Hey Phillies fans…anyone else out there suffering from a severe case of the baseball blues? It is hard not to be down in the dumps after watching this Phillies team continue to suck, game after game. Getting swept in a 3-game series by the Nationals this weekend had to be the pinnacle of shame and embarrassment in an already dreadful season.
Even dumping Delmon Young could not cheer me up. Young, who they never should have signed in the first place, was designated for assignment on Friday and replaced by White Sox reject, Casper Wells. Nothing on Wells’ stat sheet gives me any reason to hope either. This is the 5th team for Wells this year; that alone is telling.
Just three days earlier, the Phillies also nixed Laynce Nix. I guess his .180 batting average was just not getting it done (*note sarcasm here).
Know which other Phillies are also just not getting it done? You guessed right…ALL of them! So perhaps the entire team will soon be designated for assignment and subsequently be replaced by little league-trained robots. That would at least sell some tickets.
Oh, Jayson Werth, where have you gone? That’s right…to the Nationals, where with 7 hits, 4 RBI and a homer he nearly single-handedly beat the Phillies in all 3 games this weekend. He did look a lot better in red pinstripes….sigh.
The Phillies were outscored 23 to 7 runs this weekend and outhit 36 to 16. I could count the Phillies runs and hits on my fingers, but had to bust out the calculator to find the totals for the Nats. That alone was depressing.
So what reason do we all have to keep watching this season? Here are a few:
– It is like a train wreck; one cannot help but wonder what form this ongoing disaster will take next.
– With 45 games left, can the Phillies still prevent Charlie Manual from getting his 1,000th career as a manager? He has 999 right now and #1,000 is looking tenuous.
– Can a guy with a .151 batting average this year who is named after a ghost bring this team back from the dead? C’mon Casper, you’ve got to at least try!
– Will the Phillies single-handedly put Papa John’s pizza out of business with their “50% Off After Phillies Win and score 5 or more runs” deal?
– Every time the Phillies bullpen gives up a run, I get to drink another Mai Tai! (Insert your own drinking game here)
That’s all I’ve got. Oh, and the Braves are up next…what could be more fun than watching the division leader beat the Phillies to a pulp? Game time is 7:10pm. Whoo…hoo.
Werth Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Yes, it is May. And yes, it is a new day. But although Wednesday’s May-day marked the start of a new month for the Phillies, it did not appear to be any different than the month of April; or any different than the year 2012, for that matter. Now, cries of “Mayday!” can be heard throughout Philadelphia. This team has serious problems.
Over 2 games against the Indians, the Phillies were outscored 20 runs to 2. And last night’s 0-6 shut-out was even worse than the 2-14 pounding they look on Tuesday. The Phillies had only 3 hits in last night’s game against a rookie pitcher, who was so wild, he walked 6 batters. With 7 walks total handed to the Phils, they still could not manage to score a single run. That is nearly impossible, but this team found a way to do it.
And here is a thought; perhaps someone should come up with a fun drinking game for every time Michael Young or Ben Revere hits into a double play? Including one last night, Young has 7 already on the season and Revere has 5. Then again, that may not be frequent enough to really put me out of my misery. So let’s add in runners left on base! There were 9 of those last night, plus the Phillies went 0-10 with runners in scoring position. Now we can do some serious alcoholic damage!
Yes, this team is driving me to drink. As I predicted about a week ago, the Phillies have kept us all on this sickening roller coaster ride. They suck, then bounce back for a few games (like the 3-game sweep of the Mets this past weekend) and then they go right back to sucking, once again proving that they just cannot get the job done on a consistent basis.
Both Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young are now in the line-up and nothing has changed. Sure, it has not been very long for either, but it is not like they both arrived cold, having not played in a while. Both guys were baseball-ready after playing in rehab games. Still, after one day of excitement for seeing Chooch again, the thrill is already gone and the offense is still stagnant.
Even Cliff Lee could not get the job done against the Indians, his former team. Roy Halladay was awful the day before that. The only highlight last night was watching Layne Nix rob an Indian of a home run with a leaping catch just before the ball cleared the wall. And this is not the first time this season that Nix has been the only bright spot in a game. That is a very, very bad sign.
