The last two or three years have been strange ones for Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. He has gone though spurts of looking like a solid ballplayer and even more spurts of looking totally lost at the plate. While see-sawing between the two extremes, Mayberry has been unable to stick as an everyday player.
But last night against the Marlins, Mayberry had probably the most memorable night of his career and he did not even start the game. He hit a solo homer in the 10th to tie the game back up after Antonio Bastardo surrendered a run to the Fish in the top of the inning. Then in the 11th, Mayberry whacked a game-winning grand slam home run.
There were a number of ‘firsts’ for Mayberry in this game:
– Mayberry’s first career grand slam
– Mayberry became first player in major-league history to hit two home runs in extra innings with one being a grand slam
– Mayberry also became the first Phillies player to hit a walk-off grand slam since Dale Murphy on Aug. 6, 1991, against the Cubs
Those are some pretty impressive statistics. And with Delmon Young still underachieving (he is hitting only .220 in 100 at-bats), perhaps it is time to hand right field over to Mayberry for a while. Mayberry’s defense is significantly better than Young’s and his offense cannot possibly be any worse than Young’s.
Young has actually cost the team runs with his defense and I cannot imagine the Phillies putting up with that for much longer. And he is not making up for it with his bat either. 30 games played and 100 at-bats should be nearly enough for them to pass judgment. We shall see…
As for the umpire follies, Bob Davidson strikes again! How this ridiculous man still has a job is beyond me. Last year, Davidson was actually suspended after ejecting Phils skipper Charlie Manual for his bad “situation handling,” according to MLB. What actually happened was he interfered with the catcher on a play and then cussed out Manual for arguing the point.
Davidson’s animosity towards the Phillies is still going strong, because last night he made one of the worst calls I have ever seen. Davidson called interference on Ben Revere who slid head first (not spikes first) into second on a ground ball hit by Michael Young. Young was called out due to the imaginary interference; Davidson claimed he saw Revere grab the leg of the Marlins 2nd baseman. It was clear to both the naked eye and on the replay that Revere did no such thing…it was not even close.
Revere did not grab anyone; he did not roll into 2nd; he did not even go out of the basepath or miss the bag. Davidson literally just made up the call.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Bernie Miklasz, “…if I listed every call that Davidson got wrong I’d be typing for the next 48 hours at least. He’s a disgrace to the game and has been for many, many years. Baseball people laugh at him.” It seems everyone hates Davidson…and with good reason.
After the game, both Revere and Manual made some very amusing comments about the bad call. Revere said, “I know [Davidson] was standing right there, he said he did see it, so I’m just like, man needs some glasses or something.” And Manual interjected, “Bob’s kinda getting a little old.” Plus, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park booed Davidson relentlessly for the remained of the game.
And yet, no one can say why this man still has a job. MLB has made a habit out of ignoring the total incompetence of some umpires. Even with their reputation being continually tarnished, MLB has done nothing to redeem themselves.
In fact, Joe Torre, who is in charge of MLB umpires, on-field discipline and other areas, was actually at Saturday’s Phillies-Brewers game where a huge umpiring mistake was made in the bottom of the 9th inning. Kyle Kendrick was called out at second base even though the fielder dropped the ball. The next batter doubled, which would have scored Kendrick and tied the game up. Instead, that blown call cost the Phillies the game.
The crew chief acknowledged the error after the game, but to my knowledge, Torre said nothing. Granted, this was a far less egregious error than the blatant, BS call by Davidson. All of these bad calls are screaming for additional replay, but is anyone listening?
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil…get nothing done. *Sigh*
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In a year full of drama for the Phillies, Cliff Lee stepping on the mound is a sight for sore eyes. The same can be said when he steps to the plate as well. In a complete game shut-out of the Marlins last night, Lee also collected 2 hits, giving him a team-leading .316 batting average. And his .350 on-base percentage is second only to Michael Young (.378) among active Phillies.
Simply put, Cliff Lee is amazing.
Yet those offensive numbers are a bit disturbing in another respect. When your ace pitcher is leading the team in average and OBP, there are some serious problems. Granted, Lee only plays once every 5 games, but it is still a somewhat revealing statistic on a team that has struggled to score runs.
