It was so nice of the Phillies offense to stop by Citizens Bank Park for a visit on Wednesday night. I do hope they stay awhile.
After scoring only 8 runs in their first 4 games of the season combined, it was very encouraging to see the Phils pick up 7 more last night. And there is never a better time to start swinging the bats than when Roy Halladay is on the mound.
Through 7 innings, the Doc allowed just one run in his typical, filet-the-fish style against the Marlins. Chad Qualls and Mike Stutes finished off the win for Halladay in the 8th and 9th.
But this is what we expect from Halladay. What we have not been able to anticipate, going all the way back to last season, is whether or not the Phillies offense would decide to show up. But in the 3rd inning, the Phils finally found a pitcher they could hit. Oddly enough, that wound up being Marlins ace Josh Johnson.
The 11 hits Johnson suffered from the Phillies was a career high. 5 Phillies had multi-hits game with Hunter Pence leading the pack with 3 hits and an RBI. But the big RBI star of the night was a rookie. With only the second hit of his career, and to the chants of “Freddy! Freddy!” from the crowd, Freddy Galvis smashed a 2-run double.
Galvis’ first career hit this past Monday was also a 2-run double. So he is now 2-for-2 in 2 run, 2 base hits. If the only hits he gets all year are 2-run doubles, that would be ok by me…as long as he does it at least once a game, of course ;o)
The big question now is, will the Phillies offense return again tonight against Mark Buehrle or was this one game just a freak accident? Game time is 7:05pm.
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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
While it was delayed by one day due to rain, the rematch of Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson finally took place tonight in Philly. Their last meeting was in Miami for Halladay’s perfect game on 5/29 where the Phillies won by a score of 1-0. The same score stood tonight through 8 innings, except it was in favor of the Marlins.
Both starters pitched through those same 8 innings and Johnson did not budge. He allowed just 3 hits while Halladay got into trouble in the first inning. Halladay loaded the bases with no outs and still, escaped with only one run allowed. After that, he did not budge either. Stalemate.
Then came the 9th inning; Danys Baez has been hit or miss for the Phillies bullpen all year. He had a bad April, a really good May and now in June, he has allowed a run in each of his last 3 games pitched. Tonight it was a homer to put the Phillies in an 0-2 hole that seemed insurmountable.
Sure enough, the Phillies offense could not get anything done in the 9th and went down to the Fish by those 2 runs. Yes, another shut-out; it was their 6th time being shut-out in the last 17 games. At least this time, it was against one of the best pitchers in the National League so, it is not as shocking.
Yesterday’s rain-out has been rescheduled for Labor Day on September 6th as part of a split doubleheader at 1:05pm. Tickets from Wednesday’s rain-out are good for that day and time. The regularly scheduled 7:05 pm game will go on as planned.
Charlie Manuel will coach the NL All-Star team again this year and has just announced his staff. The Phillies coaches will all be going, as this is the usual tradition. In addition, Manuel has named Padres‘ manager Bud Black and Giants manager Bruce Bochy as his coaches. Sean Cunningham, head athletic trainer of the Marlins, and Keith Dugger, head athletic trainer of the Rockies, will also join the team.
The players will be announced on July 4th after voting ends on July 1st at midnight, with 4 more days to cast the final vote for the one extra player on each team after that. So do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars! Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:
Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Last night’s game against the Marlins was postponed due to rain. The rescheduled date has not been announced, but it may take place in September when the Fish return to Philly. So the Roy Halladay – Josh Johnson rematch will take place tonight instead; game time is 7:05pm.
Likely due to the recent offensive slump, many Phillies are falling out of the All-Star race. Chase Utley and Placido Polanco are still in first place at their positions, but others will need some extra help.
MLB is trying something new this year where you can “campaign” for your favorite players. I made a campaign for each of the Phillies on the ballot. You supposedly earn “points” every time someone votes for your player through a special link. Then you move up through the ranks from a volunteer to a coordinator to a manager, etc…
They are not giving prizes or anything other than the satisfaction of knowing you helped out. So, let’s think of this as an interesting experiment…click on one of the links and cast your votes. I will give periodic updates as to how many “points” we are accruing and see if it really makes a difference. Remember you can vote up to 25 times a day, per email address. Have fun!
The Phillies have reportedly agreed to terms with Philly-local and first round draft pick, left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle. The specific terms have not been announced, but it is safe to say he will be in Phils farm system instead of going off to college.
Here are the rest of the draft results:
2nd round – RHP Perci Garner, Ball State
3rd round – Catcher Cameron Rupp, University of Texas
4th round – LHP Tennessee Volunteer Bryan Morgado
5th round – RHP Scott Frazier, Upland High School
Today’s Phillies – Marlins match-up was surrouned by all sorts of rookie news. The highly anticipated debut of the National’s Stephen Strasburg took place just up the road in DC. The right-handed pitcher signed a record $15.1 million contract last August and has been the most hyped prospect in decades. He lived up to the hype, pitching 7 innings, allowing 2 runs and striking out 14 batters, a club record. Very impressive, although he did pitch against the Pirates. The Nats will know more when he faces a tougher team, but even so, this kid looks like the real deal.
And for the Marlins, their big prospect, Mike Stanton, made his debut against the Phils. Stanton had a 3-hit night and scored twice. Needless to say, another sparkling debut for a team in the NL East.
Kyle Kendrick started for the Phils; watching him pitch this year in place of the still injured JA Happ has been an exercise in patience. Sometimes he looks good, like last week in Atlanta, and sometimes he is terrible. Today’s outing against the Marlins fell under the “terrible” category. Kendrick pitched only 5 innings and allowed 5 runs, plus he committed a throwing error which led to more runs for the Fish. Ryan Howard also committed an error in the game which put a runner on first. The next batter homered to drive that run in.
