Alumni Weekend for the Phillies is something for fans to look forward to each year. Players of the past come back to be celebrated and adored once again. This year, Brad Lidge retired as a Phillie; Curt Schilling was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame; and the 1993 NL Championship team was honored on their 20-year anniversary.
The following is a photo diary of Sunday’s events and, unfortunately, a few not-so-fun happenings from the Phillies 1-4 loss to the Braves.
Here is a photo of 1993 manager Jim Fregosi signing my championship pennant and another of the joining the celebration:
Players of old joined current Phillies players at their respective positions prior to the game as the National Anthem was played. Having the 1993 and 2013 players together was a very nice touch. And Darren Daulton got a standing ovation for the 3rd consecutive day. Surviving brain cancer surgery and being able to walk out onto the field with his friends was worth at least that, and much more. It was great to see Dutch still fighting.
But the fun ended there. Unless of course, you count the following events: The top photo shows a camera man focusing in on Kevin Fransden’s rear-end. And I can tell you, he lingered there for quite a while. I want that job.
And the photos below the Frandsen camera-rape episode show that Dan Uggla still has a serious man crush on Chase Utley as he tries to get as close to him as possible during the game. Remember my shocking 2008 All-Star photo of Uggla goosing Utley? In case you do not, I of course included it here for your enjoyment:
And then there was the rest of the game, which was horrible. The only events worth mentioning are the 2 times Braves players were caught in a rundown. One ended peacefully, with Carlos Ruiz applying the tag. The other was not so nice. Total jerk Jason Heyward, rather than take getting picked off like a man, decided to ram Frandsen, sending him flying into the air. I had nothing against Heyward (beside him being a Brave) until that moment. That was completely unnecessary, especially with a 3-run lead and the Braves about to sweep the series:
If a picture paints a thousand words, then these shots speak volumes. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley look downright infuriated by the team’s current situation. And manager Charlie Manual just looks defeated:
Defeated is a good word; it covers all of angles of this team. They have been defeated literally, figuratively, emotionally and any other way you can think of. The suspension of pitcher Antonio Bastardo today was just adding salt to the wound.
This is about as ugly as one can imagine for the Phillies. The only thing they can hope for now is maybe to find some new, young talent in the coming weeks. And perhaps they are also hoping for a quick end to this painful season.
Here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s events.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt took a no-hitter into the 6th inning against the Braves tonight before they finally got to him. Ex-Phillie Michael Bourn doubled and then Chipper Jones knocked him in for their first run, and first two hits, of the game.
Brandon Beachy also pitched very well for the Braves; only Raul Ibanez touched him through five innings with a solo homer. That home run was #250 for Ibanez in his career.
The 1-1 tie held until a ball took a bad hop on Chase Utley in the seventh to score a run for the Braves. Utley had an interesting night. The inning before that hop, he was hit square in the back of the head with a pitch. Utley barely flinched and calmly took first base, probably thanking his helmet on his way down the line.
The Phillies had a chance to break the game open in that same inning. There was a controversy on a ball hit by Placido Polanco which the umpire called a catch. On replay, it was clear the ball was trapped by Jason Heyward. The umpires chatted for a bit and finally ruled it a hit.
The Utley noggin’ assault happened right after Polly’s outfield adventure, which loaded the bases with two outs for Ryan Howard. Sadly, Howard struck out and the Phillies were left in a 2-1 hole.
Another guy having an odd day was John Mayberry Jr. Prior to the game, the New York Post broke a story about Mayberry that was fairly humiliating. Apparently, someone leaked an email where his agency made a plea to another agency to set up a date for Mayberry with an actress he likes. The email even stated, “I hate to even be sending you this e-mail, and I’m quite embarrassed to say the least…” Ouch.
As it turns out, the actress Antoinette Nikprelaj is married and has a kid. Worse than that, Mayberry’s own teammate got on him about the debacle. On his Twitter page, HunterPence3, Pence posted, “So does anybody want a date with Mayberry?….He’s Stanford educated….” Double ouch.
But Mayberry put the incident behind him when he was called upon to pinch hit in the 8th. Mayberry led off the inning with a single to right and later, Polanco knocked him to tie the game up at 2-2. But again, instead of taking the lead, Howard struck out with two men still on base to end the inning.
No worries, Ryan. The 9th inning was still to come. Ibanez made another contribution by walking and then Carlos Ruiz singled. All the Phillies needed was a little magic off the bat of Ross Gload, who has struggled lately with a hip issue. But tonight, Gload came through with an RBI-single to give the Phillies a 3-2 walk-off win.
