No more worries about Roy Halladay, trade deadlines and who is going where…the Phillies sealed the deal today with Cy Young award winning pitcher, Cliff Lee. Lee comes to the Phillies from the Indians sporting a 7-9 record and a 3.14 ERA; his record is tainted though due to lack of run support from a struggling Indians team. And last year, Lee won the AL Cy Young. Without giving away either JA Happ or Kyle Drabek, the Phillies made the trade and also received outfielder Ben Francisco who will likely take John Mayberry’s spot on the bench and help to relieve Raul Ibanez. Off to the Indians are pitcher Carlos Carrasco, catcher Lou Marson, infielder Jason Donald and pitcher Jason Knapp.
While I am thrilled with this deal, and even more thrilled that we did not lose Happ or Drabek, I will miss Marson and Donald. I had the opportunity to chat with them both over the last few years and they are really nice, down to earth guys. Not to mention, they are both adorable :O) Ok, so I guess I will get over it. ;o)
A few more reason this is a GREAT trade; Lee will cost considerably less than Halladay next year; his option is 9 million, where Halladay’s is 15.75 million. In addition to keeping Happ and Drabek, the Phillies also retained top prospects Dominick Brown and Michael Taylor. Essentially, the farm system will not suffer.
And a few more odd reasons this is a good trade:
– Lee’s name is easy to spell.
– Cole Hamels will get less attention from the media, thus, we do not have to hear as many weird things come out of his mouth.
– Our bullpen will have someone new to play with :O) Not sure who that will be yet…
– Lee looks good in red.
– Lee is from Arkansas! Actually, I am not sure why that is good, but maybe he knows President Clinton? Just a thought…
The final game of the D-Backs series is about to begin…Go Phillies!
Since Friday night’s game did not go well, I decided that it was time for J-Roll Smurf to intervene and add a little Phillies Smurf magic to the equation. So, before the game on Saturday against the Cardinals, J-Roll Smurf enjoyed visiting personally with many of the Phillies players. The real J-Roll was excited to see his old buddy again and Ryan Howard laughed out loud as he thinks J-Roll Smurf is too awesome for words. Also rubbing the luck from J-Roll Smurf yesterday was Brad Lidge, JA Happ, Chad Durbin, Pedro Feliz, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, John Mayberry, Kyle Kendrick and Tyler Walker. And although a few Phillies, like Chan Ho Park and Jamie Moyer, seemed confused by the little blue mascot, J-Roll Smurf rubbed his luck upon them anyway :O) You’ve gotta LOVE Photo Day:
And the Smurfy magic paid off with wins both Saturday and today for a series win over the Cards! In fact, the original J-Roll Smurf, Jimmy Rollins, nailed a GRAND SLAM on Saturday and then a 2-run homer today! There is no stopping him now!
All these wins and entertainment too! On Saturday, some crazy guy tried to interrupt the game with a laser pointer to distract the Cards hitters and a very drunk guy named, “Sully” distracted the entire outfield crowd later on:
Here is the Photo Album from the entire 3-game series!
So the Phillies will hit the road for 3 games against the D-Backs and then 4 with the San Francisco Giants. I will be in San Francisco for all 4 – hope to see you there!
Photos by Jenn
Could the Mets be the cure for the bad baseball bug that has bitten the Phillies lately? Today’s 7-2 win that rocked Citizens Bank Park was definitely a good start. Another good start today was that of new Phillies pitcher, Rodrigo Lopez, who stunned Philadelphia fans with his excellent ball control and ability to throw strikes. Throwing strikes does seem to be the object of the game, but not many Phillies pitchers have given that a try recently. So Lopez’s emergence from AAA after his recovering from Tommy-John surgery is a welcome surprise.
But is Lopez that good or are the Mets just that bad right now? It may be a little of both, but Lopez certainly did show promise. And this guy is no stranger to the big leagues; Lopez pitched 5 years with the Baltimore Orioles and part of 2007 with the Rockies before his injury. The experience showed tonight as he was very poised on the mound and unshaken by the large, raucous crowd. Lopez pitched 6 1/3 innings of 2 run ball and walked only 1 batter. If he can repeat this a few more times, the Phillies will be more than happy to keep him around.
The Phillies offense finally found a groove tonight as well.
