Do not make Ryan Braun angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry. The Phillies found that out the hard way during Tuesday’s 1-day delayed Home Opener. First it rained (Monday), then it poured (Braun).
The day must have been cursed from the start as Chase Utley was sent home with the flu before the game. But aside from that, the day started off so nice, who would have guessed it would turn into a massacre? The pre-game festivities, as always, were colorful:
Of course, for the umpteenth, the Navy parachuters jump was cancelled due to wind. I seriously do not know why the Phillies bother scheduling this every year. It almost never happens.
Instead, we got 2008 World Championship pitcher and current broadcaster, Jamie Moyer to toss the first pitch with his baseball idol, Steve Carlton looking on. He had a nice reunion with Carlos Ruiz as well:
And then the game started and it was all downhill from there. In his typical inconsistent behavior, Kyle Kendrick followed up a good 1st start with a horrible one on Tuesday. Adding insult to injury, he pitched against former Phillie Kyle Loshe and gave up the first 2 of Braun’s 3 home runs.
A former All-Star, Braun is actually best known for his steroid use and overall bad behavior. He got away with a positive test by blaming the Fed Ex man, who was then fired from his job after Braun’s adamant denials. But then Braun did finally get caught afterwards and was suspended 65 games. The number of people Braun hurt with his lies is what makes him, in my opinion, one of the worst offenders in baseball. It is also what prompted all of the boo’s and chants of “Cheater!” throughout the ballpark.
But those chants did nothing but fuel Braun’s fire to beat the Phils. He even killed a Phillies rally in the 2nd inning with a diving catch in right field that would have scored 2 runs.
All of the good plays were unfortunately overshadowed by 3 errors and some head scratching misreads in the outfield. The worst of the day was Ben Revere in deep center, who had the ball lined up to catch and then just missed it. The 3rd photo below is the most interesting as you can see Revere’s head and face smashed into the fence. That pretty much sums up the day:
That misplay put another run on the board for the Brewers. Then in the next inning, Braun hit his third homer of the day. He finished with 7 RBI and single-handedly crush the Phils. I seriously hope someone checked his urine after the game (insert your own sarcastic remarks here).
The 4-10 loss was a disappointment, to put it mildly. But today is another day and maybe the Phillies can bounce back with a strong start from Roberto Hernandez. Game time is 7:05pm.
Here is the full Photo Album from the Home Opener, including batting practice, pre-game festivities and more.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies pulled out a win today, although it was with heavy hearts. One of the best Phillies pitchers of all time, Robin Roberts, passed away today at age 83 of natural causes. Roberts played for the Phillies from 1948 – 1961 and in his entire career he had a 3.41 ERA over 676 games which included 305 complete games.
Roberts was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 and has been a regular around the Phillies for all these years. Roberts returned to Philly every year for annual induction ceremonies, special events and attended Spring Training each year as well.
Actually, Roberts was scheduled to attend a golf and dinner outing in honor of Harry Kalas in just a few weeks, along with many other Hall of Famers. I have been invited to the event and was very much looking forward to seeing him and having the opportunity to chat with him. But more than being very saddened by this news for that reason, I am terribly sorry for his family and the entire Phillies organization. My heart goes out to everyone who knew him. He was a very special individual.
But the game went on today despite the sad news and the Phillies won it for him. With the 1950 pennant hung at half mast and a black drape around Robert’s Wall of Fame plaque, Roy Halladay took the mound and was a true professional, as usual. Against the Cardinals, he pitched 7 innings and allowing only 1 earned run, Halladay was not super sharp, but still extremely effective.
Halladay walked 3 batters and had a lot of base runners; in the 7th inning with two outs and 2 men on, it even looked like manager Charlie Manuel may pull him from the game. Manuel went out to the mound but with a stern look on his face, Halladay convinced him that he could finish the inning. And with that, it only took one pitch to Matt Holliday to end it. This guy is amazing.
Jayson Werth had a special connection to Roberts as they grew up in the same town and spoke about that often; Werth channeled his grief into a huge game at the plate. He hit 2 doubles and a 3-run homer in the game. Werth did commit an error in right field when the wind and sun helped him drop a fly ball, but no one was complaining after his offensive output.
Carlos Ruiz had a 3-hit day as well with Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard collecting 2 hits each. Ibanez hit a solo homer in the 5th for the 900th RBI of his career. The opposing pitcher, Kyle Loshe, lasted only 4 innings and allowed 5 of the Phillies 7 runs, although 2 were unearned due to errors. Actually, it was a sloppy game all around defensively with each team committing 2 errors a piece.
The umpires did not have a clean game either. Andy Fletcher, who played the villain in Game 1 of this series, had another blooper today. While trying to turn a double play, the Cards Albert Pujols had to jump off first base to catch the ball for the 3rd out of the inning. Replay showed that as Wilson Valdez crossed the bag, Pujols was in mid-air and not on the bag. Valdez was called out by Fletcher who refused to argue with Manuel after the play and walked away. The home plate umpire had some questionable calls as well, but Halladay handled him with a quick chat after the 5th inning.
So the Phillies walk away with a 3 games to 1 series victory over the Cardinals, the best team in the National League. Although now, the Phillies have just 1 less win than the Cards and hold a 2 game lead for first place in the NL East. Tomorrow at 7:05pm, they will begin a 3-game series with the Braves and Jamie Moyer will pitch. The Phillies will begin wearing #36 patches on their jersey’s tomorrow as well in honor of Robin Roberts.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In tonight’s start against the Cardinals, Kyle Kendrick went from zero to hero. Kendrick pitched well in Spring Training, but since the season began he has had just one good start. After a clean 7 innings today with no runs, 6 hits and 2 walks, can this Superhero hold onto his cape? Or will Kendrick morph into an evil villain for his next start?
Consistency is the key. Right now, Kendrick is a one-hit wonder. He is going to need to repeat this success next time out if the Phillies are going to buy into the Superhero façade.
The offense gave Kendrick some runs to work with, but they did not start churning them out until the 4th inning. Placido Polanco smashed a 2-run homer and Shane Victorino hit a solo shot in the 6th. Their 4th run came after Juan Castro singled and Greg Dobbs drove in Wilson Valdez, the pinch runner, with a long double. The bad news is, Castro limped off the field and that is why Valdez was put in. No word yet on how serious the injury may be, but it appears to be a hamstring strain.
After the 7th inning, the game was left to the Phillies bullpen. The pen has not been good so far this year. Danys Baez pitched a clean 8th and Jose Contreras was handed the 9th. With his mother in the stands whom he had not seen since 2003, Contreras had some inspiration. They had been separated since Contreras defected from Cuba and until this home stand, she had never seen her son play in person.
So it was a special night for Contreras, being able to close out the game, and he rose to the occasion. He sent the Cards down in order to hand the 4-0 shut-out victory to the Phillies. It was also Kendrick’s first win of the year.
It will be a quick turn-around for the Phillies as tomorrow’s 4-game finale starts at 1:05pm. Roy Halladay will face ex-Phillie Kyle Loshe. Halladay will be pitching for a series win and his 6th individual win of the season.
Head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography
Ryan Howard loves that home cookin’. Whenever he goes home to St. Louis, he gets to sleep in his own bed and his mama makes him breakfast. Apparently, this really works for him.
Howard went deep tonight in the 5th inning with the bases loaded off former Phillie, Kyle Loshe. Grand Slam, in front of his family and friends! It was Howard’s 7th career Grand Slam, which ties Mike Schmidt’s career total. Howard, feeling mighty comfortable in his home town, always performs well at Busch Stadium and today was no different. He went 2 for 3 with a walk and the 4 RBI on the slam.
Jayson Werth was happy to see his mama as well; she was in the stands tonight with the Howard clan, cheering on her son. Werth knocked a 2-run blast in the 4th inning and was 2 for 4 in the game.
The even bigger news of the game for the Phillies though was the strong outing from Joe Blanton, who has not had a good start to the season. Blanton got through 6 innings with only 1 run allowed. He even stayed focused when things got rough. Pedro Feliz had a brain-fart in the 6th when he fielded a grounder, looked at the runner coming at him, and decided to try for a double play instead of tagging the runner. His hesitation resulted in all runners being safe as his throw to 2nd was late and this loaded the bases with only 1 out. But Blanton pulled it together and struck out the next batter, then got the final batter out on a ground ball. Could this be the beginning of a better starting rotation for the Phils? We hope so…
On a very serious note, Rick Ankiel of the Cardinals ran face first into the outfield wall in the 8th inning on a Feliz long fly ball. He hit the ground like a ton of bricks and the ball rolled away. It looked for a moment like he may have been unconscious, but he did speak to teammates after it happened and gave the thumbs-up to the fans as they wheeled him away in the cart. A very scary moment – my thoughts go out to Ankiel and his family. I hope he is okay.
