The Phillies first game of the regular season began with a bang to the tune of 14 runs on 17 hits including 3 homers, one of which was a Grand Slam. It was a record-setting day on many levels.
First, Phillies ace Cliff Lee allowed 8 earned runs and still got the win. That is only the 8th time in MLB history that a pitcher gave up 8 runs in at least 5 innings and still won. It is also only the 3rd time in history that happened on Opening Day.
Then in his first Opening Day start, Cody Asche ended the game just a triple short of the cycle. With his parents looking on, Asche had a career day with 3 hits, 2 RBI including a solo homer, a walk and 4 runs scored.
But the biggest day record-wise was had by Jimmy Rollins who belted a Grand Slam in the 2nd inning, marking his 200th career homer. That home run made him only the 19th player in baseball history to have 400 or more doubles, 100 or more triples and 200 or more home runs in a career. He also tied a record with Cal Ripken Jr. for 14 consecutive Opening Day starts at shortstop with the same team.
Rollins may have had some extra inspiration yesterday as he is on baby-watch. His wife Johari is expecting their second child any minute now. Rollins stayed an extra day in Philly in case she went into labor and then joined the team in Texas on Sunday night, one day after the team arrived.
Records aside, many Phillies had big days in this game. Both Chase Utley and Ben Revere had 3 hits, Marlon Byrd went 2-for-6 with a solo homer and Ryan Howard had 2 hits and a walk. Maybe the biggest hit of the day, besides the grand slam, was a pinch hit 2-run double in the 5th inning by John Mayberry Jr. In his first big move of the season, manager Ryne Sandberg had a gut feeling to switch Junior’s; Mayberry Jr. in place of Tony Gwynn Jr. That double broke a 7-7 tie and propelled the Phillies to the win with some much needed momentum.
While I do not think the Phillies are going to score 14 runs again soon, this was an uplifting start the season. Enjoy it! Tonight, A.J. Burnett will make his Phillies debut; game time is 8:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After missing 3 months of the season due to right shoulder surgery, Roy Halladay finally returned to the mound for the Phillies yesterday. The stars aligned in favor of Sunday ticket holders when the Phillies used up originally scheduled starter Tyler Cloyd in Saturday night’s 18 inning, 7-hour marathon loss to the Diamondbacks. Halladay was supposed to make a rehab start in Reading on Sunday, but was instead called back to the bigs. Sorry, Reading fans.
Reading’s loss was Philly’s gain. Halladay looked a little rusty at first, but eventually found his groove. Over 6 innings, he allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks.
Halladay may have given up more if not for the magic glove of Roger Bernadina. In the 3rd inning, Bernadina made a spectacular jump at the centerfield wall to steal a home run away from Matt Davidson. Then in the 7th, he made an amazing diving grab on a hit ball that appeared to have no chance of being caught.
On offense, Bernadina ended a 0-19 streak on Saturday with 2 hits in that game. Then in addition to his fun fielding on Sunday, Bernadina collected 2 RBI on double in the 6th inning. Maybe some regular playing time will get his bat going. So far, so good.
It was a good day for offense overall. Darin Ruf sparked the Phils in the 1st inning with an RBI single. Cody Asche had 2 hits and 2 RBI, Chase Utley went 1-1 as a pinch hitter and John Mayberry Jr. smacked a 2-run homer and also had a walk.
Both Asche and Ruf have been impressive both in the field and at the plate. They are probably close to cementing their places in the line-up next year.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game, including a lot more of Mr. Halladay.
So they might not be making the playoffs, but at least Phillies baseball is a bit more fun to watch now!
Photos 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…
It was a very weird weekend for the Phillies heading into the All-Star break today. Sunday’s game commenced a 3-game series with the White Sox that included a postponed game turned into a doubleheader, during which another rain delay occurred. All 3 games went extra-innings, with the teams playing 24 innings total in one day; each game on Saturday lasted exactly 3 hours, 53 minutes, excluding the 41 minute rain delay. In the midst of all that, Ben Revere broke his foot by fouling a ball off it; he will be out for about 6-8 weeks. Very sad news for the Phillies :O(
Sunday’s game went 10 innings, 3 hours and 26 minutes. Jonathan Papelbon blew his 5th save of the year in this one, denying Cole Hamels yet another win. But Hamels pitched very well, allowing just 2 runs over 8 innings, which is what kept the Phillies in line for the win.