The top of the line-up led the charge, with Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley each collecting at least 2 hits each. Utley & Rollins had 2 RBI a piece as well. Maybe Charlie Manuel finally grabbed these guys by the throat and shook them around until some offense fell out, like coins from a piggy bank? Whatever the case, everyone hopes he did not break the bank in one night.
Ryan Madson, who was sorely in need of a clean inning after a horrific few weeks, pitched the 9th with a 5 run lead. John Mayberry Jr. lent a hand by making a diving grab in the outfield. That out helped get Madson through it and he nailed down a scoreless, hitless inning. Madson can now exhale and hopefully, get things back on track.
With two more games coming up against the rival Mets, there may still be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Phillies if they can continue to play with the same intensity they did today. Jamie Moyer will kick things off tomorrow at 4:05pm on the 4th of July! With any luck, the offense will provide the fireworks.
Rollins & Manuel Photo by Jenn
Lopez photo: http://theoriolereport.com/
Both literally and figuratively, the Phillies dropped the ball tonight. After an off-day yesterday, the team sauntered into Atlanta and looked a bit sluggish, instead of rejuvenated. Batting against Derek Lowe is generally no picnic, but they had some opportunities. Chase Utley did his part, going 2 for 5 with a solo home run; and Pedro Feliz had a good night at the plate, playing outstanding defense in the field as well. Joe Blanton had a so-so start; he went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs. But most of the game was tight, without much action.
In fact, up until the 8th inning, the most entertaining part of the game was watching Braves pitcher, Mike Gonzalez swoon back and forth on the mound like a weeble-wobble. No one was sure whether he was going to pitch or break dance. That is one confused dude. But his antics on the mound translated into back-to-back solo homers for the Phillies to give them a 4-3 lead. John Mayberry and Feliz joined forces to knock the silliness right out of the Braves pitcher.
But the Braves tied the game back up in the bottom of the 8th, thanks to a dropped ball by Ryan Howard (bad feed from Madson), which allowed a runner to advance, and then Jayson Werth juggled another ball in the outfield. Poor Ryan Madson just cannot catch a break lately when he is on the mound. And these defensive mishaps would cost the Phillies the game. Chan Ho Park got into trouble in the 10th inning with runners on 1st & 3rd and 1 out; the next batter hit a long fly ball to left field, which sealed the deal.
In addition to the loss, what also rings a few alarm bells around Philadelphia is the performance of Jimmy Rollins. After being given a 4-game “mental” break / benching, Rollins came back today to resume his leadoff spot. But frankly, it appears that nothing has changed. Rollins still swung at bad pitches, very early in his at-bats and he had one shaky play in the field as well, missing a fairly routine ground ball that he normally would have snagged. J-Roll ended the game without a hit in 5 at-bats and looks no closer to waking up than he did a week ago. Has someone chained him down with Kryptonite? Or is this just a phase? A long, drawn-out, ridiculously bad phase… Only time will tell. However, the Phillies are nearing the half-way point of the season and time is a luxury they will not soon have.
Rollins Photo by Jenn
The losing streak, 6 long, depressing games, is finally over! And the cure to what ails the Phillies? You guessed it – Road Trip! Landing in Tampa to play their 2008 World Series foes, the Phillies rolled right over the Tampa Bay Rays tonight. Notching 6 runs in the first half of the 1st inning set the tone for the game. Some good pitching, lots of hitting, a few home runs and a trio of Rays errors got the job done.
Jamie Moyer put forth a great effort tonight and allowed just one run in 6 innings of work; he struck out 4, walked 3 and allowed 5 hits. Former Phillie, Pat Burrell, was mystified by his old teammate, going 0-2 with a walk against Moyer. Sorry Pat – and yes, we still miss your presence :O(
As for the offense, Chase Utley was on fire tonight! He went 3 for 5 with a single, double and a home run, driving in 4 runs. Shane Victorino joined the Utley-Show with 2 hits, 2 walks and an RBI. The rookie, John Mayberry, stood out tonight as well with a 3-run homer. Yesterday at the Phillies Phestival, Mayberry was told by a fan, “I am glad to see you here in the big leagues!”; Mayberry responded with, “So am I.” He showed his gratitude tonight. Mayberry is now batting .292 with 3 homers and 7 RBI in 24 at-bats.