There was some offense last night though, and some signs of life all around. Although they only scored 3 runs, most guys hit the ball well and as team, they collected 12 hits, which is way better than their usual production this year. On Tuesday night with Tyler Cloyd pitching, the Phillies racked up 7 runs on 15 hits in the win.
But again, this has been a pattern; the Phillies have 1 or 2 games with solid offense and then they go right back to not being able to hit the broad side of a barn. And with the injuries mounting, can they get any kind of consistency?
The latest injury to Chase Utley is extremely worrisome. Utley was finally having a good year, after missing time in both of the previous 2 seasons with knee issues. Now, it appears he has an oblique strain of some sort; he will have an MRI today and will likely be put on the DL along with Roy Halladay, Mike Adams, John Lannan and Carlos Ruiz. Stay tuned…
Today is an off day as the team travels to Washington to take on the Nationals. News on Utley should be coming very soon…cross your fingers!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies looked like a shell of a team last night against the Miami Marlins, who are possibly the worst team in all of baseball. Leave it to the Phillies to make them look like All-Stars. Ugh.
When Domonic Brown smacked a home run in the second innings, it looked like the Phils might have carried over some momentum from Sunday’s dramatic walk-off win. But that was the end of the momentum and the beginning of Spit-Gate.
Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia entered Monday’s game with a dismal 5.00 ERA and a 2-6 record. After the Brown homer, Sanabia apparently thought some cheating was in order. He was caught on camera spitting on the ball and did not make any attempt to hide it.
First of all, this is just gross. It is also against MLB rules. But did it really affect the Phillies hitters? Probably not too much…they have basically sucked all season long. However, it did add insult to injury in this very unsettling loss.
Even Cole Hamels could not hide his emotions as he slammed his glove around on the Phillies bench after his outing. And after the game, he did not speak to reporters. I believe Hamels is feeling the same frustration we all are; specifically, WHY can’t this team score runs?! Poor Hamels is now 1-7 on the season. Last year, he had 6 losses for the entire season…already this year, not even half way through the season, he has that total beat.
Two runs allowed in 6 innings should get you a win…unless you are on the Phillies, apparently. Making matters worse, this team is now riddled with injuries. Carlos Ruiz came back after his suspension to play only 16 games before being put on the DL with a strained hamstring. Mike Adams is on the DL with a bad back. John Lannan is still on the DL with no expected return date being reported. And now Ryan Howard has sat out 2 games in a row with a sore knee and possible a torn meniscus.
And at least half of the bullpen may as well be injured; they might actually pitch better. Because our healthy pen cannot stop runs from scoring. Phillippe Aumont gave up 2 more runs last night and has a 4.15 ERA, plus many inherited runners have scored on him. Pretty much everyone in the pen is guilty of that too. And check out some of the other ERA’s: Chad Durbin, 8.10; Jeremy Horst, 5.09; BJ Rosenberg, 20.25 (1 game). Yikes!
As all the crap keeps piling up on this team, it is going to be harder and harder for them to dig their way out of the heap. And I do not want to hear anyone else talk about how it is still early in the season. As far as I am concerned, it is never too early to play winning baseball. And thus far, this team has not shown they can do that.
Game time tonight is 7:10pm; Tyler Cloyd will pitch.
Photo via NBC Sports
So, anyone else out there sit in traffic for hours just to watch the Phillies get slaughtered by the Marlins? Oh yes, the Broad Street Run was exiting just as people were arriving to the game, plus 95 north closed due to a huge tractor-trailer fire/accident. It was the perfect storm.
I did leave very early, so my usual 1 ½ hour drive was about 2 ½ hours. Others were not as lucky. And certainly no one was happy with the end result, whether they made it to the game or not.
