The Phillies have been on quite a roll lately, winning their last 3 games against the Braves and 12 out of 14 since the All-Star break. But today, the Phils momentum puttered out as they lost to the Braves, 2-6. Rookie Adam Morgan started the game and went 5 innings allowing 4 runs with 7 hits and 3 walks. He did not look awful except for all the walks and the big 3-run homer, but that was all it took today.
Morgan certainly kept the outfielder’s busy. Defense was mostly very good but a lot of balls kept squeezing through the infield.
And the super-hot Phillies offense was certainly cooled off by Julio Teheran, who apparently only pitches well against the Phillies. There were many swings and misses and dull grounders tossed about, with the exception of a few solid hits in the 2nd and 5th innings. Cody Asche and Odubel Herrera accounted for the only two RBI in the game.
There were many Alumni on hand over the weekend, so at least that was entertaining. Today I saw Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, Brad Lidge, Matt Stairs, Nick Punto, Mike Lieberthal, Scott Eyre, John Kruk and Mariano Duncan. They all appeared to be having a good time.
Probably Burrell had the most fun. He was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame yesterday and I got a good look at the plaque today. I also got a good look at Pat celebrating by smoking….eh…something? You be the judge. Clearly, he is unaware of the advent of the zoom lens. But this whole episode does go a long way towards explaining the purse he was seen carrying around all weekend. Ok, the Phillies claim it is a “satchel.” Whatever the case, I guess he really needed it to carry his….eh….important stuff? How is that for investigative reporting? LOL!
And here is my Photo of the Day: Justin DeFratus, pre-game, pretending to karate kick a small child. This will make me laugh for days …
Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game and pre-game Behind the Pinstripes taping.
“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!
Photos by Jenn Zambri except “Purse” photo, via Twitter, @Phillies
After a very long vacation from blogging, I’m back. I have just a quick list of excuses for my absence. For starters, I have experienced a complete life “do-over.” After some hair-raising experiences including the deaths of 3 friends/family, I changed jobs, relationships, bought a house and am going back to school to work on my Master’s degree. Change is good. Trust me on this one.
Change for the Phillies thus far this offseason, however, has been minimal. It was less change and more resurrecting history when the Phils signed Marlon Byrd, Bobby Abreu (minor league deal), Larry Bowa (bench coach) and Charlie Manual, rehired as an advisor. Not to mention dumping Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews in favor of Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer in the broadcasting booth. And don’t forget Mike Schmidt on air for Sunday games. It’s a reunion!
Did you realize there are now no less than 4 Phillies managers back with the 2014 team? The current manager, obviously, is Ryne Sandberg. Former managers on staff also include Manual, Bowa and Dallas Green (front office). That is incredible. If you want to be with a team for life, sign with the Phillies!
With all of these blasts from the past, the season will at the very least be interesting to watch. But my initial impressions so far in watching Spring Training games are not too encouraging. The offense is still in hiding, as it has been for about 3+ years now. Ok, I know it is only Spring Training, but the Braves have no problem putting up 8-9 runs a game right now so why can’t the Phils? Also, many pitchers, like Cole Hamels, are already or still hurt. But hey, the defense looks pretty good J
Of the few moves the Phillies did make this offseason, I actually like the return of Marlon Byrd. He did well with the Pirates last year, he has been open about his previous suspension and above all, he has something to prove. I love his attitude so far and he appears to have at least brought some smiles back to camp.
Beyond that, not much stands out. Ryan Howard has proclaimed his perfect health. That is nice, but we will have to wait to see if results follow. Howard will be under even more pressure this year now that he and the team are adamant that he is 100%. If he falters early, I shudder to think of the reaction from the press and the fans. They will tear the Big Piece into little pieces. I do not envy his position.
I have begun counting the days until the first real pitch of the season to see what this team really has to offer. Is the winning team back or just a rerun of last year? More thoughts on Spring Training to come…stay tuned.
Game two against the Nationals was a very good day for young pitcher Vance Worley. Filling in for the injured starter, Joe Blanton, Worley made his second start of the year tonight and notched his second win.
Through six innings, Worley allowed only one run on four hits with one hit batter. He also smacked a single into left and later scored in the fifth inning. Worley has been so good, some may be wishing that Blanton really takes his time coming back.
By the way, have you all seen the new Vance Worley fan club? They call themselves “Worley’s Warriors.” So is it just me, or do they look less like warriors and more like a Mariachi Band?
Anyway, the offense did their job tonight as well. Raul Ibanez put the final touches on a newly busted slump, going 3 for 4 with a solo homer. While his batting average will take some time to recover, currently at .194, the hitting funk is officially over.
Jimmy Rollins had a nice day as well, relishing his return to the lead-off spot with two hits, an RBI and a walk. Also with two hits, Brian Schneider continues to fill in for the ailing Carlos Ruiz. And Shane Victorino collected two RBI.
The best part of the offense tonight was watching the Phillies go around the diamond one base at a time in the sixth inning to score four runs. The small ball is back and the Phillies are scoring again.
Another return tonight was that of J.C. Romero, fresh off a rehab assignment. Romero pitched a clean seventh inning and appears to be in very good shape. Upon being added to the roster, pitcher David Herndon, who has been struggling, was optioned to AAA.
The Phillies went on to win by a score of 7-4 after Danys Baez allowed a 3-run homer in the 9th. Ugh.
FYI – Our old buddy Jayson Werth has had only one hit in the series so far.
The final game of the series is Thursday night at 7:05pm. Roy Halladay will pitch.
Side note: Matt Stairs, now with the Nationals, got his 100th career pinch hit tonight. Congrats, Matt!
***Important Blog FYI: The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6. The transition may last through Monday night, May 9. All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition. So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***
Tonight’s Phillies game against the Nationals looked more like a game of dodgeball than baseball. Bats and balls were flying everywhere as players dodged out of the way or dropped the ball like it was on fire.
In the fourth inning, Jimmy Rollins reached base when Ian Desmond dropped an easy ground ball. One batter later, Desmond nearly football tackled Rollins who was on his way to third base. As J-Roll rolled to the ground, the umpire called interference on Desmond and Rollins was safe at third.
Both Rollins and Ryan Howard had ball-handling issues as well. The ball got stuck in each of their gloves at one point but they each recovered.
More flying objects threatened in the bottom of the fourth inning. Danny Espinosa shattered his bat on a swing and pieces of the bat flew right at Roy Halladay, who was standing defenseless on the mound. Luckily, the bat just grazed his glove. Right behind him, Wilson Valdez fielded the ball cleanly despite the flying debris an turned and amazing double play to end the inning.
Ryan Howard tried to dodge a ball in the fifth when pitcher John Lannan hit him in the hand. Nightmares of Chase Utley’s broken hand in 2007, who was also hit by Lannan, swirled in the air. But Howard was fine and a run was walked home as a result.
Oh, and Roy Halladay was pretty good tonight, too. With the offense spotting him three runs, Halladay mowed down Nats batters one by one. Even Jayson Werth, who was great on Tuesday night, could not dodge the bullets from his former teammate.
Werth finally got a hit in the ninth inning, as Halladay was then the one trying to dodge a bullet. With one run in, Werth on third and only one out in a 3-1 game, Charlie Manuel went to the mound to get Halladay who it appears, refused to leave. Manuel gave Halladay his wish and left him in. The next batter hit an infield single to cut the Phils lead to 3-2.
Still, Halladay stayed on the mound. Next up was another former Phillies, Matt Stairs. Normally one who swings away, Stairs froze as three straight strikes flew by. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez suffered the same fate as he struck out looking to end the game, despite protests to the umpire.
The Phillies won by a score of 3-2. As for Roy Halladay, bullet dodged.
Every time someone mentions the name “Brad Lidge” now, I instantly feel sick to my stomach. It has become a Pavlovian response. And while I am not a dog, I do get a tad bitchy around the “Lidge” references. The last two years of the Phillies-Lidge experiment have been a rollercoaster ride…and not a pleasant one.
Last night, the Phils managed to squeak out 2 runs against the Padres amazing pitching staff while Roy Oswalt held their offense to just one run. Oswalt had an amazing game; the kind of game everyone hoped he would bring to Philly. But leave it to Lidge to try to sour the evening.
The 9th inning save attempt turned into another Lidge disaster. Former Phillie Matt Stairs singled to start the inning and a pinch runner came in. But Lidge got the first two outs without a problem after that. And then, the wheels fell off the wagon.
After an intentional walk to slugger Adrian Gonzalez, Lidge was ahead 0-2 to Ryan Ludwick. Yes, ahead in the count. So what does Lidge do on the next pitch? He hits Ludwick to load the bases. As if that were not bad enough, Chase Headly steps to the plate and Lidge BALKS a run home. And it was not one of those picky balk calls; it was blatantly obvious and without explanation. Lidge was not holding anyone on base; the bases were loaded! WHAT was he thinking? Wow. That was blown save #5 for Lidge this year.
The then tied 2-2 game went into extra innings. Thanks to Jimmy Rollins and Chad Durbin, the Phillies pulled out a win. Rollins led off the 12th with a double and scored on a Placido Polanco single. It was a scary play as Rollins danced around the tag at home plate and just barely got his hand on the plate to score safely. And Durbin pitched 2 scoreless innings to record the 3-2 win.
But runs were not easy to come by in the game and the Phillies still have issues hitting, especially with runners in scoring position. In the 3rd, singles by Rollins, Polanco and Chase Utley scored the 1st run but, with two men on base, Ryan Howard struck out…again. Shane Victorino had a chance to add on in the 8th with one out and the bases loaded. A sac fly would have been nice, but instead, Victorino swung at the first pitch; the weak grounder was thrown home for the force out.
Jayson Werth grounded into a double play in the 12th with 2 men on base, which blew a prime opportunity for an insurance run. Werth went 0-5 with 2 strikeouts and in an odd twist, he even fell down the dugout stairs after a bad at-bat. He appeared to be ok afterwards. I hate to keep picking on Werth as I have all week, but his lack of focus is simply astounding. He is not the only one, but he has been the most obvious about it.
So while a win is a great thing, especially after losing 4 straight to the Astros, the Phillies bats had better wake up today before this road trip takes a turn for the worst. They did gain one game on the Braves with the win, so this is the time to step on the gas pedal and getting moving. Game 2 with the Padres is this afternoon at 4:10pm.
By the way, pitcher Danys Baez was placed on the DL yesterday with back spasms. Lefty Antonio Bastardo was called up to take his place.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
It is the middle of day 2 in our Phillies Phantastic Voyage and so far, it has been an adventure. Leaving Fort Lauderdale yesterday we ran into some “weather” and rather bumpy seas right at the beginning of the Phillies cocktail party. JC Romero, Ryan Madson and Greg Luzinski did not seem bothered by the rocking, but poor Shane Victorino got sea sick and only stayed at the party for a few minutes.
So while Shane and a few other guests tried out a new shade of green, the rest of us held on to anything stationary, trying to remain upright. But that did not impede the fun; Ryan, JC and Greg worked the crowd like pros and chatted with the fans. Ryan especially seems thrilled to be there after hearing from JC what a great time we all had last year. Here are a few photos: Shane is sporting a beard! Then you will see Greg, Ryan, me with JC and the Phanatic:
The only bummer on the day was learning that Matt Stairs was unable to join us :O( Matt was offered a minor league contract to stay with the Phillies but has decided to pursue options with other clubs in order to sign again in the majors. Matt is well loved in Philly and he will be missed dearly, not only on the cruise this week, but in 2010. I wish him the best of luck in his search!
More photos here…Ryan with Scott Palmer, Shane at the bar before taking ill, me chatting with Erin Romero and you can see Ryan in the background and Ryan, JC and Scott talking to the fans:
Later this afternoon, we will have our official photo session with the players and then a Q&A with them as well. Tomorrow, we are off to Grand Turk! Got to run and get back to my vacation now :O) Talk to you all again soon!
The countdown has begun! Only 2 days until the Phillies Phantastic Cruise sets sail for the Caribbean. Joining us on board will be JC Romero, Shane Victorino, Ryan Madson, Matt Stairs, the Phanatic, former Phillie Greg “The Bull” Luzinski and broadcaster Scott Palmer. I went on the cruise last year as well and it was a blast! Sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, FL, this year we will be stopping at Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and the Bahamas.
The Phillies events will include photo and autograph sessions, Q&A session, cocktail parties with the Phillies players and more! Here is the video slideshow I put together of last year’s cruise:
Larry Andersen went with us last year but was unable to attend this time around. He told me a few months back that he had a lot going on this month, not the least of which is Phillies Phantasy Camp where he will spend an entire week. We will miss him!
While I am away, I will try to post updates and photos as the cruise progresses and as time allows. If anyone else is going, feel free to drop me an email and let me know or just track me down on the boat and say hello!
Photos by Jenn