The offense started strong, but sputtered again later in the game, which has become a pattern with this team. Still, they managed enough runs to get by. Hamels, in addition to pitching well, led the team in hits with two; he also had a fabulous sacrifice bunt and a crucial RBI in the 4th inning.
The defense was a bit better on Sunday, although Chase Utley still had a blunder. Luckily, no damage was done.
The only real damage was Papelbon’s blown save. However, his teammates got him off the hook. Utley redeemed his previous fielding error by leading off the 10th inning with a double. And John Mayberry Jr., getting playing time since Revere is on the DL, singled the winning run in for a 4-3 victory.
Prior to the game, the Phillies All-Star’s, Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown, got their jerseys:
This win was a nice way to send them off to New York and finally put the Phillies at the .500 mark.
The Phils are now 6.5 games out of 1st place and a half-game behind the 2nd place Nationals. But whether or not they can make a run at the playoffs still seems like a long shot after watching their struggles against a last place White Sox team this weekend.
In 3 games, they left 25 men on base and went 6-for-28 with runners in scoring position. In Saturday’s 1st game loss, the Sox practically handed the game to them. But with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs in the 9th, they failed to score. That just cannot happen. Similar situations played out in the 10th and 11th innings with the same result. It was gut-wrenching; very difficult to watch.
Now with Revere gone and the bullpen situation still tenuous, there is no way to know how the 2nd half will play out, but the odds are certainly stacked against the Phillies.
While we all wait and see, here is the Photo Album from Sunday’s game. Enjoy!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The last two or three years have been strange ones for Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. He has gone though spurts of looking like a solid ballplayer and even more spurts of looking totally lost at the plate. While see-sawing between the two extremes, Mayberry has been unable to stick as an everyday player.
But last night against the Marlins, Mayberry had probably the most memorable night of his career and he did not even start the game. He hit a solo homer in the 10th to tie the game back up after Antonio Bastardo surrendered a run to the Fish in the top of the inning. Then in the 11th, Mayberry whacked a game-winning grand slam home run.
There were a number of ‘firsts’ for Mayberry in this game:
– Mayberry’s first career grand slam
– Mayberry became first player in major-league history to hit two home runs in extra innings with one being a grand slam
– Mayberry also became the first Phillies player to hit a walk-off grand slam since Dale Murphy on Aug. 6, 1991, against the Cubs
Those are some pretty impressive statistics. And with Delmon Young still underachieving (he is hitting only .220 in 100 at-bats), perhaps it is time to hand right field over to Mayberry for a while. Mayberry’s defense is significantly better than Young’s and his offense cannot possibly be any worse than Young’s.
Young has actually cost the team runs with his defense and I cannot imagine the Phillies putting up with that for much longer. And he is not making up for it with his bat either. 30 games played and 100 at-bats should be nearly enough for them to pass judgment. We shall see…
As for the umpire follies, Bob Davidson strikes again! How this ridiculous man still has a job is beyond me. Last year, Davidson was actually suspended after ejecting Phils skipper Charlie Manual for his bad “situation handling,” according to MLB. What actually happened was he interfered with the catcher on a play and then cussed out Manual for arguing the point.
Davidson’s animosity towards the Phillies is still going strong, because last night he made one of the worst calls I have ever seen. Davidson called interference on Ben Revere who slid head first (not spikes first) into second on a ground ball hit by Michael Young. Young was called out due to the imaginary interference; Davidson claimed he saw Revere grab the leg of the Marlins 2nd baseman. It was clear to both the naked eye and on the replay that Revere did no such thing…it was not even close.
Revere did not grab anyone; he did not roll into 2nd; he did not even go out of the basepath or miss the bag. Davidson literally just made up the call.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Bernie Miklasz, “…if I listed every call that Davidson got wrong I’d be typing for the next 48 hours at least. He’s a disgrace to the game and has been for many, many years. Baseball people laugh at him.” It seems everyone hates Davidson…and with good reason.
After the game, both Revere and Manual made some very amusing comments about the bad call. Revere said, “I know [Davidson] was standing right there, he said he did see it, so I’m just like, man needs some glasses or something.” And Manual interjected, “Bob’s kinda getting a little old.” Plus, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park booed Davidson relentlessly for the remained of the game.
And yet, no one can say why this man still has a job. MLB has made a habit out of ignoring the total incompetence of some umpires. Even with their reputation being continually tarnished, MLB has done nothing to redeem themselves.
In fact, Joe Torre, who is in charge of MLB umpires, on-field discipline and other areas, was actually at Saturday’s Phillies-Brewers game where a huge umpiring mistake was made in the bottom of the 9th inning. Kyle Kendrick was called out at second base even though the fielder dropped the ball. The next batter doubled, which would have scored Kendrick and tied the game up. Instead, that blown call cost the Phillies the game.
The crew chief acknowledged the error after the game, but to my knowledge, Torre said nothing. Granted, this was a far less egregious error than the blatant, BS call by Davidson. All of these bad calls are screaming for additional replay, but is anyone listening?
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil…get nothing done. *Sigh*
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies ended a 3-game losing streak today with a 7-5 win over the Brewers thanks to some key contributions. And although they nearly blew it in the end, those 7 runs, all scored in the first 2 innings, kept them in the game.
4 of those 7 runs were driven in by Domonic Brown, who is still on fire after a scorching month of May. He fell just a double shy of hitting for the cycle. He and Ryan Howard did their special home run dance after his 3-run homer in the 1st inning to celebrate:
And the hits kept coming…both Jimmy Rollins and Freddy Galvis collected 2 hits apiece. Erik Kratz and John Mayberry Jr. each drove in runs. The Phillies took a 7-0 lead all the way into the 8th inning.
On the mound, Cliff Lee performed his usual magic for 7 straight innings. He struck out 11 batters and appeared to be cruising until the 8th.
Dehydration set in and Lee started giving up hits. He wound up putting 3 runners on base before he was pulled in favor of Justin DeFratus. But even with 2 outs in the inning, DeFratus could not manage to escape unscathed. The Phillies gave up runs in the 8th inning in every game of this Brewers series and this day would be no different. After an almost grand slam that was overturned by replay, the Phils left the 8th inning with only a 7-4 lead.
In the 9th, Jonathan Papelbon was nowhere to be seen. He had apparently taken ill and was not available to pitch. Antonio Bastardo took the mound and allowed another Brewers run as the crowd began to panic. But he finally got out of the inning and the Phils walked away with the win despite the late-inning drama.
Prior to the game, Kyle Kendrick’s father was honored for the Phillies Father’s Day celebration. His very pregnant wife and daughter were there as well, which was really cute.
To see the rest of my photos from the game, check out this Photo Album.
The Phillies will start a 3-game series with the Marlins tomorrow night at 7:05pm. Kendrick will pitch.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Hitting five homers in his last four game, Domonic Brown is on fire…and it is about time. The Phillies have been waiting for Brown to explode and reach his potential for years now. It looks like he may be right on track now.
Fresh off his first Player of the Week honors, Brown may now be in the running for Player of the Month. He has been the one bright spot in an otherwise drab Phillies season so far. Brown’s efforts have helped the Phillies win the last 2 games against the Red Sox, but can the Phillies keep up the pace?
The team lost another player yesterday due to a family issue; Michael Young was placed on the bereavement/family emergency list and will be gone 3-7 days. There was no clarification beyond that. And Chase Utley is progressing slower than everyone had hoped after an oblique injury. With many other Phils on the DL as well, it will not be easy for this team to keep their heads above water.
Brown’s recent performance has been a big boost. Erik Kratz looks like he is finding his groove as well. But clutch hitting on this team is still not happening much. With 1 out and the bases loaded last night in the 7th, Ryan Howard struck out and John Mayberry Jr. then popped out. With 1 out and 2 runners on in the 6th, Freddy Galvis ended the inning by hitting into a double play. These examples are the exact opposite of clutch hitting and sadly, it happens more often than not.
Last night’s win was the result of good pitching and 4 solo home runs. I stress the “solo” part because no one seems to want to hit with runners on base. For example, the Phillies had 4 stolen bases in the game, but none of those runners scored. The team left 8 men on base and went 0-6 with runners in scoring position.
Still, it was a win so we’ll take it. But Brown’s bombs are not going to carry a team; he is going to need a tad more help.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
On Monday night, Phillies rookie Jonathan Pettibone made his major league debut against the Pirates. He went 5.1 innings and allowed only 2 runs after a fairly shaky start and some good defense. The Phillies offense put up 3 runs for the rookie, but two of those runs came from a wild pitch and a hit batter.
The lack of offense took another turn for the worse on Tuesday night. Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing 2 runs over 8 innings. But his teammates did nothing to help him. As a result of the 0-2 loss, Hamels still does not have a win this year. This is exactly what happened to Cliff Lee last year, who ended the season with only 6 wins, despite his 3.16 ERA.
There were only 4 hits for the Phillies last night. Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke had them all tied up in knots that they could not untangle. Sadly, it was a total Locke-Down.
For example, in the 4th inning, John Mayberry Jr. led off with a triple. Still, the Phillies managed to squander that opportunity as well. Not scoring a runner from 3rd with no outs to start the inning is ridiculous. But that has been the story of the Phillies offense for a number of years now, and it does not appear it will change anytime soon.
These guys get anxious at the plate, swing at bad pitches and watch good ones fly past them. There is no discipline at all.
Think about that 4th inning again. With no outs, Mayberry stood at 3rd and Domonic Brown on first after being hit by a pitch. Locke was getting wild and losing his command. So the only thing Ben Revere needed to do was not pop out or hit the ball the 3rd base side of the infield. Even a double play would have scored the run with Mayberry going on contact. So what does Revere do? He swings at the first pitch and hits the ball to third; Mayberry is thrown out at the plate.
This is not Mayberry’s fault either…Ryne Sandberg told him to go on contact which was verified by manager Charlie Manual after the game. As for Revere, remember he is only 24 years old. Clearly, he still has a lot to learn. But the same excuse cannot be made for the rest of the team. This is a very experienced ball club. Yet they continue to approach at-bats like frightened rookies.
When the only relief of the night is seeing bench player Laynce Nix step to the plate, something is very, very wrong.
The Phillies hired not one, but two new hitting coaches this season in an effort to improve the offense. And even though both Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner have gotten rave reviews from the players, nothing changes once a guy steps to the plate. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Apparently not.
Pretty soon they will have a big offensive day again and the critics will be silent until the next several games when the bats go back to sleep again. This has become a pattern. They give us a small bit of hope, and just like that, the hope is squashed the very next day. I am seriously beginning to wonder if this is fixable.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait and see. Roy Halladay will pitch tonight; game time is 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
While Cliff Lee is pitching like a man at the peak of his career, Roy Halladay seems to be in a free fall. With an 8-3 pounding of the Mets last night, Lee has started the season off with a 2-0 record. Halladay, on the other hand, has begun with 2 awful losses.
Even the offense seemed pumped to perform for Lee. The Phillies even hit 3 home runs in 1 inning to support their ace on the mound. Ryan Howard, Michael Young and John Mayberry Jr. all went yard for the first time this year.
Lee gave up only 2 earned runs and nearly pitched a complete game, coming just one out shy. Manager Charlie Manual decided his pitch count was high enough at 106 and had Mike Adams finish off the game.
On the exact opposite side of things, Halladay looks like a little lost boy out on the mound searching for home. His 2-7 loss to the Mets on Monday was especially difficult to watch. Halladay allowed 7 runs in only 4 innings before being chased out of the game. The Mets looked like they were taking batting practice off him.
Obviously, there are a lot of problems here. But I would like to point out one issue that I have not heard anyone else mention. Keep in mind, I am not a doctor and this is just an observation on my part; I have no inside knowledge here. The Doc looks like he needs a doc.
The temperature at game time on Monday was 72 degrees, which dropped into the mid-60’s by the 2nd inning. And yet, Halladay was sweating so profusely that it looked like rain coming off the brim of his cap. His face was not just red; it was almost purple. And this is not a new observation. Halladay has been exhibiting the fire-faced sweats since Spring Training.
During the spring, they blamed it on the flu or some kind of virus. I think it is safe to assume he no longer has this virus. Still, in 65 degree weather, at night, Halladay looked like he might pass out on the mound. This is a problem that I think might go beyond age or mechanics. I am seriously beginning to think he may be ill.
I could be totally off base here, but I am worried about the guy. I cannot help but wonder if the medical staff has done any blood tests or if a proud man like Halladay would even submit to such testing?
This very well could just be Father Time catching up to a man who dominated the pitching world for so long. Maybe he is just out of bullets. Maybe the fire-faced sweats are just a combination of the usual work that goes into pitching and a boat-load of stress. And maybe he will figure out how to locate his pitches again and all will be well with the world. I hope that is the case.
Perhaps I am just grasping at straws here for an answer. And I am sure no one wants Roy Halladay to figure out what the issue is more than Roy Halladay. In the meantime, all we can do is watch and hope for the best.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies hosted two exhibition games this weekend, signaling the end of Spring Training and the start of the regular season on Monday. As they have the past several years, the Phillies planned a number of special events and surprises on Friday and Saturday.
Friday began with the On-Deck Reception, hosted by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. There were players signing autographs, several Q & A sessions with players and coaches, and an on-field introduction of the entire team:
I personally got autographs from Domonic Brown (and a photo as well), Erik Kratz, John Mayberry Jr. and Antonio Bastardo. This was my first time attending this particular event and it was well worth the effort. The only bummer of the day was I discovered that the autofocus on my very expensive camera had died :O( Ugh. So I apologize in advance for 2 days worth of so-so photos, as I had to use my mediocre eye sight to manually focus a very large lens.
The prior to the evenings game, players wandered around the stadium greeting fans and some stopped for photos. I had my picture taken with John Lannan, Antonio Bastardo, Humberto Quintero and hitting coach Wally Joyner.
Cliff Lee started the game that night and looked ready to go for the season. But his real highlight was helping Cole Hamels man the Phanatic’s hot dog shooter between innings:
To be honest, the game was rather boring, so the hot dog-interlude was a very welcome distraction. The Phils lost 1-0.
More fun was happening prior to Saturday’s game as well. After some very stealth stalking on my part, I managed to get photos with a few new guys and a Hall of Famer: Mike Adams, Ender Inciarte and third-base-coach/HOF guy, Ryne Sandburg. That was pretty awesome. Both exhibitions games were well worth the trip because of these little extras.
The game itself, however, did not go well against a very potent Blue Jays line-up. The Jays beat up on Kyle Kendrick, who gave up 5 runs in 3 innings. John Lannan took over for the next 3 innings and held the Jays to 1
more run. It was not quite out of reach for the Phillies though until very late. Here are a few highlights:
And Cliff Lee finally got his turn at the helm of the hot dog cannon, with Hamels “feeding” the device:
The end result was a 10-4 loss. But luckily, the game did not count.
The Phillies announced the Opening Day roster afterwards. There were not too many surprises there:
Rotation (5): Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan.
Bullpen (7): Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin, Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes.
Catchers (2): Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero.
Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis.
Outfielders (5): Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Ender Inciarte.
Inciarte is a Rule-5 guy; they have to keep him on the roster or offer him back to the D-backs. Only 22-years old, he has never played above High-A level. He offers some depth in the outfield for now. Plus, he is adorable, so I approve ;o)
So here we are, finally! Opening Day! Game time is 7:10pm Monday night in Atlanta.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography