While I was really hoping that the Phillies bats would show up in Atlanta last night, it seems my wish was mistranslated by the universe. Bats did show up…but not the baseball kind.
The game was delayed twice last night. The start of the game was delayed nearly 2-hours due to rain; the second delay came during the game and was caused by a couple of bats getting busy on the field. Real bats, with wings and all that.
After being man/glove-handled by Braves third baseman Paul Janish, the love-struck bats finally detached and one flew away. The second bat was transferred to the aptly-named Batboy, who fulfilled his job duties on multiple levels during this game.
Looks like those bats picked the wrong place to host their little rendezvous. I do hope they were reunited later in the evening.
As for the games, the Braves bats won out, beating the Phillies by a score of 3-6. John Lannan lasted only 1.1 innings, allowing 5 runs and left the game due to a knee injury. He is likely done for the season and has also probably worn a Phillies uniform for the last time. This is the same knee that landed him on the DL for 2 months earlier this year; the Phillies cannot possibly resign him if he is hurt again.
Then again, they have done dumber things; but I will give them the benefit of the doubt here…for now.
The only good news last night was that Domonic Brown had 3 hits and 2 RBI and Darin Ruf hit a homer. Yup, the good news ends there. Unless you count today being an off-day as good news…
The Dodgers come to town on Friday…game time is 7:05pm.
And in keeping with today’s bat-theme, here are some adorable, fluffy bats I met in Costa Rica earlier this year:
Awwww! (Yes, they ARE cute! Do not argue…beauty is in the eye of the beholder ;o)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In their 4th consecutive loss on Wednesday night, I do believe the Phillies finally rolled over and died. They did not just lose 4 games, they were slaughtered in the ugliest and most painful manner possible.
Every problem this team has had this season was glaring in last night’s 3-11 drubbing, courtesy of the Cardinals. It was a proverbial highlight reel of all that is wrong with the 2013 Phillies. First, the starting pitching has been wildly inconsistent. John Lannan had 2 solid outings in his last few attempts; but last night, he was run out of the game after only 4 innings with 4 runs allowed. In the 4th inning, Lannan walked the opposing pitcher who then proceeded to steal second base and score after a single from the next batter.
Next, the defense was pitiful. John Mayberry Jr. summed up 2013 defense with a Little League play in the 5th inning that allowed 3 runs to score. He dove for a ball that he had zero chance at catching in the air, only to watch the ball sail past him into deep center field.
And then there was the awful bullpen performance. J.C. Ramirez allowed 5 runs in one inning of work. Jake Diekman added 2 more for the Cardinals in the 8th.
And how about that offense? What offense, you may ask yourself. Exactly. The Phillies have scored 4 runs total in their last 3 games.
But the whipped topping on this sh@!! sundae has got to be all of the injuries. Domonic Brown was pulled from the line-up with concussion symptoms. Ben Revere, the hottest hitter in June and July, went down earlier this month with a broken foot due to a foul ball. Ryan Howard is out with knee issues. Roy Halladay is recovering from shoulder surgery. And the list goes on…
The trade deadline is less than a week away. If GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has half a brain, he will begin selling as many players as he can and give this team some hope for the future. And if he wants anyone to attend games for the rest of the year, he should scratch Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee off any possible trade list. Anyone of the other veterans are fair game, in my humble opinion.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait for the hammer to fall…
Visions of pitcher John Lannan must have haunted the National’s dream last night after he held them scoreless for 8 innings in a Phillies 3-2 win. It was Lannan’s best outing of the year and the first time since 2009 that he made it through 8 innings. Lannan completely dominated his former team, which had to be the cherry on the sundae for him.
Lannan had some help last night as well. Ben Revere had 3 hits and scored twice, while showing off his acrobatic moves. After sliding hard into home plate in the 6th inning, Revere lost his balance and flipped over onto to his head. He turned the handstand into a full gymnastics flip, which announcer Gary “Sarge” Matthews termed an “upsie-do,” thus coining yet another Sarge-ism.
I said before the season began that Revere was going to surprise everyone, countering the naysayers about the trade. I had hoped the surprise would come sooner than it did, but here we are and Revere has been outstanding for the past 2 months. He is batting .300, stealing bases, getting extra base hits and scoring…a lot.
Not to mention that little Ben is cute as a button. He is like an adorable, yet slightly spastic, little puppy dog, bouncing around to win your attention. I seriously want to pat him on his head and feed him a milk bone.
Puppy’s aside, this team is not out of the woods yet. The bullpen remains a serious issue. Even Jonathan Papelbon nearly blew a 3-run lead last night. His outings are beginning to conjure memories of past Phillies closers who, aside from Brad Lidge in 2008, were frustrating fans with every pitch. Let us hope the Phillies do not need to use him for at least a game or two.
Cole Hamels will pitch tonight; game time is 7:05pm.
Photo – Courier Post Online: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Braves did not think it was very sunny in Philadelphia after losing to the Phillies by a score of 7-3. Even in blinding sunshine and near 100 degree temperatures, it was a dark day for the Braves.
Rookie pitcher Jonathan Pettibone was outstanding against a heavy-hitting Braves line-up. Freddie Freeman was so frustrated after striking out at one point that he smashed his bat into the ground, picked it up and then smashed it again. And B.J. Upton was thrown out of the game after mouthing off to the umpire about calling him out on strikes in the 5th inning.
Pettibone went only 5.1 innings, likely due to the excessive heat. It was obvious he was getting tired. But he did manage to leave with only 1 run allowed.
Both the Phillies offense and defense were solid. Domonic Brown had 2 hits, including his 23rd homer of the year. Darren Ruf, starting for Ryan Howard who is now on the DL, had a hit, a walk and scored twice. Carlos Ruiz added 2 hits as well.
The only defensive snafu was when Michael Young, who has been not great at third base lately, nearly ran over Jimmy Rollins going after a pop-up:
And for the most part, the Phillies bullpen held steady. J.C. Ramirez allowed 2 runs in the 6th; those were his first runs allowed since being called up. Aside from that, things were mostly quiet from the 6th inning on.
The Phillies took 2 of 3 from the Braves with this win today. Still, with Howard’s future uncertain and a very young and inexperienced bullpen, this team is going to have to annihilate the Nationals this week to keep GM Ruben Amaro Jr. from breaking up the team.
Here is the Photo Album from today’s game, including shots of Roy Halladay actually throwing pitches before the game! The Doc may not be done just yet…
Game time Monday night is 7:05pm. John Lannan will pitch.
The Phillies completed an embarrassing weekend series against the Mets today with a 0-8 loss. They lost 2 of 3 in the series and the only reason they won on Saturday was due to another Kevin Frandsen miracle in the form of a walk off homer after the team blew a 7-1 lead.
In his second start since coming off the DL, John Lannan struggled to get through just 5 innings, allowing 4 runs on 3 walks and 8 hits. Below is a photo of Lannan pitching and another photo I took today which seems to express how Lannan felt his outing went:
In the top of the 5th inning, the Mets had some extra help against Lannan in the form of creative umpiring. Ben Revere caught a fly ball, took a few steps with it securely in his glove and as he transferred the ball to his hand, it slipped to the ground. The runner was allowed to advance to third and was called safe.
In the official MLB rules, a catch is defined as follows: “If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional. Rule 2.00 (Catch) Comment: A catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground.”
Revere had the ball long enough to be a catch. Manager Charlie Manuel argued to no avail. That was the turning point of the game as 3 runs scored right after that call. Here are a few shots of the event:
Of course, the Phillies offense was no help at all either. There were many bewildered looks at the plate, swings and misses and various other miscues. Every mistake seemed inflated as they began to pile up; much like Ryan Howard’s inflated back side as a result of my viewing angle and his standing next to Chase Utley:
See, even in a 0-8 rain-soaked loss, I still managed to have a small bit of fun ;o)
J.C. Ramirez had some fun as well; he made his major league debut and struck out all 3 batters he faced. Sadly though, the fun ended there.
The team starts a West Coast road trip tomorrow in San Diego. In the meantime, here is the Photo Album from today’s game, including a Cole Hamels pre-game bullpen session and pitcher warm-ups.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies have lost 3 of their last 4 games and there are still more questions about this team than there are answers. Perhaps the biggest question right now is about the Big Piece, Ryan Howard.
Take a look at the timeline for Howard this past week and a half:
Howard had a cortisone injection on May 19th; he was back in the line-up May 21st and feeling better. By May 23rd, he needed a break again. He started the next 2 games and went 1-8. On May 26th, he sat out, but pinch hit into a double play later in the game. And last night against the Red Sox, Howard was visibly uncomfortable; he went 2-5 with a double play and a huge base running blunder where he got picked off at 2nd base. He appeared to be having great difficulty running.
All of this is very bad news. The MRI Howard had showed inflammation and changes in the meniscus, which basically means he has cartilage tears. If the cortisone injection lasted only a few days before he felt discomfort again, the options for treatment during the season will be limited. And he will be doing further damage to the cartilage as the season progresses and he continues to pound that knee.
And the plot thickens: According to manager Charlie Manual, “He has some arthritis. It comes and goes in his legs. He’s going to always be bothered by that.” Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease which has no cure. It can be caused by wear and tear as one gets older, or it can result from an injury. In Howard’s case, it could be due to the extra stress on his knee after his Achilles surgery.
Whatever the cause, it is beginning to look like Howard’s 5-year, $125 million contract is going to be one of the biggest bust’s in baseball history. With all the recent injuries, plus the arthritis, Howard will likely never be the same player again…at least, not the one they paid $125 million for.
And with the way this team is currently constructed, having neither Howard nor Chase Utley (currently on the DL with an oblique strain) healthy spells disaster. There is no way, with the age and the injuries on this team, that the Phillies can contend.
Remember all of the criticism Spring Training that that this team was too old and too injury-prone to win? Remember Howard’s response to that criticism? He told the media, “Just don’t be surprised,” basically saying that they were going to prove all the critics wrong.
Well, it is May 28th; the Phillies are in third place and have lost 3 of their last 4 games in spectacularly bad fashion. The following key players are all on the DL: Utley, Roy Halladay (will miss at least most of the year), Carlos Ruiz and John Lannan. There are 2 rookies pitching in the rotation. The bullpen is horrible. The offense is non-existent. The fielding errors and base running blunders are piling up.
As much as I hate to be a pessimist, stick a fork in them; I believe this team may be done.
Although, Howard is certainly welcome to prove me wrong…
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In a year full of drama for the Phillies, Cliff Lee stepping on the mound is a sight for sore eyes. The same can be said when he steps to the plate as well. In a complete game shut-out of the Marlins last night, Lee also collected 2 hits, giving him a team-leading .316 batting average. And his .350 on-base percentage is second only to Michael Young (.378) among active Phillies.
Simply put, Cliff Lee is amazing.
Yet those offensive numbers are a bit disturbing in another respect. When your ace pitcher is leading the team in average and OBP, there are some serious problems. Granted, Lee only plays once every 5 games, but it is still a somewhat revealing statistic on a team that has struggled to score runs.
There was some offense last night though, and some signs of life all around. Although they only scored 3 runs, most guys hit the ball well and as team, they collected 12 hits, which is way better than their usual production this year. On Tuesday night with Tyler Cloyd pitching, the Phillies racked up 7 runs on 15 hits in the win.
But again, this has been a pattern; the Phillies have 1 or 2 games with solid offense and then they go right back to not being able to hit the broad side of a barn. And with the injuries mounting, can they get any kind of consistency?
The latest injury to Chase Utley is extremely worrisome. Utley was finally having a good year, after missing time in both of the previous 2 seasons with knee issues. Now, it appears he has an oblique strain of some sort; he will have an MRI today and will likely be put on the DL along with Roy Halladay, Mike Adams, John Lannan and Carlos Ruiz. Stay tuned…
Today is an off day as the team travels to Washington to take on the Nationals. News on Utley should be coming very soon…cross your fingers!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography