Tagged: MVP

Hamels Flounders Against Fish

The Phillies had a very unique opportunity this weekend to bury the competition in the NL East.  Note I said “had.”  The Nationals, although they have won 7 in a row putting the Phils to shame, are too far back to catch up.  The Mets have buried themselves.  And the Braves are bouncing up and down, but so far, posing no real threat.  So, with three games against the Marlins who are closest in the division to the Phillies, this was the time to fry them for good.  But that is simply not happening and the Phillies have just made their lives a lot more difficult.

The 4-6 loss last night was a nightmare for several reasons.  After dropping these two in a row against the Fish, the Phillies have given them hope.  And going into game three today, that is not a good thing.  Add to that the slow and painful destruction of Cole Hamels, our former MVP, and a lot of heads in that clubhouse have got to be hanging low right now.  Hamels was only able to get through 5 1/3 innings while allowing 4 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks.  While he had a wicked curve ball working, he seemed hesitant to throw it more often.  And with his fastball command still being way off, his changeup was less effective.  The hesitation on the curveball leads one to wonder if his elbow is still bothering him or if it is just a mental thing, where he is afraid to reinjure the elbow.  The only one who really knows is Hamels and he is not talking.

Island.jpgThe offense continued its slumber as the few runners the Phillies managed to get on base looked like they were stranded on a deserted island with no hope of rescue.  Although Ryan Howard emerged from his recent slump and went 4 for 4 with a walk, he scored only 1 time as his teammates could not find the life raft and get him home.  Shane Victorino had 2 hits in his first start back after nursing a swollen calf, but he also became part of the 11 men left on base.  Jayson Werth was moved up a spot in the line-up to break up the left-handed bats, but he went 0 for 5 and may as well have stayed where he was in the 6-hole.  The Marlins even played sloppy defense, had 2 errors in the game and still, the Phillies could not capitalize.

And now the really unfortunate situation is here; the Phillies will try to salvage one win, but to do so, they will have to hit the Marlins best pitcher, Josh Johnson.  And even though Jamie Moyer usually does well against the Fish (13-2 lifetime), he will have to be near perfect to give this sleepy offense a chance to wake up.  I will be at the game this afternoon and return with photos and a recap.  Wish me luck!

Howard photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

The Old Hamels Is Back; The Old Lidge Is Still MIA



P7098599 Hamels.jpgCole Hamels
returned to MVP form last night against the Diamondbacks in a 4-3 win.  Everyone was a little nervous in the 1st inning when Hamels allowed a solo home run, but after that, he settled in and did not allow another run.  Even better than that, Hamels pitched all the way through 8 full innings, allowed only 4 hits and struck out nine batters.  Welcome back, Cole!  We missed you.

Shane Victorino led the offensive attack with 3 hits, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.  The D-Backs helped out the Phillies offense as well with 2 key errors in the game, much like they did on Monday night.  But those errors and the extra run the Phillies scored because of the errors turned out to be the difference in the game.

Going into the 9th with a 4-1 lead, the Phillies sent Brad Lidge to the mound and he immediately got into big trouble.  Lidge walked the leadoff batter and then gave up a 2-run homer to the next batter to cut their lead to 1 run.  By what must have been some act of God, Lidge managed to get the 3 outs and end the game without blowing the save.

But fans everywhere are now officially worried about Brad Lidge.  No one expected perfection like last season, but a record of 0-4, 6 blown saves, 24 walks in 38 innings and an ERA of 7.11 was not expected either.  The Phillies will not go far in the playoffs with a closer posting these numbers.  Either Lidge needs to get his act together, or could Brett Myers return to the closer role in August, which is when he may return after hip surgery?  Does this seem farfetched?  Maybe.  But Lidge cannot continue to hurt the team.  Last night, he got lucky.  Going forward, it will not always be the case.

