Well, it took a few days, but the Phillies finally squeaked out a win for interim manager Ryne Sandberg. The 3-5 win over the Dodgers ended yet another long losing streak for the Phils who are now solidly in 4th place in the NL East, 2.5 games behind the Mets for 3rd place.
Getting this win against the hottest team in baseball was going to require a combination of things to occur. Pitcher Cole Hamels had to be good, which he was. Hamels went 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs.
The Phillies offense had to produce. And although it was not at all pretty at times, 7 hits and 3 RBI did the trick. Carlos Ruiz, who has struggled lately, went 4 for 4 and Darin Ruf smashed a solo homer in the game.
Defensively, the Phillies were coming off a game in which they committed 3 errors. On Sunday, they managed to cut that down to 1 error. Ah, progress!
And for once, the bullpen did not implode in late innings. Both B.J. Rosenberg and Jonathan Papelbon pitched scoreless innings to maintain what was at that point a 2-2 tie game.
And in the bottom of the 9th, a little bit of luck was in order to seal the Phillies win. Two errors by Dodgers shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, allowed the Phillies to walk off with the victory. Michael Young got the game-winning RBI as Ramirez fumbled his grounder with the bases loaded. Casper Wells scored on the error and Ryne Sandberg finally got a win!
Here is the full Photo Album from the game, which includes some fun shots of the Dodgers as well. Fun stuff like this right here:
Is he pitching or trying some new form of karate? I cannot decide.
The Rockies come to town for a 4-game series tonight. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The 6th inning of Sunday’s Phillies – Tigers game was officially the worst baseball I have ever seen in my life. In fact, there is no point in even discussing the rest of the game that resulted in a 4-12 Phillies loss. This team has fallen far into the deepest recesses of hell…
That one hellish inning included 3 Phillies errors, 8 runs scored by the Tigers, all of which were unearned, a Tigers grand slam and 2 runs scored on walks. Rookie Steve Susdorf committed one of the three errors in his first major league start; this was a day he’d probably like to forget, along with the rest of us.
Veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins described it best after the game, telling reporters, “That was embarrassing. … If there’s a bottom, this has to be it. I can’t imagine things getting worse than they have this past week, culminating the way they did today.”
And although the trade deadline is just days away, I cannot imagine the Phillies will get much of a return on anyone they plan to dump. Jonathan Papelbon has done his best to ruin any chances of the Phils getting a good return for him in a trade. His salary is ridiculous, his attitude is deplorable and he has blown 5 saves in the last month and a half. He is worth nothing in a trade at this point, unless a team is desperate.
And frankly, nearly everyone else on this team has rendered themselves useless in a trade after this horrific 8-game losing streak.
So what do the Phillies do in the midst of watching this franchise ship sink? They spend $48 million on an unproven Cuban defector. The Phillies signed right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a six-year deal with incentives that could push the total salary to nearly $60 million.
I liken this move to what someone with a gambling addiction does…keep betting higher, despite a long, ugly string of losses (ie: Ryan Howard’s extension, Chad Qualls, releasing Jason Grilli, trading Cliff Lee, Papelbon, etc…). Ruben Amaro Jr. is still gambling away this team’s future and it is hard to watch. I hope I am wrong. Maybe this guy is worth every penny of that $48 million. But with a track record of contract busts, the odds are not in favor of the Phillies.
Welcome to Hell, Phillies fans.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
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
With a 3-1 win on Thursday night, the Phillies managed to just barely squeak out their 3rd win in the 4-game series with the Nationals…and it was not without drama, as usual. Even with 4 errors in the game, somehow, this team found a way to win.
Of those 4 errors, 3 belonged to Chase Utley. He was so off-kilter in the field, one may have wondered whether or not someone spiked his Gatorade. But he did have a hit in the game and also ran the bases well, scoring a crucial run in bottom of the 8th inning.
The real heroes of the night however, were Darin Ruf and Kevin Frandsen…again. Ruf started off the 7th inning with a double off the Nat’s lone All-Star, Jordan Zimmerman. Carlos Ruiz bunted him to third and then, Mr. Clutch, Kevin Frandsen stepped to the plate. Frandsen smacked a double into no-man’s land in right-centerfield to score Ruf and give the Phillies their first lead of the night.
In the midst of all that, Kyle Kendrick managed to pitch a very solid 7 innings, despite all the fielding errors and the lack of run support. And then both Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon broke recent routine and pitched one drama-free inning a piece to nail down the win. It was as if the stars had finally aligned….
But even after taking 3 of 4 from the Nats, and 2 of 3 from the Braves, the Phillies still have a lot of work to do.
Slightly off topic here, did anyone else see the interview with Darin Ruf that aired a few days ago on CSN Phillly? He was asked why his offense has improved since being called up. While I cannot find a video of this anywhere (and there may be a reason for that), he said basically that he was taking advantage of the “detailed scouting reports” that were available in the majors, but not in the minors.
Here is my question – do they seriously not have scouting reports in Triple-A? Or perhaps they have generic, inferior reports? Either way, am I the only one who thinks this is a major problem? You cannot tell me this organization cannot afford to pay someone to produce minor league scouting reports. Heck, I’ll do it for a very modest paycheck and some free baseball!
Just sayin’… Thoughts anyone?
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
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 Phillies have done themselves no favors during the first half of the season. Their mediocre play has left them in 3rd place in the NL East and 9.5 games out of first. Losing 3 out of 4 against the Dodgers this past weekend did not help their case either.
And so the rumor mill begins to turn with names like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon in the mix. If the team does not pick up their play significantly in the next few weeks, this could signal the end of an era. It is hard to envision a Phillies team without Utley or Rollins, but that may soon be the reality.
The most persistent rumor recently has the Red Sox making a run at 3rd baseman Michael Young. The Phillies signed Young as basically a 1-year rental, so his departure would not be surprising. Utley is in the last year of his contract, so losing him is also a possibility, although not one that most people would be very happy about.
Utley may be the most beloved player in franchise history. If the Phillies trade him, they run the risk of alienating a large portion of their fan base. This is guy who blurted out the F-word on national television, not once, but twice, and people still say he can do no wrong. That is a powerful show of affection, especially in a city like Philadelphia.
Rollins, on the other hand, may not be missed quite as much. While he is the longest tenured active Phillie and a former MVP, Rollins still has that magical ability to piss people off. He has made derogatory comments in the past about Philly Fans and he has been criticized for a lack of hustle. More recently, Rollins said he was “not disappointed” with the team’s 1-3 performance in Los Angeles this past weekend.
While Rollins has a point, that being he believes the team will overcome, it still rubs some people the wrong way. Personally, I like Jimmy. He speaks his mind and I respect that. So seeing him in another uniform would be quite a shock. It would not, however, induce the same type of freak-out that losing Utley would.
On Tuesday night, the Phillies pulled out a 3-1 win over the best team in baseball right now, the Pirates. That is still weird to say… However, even that win may not help quite the trade rumors. A sweep of the Bucos might be helpful, but even in a win, the Phillies still have some very obvious, glaring problems.
The bullpen, for example, is a huge mess. It took 3 pitchers who combined to load the bases to get the Phillies through the 8th inning last night. It did work out, but could have easily ended in disaster. The offense is getting better, but they are still not hitting consistently with runners in scoring position. And the defense is very shaky; Delmon Young dropped a routine fly ball last night which is a prime example of the issues on the field.
All we can do now is hold our collective breaths, wait and hope the Phillies can pull out a string of convincing wins before the All-Star break.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
This has been an awful year for Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. Predicted by many to be a Cy Young candidate this year, Hamels has gone in the exact opposite direction. After last night’s game, Hamels has a 2-11 record with a dismal 4.58 ERA. He allowed 5 runs (4 earned) in 6 innings; luckily, the rest of the team picked him up in a 13-inning 7-5 win.
The Padres are a mediocre team who committed 3 errors in this game, so please excuse me if I am not doing cartwheels after this win. There were a number of positives, though. First, we finally got a glimpse of what Delmon Young is capable of offensively. He drove in 2 runs with a homer to tie the game in the 8th inning. Defensively, he is still awful and had the only Phillies error in the game.
And then there is the bullpen to consider. This group of youngsters has been terrible most of the year. But last night, 5 guys combined to pitch 7 scoreless innings. It was a small miracle. Even Jonathan Papelbon finally got back on the horse after blowing 4 of his last 5 save opportunities; he held the Padres down in the 13th inning for his 15th save of the year.
But the Padres basically handed this win to the Phillies. The 2 runs scored in the 13th inning were a direct result of Padres’ 2nd baseman Logan Forsythe bobbling a Ben Revere grounder. So thank you, Padres! The Phillies were really in need of a boost heading into a 4-game series with the Dodgers.
Game time tonight is 10:10pm EST. Jonathan Pettibone will pitch.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography