looked very, very bad doing it. Ben Francisco played left in place of Raul Ibanez and went 0 for 4 and also missed a fly ball he should have caught, which bounced off his glove. Francisco is batting .194. Juan Castro, who is doing a fine job in the field, cannot seem to buy a hit. He went 0 for 4 as well today and is hitting .253.
Placido Polanco had an MRI on his sore elbow which showed a “contusion,” basically a bruise. He is flying back to Philly to see the team doctor. So, Polanco has been out of the line-up for 2 games now with no word on when he may return. This also does not help.
But mainly, the Phillies are just swinging at bad pitches. They look befuddled at the plate. And Jamie Moyer did a great job pitching today, making the lack of offense even more glaring. Moyer gave up just 1 run over 6 innings and again, the bullpen held the opposition right there. Watching Moyer and all Phillies pitchers getting no support, Halladay is probably counting his blessings right that the team scored him a run yesterday.
The Phillies have 3 games in Atlanta next. The Braves have some really good pitching and if the Phils do not bust out of this slump immediately, the Braves are going to pounce right into first place, as they are only 1 game behind. Game time tomorrow is 1:05pm on Memorial Day.
Moyer photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies faced a knuckleball pitcher, a very rare breed, for the second game in a row today. This time it was against the Mets.
And for the second game in row, all the Phillies offense got out of the experience was a knuckle sandwich as pitcher R.A. Dickey smacked them around. And here I thought Dickey’s went out of fashion after the 19th Century….who knew?
The Phillies had the bases loaded twice and could not score. Carlos Ruiz hit into a 1-2-3 double play with NO outs and the bases loaded, as one example. And altogether, the Phillies left so many men on base, it began to look like they were doing it on purpose as some sort of weird, confuse the defense-type strategy. You know, like the Mets were going to panic and screw up: “There are runners everywhere! Maybe we are hallucinating? Where should I throw the ball? Oh no….there are just SO many of them to choose from! Crap! I dropped the ball….” It could happen. ;o)
Ryan Howard did his best to help out with 2 hits, one of which nailed the pitcher in his non-pitching elbow. While that had to hurt, it did not affect Dickey’s delivery. Helpful hint, Ryan: hit the OTHER elbow next time. Got it? Ok, thanks.
So while the Phillies enlisted the LSD-offensive technique, the Mets chose simply to hit the crap out of Jamie Moyer’s slow-motion not-so-fast balls. Moyer lasted only 5 short innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks with some lack-luster defense behind him.
So what have we learned this week, Phillies fans? 1 – The Phillies cannot hit knuckle balls. 2 – Leaving men on base, whether it is confusing to the defense or not, is totally NOT helpful. And 3 – If the offense keeps going into mega-slumps like this, it is going to be a very, very long season.
So the Phillies lose game 1 to the Mets, 0-8, with a little extra destruction from our bullpen. Yuck. But enough of that…on to happier things!
In yesterday’s Phillies Phestival report, I told you all about Bryan, a local Cole Hamels look-alike. Bryan was kind enough to send me a copy of his photo with the actual Cole Hamels, shown to the right. They could totally be brothers. You can email Bryan with questions or comments about his life adventures while being mistaken for Cole. Hey, I wonder what he will be for Halloween this year? Let’s hope the costume includes a second World Series ring ;O)
And if you have not seen the results from today’s All-Star balloting report, you should quickly stop having a life and spend more time tracking useless stats, like me. Or….maybe not. So, congrats on having a life, which I plan to someday…but for now, here is the preliminary report:
Essentially, Chase Utley owns the National League ballot. Hey New York, who’s YOUR Daddy? That’s right; it’s Chase Utley. Read it and weep: With 687,724 votes, Utley is the league leading vote-getter so far.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, third baseman Placido Polanco, center fielder Shane Victorino and right fielder Jayson Werth are all in line to start at their positions with first baseman Ryan Howard and catcher Carlos Ruiz in second place at their spots. Rollins has spent more time on the DL than on the field, but maybe this will make up for previous years when he should have gone and did not.
