Tagged: Jason Ellison

Series Win Gives Phillies 8 Game Lead

With a 3-2 victory over the Braves last night to win the series 2 game to 1, the Phillies will have an 8-game lead in the NL East over both the Braves and the Marlins going into September.  Joe Blanton pitched another beautiful game and got through 7 innings of one run ball; the only run came off a solo homer from Martin Prado in the first inning.  Blanton looked a bit shaky through those first few innings, but settled in well and only gave up 3 hits.


And for the 2nd night in a row, Chase Utley went yard; his solo shot to right field in the 4th was the only run for the Phillies until Carlos Ruiz stepped up in the 7th.  In honor of the Ruiz backpack night, a giveaway for kids 14 and under, Ruiz smacked a double to left to score Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz.  Ruiz went 3 for 3 on the night; it was his 5th 3-hit game of the year.  Maybe the Phillies should give away a Ruiz bobble head next?

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In the not-so-great offensive category, the Phillies are still struggling with runners in scoring position.  They left 14 men on base and again, had the bases loaded with no outs and failed to score.  Blanton hit a line-drive to first base and Ruiz was double off after the catch.  Jimmy Rollins then hit a weak grounder to end the inning.  The offensive outage is concerning, but thanks to great pitching, they came out on top.


Defense was a big part of the win as well.  Ryan Madson, who is entering Brad Lidge-bad territory, got into a huge jam in the 8th inning again.  He hit the first batter he faced and then gave up back-to-back singles which scored a run for the Braves.  Without recording an out, he was removed from the game and Scott Eyre took over. 


Brain McCann then hit a sharp grounder to Utley, who fielded it perfectly and flipped to Rollins who threw to Feliz at third; Feliz tagged Chipper Jones for the unusual 4-6-5 double play.  Having eliminated the lead runner, Eyre saved the Phillies from disaster and gave Lidge a 3-2 lead to work with.  Amazingly, Lidge nailed down the save with relative ease; it was his second save in a row.  Whew!

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By the way, did anyone see the actor, Paul Rudd (movies: “I Love You, Man”; “Anchorman”; “Knocked Up”), sitting in the 10th row behind home plate last night? He was just a few sections over from me so I took a few photos.  The woman next to him (right side, dark brown hair) is none other than Jen Utley, Chase’s wife.

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A very welcome off-day is upon us as the Phillies offense needs to rest and charge up for the September charge.  Watch for September call-up’s which may include pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Jack Taschner and Rodrigo Lopez; infielders Mike Cervenak and Andy Tracy; outfielders John Mayberry Jr. and Jason Ellison; and we will likely see a catcher added – maybe Paul Hoover.  Those are my guesses anyway.


A lot of moves will be made as the Phillies are also anticipating the return of Brett Myers, JC Romero and Clay Condrey to the bullpen plus Greg Dobbs.  All four have been on the DL and are very close to coming back.


And finally, here is the complete Photo Album from last night’s Phillies – Braves game.  Tomorrow, the San Francisco Giants come to town for 3 games and some serious pitching battles will ensue.  You may remember the Phillies were stomped in San Fran back in July, losing 3 out of 4 games.  The Giants are tied for a wildcard spot right now so this will be a very tough match match-up.  Cole Hamels starts it off tomorrow at 7:05pm.

Photos by Jenn


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Outta Here!

Many baseballs left the ballpark today, as well as many players.  Marcus Giles, who batted only .167 this spring, was given his release today.  This was the best option for Giles who would not see a lot of action in the minors; this way, he has a chance to move on to another team.  P2222389 Mayberry.jpgJohn Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Carrasco were both optioned back to the minors.  Mayberry started off hot in camp this year, but struggled as the pitching became more difficult.  He needs some more work to be big league ready, as does Carrasco.  Three other players were told officially they would not make the team’s 25-man roster, but they will stay with the Phils until Saturday to give Charlie Manuel a few more options during the On Deck Series.  The three players are Philadelphia native, Mike Koplove, RHP; 2nd baseman Pablo Ozuna; and outfielder Jason Ellison.

This leaves Miguel Cairo as the only extra right-handed bat, unless a trade is pulled off in the next few weeks.  Cairo has not hit as well as Ozuna this spring, but he can play multiple positions and has a great deal of experience.  Also, the Phillies are required to release Cairo if he does not make the 25-man roster, which may play into the decision.  Rumor has it also that Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins are up for grabs; however, the Phillies are going to have a hard time getting rid of either as Stairs is nearing retirement and Jenkins is well over-paid.

Also still up in the air is the 5th starter’s spot.  Chan Ho Park has made this a very difficult decision; today he pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up 6 hits, 1 walk and only 1 earned run.  Park also struck out 7 and now has an ERA of 2.53 in 21 1/3 innings.  Lefty JA Happ currently stands at 20 innings with a 3.15 ERA.  Things being fairly even, Happ is still the best choice to start as Park has a proven track record as a reliever and Happ is not so comfortable in that role.  Plus with the addition of lefty Jack Taschner, there is less need for Happ, also a lefty, in the pen.  Park would be horribly disappointed in the decision if it goes that way, especially since he gave up pitching in the WBC this year, so does his mental status play into this as well?  That remains to be seen…

The Phillies bats are heating up in preparation for Opening Night as evidenced by four home runs today from Jimmy Rollins, Eric Bruntlett, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz. 

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7 of the Phillies 13 runs in the 13-3 victory over the Astros came off the long ball.  And Bruntlett in particular had a fun day against his former team, going  3 for 4 with 4 RBI.  With all this power unleashed, it makes you wish these guys would save a bit for the real thing.  Only 6 days left!

Brett Myers, now scheduled to start on opening day, will pitch tomorrow against the Blue Jays at 7:05pm.  Cole Hamels got into a minor league game today and said he felt no discomfort.  Hamels is tentatively scheduled to start with the Phillies on April 10th against the Rockies.

(All Photos by Jenn)


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And The Winner Is…

Shot Of The Day Award:  The Phillies beat the Cardinals in the bottom of the 9th today on a Jason Ellison walk-off hit that scored Miguel Cairo from 2nd base.  Ellison, a 7-year major league veteran who played for the Rangers, Mariners, Reds and Giants, is trying to make a new home in Philly.  Ellison is now batting .222 this spring and the hit today gave him his first RBI.  Cairo, on the other hand, has been hot this spring, batting .370 with 4 RBI and 2 home runs.  After 13 seasons bouncing around the majors, Cairo signed a minor league deal with the Phillies for 2009.

The Pitching Prowess Award goes to Chan Ho Park, who got the start for the Phils today and managed 4 2/3 solid innings of no-run ball, giving up only 3 hits.  It is looking like Park will make a real run at the 5th starters job, with his biggest competition so far, being JA Happ.  Park seems determined to win the job, even consulting with Jamie Moyer after his outing to get more advice from the ageless  wonder.  During an in-game interview, Park joked that he wished he would be able to pitch at Moyer’s age.  Park displayed some real personality in that interview and is actually a pretty loose and funny guy.  Seems he will fit in well here in Philly, whether that be as a starter or in the pen.

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and Cairo each had 2 hits in the game today; Werth does not appear to be bothered by any of the recently reported injuries, which included a hamstring and shoulder soreness.  His first inning home run flew straight out of the stadium, over the Tiki Pavillion in left field.

But the real thrill today came when Chase Utley stepped to the plate to lead off the 1st inning for the Phillies.  Fans jumped to their feet and cheered, happy to see Utley in his first official grapefruit league action.  Utley played 4 innings, and although he did not get a hit in his 2 at bats, he looked very comfortable both at the plate and on the field.  Message?  Utley will be ready for Opening Day!  And so, Utley gets my Comeback of the Spring Award :O)

And the Entertainer of the Day Award goes to…Matt Stairs. 
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Stairs gave the crowd a giggle when he stole 2nd base in the 8th inning.  Probably the slowest guy on the team, Stairs kind of resembles a lumberjack more than a professional baseball player.  Known mostly as a power hitter, in his 16 year career, Stairs has hit 254 home runs and stolen only 28 bases….that is 1.75 bases per year, on average.  So, seeing him swipe a base during spring action was very entertaining. ;o)

WBC Highlights

Spanking of the Day Award:  Team Puerto Rico gave a spanking to Team USA yesterday; final score 11-1.  Ouch!  Phillies teammates JC Romero (PR), Jimmy Rollins (USA) and Shane Victorino (USA) were on-hand for the beating, although Romero did not pitch in the game.  Victorino was 0 for 3 and Rollins played the field but did not get an at-bat.  Adam Dunn and Brian McCann each had a pair of hits for Team USA, but the rest of the team pretty much bent over and took the punishment.  Team USA will get a shot at redemption tonight when they take on the Netherlands at 7:30pm tonight.

Next up for the Phillies

Monday at 1:15pm, the Phillies will take on the Yankees at George Steinbrenner field as grapefruit league action continues.


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World Series Hangover

The Phillies lost their Spring Training home opener today to the Blue Jays, 6-2.  This makes 2 straight losses to open the pre-season; World Series hangover perhaps?  The big boys like Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez went 0-3, each leaving 2 men on base, and the only two runs scored were knocked in by Jimmy Rollins and Greg Dobbs who each went 1-3.  Carlos Carrasco and JA Happ began the pitching duel today, battling it out for the 5th starter position.  Both pitched two scoreless innings with only Happ giving up a hit; although Carrasco was helped out by John Mayberry in right field who used his 6’5″ frame to scale the wall and snag what was surely a home run shot.  Here is Mayberry making the catch along with another shot of him getting hit by a pitch; below that, you will see Jeremy Slayden playing a ball off the centerfield wall.


In other great pitching news, Gary Majewski, previously of the Reds, pitched two scoreless innings as well.  But much like yesterday’s game, two other pitchers gave the game away for the Phillies; Justin Lehr gave up 2 back to back home runs in his one inning of work and Blaine Neal gave up 4 runs in only 2/3 of an inning.

More encouraging was the play of rookie Mayberry and Jason Ellison, a 6-year veteran previously with the Rangers.  Ellison got a hit in the 3rd inning and proceeded to steal second base:


Also on the ball today was 3rd baseman Mike Cervenak, who helped save a hit by making a great play on a ball that took a nasty short hop.  Cervenak also drew a walk in his only at-bat.  Here he is making the catch and also trying to break up a double play that Jeremy Slayden hit into:


Although the Phillies have dropped the first two games, keep in mind that at this point in Spring Training, less emphasis is placed on winning games and more on examining rookies and deciding who will make the final roster.  So, not to worry Phillies fans! 

In other news for the worriers, you will be happy to know that prior to the game, Chase Utley took batting practice on the field.  He took some light swings and looked like he was not too far from seeing game action.  Also before the game, Army air paratroopers parachuted into the stadium, one of them carrying the World Series flag which was then hung in the stadium.  And that is our Picture of the Day:


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