And this has all been going on far too long for it to just be a slump. I am seriously beginning to think this team will not be able to recover. Could all of this be the beginning of the end for this era in Phillies baseball? Only time will tell; and the Phillies are quickly running out of that time…
Perhaps it is fitting that Cole Hamels did not get his first win of the season until the day Carlos Ruiz returned from a 25-game suspension. Throughout the weekend, the Phillies suddenly began to show signs of life. Maybe a lot of that had to do with the anticipation of Chooch’s return.
After losing 3 of 4 to the Pirates, the Phils proceeded to storm New York and sweep the Mets in 3 games. Kyle Kendrick shut them out on Friday and Jonathan Pettibone collected his first major league win on Saturday. Then Sunday afternoon, Hamels held the Mets to 1 run to complete the sweep.
While Ruiz did not have a huge impact on the game, going 1 for 4, his mere presence did seem to have everyone in high spirits. The game was tied 1-1 going into the 7th; in previous games, this lack of offense would have had the entire team tied up in knots, pressing at the plate. But today, everyone was a little more relaxed.
That 7th inning was the key; Laynce Nix came through again as a pinch-hitter with a 2-out single and Jimmy Rollins followed with a single of his own. Then Ryan Howard, who did not start the game, smacked a 2-run, pinch-hit double to put the Phillies on top. Chase Utley singled to score Howard and add to the lead.
Even the bullpen finally looked normal. Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a scoreless inning to nail down the 5-1 win. This is the team we have all been waiting to see. The question is, can they keep the momentum going?
Monday is an off day and Tuesday, the Phillies will be in Cleveland to take on the Indians at 7:05pm.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
On Monday night, Phillies rookie Jonathan Pettibone made his major league debut against the Pirates. He went 5.1 innings and allowed only 2 runs after a fairly shaky start and some good defense. The Phillies offense put up 3 runs for the rookie, but two of those runs came from a wild pitch and a hit batter.
The lack of offense took another turn for the worse on Tuesday night. Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing 2 runs over 8 innings. But his teammates did nothing to help him. As a result of the 0-2 loss, Hamels still does not have a win this year. This is exactly what happened to Cliff Lee last year, who ended the season with only 6 wins, despite his 3.16 ERA.
There were only 4 hits for the Phillies last night. Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke had them all tied up in knots that they could not untangle. Sadly, it was a total Locke-Down.
For example, in the 4th inning, John Mayberry Jr. led off with a triple. Still, the Phillies managed to squander that opportunity as well. Not scoring a runner from 3rd with no outs to start the inning is ridiculous. But that has been the story of the Phillies offense for a number of years now, and it does not appear it will change anytime soon.
These guys get anxious at the plate, swing at bad pitches and watch good ones fly past them. There is no discipline at all.
Think about that 4th inning again. With no outs, Mayberry stood at 3rd and Domonic Brown on first after being hit by a pitch. Locke was getting wild and losing his command. So the only thing Ben Revere needed to do was not pop out or hit the ball the 3rd base side of the infield. Even a double play would have scored the run with Mayberry going on contact. So what does Revere do? He swings at the first pitch and hits the ball to third; Mayberry is thrown out at the plate.
This is not Mayberry’s fault either…Ryne Sandberg told him to go on contact which was verified by manager Charlie Manual after the game. As for Revere, remember he is only 24 years old. Clearly, he still has a lot to learn. But the same excuse cannot be made for the rest of the team. This is a very experienced ball club. Yet they continue to approach at-bats like frightened rookies.
When the only relief of the night is seeing bench player Laynce Nix step to the plate, something is very, very wrong.
The Phillies hired not one, but two new hitting coaches this season in an effort to improve the offense. And even though both Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner have gotten rave reviews from the players, nothing changes once a guy steps to the plate. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Apparently not.
Pretty soon they will have a big offensive day again and the critics will be silent until the next several games when the bats go back to sleep again. This has become a pattern. They give us a small bit of hope, and just like that, the hope is squashed the very next day. I am seriously beginning to wonder if this is fixable.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait and see. Roy Halladay will pitch tonight; game time is 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
All 3 games between the Phillies and the Marlins this weekend went into the 9th inning tied by a score of 1-1. It is safe to say that both teams had a wee bit of trouble finding runs.
The Phillies had base runners in the series, but only hit 6 for 30 with runners in scoring position. Both Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley could not come through with the bases loaded; Rollins was 0 for 8 total. And today, the Phils hit into 3 double plays to kill rallies.
Despite the seriously offensive offense, the Phillies managed to squeak out two wins. A lot of that had much to do with the fact that they were playing the Marlins, who look a lot like Phillies-Lite: Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre, Greg Dobbs and Chad Qualls are all ex-Phils.
In another unusual turn of events, Laynce Nix wound up being the hero of the day in the finale. Nix smashed a 2nd deck homer to right field to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the top of the 9th inning. It was Nix’s second home run pinch hit in the last 4 games. He also made a diving grab in right field in Saturday’s game; diving is not his forte, so this was truly a sight to behold. Ok Laynce, you win…I like you. You can stay. ;o)
But the real story of the day was Roy Halladay who picked up his 200th career win today. Not only was that an amazing feat, but this win had to be a huge relief in another way as well. After struggling mightily basically since last year, Halladay finally had a Halladay-like game. In 8 innings, the Doc allowed only 1 run with 5 hits and a walk. Granted it was against the Fish, but this will be a huge boost for his confidence.
So congratulations to Roy Halladay on his 200th career win!
The Phillies will celebrate tonight and then it is back to work tomorrow in Cincinnati. Game time is 7:05pm.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies hosted two exhibition games this weekend, signaling the end of Spring Training and the start of the regular season on Monday. As they have the past several years, the Phillies planned a number of special events and surprises on Friday and Saturday.
Friday began with the On-Deck Reception, hosted by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. There were players signing autographs, several Q & A sessions with players and coaches, and an on-field introduction of the entire team:
I personally got autographs from Domonic Brown (and a photo as well), Erik Kratz, John Mayberry Jr. and Antonio Bastardo. This was my first time attending this particular event and it was well worth the effort. The only bummer of the day was I discovered that the autofocus on my very expensive camera had died :O( Ugh. So I apologize in advance for 2 days worth of so-so photos, as I had to use my mediocre eye sight to manually focus a very large lens.
The prior to the evenings game, players wandered around the stadium greeting fans and some stopped for photos. I had my picture taken with John Lannan, Antonio Bastardo, Humberto Quintero and hitting coach Wally Joyner.
Cliff Lee started the game that night and looked ready to go for the season. But his real highlight was helping Cole Hamels man the Phanatic’s hot dog shooter between innings:
To be honest, the game was rather boring, so the hot dog-interlude was a very welcome distraction. The Phils lost 1-0.
More fun was happening prior to Saturday’s game as well. After some very stealth stalking on my part, I managed to get photos with a few new guys and a Hall of Famer: Mike Adams, Ender Inciarte and third-base-coach/HOF guy, Ryne Sandburg. That was pretty awesome. Both exhibitions games were well worth the trip because of these little extras.
The game itself, however, did not go well against a very potent Blue Jays line-up. The Jays beat up on Kyle Kendrick, who gave up 5 runs in 3 innings. John Lannan took over for the next 3 innings and held the Jays to 1
more run. It was not quite out of reach for the Phillies though until very late. Here are a few highlights:
And Cliff Lee finally got his turn at the helm of the hot dog cannon, with Hamels “feeding” the device:
The end result was a 10-4 loss. But luckily, the game did not count.
The Phillies announced the Opening Day roster afterwards. There were not too many surprises there:
Rotation (5): Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan.
Bullpen (7): Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin, Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes.
Catchers (2): Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero.
Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis.
Outfielders (5): Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Ender Inciarte.
Inciarte is a Rule-5 guy; they have to keep him on the roster or offer him back to the D-backs. Only 22-years old, he has never played above High-A level. He offers some depth in the outfield for now. Plus, he is adorable, so I approve ;o)
So here we are, finally! Opening Day! Game time is 7:10pm Monday night in Atlanta.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Drum roll please….
Here is my annual Phillies Photo Slideshow! The slideshow includes all original photos that I took during the 2012 season; it includes players, coaches, fans, the Phanatic, and more. Enjoy!