Tagged: Johan Santana

Great Pitching; Tough Loss

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The match-up of Cole Hamels and Johan Santana tonight had potential to be a very tight pitcher’s duel.  And that is exactly what happened; the two pitchers were fairly even through 6 innings.  Santana did not allow a hit until Placido Polanco broke through in the 6th with a single.  Hamels scattered 6 hits but also struck out 11 batters.  The only scar on the line for Hamels was a solo homer from Jeff Francoeur in the 7th.

Hamels reached 99 pitches by the end of 7 and was pinch hit for in the bottom of the inning.  Chad Durbin pitched the 8th and had a very scary outing.  With the bases loaded, he nearly walked a run home.  Luckily for the Phils, Francoeur was done with the home run hitting.  He went fishing for a high fastball that would have been ball four and struck out.

With the score still 1-0 in favor of the Mets going into the bottom of the 8th.  The Phils had an exciting inning with a few singles and a walk.  But with the bases loaded and 2 outs, Ross Gload grounded out after a very good battle at the plate.

In the 9th inning, the Phillies still could not get anything done.  They ended up with only 5 hits in the loss, went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left 9 men on base.  While it was a disappointing loss, overall it was a good game because of the pitching.  Hamels was outstanding so it hurts to see him not get the win…again.  Poor guy.

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The final game with the Mets is tomorrow afternoon at 1:35pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch :O)  The Alumni Batting Challenge will also take place before the game with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles. 

I will return with photos from both the pre-game event and the Halladay domination of the Mets – yes, I fully expect Halladay domination.  J-Roll Smurf, our official Phillies Phollowers mascot, says it will be so.  He is in charge of the voodoo and I believe him.  J-Roll Smurf has been practicing his voodoo bat attack all day long, so expect results.  Go Phillies!

 

Reyes and Smurf photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

A Tale Of Two Innings

The Phillies reclaimed their spot in first place last night after an 11-5 win over the Mets.  Let us begin with the Tale of Two Teams: Before the game, people like Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino had their game faces on.  Jimmy Rollins, still on the DL, was relaxed and posing for me and Jose Reyes was busy fixing his hair.  A foretelling of things to come perhaps?
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As for the game itself, most of it can be summed up in two innings.  In the first inning, things did not look good for pitcher Jamie Moyer and the Phillies.  Moyer got the first two outs but after allowing a few singles and then a home run to David Wright, he was in a big hole quickly.

Moyer’s performances this year have had one huge flaw; he always seems to have one bad inning where he gives up a bunch of runs.  In the top of the 4th, he allowed 2 more runs on a Rod Barajas homer.  Barajas has done serious damage to the Phillies every time he has played his ex-team.  Although, Placido Polanco did manage to tag Barajas out going to third:


050210b.jpgBut the bottom of the 4th inning blew the game wide open for the Phillies.  The Mets ace, Johan Santana, had been mowing down Phillies batters, except for solo homers from Polanco and Howard in the 1st.  After a Chase Utley double, Santana got the next two batters out, but things then spun wildly out of control.

Raul Ibanez singled to score Utley and Carlos Ruiz walked after that.  The bases were loaded with 2 outs for the pitcher, Moyer.  You had to imagine Moyer would just make the last out and that would be that.  But once Moyer ran the count 2-0, the crowd exploded with anticipation of what might happen next.

On their feet and screaming, “Johan! Johan!” the fans rattled Santana and Moyer, will amazing discipline at the plate, drew the walk to force in a run.  Everyone began having flashbacks to Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS when Brett Myers and the crowd did the exact same thing to pitcher CC Sabathia. And who should step to the plate but the same hero from that NLDS game, Shane Victorino.