And is this some sort of weird Phillies curse?  You get a great season out of a guy, like Lidge in 2008; you sign him to a huge contract and mayhem ensues.  Remember Pat Burrell?  Burrell had a breakout season in 2002; then in 2003, the Phillies gave him a monster contact of 6 years, $50 million dollars and guess what happened next?  Burrell struggled for years and did not fulfill his true potential until he led the Phillies to the playoffs in 2007 and then to the World Series in 2008.  But from 2003-2006, it was not always pretty.  Is Lidge suffering from the post-contract blues?  Whatever the case, with 3 years invested in Lidge, the Phillies need to get him back on track and fast.

The Phillies have one more game against the D-Backs tonight at 9:40pm with JA Happ on the mound.  I am in San Francisco right now awaiting their arrival on Thursday for a 4-game series against the Giants.  And while I am very excited to see Giants pitchers like Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito, disappointment set in this morning when it was announced that Randy Johnson has a torn rotator cuff and will be out for at least 3 weeks.  Johnson is a future Hall of Famer, so I was hoping to see him pitch.  I even tried to see his 300th win in DC back in June, but the game was rained out and I could not go the next day.  And such is my luck…oh well!  I still get to see my Phillies and hang out in California for a week, so it’s all good :O) 

Off topic, I would like to send out my condolences to the family and friends of former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson.  Johnson lost his battle with cancer yesterday at the age of 68.  May he rest in peace.

Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Phils Pummel Padres

In the make-up game tonight against the Padres, the Phillies brought out the big guns.  Both Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz each had 3 hits and 1 RBI a piece.  P4170305.jpgEvery other position starter had at least one hit with Raul Ibanez collecting 2 RBI and Jimmy Rollins with 2 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.

Cole Hamels was not spectacular, but he did put in a quality start.  Hamels got through 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks.  Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone for Hamels to get back to his MVP form.  The Phillies won the game, 9-4 and will start a 3-game series tomorrow with the Cardinals.

Helmet Saves A Life

Many coaches, including ex-Phillies manager Larry Bowa, have grumbled over having to wear batting helmets while on the field coaching 1st or 3rd base during a game.  This action was taken when minor league coach, Mike Coolbaugh, was killed after being struck in the head with a foul ball in July of 2007.  Well tonight, the rule saved a life.  Padres 1st base coach, Rick Renteria, was hit directly in the helmet with a hard line drive off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez.  The crowd gasped as Renteria hit the ground, but thanks to the helmet, he was fine and went right on coaching.  Whew!  A very tense moment, to say the least.

Injuries

Both JC Romero and Chad Durbin, big pieces of the Phillies bullpen, were placed on the 15-day DL today.  Romero is having a minor forearm strain and should be quick to return.  Durbin, on the other hand, has apparently been suffering from a back injury for a month now and neglected to tell anyone.  But after giving up 3 runs in a game last night which killed any shot the team had at a rally, Durbin finally fessed up.  Ugh.

So, Tyler Walker returns from the Iron Pigs to fill one of the spots and Drew Carpenter gets the second spot.  It is Carpenter’s 2nd stop to the team this year and his 3rd trip to the majors overall.

Perfection

And congrats to Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox who threw a perfect game today against the Tampa Bay Rays!  And then, Buehrle got a congratulatory call from President Obama.  And then, I mentioned him in MY blog!  What a lucky, lucky guy :O)

Photo by Jenn

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

1-2-3 Punch Finishes Fish

The Florida Marlins were knocked out by the Phillies last night by a score of 4-0 in the first game back after the All-Star break.  If you thought the Phillies would be rusty after some time-off, think again.

Strike 1

Raul Ibanez – we missed you!  Without skipping a beat after a long stint on the DL, Ibanez is back firing on all cylinders.  In his first two at-bats last night, he knocked the ball out of the park; a 2-run home run in the 2nd inning and a solo shot in the 4th gave the Phillies all the momentum they needed.  Ibanez continues to make a case for MVP as he slings this team onto his shoulders and carries them towards the promise land…

Strike 2

Ryan Howard now holds the record for the fastest time to reach 200 home runs in major league history.  He hit #200 last night deep into the seats beyond right field.  Howard’s homer in his 658th career game surpassed the previously held record by 48 games, set by Hall of Famer, Ralph Kiner.  And that home run gave the Phillies a 4-0 lead in the 6th inning.

Strike 3

P5314954 Moyer.JPGJamie Moyer keeps getting younger and younger.  In his longest outing of the year, Moyer pitched 7 full innings and allowed only 1 hit, which did not come until the 5th inning.  And at the plate, he went 1 for 2 with a single to add to his dominance.  Moyer leads the Phillies pitching staff with 9 wins.  Who saw that coming at the beginning of the season?  I am betting Moyer did.

Up Next

The Phillies continue the 4-game series with the Fish tonight; game time is 7:10pm and Cole Hamels will try to reclaim his spot as the staff ace.  Best of luck to him!

Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Trading Places

Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols have swapped MVP titles:  In 2006, Howard was the MVP winner for the National League while the Phillies missed the playoffs by one game and Pujols was a World Champion.  This year, Pujols snagged the MVP and Howard went home with the World Series ring, coming in 2nd in the MVP voting.  A little ironic though that Pujols won this year, because in 2006, he stated that a player should not get the MVP award if his team did not make the playoffs.  Well, Pujols is now eating those words as his team finished FOURTH in their division and were obviously, nowhere near going to the playoffs.  And still, he won the award.  On the flip side, Howard carried the Phillies into the playoffs during the month of September where he batted .352 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs.  For the season, Howard had a Major League leading 48 home runs and 146 RBI.  But Howard came out on the losing end, likely due to his batting average.  Frankly, I do not care what his average is if he is hitting in key situations.  He was there when this team needed him the most and that, I do believe, is the definition of an MVP.  Nothing taken away from Pujols though; he is also a great player.  And apparently, the voters had a few other players in mind too.  Here is how the voting played out:

2008 NL MVP Award Voting

Player, Club

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

Points

Albert Pujols, STL

18

10

2

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

369

Ryan Howard, PHI

12

8

6

 

1

1

2

 

 

1

308

Ryan Braun, MIL

 

2

3

5

5

2

2

3

2

1

139

Manny Ramirez, LAD

 

2

4

7

2

3

2

 

1

2

138

Lance Berkman, HOU

 

2

4

4

1

3

3

4

1

1

126

CC Sabathia, MIL

 

4

5

1

2

2

3

 

1

2

121

David Wright, NYM

 

2

1

4

3

3

2

5

2

1

115

Brad Lidge, PHI

2

 

2

 

4

3

2

3

1

2

104

Carlos Delgado, NYM

 

 

5

1

2

5

 

2

3

 

96

Aramis Ramirez, CHC

 

 

 

2

4

1

1

4

3

1

66

Hanley Ramirez, FLA

 

 

 

2

2

2

1

2

2

5

55

Chipper Jones, ATL

 

1

 

 

 

2

4

1

2

2

44

Geovany Soto, CHC

 

 

 

3

1

 

3

 

1

 

41

Johan Santana, NYM

 

1

 

1

 

1

1

 

2

1

30

Chase Utley, PHI

 

 

 

1

1

1

1

 

3

2

30

Ryan Ludwick, STL

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

1

17

Brandon Webb, ARI

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

 

14

Adrian Gonzalez, SD

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

1

4

13

Matt Holliday, COL

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

1

 

1

13

Prince Fielder, MIL

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

1

1

1

11

Derrek Lee, CHC

 

 

 

 

1

 

1

 

 

 

10

Carlos Beltran, NYM

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

 

1

10

Tim Lincecum, SF

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

2

9

Jose Reyes, NYM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

3

Jose Valverde, HOU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

3

Stephen Drew, ARI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

2

Nate McLouth, PIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

Brad Lidge came in 8th place, and I am happy to see him get some recognition.  Chase Utley got some votes and ended up in 15th place.  Some VERY odd choices to even be on this list…Nate McLouth, for instance.  And there are FIVE Mets on the list, which is truly baffling.  This team chokes again and still has 5 potential MVP’s?  Just goes to show you how the New York area is still considered THE big market amongst media people.  So, what are your thoughts?

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Utley Wins Third Straight Silver Slugger

MLB announced yesterday that Chase Utley, who had the highest home run total of all second basemen in the majors this year, has been awarded his third consecutive Silver Slugger award.  Of course, this is just icing on the cake after the World Series win, but still a great honor.  Utley led all NL second basemen in hits (177), runs (113), RBIs (104), on-base percentage (.380), slugging percentage (.583) and extra-base hits (78).  His major leading home run total was 33 and he also racked up 100 RBI’s for the 4th season in a row.  And in those 4 seasons, he has accumulated more homers (112), RBI’s (404), hits (702) and runs scored (433) than any other second baseman in the majors.


P4208109 Utley.jpgUtley joins fellow teammates Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino in the post-season awards-fest.  Rollins and Victorino picked up Gold Gloves for their 2008 Championship season last week.  Ryan Howard was not chosen for a Silver Slugger this year, coming in second to Albert Pujols of the Cardinals.  This may be a trend; the NL MVP award will be announced on Monday and many expect that Howard will lose out to Pujols again.  If Howard were to win, it would be the third time in a row that the Phillies took home the award, with Howard winning it twice and Rollins once.  Wishful thinking, but we will find out on Monday!

Read more at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Please check out our new site and bookmark it.

And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!  All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!

Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose,  Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!

Jimmy Rolls Over The Giants In Return Appearance

MVP J-Roll wasted no time last night getting back into winning form, going 3 for 5 with 3 RBI’s and a home run that drove in pitcher Cole Hamels, rewarding Cole for his one hit of the night.  Obviously feeling the love back in his hometown and with the family looking on, Rollins did not miss a beat stepping off the DL.  There was an especially poignant shot of him on TV right after the home run, standing in the dugout with Ryan Howard where he was showing Ryan the stance and swing he took on the home run ball and Ryan looked on, wide-eyed, like a four year old to his Daddy.  Well baby, Daddy is home and if this is the guy you need to lean on to get out of this funk, then please do.  I have always thought Jimmy had the ability to lead this team and be that guy for the younger players, he just needs to take the role and run with it.  Let’s see if the fog begins to lift for Ryan now that Jimmy is back.  Here is a nice shot of Jimmy saying hi to me at Spring Training:


J-Roll says hi cr.jpg 

Pedro Feliz also had a decent game, apparently feeling comfortable in this ballpark where he played for seven years, and having his family there as well.  He was the only other Phillies player with a multiple hit game, going 2 for 5 with 1 RBI, although Pat Burrell did his part too in drawing 3 walks on the night. 

 

Now is it just me, or did Cole Hamels look like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum all night?  Like mommy would not let him go outside to play or took away his favorite Tonka truck?  Most of the night, every time Ruiz tossed the ball back to him, he snapped the glove back at it like he was going to give it a spanking.  Now honey, if you really feel the need to spank something, may I offer…  Oh sorry, the mind has wandered off again; back to baseball… :o)  Seriously though, he just looked upset with almost every pitch he threw last night.  He did come out with the win and gave up 4 earned runs in 7 innings which honestly, is probably not what we’d expect out of our ace, so I do see where the frustration comes from.  However, if he knew all night he was having issues, then where was the adjustment?  It just seemed like he struggled with the same stuff all 7 innings.  He did, however, manage to snap Aaron Rowand’s nine game hit streak.  Well, let’s see how the next start goes.  2 more in San Fran – Go Phillies!