So the Howard slam was really the only scoring the Phillies needed as they walked away with a 6-1 win for the first of this short 2-game series. One more in St. Louis; game time tomorrow is 8:15pm.
While you are waiting for the next game to start, get on-line and VOTE for your All-Stars! Get the Phillies to the game in St. Louis! Ryan Howard will thank you for sending him home…he just LOVES those pancakes :O)
Photo by Jenn
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How do you spell relief? Not having to hear Cole Hamels complain about his salary anymore. :O) I kid. But seriously, I did breathe a huge sigh of relief when I heard that Hamels accepted a 3-year, 20.5 million dollar deal to lock him up as a Phillie through 2011. We love Cole and he has proven that he is the ace of the staff, so his guaranteed presence for the next 3 seasons is a huge ray of light for this franchise. This signing also avoids what likely would have been a costly arbitration process and the hard feelings that can along with that.
Hamels went 14-10 last season with a 3.09 ERA in 33 starts and 227 1/3 innings. He also scooped up the MVP awards for both the NLCS and World Series. When asked about his presence beyond 2011, Hamels responded with, “I’ll be here for a really long time…that’s something I really want to do,” according to The Philadelphia Daily News. Congrats to Cole! We are SO happy to have you aboard!
Greg Dobbs also signed a contract instead of opting for arbitration. Dobbs has agreed to a 2-year, 2.5 million dollar deal and he will likely play a similar role this year as a pinch hitter and sub at 3rd base. And all the female Phillies fans let out a collective, “Whooo Hooo!” as this signing was announced. :O) Even if the game is a total bust, we always have Greg’s adorable face, perfect hair and long lashes to gush over. And the view is just as nice when he turns around :O) But aside from Greg’s physical assets, he is also a monster at the plate, hitting .301 with 9 home runs and 40 RBI in 128 games last season. He also batted .355 as a pinch hitter and led the Majors with 22 pinch-hits, also a new Phillies single season record. Congrats Greg! Best wishes for another outstanding season.
That brings us to Ryan Madson; it has been reported that Madson has turned down a 3-year, 12.5 million dollar contract. Another Scott Boras client, like Kyle Loshe was when he reportedly turned down 3-years and 21 million from the Phillies in 2008, Madson appears to be holding out for more. More what, exactly, is the question. I think the offer he was given is more than fair for a reliever of his stature. And if we remember, Boras’ insistence that Loshe hold out for more back in early 2008, turned into a disaster for him. Instead of the 3-years and 21 million, Loshe got only 1 year and 4.25 million from the Cardinals at the last minute, losing a ton of cash in the process. He has since gotten a much better deal from the Cards after his performance, but the move he made in 2008 has to make you wonder about Boras and what he is telling Madson. Hopefully, something will be worked out as I’d hate to see Boras screw it up for Madson too.
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A very ugly loss today which I am sure has resulted in a very quiet ride back to Philly for this team, left stunned by the events of the 10th inning in their 7-6 loss to the Cardinals. With 2 outs and a tie game, Chase Utley had the chance to put the inning away, but botched the throw to Tom Gordon who was covering first base. The inning continued. Tom Gordon gives up a hit to the next batter and we have 2 men on. The next batter hits nearly the same shot again between Utley and Howard; Utley fields it, leaving Gordon to cover first again. This time, Utley makes the throw, but Gordon just misses the ball! The runner at second scores, and the game is over. This team has got to be absolutely stunned.
Not that there weren’t plenty of other chances to blow this game wide open earlier. The Phillies left 15 men on base and left the bases loaded multiple times. The offense is just not producing in key situations. Add to that, Myers did not have a good outing again, giving up 6 earned runs in 6 innings including 2 home runs. Yesterday, we did get a good performance from Adam Eaton, but it was essentially wasted as he was the only one who showed up to play. Eaton had two hits in the game, which totaled exactly half of the offense for the day. And Kyle Loshe gave a great performance, although it was for the Cardinals J
With teams like the Red Sox and Angels coming up, I think it may be time for Charlie Manuel to get the big stick out and start whacking some of these guys over the head! This is no time to become complacent! Let’s see Charlie get mad! That is always entertaining J (Note the evil smile on his face in the photo as he imagines smacking some players around with his bat) Speaking of inter-league play, how exactly do the Phillies get totally screwed with the Red Soxs and the Angels and the Mets get to play the lowly Royals? What is up with that? I hate inter-league play. Well, it would be ok if everyone in your division played THE SAME teams. Then it would at least be fair. The way it is now, it just isn’t right. Oh well, what can you do? So, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there…have a good one!