But bad pitching and sloppy defense was paired tonight with some actual hitting. Why the Phillies cannot seem to do all three of these things well all at the same time remains a mystery. Amidst Kendrick’s awful effort and 2 more runs allowed by the Phillies bullpen, the offense woke up and started to hit.
Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino both homered, Chase Utley got 2 hits in consecutive at-bats and Raul Ibanez had 4 hits and 2 RBI on the night. 4 hits? Where has this guy been all year? It’s about time…
Jayson Werth was benched to give him a chance to recover from an awful 10 at-bat hitless streak. Ben Francisco filled in and did not do much better early on. After many sloppy adventures in the outfield and grounding into 2 double plays, one of which cost them a run, Francisco made up for it all with a 2 RBI single in the 9th to give the Phillies a 9-8 lead. Wilson Valdez followed up with a single tricked up the 3rd base line to score another run.
Brad Lidge had another chance at a save with the 10-8 lead. With two outs, Lidge found himself in hot water as the loaded the bases after a close call at second base did not go the Phillies way. But no worries, he popped up the next batter and notched save #3 on the year.
By the way, this is the 3rd time this year that Kendrick has started a game and Jose Contreras got the win. Even after giving up the go-ahead run, Contreras still came out on top; Kyle must be wondering why Jose keeps stealing his thunder.
Tomorrow will be a rematch of the Roy Halladay perfect game on May 29th in Miami. Same team, same two pitchers; Halladay faces Josh Johnson again. Hopefully, same result ;o) Game time is 7:05pm.
By the way, is it just me, or does Cody Ross of the Marlins look a bit like Chucky? Creepy…
Francisco head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies played back-to-back games in Miami yesterday against the 2nd place Marlins and split the series. Here is a recap:
Joe Blanton pitched 7 scoreless innings while the Phillies offense played some small ball and squeaked out 4 runs off the Marlins ace, Josh Johnson. They blew the game wide open though with a 5-run 8th inning. Every starting position player had at least one hit and 5 different players collected RBI’s.
Miguel Cairo got a rare start at 3rd base while Pedro Feliz took a break; Cairo went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Ryan Howard led the team in RBI’s with 3, none of which came off home runs. He got it done with base hits, sacrifices and some really good base running. Out of 9 runs scored in the 9-3 win, only 1 came off a homer; Raul Ibanez hit a solo shot in the 8th.
The pen ran into trouble in the bottom of the 8th with rookie Sergio Escalona allowing 3 runs on 2 hits. Tyler Walker allowed a hit as well, but eventually got the final 2 outs of the inning. Clay Condrey pitched a hitless 9th inning; it is great to see Condrey back after a long stint on the DL!
The Phillies looked a bit sleepy in game two.
In fact, the bats took a little nap for 9 innings and they lost the game 0-3. The only 2 hits in the game came from Chase Utley who hit a single and a double. I guess they were exhausted after a 9-run game earlier? Because the Marlins pitcher, Anibal Sanchez is certainly not their best; his 2-7 record and ERA of 4.50 going into the game should be evidence enough.
Jamie Moyer did his job and pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits and 1 walk, which is basically what the Phillies expected from him. But the lack of offense did them in.
So, having split the doubleheader, the Phillies will need to concentrate on winning the final game of the series tonight. Cole Hamels gets the ball at 7:10pm.
The magic number is now 5!
Cairo photo by Jenn
The Phillies had a very unique opportunity this weekend to bury the competition in the NL East. Note I said “had.” The Nationals, although they have won 7 in a row putting the Phils to shame, are too far back to catch up. The Mets have buried themselves. And the Braves are bouncing up and down, but so far, posing no real threat. So, with three games against the Marlins who are closest in the division to the Phillies, this was the time to fry them for good. But that is simply not happening and the Phillies have just made their lives a lot more difficult.
The 4-6 loss last night was a nightmare for several reasons. After dropping these two in a row against the Fish, the Phillies have given them hope. And going into game three today, that is not a good thing. Add to that the slow and painful destruction of Cole Hamels, our former MVP, and a lot of heads in that clubhouse have got to be hanging low right now. Hamels was only able to get through 5 1/3 innings while allowing 4 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks. While he had a wicked curve ball working, he seemed hesitant to throw it more often. And with his fastball command still being way off, his changeup was less effective. The hesitation on the curveball leads one to wonder if his elbow is still bothering him or if it is just a mental thing, where he is afraid to reinjure the elbow. The only one who really knows is Hamels and he is not talking.
The offense continued its slumber as the few runners the Phillies managed to get on base looked like they were stranded on a deserted island with no hope of rescue. Although Ryan Howard emerged from his recent slump and went 4 for 4 with a walk, he scored only 1 time as his teammates could not find the life raft and get him home. Shane Victorino had 2 hits in his first start back after nursing a swollen calf, but he also became part of the 11 men left on base. Jayson Werth was moved up a spot in the line-up to break up the left-handed bats, but he went 0 for 5 and may as well have stayed where he was in the 6-hole. The Marlins even played sloppy defense, had 2 errors in the game and still, the Phillies could not capitalize.
And now the really unfortunate situation is here; the Phillies will try to salvage one win, but to do so, they will have to hit the Marlins best pitcher, Josh Johnson. And even though Jamie Moyer usually does well against the Fish (13-2 lifetime), he will have to be near perfect to give this sleepy offense a chance to wake up. I will be at the game this afternoon and return with photos and a recap. Wish me luck!
Howard photo by Jenn