Pitcher Brett Myers did not look happy with his performance today as Charlie Manuel pulled him in the 6th after he gave up a hit and an RBI to the opposing pitcher. Myers lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up 5 run on 9 hits, including 2 home runs. Luckily, the offense bailed him out and the Phillies went on to a 10-7 victory over the Cardinals.
Shane Victorino continued his 14-game hitting streak today by going 4 for 5 with 3 RBI and ended up just a triple short of the cycle. His only blunder of the day was getting picked off at first base when the pitcher faked to 3rd and then came back to 1st. Victorino is very aggressive on the bases so this is bound to happen occasionally.
Jayson Werth, with his family in attendance, hit another home run today; this one was 3-runs. Yesterday, he hit a 2-run homer. Werth also had a sac fly in the game, which gives him 4 RBI on the day. A base running mistake on the sac fly by Werth may have cost the Phillies a few extra runs as Raul Ibanez got doubled up; he apparently thought it was going to be a hit and wandered way off 2nd base.
Ibanez also fumbled a ball in left field; he may have been able to throw a runner out at home had he not let the ball slip away. And then he got tagged out at home plate in the 9th. But really, it was Ibanez’s first “bad” day as a Phillie. So, we totally forgive him :O)
Brad Lidge was sent in for the 9th in a non-save situation and immediately gave up a home run to Albert Pujols. Lidge may have experienced some bad flashbacks about Pujols taking him deep in the NLCS of 2005. However, he bounced right back and sent the next 3 batters down in order to end the game. In fact, Pujols was almost non-existent in this 2-game series, save for that one home run, which was his only hit in the series.
Chase Utley was not in the line-up today; Manuel decided to sit him down after he suffered from a sore foot last night as a result of getting hit by a pitch days earlier. Reports are that Utley is fine and was rather annoyed that he was scratched from the line-up. He should be good to go tomorrow for the start of another short, 2-game series against the Mets. Chan Ho Park will take on Johan Santana. Do I really need to watch or can I just assume this one will be a lost cause? Park has been awful and is probably only still in the rotation due to concerns about Cole Hamels getting well after an ankle sprain. Cole – PLEASE get better!!!
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Photos by Jenn
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We can all breathe a small sigh of relief. The Phillies won the afternoon game with the Mets 6-2, putting them within 1 game of first place. If they can sweep the series tonight, they will be tied. Jamie Moyer, just as I predicted, stepped it up and was awesome through 7 innings. He allowed only 2 hits and did not surrender a run. I swear the man gets better with age! Whatever he’s got keeping him so young, he ought to bottle it and sell it…I’ll be first in line to buy it!
For the offense, Greg Dobbs was terrific at 3rd base! He made some very difficult plays on defense and also went 2 for 4 including a 3-run homer to break the game open for the Phillies. Charlie Manuel decided to start Dobbs over Pedro Feliz in the day game because he had “a feeling” about him and Dobbs did not let him down. I have said this before, but I really think switching back and forth between Dobbs & Feliz is the way to go. Dobbs is certainly great as a pinch hitter, but as a starter, he has also consistently produced and his defense has greatly improved.
Carlos Ruiz appeared to emerge from his funk today. He went 3 for 4 with one RBI and scored a run. Matt Stairs made his first contribution to his new team by picking up an RBI on a sac fly in the 2nd inning. And Greg Golson got his first at bat as a major leaguer, but he went down swinging. His second time up, he flied out to center and he also had one error in the outfield. Probably not how he imagined his debut, but he’ll get the hang of it soon. J
Final game of the series tonight at 8:05pm on ESPN! Cole Hamels vs. Johan Santana – ought to be a tight game so it is nice that we did not have to use Brad Lidge in the first game. We may need him tonight….we hope! Go Phillies!
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So Taguchi finally came through with a HUGE 2-run double tonight in the ninth inning to tie the game and propel the Phillies to an 8-6 win over the NY Mets. Please pass the Valium…my heart won’t be still!
That was followed immediately by a J-Roll 2-run double and the Mets simply shook their heads and did a double-take as they could not believe what was happening. What looked like a game that was locked up since the 6th inning, had just been blown wide open.
It began with Joe Blanton’s Phillies debut, which frankly, was a bust. Blanton did not produce a quality start, going 6 innings and giving up 5 earned runs on 8 hits and 3 walks with one of those hits and one walk each being to the opposing pitcher. I liked his variety of off-speed pitches, but he was too easily rattled and unable to come up with a strike when he needed it. In the 6th inning, he walked Marlon Anderson on 4 pitches even though Marlon literally sat the bat on his shoulder for the last 2 pitches of the at bat and was clearly not going to swing; and still, Blanton could not find the strike zone. Next batter, 2-run home run – NOT good.