Prior to the game, the Phanatic unknowingly gave us a little foreshadowing of the events to come. Here he is, literally licking the boots of the Marlins catcher, much to the amusement of the entire Marlins squad:
And then the real fun began…Roy Halladay gave up 5 runs in the 1st inning, a grand slam in the 3rd inning and was pulled from the game after only 2 1/3 innings with 9 runs allowed on 4 hits and 4 walks. His head hung low as he exited the field:
Afterwards, Halladay revealed that he has been experiencing shoulder pain for several weeks, something he neglected to tell the team prior to this and his previous start. Expect to see Doc on the DL shortly…
And as usual, the offense did absolutely nothing all day long. Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey had not had a win in the major leagues since 2010 (*%!@!), yet the Phils managed only 2 hits off him. They did avoid the shut-out, with 2 runs in the 8th inning, thanks mostly to Marlins shoddy defense. But not much else was working for the Phillies.
The relief staff added 4 more runs to the happy Fish who were rounding the bases quite swimmingly. And they are no longer the worst team in baseball with 2 straight wins over the Phils. Way to go, Phillies, helping out your Marlins buddies. The final score was 2-14…eeekk!
To end on a high note, it was Mother’s Appreciation Day at the ballpark. Chase Utley’s mom joined him on the field and the Phanatic brought him mom as well.
We also got a cute Utley tote bag when entering the ballpark, which was the only bright spot of the day. But if you’d like to see more photos anyway (some of them are pretty good, even if the game sucked), here is the Photo Album.
The Giants are up next as the team travels to San Francisco. As for me, I will also be getting on a plane in a few days to head to the birthplace of the Phanatic…the Galapagos Islands! I hope to check in from there if the internet connection cooperates. It is a shame I cannot take the Phanatic with me, but I think he has his hands very full right now keeping fans entertained while the Phils flounder :O(
Game time tomorrow is 10:15pm EST.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
After getting destroyed by the Indians earlier this week, the Phillies have won their first 2 games against the lowly Marlins. Both Kyle Kendrick and rookie Jonathan Pettibone pitched well and the offense even managed to score some runs. Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown hit home runs in each of the 2 games.
But keep in mind, all of this was against the smelly Fish, who did not have their best little fishy, Giancarlo Stanton, in the line-up. With an 8-22 record, this team sucks. So please excuse me for not being too impressed with these wins. The Phillies beat bad teams in April as well, but they did not beat too many good ones. So if they finish out this series strong and then give the San Francisco Giants a big-boy spanking, then I might be a little more excited.
What was sort of exciting this week was reading all the stories about the verbal spat between Phillies pitching coach and former-Phil’s closer turned baseball analyst, Mitch Williams. Apparently, Rich Dubee yelled at Williams in Spring Training for trying to interfere with his pitchers. Then this week, Mitchy-Poo went off via the WIP radio show on Dubee for not helping Phillies pitchers fix their mechanical issues.
There is nothing like a good dose of man-on-man hissy-fit drama early in the morning…yum!
But the best part was yet to come…When asked about Mitchy-Poo’s comments, Roy Halladay came to Dubee’s rescue like a knight on a white horse. A normally reserved Halladay called Williams, “the mechanical wonder,” and said he was “completely out of line.” Doc even demanded that Williams “make amends” for his criticism of Dubee.
And in his usual no-nonsense/smarty-pants style, Dubee suggested that Williams “submit a resume” if he wants to be a pitching coach. Oh my.
I’ll say this about it, having spoken to both guys in the past on a variety of occasions. Mitchy-Poo is a guy who, right or wrong, always speaks his mind. I have a great deal of respect for him in that regard. He speaks from his heart. Dubee is very similar; he does not take crap from anyone and will always tell it like it is.
Once in the bullpen at a charity event, Dubee was showing me how to toss a fastball. I quickly realized I had forgotten to take a ring off that I was wearing. In order not to remove my glove and be quick about it, I pulled the ring off with my mouth, spit it into my palm and shoved in my pocket. Dubee folded his arms, grinned and said, “What, you can’t toss a pitch with that rock on your finger?” He then made a sarcastic comment about me trying to throw a spitball. After that, I was videotaping him working in the pen with someone else, and he asked me if I was going to use that video against him later.
Dubee loves a good joke; he is a naturally funny guy, whether he is trying to be or not. And he treats everyone the same, which I love about him. I did not want to be babied in the bullpen just because I was a girl and I was not disappointed.
So maybe Williams should not be butting in with Phillies pitching, but then again, he is just doing his job as an analyst. And Dubee is doing his job, protecting his players. Both are good guys with good hearts.
In that case, who is right and who is wrong is sort of a mute point. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, I do think this little drama might inadvertently be a very good thing for the Phillies. If Phillies pitchers want to defend the honor of their pitching coach, there is only one way to do that effectively…win!
Head shot and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Roy Halladay we have all been waiting to see returned last night in an 8-2 win over the Cardinals. It began with his last start against the Marlins and then Friday night, he continued to improve in an impressive 7-inning effort.
The game was called due to rain after the 7th, so this will go in the books as a complete game for Halladay. He allowed only 2 runs, both solo homers.
But the really encouraging part was seeing Halladay get angry. Not the fiery red-faced, frustrated sort of anger; this was his old competitive fire, finally burning once again. He got mad in situations that most would just shrug off; for example, Ben Revere made another amazing catch in center field, but Halladay was visibly annoyed that the batter was able to hit the ball that hard, even though it turned into an out.
Halladay also had no issues trying to intimidate first-year major league umpire, Alan Porter, by staring him down or barking at him when he didn’t get the call he wanted. Porter had blown a fair/foul call the day before that put the Phillies in a hole, so no one was sad to see Roy giving him a hard time.
Seeing Halladay back to his old, grouchy self is a very positive sign. For some pitchers, this might mean the guy is getting frazzled; but for Halladay, being grouchy means he is on his game, ready to compete. When good is not good enough for the Doc, you know he is feeling confident.
Just as exciting as seeing Halladay find his mojo again was seeing the Phillies offense finally get some hits. The Phils busted out for 5 runs in the first inning, which was triggered by Chase Utley drawing a 2-out walk. And thank goodness someone walked, because I was getting beyond tired of hearing every single sports reporter whine about the lack of walks. Now they can all get back to whining about Ryan Howard…
Howard did not play last night due to a sore groin and he is day-to-day. Kevin Frandsen filled in at 1st base and drew the 2nd walk of the game for the Phillies and scored twice. Freddy Galvis started his second consecutive game in left field and made one of the weirdest diving catches you will ever see. His hand actually did a 360-degree turn on the ground, with the ball in the mitt. Of course, I cannot find a video of it anywhere…but it does look like we may have another outfielder. This guy looks like he can play anywhere…amazing.
So the real question tonight is will the Phillies offense come to play two days in a row? Cliff Lee hopes so; he takes the mound at 7:05pm tonight.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In 2012, the Phillies faced Reds pitcher Mike Leake twice and destroyed him to the tune of 13 runs. He had an overall ERA against the Phils of 17.55. Ouch. But last night, this team sprung Leake from his Phillies prison, allowing him to mow them down one hitter after another.
Ah, sweet freedom for Mr. Leake. He must be quite relieved this morning.
On the exact opposite side, the Phillies probably got little sleep due to nightmares. Some people have nightmares about standing naked in a crowd. The Phillies are probably having nightmares about standing at home plate without a bat. They may as well have been standing there without one if they were never going to use it.
And that pretty much describes this entire 6-game road trip which went down in flames after getting swept in 3-games by the Reds. They scored only 10 runs in all 6 games and came away with just 2 wins, both against the Marlins.
Granted, it is very, very early in the season. The Phillies have time to make up ground, however, these are very serious issues. At some point, one has to question whether or not this team is capable of more. But we will not really know until we see the whole team together as it was meant to be; that means when Carlos Ruiz returns and we also finally see what Delmon Young has to offer. Ruiz cannot return due to suspension until April 28th. And Young is still on the DL, although he has been participating in extended Spring Training games.
To make matters worse, Domonic Brown left the game early with a sore back; he will have an MRI today. And John Lannan, who got pounded for 6 runs in 1.2 innings last night, complained of a sore knee after the game. His status is unknown.
Do not be surprised if manager Charlie Manual decides to shake up the line-up tonight against the Cardinals. And say a prayer that Cole Hamels can get his first win of the season; although, he may need a little offense to get that done. *Sigh.*
Game time is 7:05pm.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography