Tagged: John Mayberry

Phils Start Off Series With A Win

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In his second start of the season, JA Happ performed well.  He had a 5-1 lead going into the 6th inning when, with 2 runners on base, he was pulled for Chad Durbin as his pitch count was mounting.  But Durbin did him no favors and allowed 2 runs to score.  Then Jayson Werth let a ball roll under his glove in right field, which allowed another run to score.  Suddenly, a comfy game got real tight, real fast.

The Phillies had a chance to score in the 7th when they loaded bases 1 out, but rookie John Mayberry struck out and Jimmy Rollins popped out to end the inning.  Shane Victorino led the 8th inning off with a single, his 4th hit of the game!  But then Chase Utley hit into a double play :O( 

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Ryan Howard
stepped up next and doubled and then Raul Ibanez walked; Ibanez was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI in the game so he did his job, like usual.  It will be a crime if this guy does not get to start the All-Star game because the mentally challenged are apparently voting for people like Manny Ramirez who is serving a 50 game suspension for steroid use.  At any rate, Werth stepped up to the plate with 2 men on and 2 outs and tried to atone for his costly error in the 6th; no such luck.  Werth grounded out.

So it was up to Brad Lidge to try to save the game which stood at 5-4.  Lidge has been anything but automatic this year, so a one run lead was no comfort to the fans watching as he strode to the mound.  As it turns out, Lidge had a mean slider working tonight and he sent the Nats down in order to squeak out the win.  Whew!  This is the first inning for Lidge in a long time where he got through it without any base runners.  Finally!

And just to update everyone on Brett Myers, it appears he will indeed have surgery on his right hip.  This will most likely end his season.  Myers is in a contract year so this could also affect his status as a Phillie.  That remains to be seen.  A player from the minors, to be named later, will be called up to fill in for at least one start and after that, who knows?  Stay tuned…

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Gizmo the chinchilla is hard at work
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The Phillies continue this 3-game series with the Nationals tomorrow at 7:05pm.  Cole Hamels will start the game.

Photos by Jenn

 

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Phils Win Series, Despite Lidge’s 2 Blown Saves

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The bloom has definitely fallen off the rose; Brad Lidge is our fallen hero who gave us perfection in 2008 and now nothing but headaches in 2009.  Sorry Brad, but it is time to surrender your cape.  With a 2-run lead in yesterdays’ game, Lidge gave up 3 runs in the 9th and handed over the win to the Yankees.  Tonight, he gave up 1 run in the 9th to tie up the game, but Clay Condrey emerged as the unlikely hero to bail him out.  Condrey managed 2 scoreless innings and the Phillies won 4-3 in 11 innings.

But what has happened to Lidge?  He swears he is not injured, so what are we to think?  I know what I thought in the 9th today – that I was going to leap out onto the field, grab him by the shoulders and shake him violently until the sludgy alien-oil that has obviously taken over his brain came oozing out and gave us our hero back.  It really is an X-Files kind of mystery what has become of Mr. Perfect these days.

But a win is a win and 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.  Shane Victorino gave CC Sabathia fits today at the plate; both he and Carlos Ruiz had a 3 hit night.  And Ryan Howard shocked the crowd when he laid down a slap-bunt towards third base for a hit; there’s something you won’t see every day.  Hey, whatever works!

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Cole Hamels
had it working too through 6 innings of 2-run ball.  He did fall behind in counts quite a bit, but recovered nicely, although you could tell he wanted to smack Eric Bruntlett in the 4th after an error that extended the inning.  Hamels smack his fist into his glove as he arrived at first base and realized Bruntlett would not be throwing over as he dropped the ball.

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And here is my “Shame On You” for the day:  after striking out rookie John Mayberry in the 8th to end the inning, CC Sabathia hollered and pumped his fist as the strode off the mound, as if he had just won the game in grand fashion.  His showboating was less than appropriate for several reasons; he had just struck out a rookie in his 2nd major league game and, the Yankees were losing the game 3-2 at that point.  Much ado about nothing?  I’d say so.

So how was my first, and probably my only visit to new Yankee Stadium?  Pretty good.  It is a very nice stadium; almost identical to the old one, only bigger, nicer seats and it doesn’t smell like cat pee :O)  The seats in the lower level from foul pole to foul pole have waiter service, which was convenient, but they could certainly benefit more from lowering the cost of those seats and skipping the waiters.  A bit excessive, I thought.  Loved the padded seats, Monument Park was nice, huge team store with a great variety of stuff and TONS of employees everywhere you turn to direct people and answer questions.  The concourse even had a fresh fruit stand.  I was not impressed with the murky, drab gray underground tunnel system which you have to walk through to get to Monument Park and the centerfield gate.  It reminded me of Veterans Stadium; dark, creepy and nothing to look at.  Literally…nothing.  Blank, gray walls.  But overall, it is a very nice place; just WAY overpriced and excessive in a lot of areas it does not need to be.

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More game and stadium photos are coming!  I will post those tomorrow at some point, but for now, I am nursing a wicked bad sunburn (ouch!) and dragging after a long 3 ½ hour drive home.  So, off to bed for me!  Must find the aloe…

UPDATE: Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the game including photos of new Yankee Stadium!

Keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!  Florida series starts tomorrow at 7:05pm…Jamie Moyer will try to fry some fish ;O)

Photos by Jenn

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Fried Fish & Iron Pigs

This team sure loves playing from behind; all 8 wins this year so far have been comeback wins, including yesterday’s 10-inning 6-4 win over the Marlins.  Losing 3-4 in the 9th inning, Eric Bruntlett stepped in to pinch hit and hit a chopper up the third base line well enough to score Jayson Werth from third and tie up the game.  In the 10th, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Werth all singled, plus a stolen base from Victorino, and the Phillies took the lead, 6-4.  Brad Lidge tried to give us all a tummy ache in the bottom of the 9th as he loaded the bases full of Fish, but managed to escape unscathed.

Chan Ho Park had a better game this time around; he started off red-hot, but cooled a bit in the 4th inning when he gave away back-to-back home runs.  The first was a 3-run homer to Jorge Cantu and then a solo shot to Dan Uggla.  But Park did keep the Phils in the game and even accidentally ran into an opposite field home run of his own in the 3rd inning.  It was Park’s first home run since 2000.

The bullpen including Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson held the game at 4 runs for the Fish and ultimately, gave the Phillies an opportunity to come back and win.  Great job from the pen! 

Speaking of pens, I was actually sitting in the “pig pen” at Coca-Cola Park watching the Phils game on my phone while watching our AAA club, the Iron Pigs play the Pawtucket Red Sox.  And yes, everything in this park is “pig” themed.  From the mascots, to the game program, which is called “Pork Illistrated.”  Besides the “oinking” from the crowd and other silliness, the park is beautiful, has comfortable seating and it was a really entertaining time overall.

The Pigs game actually mirrored the Phillies game through the 9th inning; both clubs were tied 4-4 and went 1 extra inning!  Sadly, the Pigs game had a different result, as they lost to the Sox, 5-4.  But I did get to check out Carlos Ruiz in his first rehab assignment.  Ruiz was the DH; he went 0-3 at the plate, walked twice and scored a run.  The good news is, he looked ok swinging the bat.Kendrick Ruiz Pigs.jpg

I also saw former major leaguer, Kyle Kendrick pitch; Kendrick went 5 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks.  Not good.  He looked like a minor league pitcher and appears to have a long way to go before cracking the majors again.  We wish him luck!

Spring training stand-outs John Mayberry Jr. and Jason Donald each smacked a home run in the game and were impressive defensively as well.  Mike Cervenak and Andy Tracy collected the other 2 RBI’s, which were hard to come by as they faced pitchers who were throwing in the 40’s and 50’s.  I am so not kidding; it looked like a tee-ball game.  One pitcher for the Sox was being clocked regularly at around 41mph!  Wow.  Most AAA players are not used to such slow deliveries and it will mess up their timing.  Hey, maybe the Sox would like to sign me up?  Pretty sure I can top 41mph.

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Here is the Photo Album of the Iron Pigs game; I have included more shots of Ruiz, Kendrick, Coca-Cola park, the mascots and many others!

Back to the majors: Don’t forget to VOTE for your All-Star’s today!  Get your Phillies into the game!!  Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address. 

And tune in now to the Phillies-Marlins 3rd game of the series which had a very early start at 12:10pm.

Photos by Jenn

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Outta Here!

Many baseballs left the ballpark today, as well as many players.  Marcus Giles, who batted only .167 this spring, was given his release today.  This was the best option for Giles who would not see a lot of action in the minors; this way, he has a chance to move on to another team.  P2222389 Mayberry.jpgJohn Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Carrasco were both optioned back to the minors.  Mayberry started off hot in camp this year, but struggled as the pitching became more difficult.  He needs some more work to be big league ready, as does Carrasco.  Three other players were told officially they would not make the team’s 25-man roster, but they will stay with the Phils until Saturday to give Charlie Manuel a few more options during the On Deck Series.  The three players are Philadelphia native, Mike Koplove, RHP; 2nd baseman Pablo Ozuna; and outfielder Jason Ellison.

This leaves Miguel Cairo as the only extra right-handed bat, unless a trade is pulled off in the next few weeks.  Cairo has not hit as well as Ozuna this spring, but he can play multiple positions and has a great deal of experience.  Also, the Phillies are required to release Cairo if he does not make the 25-man roster, which may play into the decision.  Rumor has it also that Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins are up for grabs; however, the Phillies are going to have a hard time getting rid of either as Stairs is nearing retirement and Jenkins is well over-paid.

Also still up in the air is the 5th starter’s spot.  Chan Ho Park has made this a very difficult decision; today he pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up 6 hits, 1 walk and only 1 earned run.  Park also struck out 7 and now has an ERA of 2.53 in 21 1/3 innings.  Lefty JA Happ currently stands at 20 innings with a 3.15 ERA.  Things being fairly even, Happ is still the best choice to start as Park has a proven track record as a reliever and Happ is not so comfortable in that role.  Plus with the addition of lefty Jack Taschner, there is less need for Happ, also a lefty, in the pen.  Park would be horribly disappointed in the decision if it goes that way, especially since he gave up pitching in the WBC this year, so does his mental status play into this as well?  That remains to be seen…

The Phillies bats are heating up in preparation for Opening Night as evidenced by four home runs today from Jimmy Rollins, Eric Bruntlett, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz. 

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7 of the Phillies 13 runs in the 13-3 victory over the Astros came off the long ball.  And Bruntlett in particular had a fun day against his former team, going  3 for 4 with 4 RBI.  With all this power unleashed, it makes you wish these guys would save a bit for the real thing.  Only 6 days left!

Brett Myers, now scheduled to start on opening day, will pitch tomorrow against the Blue Jays at 7:05pm.  Cole Hamels got into a minor league game today and said he felt no discomfort.  Hamels is tentatively scheduled to start with the Phillies on April 10th against the Rockies.

(All Photos by Jenn)

 

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Food For Thought

Although the Phillies outhit the Red Sox today and racked up 7 walks, they lost the game 3-1 as a result of having 12 men left on base.  The 4th inning was a great example of the trouble the Phils had closing the deal; Raul Ibanez singled off Jon Lester, followed by a Pedro Feliz double.  With runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs, John Mayberry popped out.  Keeping the inning alive, Chris Coste earned a walk to load the bases; but then Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino went down in order to end the threat.

The good news is that the Phillies made a habit out of this last year and still won the World Series.  The bad news is, lightning usually does not strike twice in the same place.  Not to say they cannot repeat, because they are more than capable, but the offense needs to solve the issue of leaving men on base to add to their chances.  Plus, many Phillies hitters are behind schedule from where they would normally be this time of year because of injuries like those of Coste, Feliz and Chase Utley.  Rollins and Victorino are also behind in the number of at-bats they should have because of the WBC.  Just a few thoughts for our offense to chew on.

Cole Hamels is also running behind, not only due to the elbow injury, but his rehab was further delayed today when the minor league game he was set to pitch in was reportedly cancelled due to rain.  The rest of the Phillies pitchers however, appear to be right on track. 

Joe Blanton has pitched very well this spring and gave up only 4 hits and 2 runs in 6 1/3 innings today against a strong Red Sox line-up.  We are all waiting now to see the new Phillie, Jack Taschner get into a game so we can see what he has to offer.  Aside from that question mark, the regulars in the pen look ready to go.

P7306527 Lidge.jpgAnd since we are on the subject of food, I just read an article about big league food in the MLB Insiders magazine by Jeremiah Sullivan.  According to Lance Berkman, the major leaguer with the biggest appetite is his former teammate, Brad Lidge.  “Brad Lidge will eat any and everything in sight,” says Berkman.  “It doesn’t matter what it is, he constantly crushes food.  He eats more than any other human being that I’ve seen in my entire life.  And everything has Tabasco sauce on it.”  Ok, gross.  P2222396 Utley.jpgSo what sort of food does All-Star Chase Utley like best?  “Sushi day is definitely my favorite,” says Utley.  “It is only served once every few home stands – that isn’t often enough.”  Raw fish; good to know.  Between that and the Tabasco sauce, I may never eat again.

And today marks 1 week until Opening Night in Philadelphia!  Whoo Hooo!  But until then, grapefruit league action will continue with the Phillies taking on Mr. Berkman and his Astros at 1:05pm tomorrow.

(All Photos by Jenn)

 

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Kendrick Gets Pounded in Atlanta

As the battle for the 5th starting pitching spot continues, Kyle Kendrick appears to be cracking under the pressure.  In 3 innings against the Braves today, Kendrick surrendered 8 runs on 10 hits and a walk, including 2 home runs.  His ERA for the Spring has ballooned to 14.29.  Yikes!  Pitching coach, Rich Dubee is probably about ready to throttle the poor kid.  Not because he is stinking up the place, but because Dubee knows Kendrick is capable of getting the job done; but to this point, Kendrick has just not found a groove.  He is leaving the door wide open for the other 3 guys to take what was his spot to lose, and run with it.  What do you think the outcome will be?  Vote at the end of this blog.

Besides Kendrick, know who else is likely to take a beating?  The Hooters girls.  I have been yapping about this since Spring Training last year; in Clearwater, they stick Hooters girls out on the field to pretend to be ball girls.  They also give these un-athletic, baseball-ignorant chicks lawn chairs and allow them to sit throughout the game and read a book (I am SO not kidding) while line drive go whizzing past their bleach-blonde heads.  While I understand the entertainment value for the men who are apparently bored with the game and prefer to stare at plastic Barbie dolls, it is a dangerous game they are playing in Florida.  At one game, I watched as a line-drive flew so close to a Hooter’s girl’s head, that her hair flew up in the air as the ball went by and she never even looked up until after it was past her and she felt the breeze.

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There was another close call during the game today as well, as announcers Tom McCarthy and Gary “Sarge” Matthews pointed out.  Matthews said he hopes it never happens, but that the day it does, the Hooters girls will be done in Clearwater.  Seriously, one of these girls is going to be killed someday.  Some of them don’t even have gloves…and those that do, have NO idea what to do with them.  Again, I understand the need to entertain the crowd; heck, when I get bored, here is what I start taking photos of:

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But I am pretty sure that my photography is unlikely to get my head ripped off.  Plus, I know how to catch a ball.  And besides, who doesn’t want to see photos of Greg Dobbs’ behind? :O)

Ok, that is my rant for the day!  Back to real baseball…and more nice views from the field:  Jason Donald! 

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What a cutie!  And this kid is determined to show off his stuff!  Ok, not that stuff; his hitting skills, of course :O)  Donald went 3 for 4 today and used his speed to score 2 runs.  Another hopeful, John Mayberry Jr., got back into action today, going 2 for 3 with 2 RBI including a solo home run.

Joining the hit party were Ryan Howard with 1 hit and 2 RBI; Raul Ibanez with 2 hits and 2 RBI; and Greg Dobbs with 2 hits and an RBI.  And it looks like no one really felt like pitching today, because the final score was 12-10; Atlanta had 21 hits and the Phillies ended up with 15.

And I am still trying to get hold of more information on Ryan Howard’s new tattoo for everyone.  Waiting patiently…  I have not forgotten :O)

WBC Highlights

I was pretty sure I had cursed Team Italy yesterday after proclaiming that I was rooting for them; well, they fell to Team Venezuela, 10-1.  So, Venezuela will play Team USA tonight for the right to move on to Round 2 in the Classic, and I will only root for the team that I do NOT want to win :O)  Brushing up on my Spanish…  Adiós!

 

 

A Rookie Pounding / Rollins Gets His Due

Before I get to the game action, check out this video of Jimmy Rollins; it is a commercial for Dick’s Sporting Goods running on ESPN right now and it is hysterical!  I love the end when Jimmy, looking like Mr. Tough Guy, sighs, “Yeah.”  FUNNY!

More about Rollins later…

So the Phillies went down against the Braves in Grapefruit League action yesterday, 7-2.  The almost 22-year old top prospect Carlos Carrasco got roughed up for 6 hits, 3 earned runs and 5 runs total in 2 innings of work.  2 errors in the inning added to the pain, but Carrasco is still showing his young age and inexperience. 

Joe Blanton started the game and pitched 4 innings of 1-run ball.  Blanton looks to be on track for a good season and seems very confident and comfortable in his role.  Not looking so hot thus far has been Ryan Madson; the “Bridge to Lidge” is sporting a 4.50 ERA so far this spring; Madson gave up 1 run in one inning in the Braves game, but more concerning is the 4 hits allowed.  Hoping he is just off to a slow start…

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Jason Donald
, in his push towards the Majors, had a great day; Donald hit 2 for3 with 1 RBI, 1 run scored and a walk.  Donald may be able to fill in for Chase Utley or Pedro Feliz should either of them not be ready to go in April.  Brought up as a shortstop, the Phillies have been trying Donald out at 2nd and 3rd as well to see if he can field those positions.  So far, so good.

John Mayberry Jr., who has been doing very well in his quest to get to the Majors, had a rough day against the Braves pitching, striking out 3 times and going 0 for 4 in the game.  We will see how he stands up as the pitching he faces begins to get tougher.  One fun note one Mayberry; the Phillies have him listed as being 6’6″ tall.  One day last week, I stood right next to him and he looked more like 7 feet tall; curious though as to what he might say, I asked how tall he was; Mayberry laughed and then told me he was 6’5″.  I informed him that the Phillies had given him an extra inch, to which he smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said he wasn’t sure what they had listed.  Anyway, nice guy….I wish him luck! :O)

WBC Highlights

The good news about Carlos Ruiz is that he appears to be fine after a reported neck injury; he played in yesterday’s game against the Dominican Republic, going 1 for 3.  The bad news is that Panama was knocked out the classic, losing the game 9-0.  Ruiz should be returning to the Phillies shortly.

Team USA clinched a spot in the next, beating ex-Phillie Bobby Abreu and the Venezuelan team, 15-6.  Jimmy Rollins was sharp at the plate, going 2 for 3, but got picked off at 2nd after a lead-off double to start the game.  Dustin Pedroia was supposed to lay down a bunt, which drew Rollins further off the plate, but Pedroia missed the bunt and Rollins got nailed.  Pedroia also managed to hit into a double play the next time Rollins got on base.  Guessing there may be no love lost between the two men today.

But Rollins, it seems, has finally gotten his due.  Spending years being overlooked and underrated by media, last night, the ESPN announcers spent nearly half the game talking up Rollins; from how great a fielder he was, to his stolen base record and even noting that Rollins is “officially” the best dancer in the league.  Yes, bust out the disco ball and bellbottoms; Rollins has been crowned the Disco King by ESPN.  Bigger breaking news, there has never been. JRollins cr.jpg

Ok, so besides the 10 minutes they spent talking about dance moves, one announcer even went so far as to say he thought it was a mistake to remove Rollins from the game in favor of Derek Jeter, with how hot Rollins’ bat was. Whoa!  Hold the presses!  A media person chose Rollins over Jeter!  I think hell is about to freeze over.  Well, really this is rational; when you have 2 equally matched players, you go with the hot bat.  But just the mere fact that someone from the media put Rollins and Jeter on the same pedestal was amazing.  And really, it is about time.  How do you spell “respect?”  Apparently, it goes something like, “World Champions!”

 

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