Defensively though, we saw some really amazing plays in the field tonight. Endy Chavez of the Mets was thrown out at home plate twice tonight – first by Pat Burrell via Jimmy Rollins to Carlos Ruiz in the 3rd and then, he was actually dumb enough to try it again later in the 7th inning when Jayson Werth nailed him on a one-hopper to Ruiz.
Also in the 7th, Chase Utley made a jumping / diving “Superman” mid-air grab of a line-drive off the bat Fernando Tatis for the 3rd out of the inning. As he ran off the field, Utley tore open his jersey to reveal the Superman logo hiding under his uniform to taunt the NY fans…J But we already knew that Utley was Superman…really, the secret has been out for some time now. Get with the program people! J
Back to planet Earth…the offense continued its struggles throughout most of the game, albeit against a red-hot Johan Santana. However, they were able to get at him right away in the first inning with back to back to back singles from Howard, Burrell and Werth, scoring a run; and all this with 2 outs. So, what happened after the first inning? Well, to sum it up for you, a whole lot of nothing. Shane Victorino did hit a solo homer, but sadly, that was not going to make up for the 5 runs the Mets put on the board. Then suddenly, no more Santana and a ninth inning explosion! So Taguchi comes to life, finally! This is a guy who hit over .400 as a pinch hitter last year for the Cardinals but had yet to nail one down for the Phillies, so it really was about time. Let’s hope the real SO has just stood up! This game should have lit a fire under the Phils…we could not have asked for a better vibe to go into Brett Myers’ start tomorrow. Go Phillies!
Shane “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Victorino nailed the game winning single for an RBI, scoring Pedro Feliz in the bottom of the 9th tonight, propelling the Phillies to a 3-2 win over the NY Mets. It was the 2008 debut for pitcher JA Happ who can now go home Happ-Y knowing he kept his team in the game and they were able to hang on to win it in the final inning.
JA Happ went 4 2/3 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks. He showed a really nice array of pitches, which he moved in and out of the zone effectively.
For the most part, he did a great job and was really only expected to go about 5 innings. The only real mistakes he made involved not attacking hitters in critical situations that wound up costing him walks. In the fifth inning, with 2 men on base and no outs, he issued a walk to the Mets’ worst hitter, aside from the pitcher, Chris Aguila, who was hitting in the 8 hole. He really needed the extra out here, even with the pitcher on deck, because Jose Reyes, as we witnessed, is no easy double play. And it did play out just that way…he got the pitcher out on strikes, Reyes hit the ground ball, but was too fast for Jimmy Rollins to be able to turn the double play, thus scoring a run. So, the walk comes back to bite him. After that, another walk to Endy Chavez re-loads the bases and then brings up David Wright. On a very controversial call with 2 strikes, everyone thought Wright was struck out, but the home plate ump called the pitch a ball and the at bat continued. After some battling, Happ wound up walking Wright to score another run for the Mets. The good news is, that ended the scoring as my hero, Chad Durbin, came in and saved the day with a strikeout of Carlos Beltran. Chad went 2.1 scoreless innings! He is awesome!
And you already know how the game ended…with a huge WOW from Shane Victorino, thanks to a double before that from Pedro Feliz. Chase Utley continued his hitting streak, going 1 for 4; Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth both had 2 hit nights and Jayson also had several amazing catches in right field! Pat Burrell, looking in All-Star form, also drove in a Phillies run with 2 outs in the 6th.
Now having faced the ace of the Mets staff in Johan Santana, it would appear that the most difficult game of the series is behind the Phillies. Let’s hope that is so! 3 games to go…how about some more Fireworks tomorrow? Well, here are some for you tonight…these are from Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL, Spring Training home of the Phillies. Happy 4th of July everyone! Go Phillies!
The Phillies swept the Braves tonight for the second time this year in Atlanta. Cole Hamels came within one out of pitching a shut-out when Brian McCann doubled to score Chipper Jones in the ninth inning.
While that was a shame, Cole has no reason to hang his head. He went 8.2 strong innings, giving up only the one run, striking out 7 and bringing his ERA down to 3.22 and adding a win to his record which now stands at 9-5. In fact, Hamels should be very happy with his performance. His has proven that he is the ace of this staff and the rest of our pitchers need start picking his brain!
And how about Pedro Feliz today? 3 for 4 with 2 RBI, including a solo homer…he has been really hot lately! Speaking of home runs, Chase Utley put himself back on top of the MLB charts, hitting #24 in the first inning tonight. It will be interesting to see if he gets invited to participate in the Home Run Derby this year. I certainly hope so! And then I really hope he says yes!!! What a show that would be J Come on MLB people…or whoever makes those decisions…who would get you more TV ratings? Seriously. Everyone LOVES Chase Utley. He is like Elvis; pre-bloated, drug phase, of course J Put him in the Derby!
So tomorrow we all get to bite our nails as we see the second major league debut of one JA Happ. And who does he get to face? Johan Santana. No worries kid. Just ignore the obvious pressure. Just keep breathing… Oh, and if things go bad and 40,000 plus fans start screaming about how bad you suck, just go ahead and ignore that too… It’s all a figment of your imagination J Be one with the ball…
In answer to my own question yesterday, Ryan Howard is back! Yeah! I am so happy to see smiling Ryan again :o) The sad pooh-pooh face was just no fun at all. He hit another homer in Houston last night and went 3 for 5 with a total of 2 RBI’s, finally smashing through the Mendoza line! Now batting .207, Howard can relax a little and hopefully get that average up into a respectable area.
Are you all wondering what the voodoo is all about? Don’t worry…we are getting to that…read on though, I have more to cover first. Solid offensive output all around last night. Most everyone pitched in, but they still left a lot of men on base. As for the pitching, Kendrick is obviously still on a learning curve here…he’s making me nervous! Not a bad performance, but kind of shaky with his location being off a lot at times. It will be interesting to see how much he learns from his mistakes from start to start this year. But as usual, great job by the pen and nice to see Lidge have a happy return to Houston!
I am so sick of the Marlins winning! Can this team just go away already? So, I have made my very own Florida Marlins voodoo doll. I am using my J-Roll Smurf stuffie doll to beat him up with:
I think we should all make one. I was going to make a Mets voodoo doll too, but then I realized, they already have one of their very own…he is called “Billy Wagner and His Huge Team Morale Smashing Mouth.” We should put one of those in every opposing clubhouse :o) They just dropped 4 straight to the Atlanta Braves! Johan Santana, the gazillion dollar man, or whatever they pay him, gave up 13 hits, 3 earned runs and only 1 strike out in 7 innings! Wonder what Mr. Wagner had to say about that? Probably something with like 20 cuss words in it and his finger pointed at every one on the team sucking except for him… What a team player…gotta love him!
So, then I was going to make a Braves voodoo doll…but, my Uncle is a Braves fan, and also a minister and so I thought perhaps I might be struck down by a bolt of lightning if I tried it!. Soooooooo…hey, can someone else do it for me? Shhhhh…don’t tell! As for the Nationals, why waste my time, really? Talk to me when they get hot…(and as I say that, I am silently hoping I did not jinx it…)
And his name was Johan Santana. Ouch. Well, I don’t really think the guy is totally unhittable after watching him, but the way the umpire opened up the strike zone last night, the Phillies had even less of a chance. Although, Eric Bruntlett, Mr. I have gone 0 for like every at bat in the last week, managed to get a hit off of him and ran him out of the game! THAT had to be the highlight of his sad little career. Wow. But back to Santana, I didn’t think his change-up was as impressive as touted and many of our hitters got pretty good whacks at him. The guy is definitely one of the best, but I think next time, we will get a better result having seen him this one time now.
So, Greg Dobbs had me all excited right there at the end, knocking in 3 runs with a homer in the 8th, but then another Ryan Howard error took the wind out of my sails in the top of the 9th, allowing the Mets to score another run. Well, hey, he could have made up for it in the bottom of the inning with a good at bat, right? Nah! Grounds out to the pitcher…blah! Can I just tell you that Ryan is soooooo getting on my nerves right about now! UGH!
After the game, Charlie Manuel says to the press that he told Ryan because of his struggles at the plate (batting a sad, sad .197, by the way) that he needs to move in closer to the plate. Now, this makes total sense. He really needs to take away the inner part from the pitcher. So, after the game, Charlie asked Ryan how that worked out and Ryan complained that he was “uncomfortable” and “kept getting jammed.” Well, boo hooo! Suck it up, big boy! Has he not seen Chase Utley hit? Got news for ya dude…this is exactly how Chase approaches the plate and he is hitting .313 and lookin’ GOOD doing it :o) Seriously, Chase will get jammed by the better pitchers, but not by most pitchers. Those who can’t get inside on him, he hits the crap out of. So, I really hope Charlie points this out to him and tells Ryan to stick with it. Because, I don’t know about everyone else, but I am tired of the boo hooo Howard face: