The Phillies final two games in Seattle were a stark contrast to each other. Saturday night’s 5-1 win was against 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez. But on Sunday, the Phillies lost to Jason Vargas, an average pitcher who entered the game with a 4.13 ERA.
With Vance Worley starting Saturday, the Phillies managed to score some runs. Worley held the Mariners to just one run over five innings and then Shane Victorino provided most of the offense.
Victorino ended the game just a single short of the cycle and had four RBI on three hits, including a 2-run homer. Jimmy Rollins had three hits as well. Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez added two hits apiece.
But Sunday, the Phillies seemingly could not hit their way out of a barn. Howard had two hits, Ben Francisco had one and that was it for the offense. Vargas tossed a complete game shut-out as the Phils sat and watched.
Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing only two runs on a few very cheap, bloop hits. Hamels also collected his 1,000 career strike out in the fourth inning.
If he had won the game, Hamels would have been the first pitcher in the majors to 10 wins. He and six other pitchers, including Roy Halladay, are stuck at nine wins. But it was not meant to be. Wasting such a great performance was a real shame.
But welcome to Interleague play with the Phillies. Every year, it is a struggle for them. After losing two out of three to the Mariners, the Phillies are off tomorrow as they travel to St. Louis for three games with the Cardinals starting on Tuesday.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After a long plane ride and change of time zones, it is understandable how the Phillies might have been jet lagged in the Friday night 4-2 loss to the Mariners. Hopefully, they have gotten some sleep and will be a bit more peppy for Saturday’s game.
Off rookie pitcher Michael Pineda, the Phils managed only one run. Chase Utley hit an RBI-single in the sixth inning to score Jimmy Rollins. Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter right before that with a single to right.
The Phillies had more chances in that inning after Ryan Howard walked to load the bases with two outs. But Placido Polanco had a few odd strikes called on him and he eventually struck out. Polly let the umpire, whose strike zone was all over the place, that he was not pleased.
But even the usually quiet Polly speaking up could not spark this sleepy offense. Victorino hit a solo homer in the seventh, but that was it for the offense who had a total of only 6 hits in the game.
Roy Oswalt was off his game, as well. In 6.1 innings, Oswalt gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks. His record on the year is now 3-4 with a 3.38 ERA.
Things will not get any easier for the Phillies on Saturday night. They will be facing an even tougher pitcher, the 2010 AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez. And the Phils are putting rookie Vance Worley on the mound to face him.
The good news is that the Phillies left-handed heavy line-up is facing a right-handed pitcher. The bad news? Pretty much everything else. Cross your fingers…game time is 10:10pm. Guess we will all be a little sleepy after this one.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The last time the Phillies won seven games in a row in the month of June was in 1982. In 2011, they have done it again…finally. And they also swept the Marlins in a four game series.
Cliff Lee was on fire today, only in a good way, not in a call the fire department way. He was no-hitting the Fish until Mike Stanton singled with 2 outs in the 5th. Still, Lee wound up pitching a complete game shut-out in the 3-0 win.
In addition, Lee was hot at the plate as well. He had two hits in the game, the second of which was an RBI-double off the right-center field wall. He missed a home run by only a few feet.
And that one run, the first of the game, turned out to be all Lee needed to win the game. But just for good measure, Ryan Howard added on with a solo homer in the 5th and Jimmy Rollins knocked in the third run in the 6th with a double.
The Phillies are now on their way to Seattle where they will begin a 3-game series with the Mariners Friday night at 10:10pm. Roy Oswalt will pitch and Cole Hamels will start on Sunday.
Due to the doubleheader yesterday, the Phillies were in need of a spot starter for Saturday, which is going to be rookie Vance Worley. That brings us to the sad news of the day…
To make room for Worley, the Phillies chose to designate J.C. Romero for assignment. They have 10 days to trade him, release him or place him on waivers. Romero could be offered a minor league deal if no one takes him, but the odds are slim that he would accept that deal.
