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!
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Head shot and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki reported that Chase Utley answered many questions about his injured left knee yesterday. He spoke about a new rehab program and stated that he would play again this year, although no time table was given.
Utley also stated that last year, it was the right knee that bothered him and this year it is the left. He is optimistic because the right knee feels fine now and the new program seems to be working on the left knee. But does this not beg the obvious question that no one has asked him? When the right knee was injured, why did he change his routine/program on only the right side?
Here is the quote from Utley regarding the two knees: “So we made some changes last year to my right knee. It worked because it feels strong. It feels good. Now I have to make similar changes to my left knee.”
Why was the program not changed for BOTH knees back when this issue originally started flaring up? What affects the right knee can also affect the left, especially when it involves impact movements like running and jumping. Still, no precautions were taken. Why? And who in the world was giving Utley training advice at that time? Because whoever neglected to state the obvious may have just cost the Phillies another half a season with no All-Star second baseman.
This could also cut Utley’s career short if the problem persists. Right now, he believes it will all work out. But a few years down the road, who knows?
As you may have heard, former Philles closer Ryan Madson needs Tommy John surgery, ending his 2012 season with the Reds before it even began. Worse than that, super agent Scott Boras managed to dig up only a 1-year deal for Madson which means he may have to beg for a 2013 contract after not having pitched for all of 2012.
The Wild Thing, former closer Mitch Williams, wrote an excellent article about Madson’s free agency this off-season. Williams discovered that Boras turned down a 3-year, $33 million counteroffer from the Phillies without ever consulting Madson, who did wish to return to Philly. Instead, Madson got stuck with a meager 1-year deal with the Reds.
Williams then posed the question, “What if he gets injured.” Well the Wild Thing’s crystal ball was correct. Madson got hurt and now his career may be in jeopardy.
Mad Dog Madson should be foaming at the mouth over the way his agent handled his free agency. If I were Madson, Boras would be fired. Then again, I guess the Phillies can thank Boras for doing such a crappy job. Had he not totally sucked, the Phillies would be paying Madson $11 million this year to do nothing except have surgery. Nicely done, Boras.
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Most people who have encountered former Phillie Lenny Dykstra are aware that he is not in full possession of all his marbles. Clearly, the elevator does not go to the top floor.
But Dykstra gave new meaning to the word “insane” when he did an interview with NBC reporter John Clark earlier this month.
During the interview, Dykstra talks about the possibility of him being assassinated by a bank, tells his critics “suck my d*ck” and even compares himself to Ghandi. You cannot make this stuff up:
It gets worse when he starts talking about Charlie Sheen. Dykstra calls Sheen “focused.” He also blames Sheen’s condition on “medication” and says most of it is a “joke.”
But my favorite Dykstra moment comes when he blasts Mitch Williams, whom he says he hates. Why? Because, according to Dykstra, “He lost the World Series,” and put Dykstra through “torture” as a result. So, the rest of the team had nothing to do with losing the World Series?
Williams is a stand-up guy who admits his own mistakes. Dykstra is a delusional moron who does not deserve to even breathe the same air.
Dykstra is an embarrassment to the Phillies organization. Shameful.
Videos by NBC
Throughout most of the year, Roy Halladay has not gotten a great deal of run support from his teammates. Today, he had a rough time against the Mets, allowing 2 runs in the first inning alone to put the Phillies in a quick hole. Halladay seemed off but he did pitch 7 innings; on 9 hits and a walk, he allowed 5 runs while striking out 10 batters.
But the offense did not let Halladay down this time. After a Jimmy Rollins 1-out double in the 3rd, the Mets short stop Jose Reyes committed a fielding error that allowed Placido Polanco to reach base. From there, a rally was born. Remember yesterday when mascot J-Roll Smurf put the voodoo hex on Reyes? Coincidence? Well, who cares…it worked, whatever it was.
The Reyes error sent the Phillies on a huge tear; Ross Gload singled, which scored Rollins. And then the super-hot Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a career high 16 games with a 3-run homer. Later, a Brian Schneider single scored Jayson Werth for the 5th run of the inning. Werth had also homered the inning before. Here are a few shots of the home runs and subsequent celebrations:
The effort was all around for the Phillies. Not only did the offense score 6 runs for Halladay, they played solid defense as well. Halladay kept running into trouble, but some good pitches, a double play and a few diving grabs helped him out. Gload especially gave a great effort at first base filling in for the injured Ryan Howard. Here are a few more action shots from the game:
Another huge positive to come out of this 6-5 win was the back-end of the bullpen. Ryan Madson played “Bridge to Lidge” in his former excellent fashion, shutting the Mets down in the 8th. And then Brad Lidge, with his usual tense moments, did finally get the save with only a 1-run lead. Both pitchers have been up and down so it was nice to see the pen work the way it is actually supposed to in a tight game.
There was positive news before the game as well. Both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino were out running around and playing Frisbee on the field. This is meant to be a conditioning exercise, and Utley was quite serious about getting the job done.
Victorino, on the other hand, while still getting the job done, looked more like a kid playing in his back yard than a professional ballplayer. He even raced someone’s kid at one point. Nothing wrong with a little fun ;o) Victorino was running very well and it looks like he may be activated soon. He will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday and may be back by next weekend.
Also before the game, the Alumni Batting Challenge took place with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles. Stocker and Bottalico took home the prize. You can see many photos from the even in the full game Photo Album.
The Phillies have a day off tomorrow before the Dodgers come to town. Kyle Kendrick will start Tuesday’s game which is scheduled for 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The match-up of Cole Hamels and Johan Santana tonight had potential to be a very tight pitcher’s duel. And that is exactly what happened; the two pitchers were fairly even through 6 innings. Santana did not allow a hit until Placido Polanco broke through in the 6th with a single. Hamels scattered 6 hits but also struck out 11 batters. The only scar on the line for Hamels was a solo homer from Jeff Francoeur in the 7th.
Hamels reached 99 pitches by the end of 7 and was pinch hit for in the bottom of the inning. Chad Durbin pitched the 8th and had a very scary outing. With the bases loaded, he nearly walked a run home. Luckily for the Phils, Francoeur was done with the home run hitting. He went fishing for a high fastball that would have been ball four and struck out.
With the score still 1-0 in favor of the Mets going into the bottom of the 8th. The Phils had an exciting inning with a few singles and a walk. But with the bases loaded and 2 outs, Ross Gload grounded out after a very good battle at the plate.
In the 9th inning, the Phillies still could not get anything done. They ended up with only 5 hits in the loss, went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left 9 men on base. While it was a disappointing loss, overall it was a good game because of the pitching. Hamels was outstanding so it hurts to see him not get the win…again. Poor guy.
The final game with the Mets is tomorrow afternoon at 1:35pm. Roy Halladay will pitch :O) The Alumni Batting Challenge will also take place before the game with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles.
I will return with photos from both the pre-game event and the Halladay domination of the Mets – yes, I fully expect Halladay domination. J-Roll Smurf, our official Phillies Phollowers mascot, says it will be so. He is in charge of the voodoo and I believe him. J-Roll Smurf has been practicing his voodoo bat attack all day long, so expect results. Go Phillies!
Reyes and Smurf photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The post-game shaving cream pie to the face has become a celebratory Phillies tradition over the years. One reader wanted to know where it all began. In my own experiences, I have been able to trace the practice as far back as 1993 where it happened on a semi-regular basis. Here are a few shots from 1993 where Mitch Williams pied Andy Ashby. You can see the pie in mid-air as Ashby tried to avoid contact during his post-game interview with Harry Kalas:
Usually when a player gets a game winning, walk-off hit, they can expect to get pied. However, sometimes this prank is also carried out following any outstanding performance. For instance, on June 2, 2002, pitcher Robert Person hit two home runs in a game against the Expos, the first of which was a Grand Slam. The result? 7 RBI for Person, a win for the Phils and yes, a pie to the face.
In the 1990’s, the pie incidents were sort of random. But when Tomas Perez joined the Phillies in 2000, he became the “official” Pie Guy and for the next 6 years, he did not miss a beat. Perez pied everyone. And his teammates loved him; Perez was riot in the clubhouse, keeping things loose and fun. And for me personally, Perez was the nicest, most approachable player I had ever met. I always stood in the same place before games and Perez took notice. All I had to do was wave at him, and he would run right over. We spoke before many games and I got countless autographs from him.
The day the Phillies released him in 2006, we had a conversation about his tenure in Philly during batting practice. I told him how glad everyone was that he was still with the team and that his smile always brightened my day. Literally, ½ an hour later, he was released. :O(
Not only was I devastated, but so were Perez’s teammates. Ryan Howard said after the game, “I will miss the pies in the face.” And catcher Mike Lieberthal, another frequent pie’ing victim, added, “He is one of my favorite players I ever played with. He was not only a good player, but he kept everybody loose and is one of the best personalities I have ever been around.”
With the departure of Perez, the torch was passed to Shane Victorino who became the new Pie Guy and has been basically in charge of the prank ever since. Although, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs and others have been known to help out on occassion. And these days, no one is safe from the Pie Guy:
In fact, some pie pranks are not even reserved for the playing field. This pie attack occurred during an interview with Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick on NBC’s Today Show. The attack starts at about 2 minutes, 45 seconds into the video:
And some players even get double teamed; check out Carlos Ruiz:
There are some varying opinions on the pie pranks. Some players think it is funny; some are not so thrilled about it. As for the fans, I have heard everything from how funny it is to how stupid it is. One fan told me it is annoying because it ruins the post-game interview. Others wonder if it could be dangerous. And yet others look forward to it and find it entertaining. What do you think? Feel free to comment below.
What I can tell you is this; the Pie Guy is a Phillies tradition that does not appear to be going away any time soon.
Photo credits: Ibanez, Howard, Perez by Jenn; Ashby & Williams by Diana Dickerson; Rollins: NY Daily News; Victorino: CBSsports.com; Lieberthal: http://www.usat-rockymountain.org
Shakespeare once posed the question, “What’s in a name?” In baseball, a player’s nickname can stick like glue, whether they like it or not. Here is a rundown of some of the Phillies player’s nicknames, past and present.
2010 Phillies Players
Brad “Light’s Out” Lidge
Ben Francisco – Scoots
Carlos Ruiz – Chooch
Charlie Manuel – Chuck
Chase “The Man” Utley or The Model (given to him by J-Roll) or Chutley
Cole Hamels – Hollywood Hamels
Greg Dobbs – Dober (he actually doesn’t like it, but everyone calls him this anyway!) or Roy Hobbs, from “The Natural”
Jayson Werth – J-Dub or Werewolf
Jimmy Rollins – J-Roll or Papa Smurf (I know this one is accurate because Jimmy told me himself that this is what he was called “back in the day.”)
Juan Carlos Romero – JC (did anyone even know his real name was Juan Carlos or did you read this and go, who is this guy??)
Juan Castro – “Manos de Oro” (means gold hands)
Milt Thompson (current coach)- Uncle Milty
Plácido Polanco – Polly
Roy Halladay – Doc
Ryan Howard – The Big Man or Rhino
Ryan Madson – Mad Dog
Shane Victorino – The Flyin’ Hawaiian
Previous Phillies Players:
Antonio Alfonseca – El Pulpo or The Octopus (because he has 6 fingers on each hand….seriously…I have photos)
Bake McBride – Shake n’ Bake
Bobby Abreu – El Comedulce (means The Candy Eater)
Chris Coste – Chris Clutch
Chuck Klein – The Hoosier Hammerer
Curt Schilling – Schill
Darren Daulton – Dutch
Dick “Don’t call me Richie” Allen
Ed Delahanty – Big Ed, Human Grasshopper
Garry Maddox – The Secretary of Defense
Gary “Sarge” Matthews
Geoff Jenkins – Jenks or Brett Favre (he is his long-lost twin :o)
Greg Luzinski – The Bull
Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander
John Kruk – Krukker
John Titus – Silent John
John Vukovich – Vuk
Juan Samuel – Sammy
Kevin Saucier – Hot Sauce
Larry Bowa – Gnat (does this mean he is annoying?)
Lenny Dykstra – Nails
Mickey Doolan – Doc
Mickey Morandini – Dandy Little Glove Man (Is it just me, or is this like the gayest nickname ever?)
Mike Lieberthal – Lieby
Mike Schmidt – Iron Mike or Schmidty
Mitch Williams – Wild Thing and Mitchy-Poo (Harry Kalas coined that one)
Otto Knabe – Dutch
Pat “The Bat” Burrell
Pat Corrales (manager) – Ike
Pedro Feliz – Pete Happy (literal translation of his name)
Pete Rose – Charlie Hustle
Richie Ashburn – Whitey
Rudy Seanez – Action Traction (I have NO idea what this is about)
Steve Bedrosian – Bedrock
Steve Carlton – Lefty
Todd Jones – Roller Coaster
Von Hayes – Five-for-One
Willie Jones – Puddin’ Head
Have any more to add to the list? Leave your favorites in the comments :O)
Photos by Jenn