That hit sent the Braves home crying as the Phillies completed the sweep of this 3-game series. It should be a fun plane ride to Milwaukee. Game time Thursday night against the Brewers is 8:10pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Two old dudes battled it out tonight in Atlanta; the Braves Derek Lowe, 36, and the Phillies Jamie Moyer, 47. When I say I old, I am talking in baseball terms, of course. The elder Moyer out-dueled Lowe allowing just 4 hits and no earned runs in 6 innings. Lowe fell victim to the powerful Phillies offense which ran him out of the game after only 5 innings and racked up 5 runs.
Moyer continues to amaze and defy the laws of time with every victory. And tonight, he did something I had never seen before; in the 2nd inning, he hit the Braves rookie Jason Heyward with a pitch. That was not the fun part though. As the ball left Moyer’s hand, you could hear him yell to Heyward, “Look out!” as the pitch ran too far inside. Moyer is a true gentleman. Of course, the ball was only travelling about 74 mph so I think Heyward will be okay ;o)
The defense behind Moyer was pretty good, although Chase Utley did have one adventurous inning. Right after announcer Tom McCarthy commented on how much Utley has improved and that he has a shot at a Gold Glove one day, Utley’s ears must have been burning because he committed two errors in the 5th inning.
While trying to turn a double play, Utley bobbled the feed from Juan Castro, dropped the ball twice and a run scored. The very next play, he tried another double play but threw the ball wide to 1st, which flew past Ryan Howard and allowed another run to score. So it is official; no one is allowed to talk about Gold Gloves in relation to Utley for the rest of the year. Clearly, it was a jinx.
Utley’s offense has not been affected by a jinx though, as he has now reached base safely in every game so far this year. He had one hit and 2 walks tonight. Greg Dobbs did a great job filling in for Placido Polanco; he went 2 for 3. Castro went 3 for 5 and had 1 RBI, making it 5 for 8 from the back-up starters.
Actually, the only other jinx I can see for this team is the bullpen, which has been fairly awful. Roy Halladay avoided that jinx yesterday by pitching all 9 innings himself. Moyer only went 6, which is about average from him so sadly, the pen had to be counted on. Chad Durbin worked his way into a bases loaded jam with 1 out in the 7th and then ran a 3-0 count to the next batter. Fans everywhere had to be saying, “Oh crap…here we go again…”
Durbin got a sac fly out of that one and thanks to the Braves generosity in swinging at balls, he escaped the inning having allowed just the one run. But there was no one exhaling just yet. The Phillies had an 8-3 lead, but still 2 more innings of scary bullpen work to get through.
This bullpen could totally blow a 5-run lead….I have seen it happen. But tonight, Danys Baez rebounded from his last disastrous outing and got through the 8th inning with no damage. In the 9th, rookie David Herndon pitched and things got hairy with a few base runners. But Herdon worked through it and the Phillies won, 8-3.
There was a bit of bad news today before the game began; pitcher JA Happ has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 16th. The left forearm strain that was revealed after an MRI is apparently a bigger issue than the Phillies first anticipated. Nelson Figueroa will take Happ’s place in the starting rotation for now and his spot in the bullpen will be taken over by JC Romero, who was removed from the DL today. Welcome back, JC! We missed you!
So it is a bit of good news with a bit of bad news. As for 3rd baseman, Placido Polanco, he was left out of the line-up tonight after being hit by a pitch in the elbow yesterday. Polanco told the media today that he should be ready to play again tomorrow night. Assuming this is the case, that is very good news. Losing another starter right now could be a small disaster.
And yes, it is already that time again…All Star Voting. Why they start this so early in the season always puzzles me, but nonetheless, VOTING began yesterday. Let’s get a head start; VOTE for your Phillies today!
And Happy Earth Day everyone! Remember to recycle and conserve energy…for Phillies fans, that might mean drinking a beer from a recycled can and lazing on the couch to conserve energy. But hey, every little bit helps. :O)
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
After last nights’ total disaster in Atlanta, the Phillies brought their ace, Roy Halladay, to the mound looking for his 4th win of the year. Fans everywhere began praying for a complete game after the Phillies bullpen blew a 3-run lead in the 9th yesterday.
Up to around the 6th inning, Halladay was averaging only 11 pitches an inning, so the potential to go deep into the game was there. He made it to the 9th without allowing a run and started that inning having tossed 101 pitches already.
The first hit ball of the inning nearly went into a hole by first base, but Ryan Howard belly flopped, scooped it up and made a great toss to Halladay for the out. The second ball was shot straight to Howard as well; he gobbled that one up too for the 2nd out. Wilson Valdez collected the 3rd on a slow roller to third; he charged it and made the throw. It was a 2-0 complete game shut-out for Halladay; his record is now 4-0.
There was a lot more spectacular defense in this game from the Phillies as well. In the 2nd inning, Shane Victorino robbed Troy Glaus of a home run by leaping at the centerfield wall and snagging the ball just before it went over. Then in the 5th, Juan Castro snagged a ball that was going up the middle and looked like a base hit. But Castro moved fast, side-armed the throw to first and Ryan Howard did a full split (ouch!) to keep his foot on the bag and catch the ball, getting the out.
In the bottom of the 7th, Halladay got into a bases loaded, 1-out jam, walking his first batter in 25 straight innings. Yunel Escobar hit a grounder up the middle, which Chase Utley dove for and snagged it. Then, from the ground, while struggling to get the ball out of his glove, he flipped the ball to Castro who kicked 2nd base and gunned the ball to first to turn an amazing double play. Halladay pumped his fists in gratitude as he headed for the dugout.
The offense was not exactly jumping with Atlanta’s Tim Hudson on the mound, but they did squeak out a few runs. Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez both hit doubles in the game and collected one RBI a piece. Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley also doubled. Overall, the offense was patient again, saw a lot of pitches and drove Hudson out early after 6 innings.
There was one very concerning moment in the game when Placido Polanco, the Phillies best statistical hitter right now, got nailed in the elbow with a pitch in the 1st inning. It looked like he shook it off, but his next two at-bats were not good and he had issues extending that sore arm. Polanco was finally pulled out of the game in the 7th and Wilson Valdez took over at third.
Early reports indicate a minor left elbow contusion; how serious it really is not known right now. If it turns out to be serious, that will be one more major knock to a team that is already missing Jimmy Rollins plus a boatload of injured pitchers, including Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, JC Romero and maybe JA Happ.
For now, the Phillies will focus on tomorrow night’s game and a series win against the Braves. Jamie Moyer will pitch; game time is 7:10pm.
Tonight’s outing was a do or die situation for Kyle Kendrick. His first two starts of the year were disasters and rumors began to circle about sending him back to the minors. Lucky for Kendrick, he put together a great start against the division rival Braves; not so lucky is that the bullpen had to get involved and blow the game.
Kendrick’s outing is the only good news from the evening. With JA Happ suffering from a flexor pronator muscle strain and missing his next start, the rotation has a few big question marks looming. Joe Blanton is rehabbing and should be back soon, but if Happ goes on the DL, this team will need Kendrick to pitch up to his potential.
He did just that tonight; Kendrick cruised through 8 innings, allowing only 4 hits and escaping a bases loaded jam in the 4th by inducing a ground ball double play. Those 8 innings matched his career high. Kendrick looks more confident and comfortable on the mound; this gives everyone reason to hope that the struggles are behind him.
And while the Phillies offense took the weekend off, scoring only 1 run in two games, they began to creep back to life tonight. The Braves ace, Tommy Hanson, lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 runs. Chase Utley led the offense with 2 hits and 2 RBI and every starting position player had at least one hit except for Carlos Ruiz.
Most encouraging was watching the Phils hitters be patient at the plate, which allowed them to work Hanson and get him out of the game early. The 3 runs they scored through 7 innings were all pieced together with base hits and a few doubles, which is another sign that this normally power-hitting offense is really gelling together. But sadly, this is the end of the good news…
So while Kendrick should have had his first win of the year, leave it Ryan Madson to ruin his night. Madson came in for the 9th to save the game and blew it instead. With 2 outs, Madson walked a batter and then gave up a home run to make the score 3-2. The Braves rookie sensation, Jason Heyward, stepped to the plate and Madson tossed him a cookie, which he sent flying over the right field wall to tie the game at 3-3. Start praying that Brad Lidge comes back soon and is in good shape….ugh.
Jose Contreras was sent in for the 10th and proceeded to give up a walk-off home run to the first batter, handing the game over to the Braves. This was a disgusting loss for the Phillies. It gives credence to all the worries about the weak Phillies bullpen. There is no longer a question about whether we should be concerned about the bullpen. The only question left is what are the Phillies going to do about it?
The Phillies have 2 more games in Atlanta as part of this 9-game road trip. Roy Halladay will start tomorrow night and try to go 4-0 in April. Game time is 7:10pm. Let’s pray no bullpen is needed.
Photo by Jenn