People on the internet have been freaking out about Saturday being the end of the world. For the Phillies, it may actually be true.
The first casualties of the week are Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino. Blanton was on the DL in April and the beginning of May with right elbow soreness. Upon his return, Blanton said the elbow was still sore, but he could pitch.
My first issue with this is why did the Phillies allow him to go on when he was still sore? Second, why did Blanton hide how bad the elbow obviously was? I can maybe answer the second question. Blanton saw his job in jeopardy with how well Vance Worley pitched in his absence and felt that he need to come back soon. That is my guess.
Blanton bailed on the Phillies 20 minutes before Thursday night’s game, saying it was too painful to go on. He then spoke to reporters at Comcast Sportsnet and admitted he came back from the DL too early and that maybe he should have been “more honest” about his condition.
As a result of Blanton’s last minute bail, Kyle Kendrick was forced to start the game with no preparation at all. He gave up five runs, including two of Jason Giambi’s homers. Danyz Baez gave up the third. Shocking, I know (insert your own sarcastic comment here). The Phillies lost the game, 7-1.
All seven Rockies runs were scored thanks to the three home runs by Jason Giambi, which led me to these thoughts:
You Might Be A Steroid User If:
– You have grey hair and you hit three home runs in one game
– Your batting average was .115 before hitting three home runs in one game
– Your name is “Jason Giambi”
– Your batting average was .115 yesterday and your name is used in the same sentence as “Babe Ruth.”
Yes, Giambi is now one of only four players over the age of 40 to ever hit three home runs in a game. The others are Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Reggie Jackson. While this is an impressive feat, I think that Kendrick and Baez pitching may have had a little to do with it.
So Blanton is headed to the DL and now, so is Shane Victorino. An MRI revealed that Victorino has a second degree hamstring strain. He will be the 12th Phillie on the DL this year. The Phillies will announce later who will replace each player.
Hold on to your seats, Phillies fans. This ride is about to get bumpier.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
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The Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, collected his 500th victory for the team today with a 4-game sweep of the Rockies. Only two other Phils managers since 1900 have more wins: Gene Mauch, 645 and Danny Ozark, 594.
The game did not start well as pitcher Joe Blanton quickly gave up 2 runs in the first innings to the anxious Rockies who were hoping to salvage one game in this series. But, despite a few walks, Blanton was sharp after the 1st and wound up going 6 innings.
The Phillies offense got them back into the game quickly, which was also a huge help. In order, Ross Gload singled, Greg Dobbs doubled and Brian Schneider tripled. All that was missing was a home run. Instead of the homer, Blanton reached first on a missed catch by Jason Giambi at first.
But then Jimmy Rollins batted and wound up fouling a ball off his foot, sending him to the ground in pain. He limped through the rest of the game and afterwards had an X-Ray. There was no break; he just has a bruise. However, it is still unknown how long he may have to rest his foot before playing again. Here is the sequence, with a nice moment of sportsmanship too:
Things got quiet for a while after that until the Phillies scored 2 more runs in the 6th. Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each hit RBI-singles to extend the lead. But many players contributed to the offense today, especially Schneider, with the huge triple in the 2nd and he also walked and scored in the 6th. Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 and Polanco had 2 hits as well. Here are a few shot from the game:
There was some great defense and really amazing efforts on tough plays also:
And then came the heart-stopping 9th inning. You know when I mention heart attacks, Brad Lidge must somehow be involved, right? Well he sure was. It started with a double, but Lidge got two outs after that. With just one out to go, ahead of the batter in the count, Lidge grooved a fastball right over the plate which Seth Smith hammered for a 2-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-4. Two walks and a single later and the bases were loaded…again…just like the day before. But Lidge finally got a ground ball, which he fielded himself for the final out.
While Lidge is totally on my last nerve with these cardiac episode inducing outings, what is the alternative? Do we need a new closer? Probably. But has anyone else in the pen proved they can handle the job? No. This is the proverbial rock and a hard place. Others have tried to close and failed, like Ryan Madson, for example. So sadly, it looks like we are stuck with Lidge for now.
As for the recent trade rumors, Dan Haren went to the Angels so it looks like Roy Oswalt is the final option for the Phils to pick up a starter. But as I talked about on yesterday’s Fightin’ Phillies podcast, Oswalt does not seem interested in coming here and with the no-trade clause, he has final say. But do we really want a guy who is scared of the media and shies away from pressure? I know I don’t. It will be interesting to see if anything happens before the trade deadline.
In the meantime, feel free to check out the Photo Album from today’s game. Thanks to my friend, Audrea, I was in one of the business suites today, which are very, very nice. I put a few photos of that in the album as well.
The D-Backs come to town tomorrow. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Before I get to the steroids fun, just a quick update on Chase Utley’s hip surgery recovery; Comcast Sportsnet reported that Utley began fielding grounders and doing some light running in Clearwater yesterday. This means he is ahead of the projected recovery schedule and could be ready for Opening Day. I will be in Clearwater in only 8 days and will continue updating his progress for you from there.
And now for some fun! In this very sad and depressing time with roid rage running rampant, I felt some good cheer was in order. Watch and listen:
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