Back in October of 2008, Victorino followed up the Myers walk with a Grand Slam.  Last night, history repeated itself as Victorino, with the crowd cheering him on, hit another Grand Slam!  It was the 2nd of his career and I have been present for both of those slams.  Shane may want to send me some tickets as it appears I am his good luck charm ;o)

But the inning did not end there.  Polanco singled and then Utley homered; and with that, Santana was finally run out of the game.  The Mets bullpen gave up one more run after that making it a grand total of 9 runs in the inning.  Santana was responsible for 8 of those, which is more runs that he gave up in the entire month of April.  And the 10 runs total marks the most runs ever allowed by Santana in a single game for his career.


050210c.jpgThe Phillies batted around plus 4 in the inning and the outburst seemed to give Moyer new life on the mound.  He pitched two scoreless innings after that and even got a hit in the 5th inning.  Chad Durbin pitched the 7th and 8th innings without allowing a hit and Danys Baez, feeling comfy with a 6-run lead, closed out the game.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.  Tonight, the Phillies will begin a new series against the Cardinals with Joe Blanton finally returning from the DL.  Game time is 7:05pm.  Best of luck to Blanton in his season debut! 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Halla-Day = Win-Day

Yesterday we pondered the question, will April Showers produce May Flowers for the Phillies?  Well, with Roy Halladay on the mound they will.  Now all they need to do is tip-toe through the tulips and meander their way back to first place.

Because as of last night, if you peered at the NL East standings, you may have thought you were looking through a mirror.  Those 5 teams are experiencing a bit of a role reversal from what most people predicted.  Here was the order from first place to last: Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Marlins, Braves.  The Mets and Nats should be in the last 2 spots, right?  The Phillies seriously need to return order to the division.

The Phillies took one small step in that direction today with a complete game shut-out from Halladay in their 10-0 win over the Mets to even the series at a game apiece.  They are currently tied for 2nd with the Nats.  As usual, Halladay was unbelievable; he allowed only 3 hits, a walk and hit one batter, throwing 118 pitches.  This man is a pitching machine.  The rest of the Phillies pitching staff had better be taking notes.


P4057287.jpgBehind the amazing performance of Halladay, the Phillies bats finally woke up.  The only player who did not have a hit in the game was Placido Polanco.  Even Halladay knocked a single.  Chase Utley went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and Shane Victorino hit a 3-run homer in the 4th.  Victorino was criticized last night after not hustling on a dropped third strike; he made up for the lack of effort today.

Mets pitcher Mike Pelfry came into this game with a record of 4-0 and a miniscule 0.69 ERA.  He left with his first loss of the year and a very human 2.40 ERA.  The Phils offense exploited the Mets bullpen as well, scoring 3 more runs off reliever Raul Valdez.  This energy will need to carry over into tomorrow night if the Phillies are going to win the series.

As for the huge pile of Phillies injuries, JA Happ, suffering from his second forearm strain in three years, had what the Phils are calling a “minor setback” in his rehab.  Translate that anyway you like, but it is still not good news.

The bad news is magnified of course by the performance of Kyle Kendrick so far this year.  With a 7.61 ERA and no wins to his credit on the year, Kendrick is pitching like a minor leaguer and frankly, that is where he needs to go.  Once Joe Blanton returns, which could be as soon as Monday, Kendrick may get the boot.  Nelson Figueroa has the experience to fill in until Happ returns and Kendrick has done nothing to warrant keeping him in the rotation.

But first things first; tomorrow Jamie Moyer will take the mound opposite the Mets ace, Johan Santana.  On paper, this looks like a slaughter for the Phillies.  Moyer has allowed at least 4 runs in 3 out of his last 4 starts.  But Santana is not untouchable either and the Phillies have hit him in the past.  This should be an interesting one.  Game time is 8:05pm for the national ESPN broadcast.  I will be there and should be posting photos sometime Monday afternoon.  Go Phillies!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Phillies Sweep The Mets & Send 3 To All-Star Game

After a horrific month of June, the Mets proved to be the cure for what has been ailing the Phillies.  Even the great Johan Santana could not hold them down today.  With little offense on either side, a pitching duel erupted and Joe Blanton emerged the victor.  In perhaps his best outing of the year, Blanton nailed down 7 1/3 scoreless innings of 4-hit ball.  Santana was not too shabby either; he allowed only 3 hits.  But 2 of those hits won the ballgame for the Phillies.  Jimmy Rollins led the game off with a home run and later, in the 6th inning, Chase Utley went deep to give the team a 2-0 lead, which was the final score.  There were some spectacular defensive plays as well, which added to the drama.  Overall, it was a very entertaining game for both teams.

Also noteworthy, Carlos Ruiz did start the game after a suspicious absence the last few games.  I had speculated that he may have been possible trade bait, but he is still with us :O)  Maybe Charlie Manuel was just giving him an extra long rest?  That remains to be seen…

Here are a few photos from the game:070509a.jpg

Cuteness Abounds!

Before the game, the Phillies hosted their annual Father-Child wiffle ball game which can only be described as adorable!  Little ones scattered the field, running amuck while their parents chased them around the bases.  We have some awfully good-looking families in the Phillies organization.  Take a deep breath; the cute is about to get out of control; (top to bottom, left to right) Ibanez Family; Greg Dobbs & daughter; Brad Lidge & baby; The Romero Family; Chad Durbin & son; Chan Ho Park’s baby:

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All-Star Roster

Also announced today, the Phillies will send at least 3 players to the All-Star game in St. Louis; Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez were voted in as starters and Ryan Howard, as chosen by Manuel, will be a reserve, along with 3 other very deserving 1st basemen (Pujols, Fielder, A. Gonzalez)!  Nice to see Charlie did not worry about positions as much as who deserved to be there.  That is not usually the case with most managers who are chosen to pick players.

The Phillies centerfielder, Shane Victorino, also has a chance to go to St. Louis.  He is one of 5 candidates to fill the final roster spot which will be voted on by the fans.  Victorino is batting .300 with 5 homers, 35 RBI and 13 stolen bases so far this year.  His defense has been outstanding as well.  Please VOTE FOR SHANE!  He deserves to be there!

Tomorrow, the Phillies begin a 4-game series with the Reds and Cole Hamels will attempt to put the spring back in his step.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game and also the Father-Child game which includes the photos above and many more!  Enjoy!

Photos by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Opportunities Lost

If you had said before tonight’s game that the Phillies would score 5 runs off Johan Santana, any Phils fan would have felt optimistic about a win.  Well, score they did…5 runs.  JA Happ had allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks in 5 1/3 innings, but the bullpen could not hold the Mets down.  Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin each allowed a run, giving the Mets a 6-5 lead; even the pitcher, Santana, hit a double to help himself.

When you get 5 runs off one of the best pitchers in baseball, you simply have to win.  Your pen needs to be able to shut the door.  After the news today of Brad Lidge being put on the DL, this was the game for the rest of the pitchers to step up.  They failed.

P5103222 Durbin.jpgEven after Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back solo home runs and Jimmy Rollins, who has been struggling badly, hits a 2-run homer, the bullpen still somehow lacked inspiration.  Need some inspiration guys?  The fans will be happy to provide a swift kick in the rear anytime.  The rookie giving up 4 runs, you can understand.  But seasoned bullpen guys letting down the offense…again…it is harder to swallow.  And it is becoming a habit with some of these guys.

Just frustrating.  When this team provides offense, the pitching lets them down.  When they get good pitching, the offense goes to sleep.  Then again, they did this all last year too and that turned out ok ;O)  But while it is happening, this is still no consolation.

The Phillies will give it a try again tomorrow night to see if the stars can align and both pitching and offense can work together.  Cross you fingers…

And do not forget to keep VOTING for our Phillies All-Stars!  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!

Durbin Photo by Jenn

Getting Back on Track

After two blown saves Friday and Saturday, the Phillies rebounded last night while riding the back of rookie pitcher, Antonio Bastardo.  Although they should have swept the 4-game series against the Dodgers, coming away with a split is a relief after the drama of the last several days.  And Bastardo must be relieved as well to get a 2nd major league start, and 2nd win, under his belt.  Bastardo, who threw mostly fastballs in his first outing, calmed down a bit last night and began to mix in a change-up and a slider.  He allowed only 2 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings.  Not bad, especially considering he faced the team with the best record in baseball.

But the Phillies have the 2nd best record in all of baseball, and the offense finally showed everyone why that is last night.  Three home runs led the way; a two-run shot from Carlos Ruiz and solos from Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard in a park that many consider to be unfriendly to the long ball.  Jimmy Rollins was moved from the lead-off spot to #6 in the line-up and it worked.  Rollins went 2 for 4 in the game.  Charlie Manuel will likely not keep him there, but the change seemed to make him concentrate more on getting his swing back in line.

Now the real question is, could the rookie Bastardo be to 2009 what Kyle Kendrick was in 2007?  Kendrick was called up to temporarily fill a hole in the rotation after an injury to Freddie Garcia.  He did so well though that the Phillies kept him and Kendrick helped get them to the playoffs that year.  P9119563 Kendrick Eaton.jpgBut in 2008, Kendrick struggled and has since been sent back to the minors.  Bastardo is now filling in for the injured Brett Myers.  Could this kid be the answer for 2009?  So far, he looks good; but then again, so did Kendrick.  We will have to wait and see…

And if you really want to know what went wrong with Kendrick, here is my theory.  He took one too many pitching lessons from Adam Eaton.  By the way, after being released by the Orioles last month, Eaton singed a minor league contract on 6/6/09 with the Rockies.  Good luck to them!

So, after travelling to New York, the Phillies will have the day off today to rest up for a 3-game series with the Mets.  Going back to a normal East Coast schedule (thank goodness!), the game will begin at 7:10pm on Tuesday with JA Happ facing Johan Santana.

Do not forget to keep VOTING for our Phillies All-Stars!  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!

Photo by Jenn

***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***

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*Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGEPhillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Remember also to check out the homepage, My Team Rivals and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!

 

Park Likes His Job

Many expected tonight’s match-up of Chan Ho Park and Johan Santana to be a really bad day for the Phillies.  However, no one really expected Park, who has been horrible on the mound, to keep pace with Santana.  And certainly, no one expected for the deciding factor in the game to be THREE errors by the Phils.  The first 2 did not do much damage, but the 3rd gave the Mets the 1-0 lead (final score).  P4190898 Feliz.jpgWith a man on 1st and 2 outs in the 7th, Fernando Tatis hit a ball to Pedro Feliz that he should have held onto.  It was a slow chopper far from Feliz; he managed to grab it and made a very bad, unbalanced throw to 1st, which flew over Ryan Howard’s head.  Jayson Werth backed-up the play, but hesitated to throw home.  His hesitation let Carlos Delgado score.  Had Feliz just held onto the ball, you still have 2 outs and no one scores.

The real shame of it was that this game was winnable.  Despite his very bad start to the season, Park managed to throw 6 innings of 1 hit, no run ball.  Apparently, he likes his job as a starter and is aiming to keep it.  Park kept the Phillies in the game, but the defense let it slip away.  The offense had a bad day too, but they were facing Santana, so this was not a huge shock.  Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez each had one hit, but that was it for the offense.  Oddly enough, Park drew 2 walks, but again, the Phils did not take advantage.  Victorino did extend his hitting streak to 15 games, which is about the only happy news on the day.

Chase Utley did play today, and his foot seems to be fine.  He struggled at the plate, like everyone else though.  The Phillies will have one more shot at the Mets tomorrow night at 7:10pm with Jamie Moyer on the mound.

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Gizmo is still at it!  This dedicated chinchilla/Phillies fan has been tapping away at the keyboard, trying to Get Utley, Howard and the gang to the All-Star game.  Please help him out!  Go on-line and
VOTE for your All-Stars!  Look how cute he is!  How can you refuse?  :O)

Photos by Jenn

***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***

(Store is non-profit, but lots of fun!  I hope you enjoy our artwork!)

*Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGEPhillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Remember also to check out the homepage, My Team Rivals and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!