A few more rookies / new Phillies were given the opportunity to shine tonight, as more players are down with injuries (Condrey put on DL today; Lidge & Eyre still out; Ibanez still out with groin strain). Tyler Walker pitched 2 scoreless innings and then Sergio Escalona handled the 9th; Escalona nailed down the final 3 outs and the Phillies went on to win, 10-1.
In other injury / illness news, Ryan Howard did join the team today after an infection that sidelined him for a few days. Howard served as the DH and went 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Great to see Ryan feeling better!
Be sure to check out my PHOTO ALBUM from yesterday’s Phillies Phestival in case you missed it earlier today.
Photos by Jenn
Yesterday, the Blue Jays became a plague of locusts, nibbling away at the Phillies one by one. Tonight, the black cloud remained over Citizens Bank Park as the Baltimore Orioles strolled into town and picked up where the Jays left off. Will the curse of interleague play ever end? Not soon enough; definitely not soon enough.
Last year, the Phillies won 3 games in interleague play. So far this year? 3 games. Fans have been left wondering if a curse has been placed upon the Phillies. Despite a decent performance from rookie pitcher, Antonio Bastardo, the Phillies could not muster a win. Bastardo allowed 4 runs in 7 innings, but at least one of those runs was not his fault. John Mayberry Jr., a rookie playing for the injured Raul Ibanez, missed a ball in left field that should have been caught which scored the 4th run.
But Mayberry had an ok day at the plate, going 2 for 4, so that made up a bit for the defense. The rest of the offense though did little to help Mayberry out in his quest to get on base. Jayson Werth had two hits, but any other form of production was few and far between. In fact, there were only 2 other hits and 5 walks from the Phillies offense in the entire game.
Jack Taschner pitched the 8th and 9th and gave the O’s a little more cushion when he allowed a solo homer in the 9th. And that was followed by 2 more runs on a couple of singles with 2 outs in the inning. When it rains, it pours. And so the Phillies continue to circle the drain, losing this one by a score of 7-2.
Well, if you are still in the mood, go ahead and VOTE for your Phillies All-Stars! VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address. Let’s get these guys to St. Louis to provide just a small ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark and dreary day.
It was a bad, bad, bad day for the Phillies; Raul Ibanez was put on the 15-day disabled list to start it off. He has a strained left groin. Then, a not-so-fun mix of bad pitching and sleepy defense led to a sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays. What’s next? The players get eaten by a swarm of locusts? It’s a famine and plague of biblical proportions.
John Mayberry Jr. was called up to replace Ibanez and he had an interesting day; a home run, an assist to nail a runner at the plate, but he also made a huge mistake by taking his eyes off Scott Rolen who turned a single into a double on the goof and wound up scoring as a result. Then again, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley did the exact same thing earlier in the game to help a Blue Jay advance to second after a walk. And even worse than that, Pedro Feliz committed his 4th error of the year on what should have been an easy double play ball in the 8th inning. That turned Clay Condrey’s day into a real nightmare; Condrey allowed 1 earned run and 1 unearned on 3 hits and a walk without even recording an out. Ouch!
Aside from all that, Joe Blanton continued the trend of Phillies starters totally sucking…he lasted only 5 1/3 innings and allowed 4 runs on 9 hits and a walk. And so the bullpen was sent out there once again to blow the small, one run lead. With their “job” completed and the Jays now having a 7-5 lead, the Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the 8th with the locusts still swarming…
Greg Dobbs, who apparently has no fear of insects, smacked a solo home run to get the game within 1 run. Dobbs passed the torch to Rollins, who hit a double and then Shane Victorino drove him in – game tied, 7-7.
But hey, have no fear Jay’s fans…the bullpen WILL blow it AGAIN! Ryan Madson gave up a solo home run to Rod Barajas, the first batter of the 9th inning, after having him in a 0-2 hole in the count. So the Phillies entered the 9th inning down 8-7.
Utley walked; Ryan Howard (give ya 3 guesses and the 1st two don’t count)….yup! Struck out! Jayson Werth flied out and then Feliz got a base hit. That brought Mayberry to the plate with a chance for the rookie to play the hero – but no such luck. He popped out and that ended an excruciating day for the Phillies. I have nothing left to say except – AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH! Now please excuse me while I get horribly drunk and pass out…
Dobbs Photo – Jenn