While Romero has struggled since having elbow surgery before the 2010 season, the emergence of lefty Antonio Bastardo has also made it difficult for Romero to get innings. Romero will always be remembered in Philadelphia for his contributions to the 2008 World Series championship plus a League Championship and two NL East titles.
On a personal note, I have had the privilege of being able to spend some time with J.C. and his family over the last 3+ years and I will miss them. The Romero’s are generous, kind people who contributed much more than just baseball to the city of Philadelphia and other communities in need.
I wish them the very best.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Is it just me, or does the Phillies off-season Cliff Lee trade look worse and worse every day? The cherry on the crap sundae came today when Tyson Gillies, one of the 3 players sent to Philly in the Lee trade, was arrested for cocaine possession, according to Philly.com.
The incident allegedly took place this past June in Pinellas County, Florida.
I am guessing the Reading Phillies commercial starring Mr. Gillies will be pulled. Check it out before it is gone forever…Gillies is asked by a kid if he is “fast” and Gillies brags about his base stealing speed. Yeah, he is fast alright. Cocaine will do that.
The incident took place in Clearwater while Gillies was participating in a rehab assignment for a hamstring injury that has bothered him most of the year. He was batting only .238 in 26 games for Double-A Reading.
Another player from the Cliff Lee trade, Phillippe Aumont, has severely underperformed since coming to the Phillies organization. He pitched at a 7.43 ERA in Reading and was then demoted to Clearwater in June. Aumont has publically stated that he is feeling the immense “pressure” on him, having been traded for Lee. He seemed quite worried about living up to expectations. So, we started with a head case and now we have a coke head among the group.
The third player in the trade was righty JC Ramirez whose ERA is 5.18 in 12 games for Reading. While it is still early to tell how he or Aumont ultimately will perform, right now, things do not look promising.
And are we to believe the Mariners had no knowledge of these issues before they shipped these players over to Philly? I think they knew full well what they were doing. As a result, the Phillies have been punk’d. I will be curious to see what, if anything, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has to say about the recent events. What a mess.
Photo by MLB.com
With Ryan Howard on the DL, the Phillies look to bolster their line-up by adding first baseman Mike Sweeney, 37. He comes to Philly from the Mariners for either cash or a player to be named later. While Sweeney has not gotten a lot of work this year in Seattle, he is batting .263 with six home runs and 18 RBI in 30 games, including three starts at first base.
Sweeney is a 5-time All-Star, having been selected each year from 2000-2005 while playing for the Royals, who drafted him in 1991. Sweeney set a Royals record for RBIs in a season with 144 in 2000. He is a lifetime .298 hitter with 901 RBI’s and 213 homers.
Some more interesting notes about Sweeney: His wife, Shara, is the daughter of Jim Nettles and her uncle is Graig Nettles, both former major leaguers and brothers. There is also a Philadelphia connection; Sweeney’s first major league home run in 1996 was off of Phillies pitcher, Jamie Moyer.
While Sweeney is in the latter years of his career and has had some back issues, he appears healthy now and should be a nice addition at first base for the Phillies while Howard is out. On his Sweeney Family Foundation web site, Sweeney’s wife lists one of his life goals as “learning to put the toilet seat down.” He will need that sense of humor to play in Philadelphia…I wish him luck :O)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Phillies fan everywhere can breathe a huge sigh of relief as it was announced today that Cliff Lee has been traded to the Texas Rangers. The relief comes for many reasons. #1 – He did not go the Mets or anywhere in the Phillies division. #2 – He did not land with their World Series rivals, the Yankees. #3 – He is in the American League. Whoo Hoo!
Why so excited? Because Lee was LOVED in Philly and losing him this off-season in a very bad trade stung enough. To have seen him go to a local or rival team would have been rubbing salt in the wound. Of course, Philly would have loved to have him back, but did anyone really think that was going to happen? Not likely. To acquire Lee again would have meant Ruben Amaro Jr. would be admitting he made a mistake trading him in the first place. Plus, the Phillies farm system has very little left to offer in any trade.
Here are the gritty details of the trade: The Mariners get first baseman Justin Smoak and minor leaguers Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson. The Rangers get Lee plus reliever Mark Lowe. They will call up Chris Davis to play first since Smoak was moved.
Best of luck to Cliff Lee in Texas (unless he is playing the Phils, of course)! He will always hold a special place in the hearts of all Phillies fans.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Is it bad luck or bad baseball? It looked like luck may have been in the Phillies favor when Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent to the DL minutes before the game started today. Dice-K beat up the Phillies in their last meeting, so this must be good news. Scott Atchison, a career minor leaguer who also played in Japan, made his first career major league start in place of Dice-K. Again, this seemed like good news, right?
Wrong. Because absolutely nothing has gone well for the Phillies lately, and this game would be no different. Joe Blanton has been as bad as he could be since coming off the DL in early May. By the 2nd inning of this game, Blanton had given up 34 runs, 11 homers and 11 walks in 45 innings pitched this year.
And the damage did not end there…Blanton allowed 9 runs total, matching Jamie Moyer yesterday, on 13 hits and a walk by the time he was done, after 4 pathetic innings. His ERA is now 7.28.
Blanton loaded the bases in the 2nd inning, right after the offense scored two runs for him. He then threw ONE pitch to rookie, Daniel Nava, who in his first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam! Unbelievable. It looked like the Phillies had morphed into a black cat with a #13 tattoo, under a black cloud standing on top of a broken mirror, sprinkled with spilled salt. But was that bad luck or just Joe Blah-anton?
Blanton needs to go. Obviously, no one will want him with his gigantic 7.28 ERA and gigantic salary, so what are the options? Put him back on the DL or send him to the minors. Brett Myers did this voluntarily back in 2008 and came back to help them win the World Series. The Phillies can bring back Nelson Figueroa or someone else from the minors. I would rather see a rookie get raked for 9 runs than a veteran who is not living up to his end of the deal. How about Nate Bump? He has some experience and was recently clocked at 103mph. Go get him!
The Phillies have made a lot of mistakes this year and last, many of which have been overshadowed by the acquisition of Roy Halladay. Letting Myers go was clearly an error in judgment. I said it before, but because most people have a personal dislike of Myers, most were happy to see him go. For the Astros this year, Myers has not allowed more than 4 runs in any game, has not pitched fewer than 6 innings in any game and his ERA is a very respectable 3.18.
And do not even get me started on Cliff Lee. Because the Mariners are not doing well, Lee will likely be traded before the deadline and it looks like he may wind up in the NL East. Imagine this: Lee goes to Mets or the Braves who make the playoffs, leaving the Phillies in the dust. You want to throw up right now, don’t you?
And remember signing a 36 year-old Raul Ibanez, now 38, to a 3-year contract? It looked like a good idea for ½ a year in 2009; now, not so much. Raul, we still love ya, but things are not going well. Ibanez is hitting .247 and is getting slower in the outfield.
The Phillies also extended Blanton’s contract this off-season, giving him 3 more years and $24 million dollars. They noted his “consistency,” which I have never agreed with, and his ability to pitch many innings as reasons for the extension. Well, all those innings have taken their toll as evidenced by Blanton’s current ERA plus the pre-season injury and DL stint.
By the way, the Phillies offense died after Blanton dug a huge hole for them. The managed only 7 hits and 3 of those came from back-up catcher Brian Schneider. The Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 2-10.
I could go on, but I think that is enough for one day. The Phillies have now slid from 1st place to 3rd place in the NL East and if the Marlins keep winning, they will be in 4th place shortly. I mentioned holding off on hitting the panic button last week; well, it is now time. Let the panic begin. This past month may be a foretelling of the horror to come.
Photoshopping by Jenn