But balloting does not end until July 1st, so keep VOTING for those Phillies!!
For the second consecutive day, the Phillies bats took a vacation. After pounding out 12 runs on Saturday, the Phils offense has since scored only 1 run in each of the last two games. The real victims of this offensive offense have been starting pitchers Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer. Both pitched great games, allowing only 2 runs to the opponents but got not support from the batters.
Last night against the Cubs, Moyer was very sharp and worked the strike zone in all directions. With 7 strike outs in 7 innings and only 1 walk allowed, Moyer deserved a win, as did Halladay the day before. Chad Durbin did not help matters when he loaded the bases in the 9th. His pitches were so wild and so far out of the strike zone, I began to wonder if someone had spiked his Gatorade between innings. When JC Romero took over for Durbin, he almost held it down but with 2 outs, a ground ball found a hole and 2 runs scored.
The score was 1-4 and that is how it ended as the Phillies could not muster a rally in the 9th. Cubs pitching smacked them around and made Phillies hitters look like they were defending themselves against a bear attack. Jayson Werth went hitless and with each swing, he nearly screwed himself into the ground. Shane Victorino has suddenly cooled off in the lead-off spot with no hits last night and only 1 the game before that. All together, the Phillies had 5 hits in the game, 3 walks and left 9 men on base.
The final game against the Cubs will be this afternoon at 1:05pm. Joe Blanton will be the third pitcher this week to pray for some offense. Best of luck to him!
Player photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Roy Halladay did his usual yesterday against the Pirates. He pitched a complete game, however, the Phillies offense gave him no support and he lost the game despite the effort which included 132 pitches. With the misty cold weather and the Flyers playoff game going on next door, the entire stadium was dead. The Phillies offense followed suit and played like they were asleep in this 1-2 loss.
So the most exciting thing that happened all night besides Halladay’s 9 inning, 2-run game was watching actor and Delaware native, Ryan Phillippe, attempt to throw the ceremonial first pitch. He drilled it into the ground nowhere near the plate. I will post photos of that later. For now, here is a quick shot of Phillippe and Halladay:
So while the Phillies batters collected just 6 hits, three of which were from Ryan Howard, and just 1 run, the defense behind Halladay looked sleepy as well. Placido Polanco and Juan Castro made back-to-back errors in the 5th inning, extending Halladay’s work load. Then in the 6th inning, Jayson Werth made a great throw home to catch Lastings Milledge trying to score. He would have been out by a mile, and it looked like he was, until the ball flew off into the grass. Carlos Ruiz was so busy making the tag, he forgot to catch the ball first:
Milledge did his job by plowing into Ruiz to break up the play. Earlier in the game, Werth had the chance to do the same when the 3rd base coach sent him home after a Castro single. He probably should not have been sent as the throw beat him there, but instead of sliding and trying to knock the ball out of the catcher’s glove, Werth, quite politely, walked slowly into the tag. The Phillies failure to score there combined with the dropped ball by Ruiz turned out to be the difference in the game.
Here are a few other plays from the game…check out the shot of Polanco with both legs levitating off the ground…weird:
So this game was a huge waste of a great performance from Halladay and on his bobblehead giveaway night, too. Sad. The good news is, I got my bobblehead and stayed mostly dry, which is what I had wished for before the game. Perhaps I should have also wished for some offense? Oh well…next time.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game.
Jamie Moyer will pitch later tonight as the Cubs come into town for another short 2-game series. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
An explosion of hitting broke out in Milwaukee this weekend. The Phillies beat the Brewers both Friday and Saturday by wide margins with a lot of help from the offense. In these last 2 games, Phillies hitters pounded out 28 hits and 19 runs, including 4 home runs. The biggest bang came from Shane Victorino who collected 6 hits and 7 RBI in the two games combined. And today, Paul Hoover, the 3rd string catcher, showed what he can do with 3 hits and 2 RBI to back pitcher Joe Blanton.
The pitching was not as stellar as the hitting, but both Jamie Moyer and Blanton hung in there.
On Friday in a 9-5 win, Moyer went 6 1/3 innings allowing 4 earned runs and 1 unearned following last week’s historical complete game shut-out. It was 70’s night at the park and the 47-year old Moyer looked quite at home in the old powder blue & magenta retro uniform.
Blanton escaped the embarrassing powder blue spotlight by pitching today in the regular greys, but it did not help his performance at all. He did well through 6 innings, allowing just 2 solo homers, but by the end of the 6th, he looked tired. Blanton has just 3 starts so far as he was on the DL the first month of the season. With that in mind, maybe the Phillies needed to break him in a tad slower? Because when they sent him out for the 7th, he gave up 3 more runs.
The bullpen held the Brewers down on Friday and had a fairly easy time closing the game out. That did not happen today. David Herndon allowed 3 hits and a run in just 1/3 of the 9th inning. With 2 men on base, Jose Contreras came in and loaded the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate. But that’s ok, he struck out the next 2 batters for the first save of career and the Phillies won, 10-6. Whew!
The Phillies have one more game with the Brewers tomorrow night at 8:05pm and are hoping for a sweep. Cole Hamels will pitch.
And in case you had not heard, Pat Burrell was released by the Tampa Bay Rays today. Burrell did not fare well as a designated hitter, batting only .218 since he left the Phillies after the 2008 season. Do not look for the Phillies to do him any favors by taking him back; he cannot play the field effectively anymore and our current bench players are performing well. Maybe in September they can bring him back to retire as a Phillie? In the meantime, I wish him luck in finding a job. Burrell will always be remembered in Philly for helping to bring us a World Championship :O)
UPDATE: This just in…Brad Lidge has been put on the DL with elbow inflammation (can I say now I told you so?). Lefty Antonio Bastardo will be brought back up to take his place on the roster.
Moyer photo by ESPN; Explosion: USDOE
After the Phillies – Rockies rain out on Tuesday, a day-night doubleheader was scheduled today and things did not go well for the Phils. First, the Roy Halladay magic fizzled a bit in the 4-3 loss. Second, the injuries are continuing to pile up. The game going into extra innings did not help either.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz left the game in the 4th inning with a right knee injury. Back-up Brian Schneider is already on the DL, which means the Phillies are now onto their 3rd string catcher, Paul Hoover. Not only that, but now he will have to play both games of the double header. The Phillies are also short one spot in the bullpen as Brad Lidge flew back to Philadelphia to see the team doctor about his eternally injured elbow. This is more tragic news for a doubleheader during which the first game went long.
Halladay could not save the bullpen for the second game as he struggled to get through 6 1/3 innings. 10 hits and 3 runs later (2 earned), Halladay was pulled from the game. The biggest nightmare for the Phillies was Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo. This guy is a career .242 hitter, batting .240 coming into this game. Can someone then explain to me HOW Olivo goes 5 for 5 with the game winning walk-off homer in the 10th inning? Wow.
The defense did Halladay no favors by committing 3 errors in the field, although I think the scorekeeper only recorded two. Give the scorekeeper an error too then; why should he miss out on the fun? So, Chase Utley watched a ball roll right under his glove, which must have a hole in it. Jayson Werth bobbled a ball in the outfield…twice in the same play. And Ryan Howard bounced a ball to second, which should have been handled by Wilson Valdez but wasn’t.
Then again, Utley, Howard and Valdez made up almost the entire offense for the Phillies with 3,3 and 2 hits respectively. Placido Polanco had 2 hits in the game and no errors, so I guess he gets two thumbs up for the day.
So the series is now tied 1-1 and game 3 will begin at 8:40pm. The Phillies will rely on Jamie Moyer, who pitched a complete game shut-out in his last game. They will need him to go long in order to preserve the weak bullpen.
There has been a big to-do today over the allegations that the Phillies are stealing signs from opposing catchers. The Rockies complained about it after Monday’s loss, saying that bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was using binoculars during the 2nd inning and Shane Victorino was on the bullpen phone. MLB has issued a “warning,” stating that there was no conclusive evidence.
According to Victorino, he called to tell Billmeyer to put the binoculars away after the Rockies complained and manager Charlie Manuel spoke to the umpire. You can see this does match the sequence of the events on the game tape. Billmeyer uses the binoculars to watch the action and check on his catchers.
So, answer me this. HOW is Billmeyer supposed to relay the signs in a split second all the way from the bullpen to the batter? It is impossible. Think about how fast things go from giving a sign to throwing the pitch. The batter doesn’t have time to look to the dugout for a sign once he is in the box. Again, it is impossible. Billmeyer was likely watching the opposition in order to scout the pitcher; the same thing he can do by watching the video after the game, only doing it during the game is a time saver.
Besides, are some baseball fans and the media really convinced that no one tries to steal signs? If so, they are delusional. I really don’t care who steals signs. It is a competition and teams will take any advantage they can get. Trying to figure out what the opposing team is going to do is part of the game.
A guy standing on second can read the signs from the catcher and relay it to the batter. No one complains about this. Base coaches use stop watches to time pitchers in order to gain an advantage for stealing bases. No one complains about this either. A-Rod yells for a pop-up when he is running the bases, not fielding. Ok, so people did complain about that one…
But if teams are so concerned about the sign stealing, then they need to do a better job preparing and coming up with signs that are difficult to figure out or that change frequently. Or, do like the Phillies have done in the past and change signs or don’t use them at all. This is a matter of better managing your team and ensuring your pitchers and catchers are all on the same page.
In this case, there is no way the bullpen coach could have sent a sign fast enough to get to the batter. Even if it was possible, whether it is a fast ball or a slider coming in, the batter still has to hit the ball. Same as a runner trying to steal base; he still has to execute. But it is not against the rules of baseball to steal signs by non-electronic means. If people are unhappy about it, then the rules should be revised.
So, should the Phillies now accuse the Rockies of stealing signs since they collected 10 hits off Roy Halladay? Frankly, I do not care. Kudos to the Rockies for hitting our ace and shame on them for whining about something that did not happen just because they were upset about losing the game. This is a practice that has gone on for over a century amongst all MLB teams. I think we all have better things to worry about; of course, that is just one gals humble opinion ;o)
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The age-defying miracle that is Jamie Moyer never ceases to amaze. Tonight, with a 7-0 win over the Braves, Moyer became the oldest pitcher in history to throw a complete game shut-out. Not only that, but he did not walk a single batter and gave up only 2 hits. That is a miniscule 2 hits away from a perfect game. Unbelievable.
This is truly history being made right before our eyes; it is something we may never see again. A 47-year old man defies the laws of time. The last time Moyer threw a 2-hit shut-out was in 1986, 24 years ago. In his final at-bat in the 8th inning, the crowd went wild as Moyer kept fouling pitches off and worked an 11-pitch at-bat. As if the pitching were not impressive enough, Moyer shows everyone he is a class act and a true professional.
As for the offense, Jayson Werth continues to maul opposing pitchers, launching a 3-run shot into the left field seats in the 3rd inning. Raul Ibanez appears to have slipped the slump and went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI. Wilson Valdez collected the last 2 RBI to make up for hitting into a double play earlier in the game with 2 men on base. 7 out of 8 starting position players had a hit and Chase Utley was on base all 4 times he batted with 2 hits and 2 walks.
The Phillies will take this 4-game win streak into tomorrow afternoon’s game. Joe Blanton will make his 2nd start of the year; game time is 3:10pm. But before you check out the game, stop by the 30th Street Station for National Train Day where you can get autographs from former Phillies, Dallas Green and Gary Matthews.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography