Tagged: National League

NLCS Game 1: Disappointment For The Phillies

I feel like I have a hangover, but I did not have anything to drink.  The Phillies 4-3 loss to the Giants last night was the kind of life-sucking let down that leaves you wishing you had stayed in bed.  Where was the big comeback?  Where was the timely hitting?  And more importantly, where was the pitcher’s duel we were promised?  The raucous crowd used all their energy to try and will this team to a victory.  But when Shane Victorino struck out to end the game, all the air went out of the balloon.

Neither Roy Halladay nor Tim Lincecum pitched very well and both were visibly annoyed by the home plate umpire, Derryl Cousins, who had a moving strike zone.  Cousins only called hitters out on strikes twice all night and one of those was Lincecum.  Although, if you count the time he tried to call Jimmy Rollins out when he only had 2 strikes on him, I suppose he went for 3.
101610 PITCHING.jpg  Ex-Phil Pat Burrell was out in the 6th inning on a strike right down the middle, but the idiot in blue didn’t call it, which led to 2 more runs.  Of course, Raul Ibanez probably should have caught this ball that Burrell hit; and there was no need to scale the wall like he did either:

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The Phillies offense had opportunities to score but did not capitalize.  Ryan Howard led off the 2nd inning with a double and then never moved until the inning was over.  In the 3rd, Carlos Ruiz tied the game with a homer.  Halladay then singled and it looked like the Phillies had a real shot at rattling Lincecum.  But then Victorino stepped to the plate and grounded into a double play to kill all the momentum.  Still, Placido Polanco and Chase Utley kept the inning going only to have Howard strike out to end it.

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It was that kind of up and down drama that never materialized into runs.  Jayson Werth, the only Phillies batter with 2 hits in the game, nailed a 2-run homer in the 6th to give the Phillies a chance at a comeback.  But despite the defensive efforts and pitching to keep it a 4-3 game, the Phils offense never stepped up and got it done.

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For the Giants, Cody Ross was getting it done.  I never liked Ross when he was a Marlin and last night’s game certainly has not changed that as Ross hit not one, but two home runs off Halladay.  In fact, I now believe that Ross is pure evil; the spawn of Satan.  I swear he is the brother of Chucky, the most despicable of all Satanic spawn.  He must be stopped before he steals our souls.  Exorcism, anyone?  Ugh.

Ross chucky2.jpg

By the way, has anyone else noticed that despite Rollins’ claims he is healthy that he looks like he could not hit the broad side of a barn right now?  I hope Charlie Manuel watches film of his at-bats and holds him out of the game if he is not right.  It is the playoffs; they do not have time for Rollins to work his way back.  Love ya Jimmy, but please do not hurt the team by trying to tough it out.

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PA163801CU.jpgOne fun note from the game was the whistling and catcalling directed at Lincecum and his long hair.  Some fans shouted that he looked like a girl and then the whistling began, as if being directed at a pretty girl.  Lincecum was asked if he noticed and he said, “I was thinking I must have a really nice butt.”  Sorry Timmy, you actually have no butt at all.  I have photographic evidence.

And here is the full Photo Album from the game, which includes pre-game ceremonies, a shot of VP Joe Biden in the crowd and some Phanatic fun to cheer you up.

So tonight the Phillies will lean on Roy Oswalt to get a win.  They will also try to do something they have never done before; hit Jonathan Sanchez.  Cross your fingers…game time is 8:00pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

NLCS Rotation Announced

Manager Charlie Manuel has announced the Phillies starting rotation for the NLCS which is set to begin on Saturday.  There are really no surprises here:

Game 1:  Roy Halladay

Game 2:  Roy Oswalt

Game 3:  Cole Hamels

Game 4:  Joe Blanton

Game 5:  Roy Halladay

Game 6:  Roy Oswalt

Game 7:  Cole Hamels

Manuel could have switched Oswalt and Hamels, but there should not be much difference.  Also, Hamels usually pitches well on the road.  The Giants have named their first 3 starters: Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain. Lefty Madison Bumgarner is penciled in as the 4th starter.

I was thinking about the Game 1 match-up of Halladay and Lincecum and realized, if you look beyond the stats, these are two very different individuals.  Take a look at the comparison:

Halladay

Lincecum

Age – 33

Age – 26

230 pounds

170 pounds soaking wet

Short, cropped hair

Long, wild hippie hair

Is an awesome Daddy

Has an awesome Daddy

Super polite

Drops F-Bombs on camera

Loves kids

Is a kid

Thinks “pot” is something you cook noodles in

Thinks about “pot” and wants to eat lots of noodles

Has a web page dedicated to him called “I Want To Go To The Zoo With Roy Halladay.”

Has a baby monkey named after him at the SF zoo (see photo)

Nickname – “Doc”

Nickname – “The Freak”

Most spoken phrase/word – “Win”

Most spoken phrase – “I don’t know”  In 1 Q&A session, he said it 8 times.

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And if you enjoyed that, here is another fun tidbit.  During the NLDS against the Reds, the Phillies players were so relaxed, that even the usually serious Roy Oswalt had a little fun in front of the camera’s during an in-game interview with pitching coach Rich Dubee:

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Yes, that is Oswalt cheesing it up for the viewing public.  Nicely done, Roy 2.0.

 

Zoo photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Phillies Will Meet The Giants In The NLCS

The San Francisco Giants defeated the Braves last night to advance to the NLCS against the Phillies.  This match-up promises to be a hard-fought duel to the death between two great pitching staffs.  The season series between the two teams ended in a draw with 3 wins each out of 6 games.  These teams are very closely matched.

The real drama will unfold in Game 1 on Saturday when two Cy Young winners face off.  Tim Lincecum of the Giants has won the award the past two years and Roy Halladay of the Phils is the favorite to win the award this year.  Halladay already has won the award once before.


Halladay Lincecum.jpgIn 2010, Halladay finished the year with a 21-10 record and a miniscule 2.44 ERA.  Lincecum went 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA, a disappointing year by Lincecum standards.  But in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves, Lincecum pitched a complete game 2-hitter.  He was outdone only by Halladay who pitched a no-hitter in his postseason debut against the Reds.  A slight edge goes to Halladay with this match-up, but only by a hair.  The deciding factor is likely to be the offense of both teams.

Here are some stats for the last 5 years of Phillies batters vs. Lincecum and Giants batters vs. Halladay:

VS. Lincecum

AVG

AB

HR

RBI

Dobbs, Greg

.200

5

0

0

Gload, Ross

.400

5

0

0

Howard, Ryan

.250

16

2

4

Ibanez, Raul

.143

7

0

0

Polanco, Placido

.500

2

0

0

Rollins, Jimmy

.167

18

0

0

Ruiz, Carlos

.250

8

0

0

Schneider, Brian

.000

5

0

0

Utley, Chase

.118

17

1

1

Victorino, Shane

.222

18

1

2

Werth, Jayson

.500

6

1

1

 

VS. Halladay

AVG

AB

HR

RBI

Burrell, Pat

.333

18

0

1

Fontenot, Mike

.333

3

0

0

Huff, Aubrey

.238

42

0

2

Renteria, Edgar

.286

7

0

0

Ross, Cody

.250

4

0

1

Sanchez, Freddy

.333

3

0

0

Uribe, Juan

.167

12

0

0

 

For the Phillies, Jayson Werth and Placido Polanco have the best shot at rattling Lincecum.  And for the Giants, our old pal Pat Burrell has done well against Halladay in 18 at-bats.  However, several big guns for the Giants like Pablo Sandoval and rookie Buster Posey have never faced him.  So, there is no telling how they may fare.

Another possible factor in the game is the lengthy lay-off before the series begins.  However, both teams will be dormant for almost the same amount of time; the Phillies ended their NLDS on Sunday and the Giants ended on Monday.  The same concern was expressed back in 2008 and the Phils won the World Series that year.  Also, I think the time-off will be good for the Phils who have a lot of banged up players like Polanco with his bum elbow and Jimmy Rollins, who is still nursing a hamstring injury.

My biggest personal concern is the Phillies having to play 3 games in San Francisco.  They lost 2 of 3 there this year and 3 of 4 the year before, with their only win coming in Cliff Lee’s Phillies debut.  I was there for the entire series and can tell you, this team does not like playing in AT&T Park.  It is bitterly cold, windy, the ballpark is huge with odd dimensions and the bullpens are uncomfortably close to the field.  Not to mention the visitor’s clubhouse is cramped and awkward…I know; I have been in there.  In short, it is a hostile environment.


P9213064 Burrell2.jpgThe Phillies will need to use the home field advantage to jump on the Giants quickly.  Fans can help out by bringing their usual fervor and enthusiasm to the ballpark.  Feel free to give Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand their proper welcome back, but after that, all bets are off. 

Burrell should not be allowed to get too comfy coming back home because he can really hurt the Phillies; he loves hitting in Citizens Bank Park.  And yes, it pains me to think of heckling Burrell; he helped bring us the 2008 championship.  But fans need to suck it up and treat him like the enemy!  After the series, we can all give him a group hug to make up for it ;o)

 

 

Photo and head shots by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Advance To NLCS With Sweep Of The Reds

The third game of the NLDS between the Phillies and the Reds was not terribly action packed.  Both teams pitched well and hits were at a premium.  But while the game was not super exciting, the outcome certainly was.  With a victory, the Phillies swept the Reds right out of the playoffs.

As the chosen starter for game 3, Cole Hamels was anxious to show what he could do after an unbelievable no-hitter by Roy Halladay in Game 1.  Hamels pounded the strike zone all night and sent Reds back to the dugout one by one.  He allowed 5 hits while striking out 9 batters for a complete game shut-out.  No quite a no-hitter, but Hamels was amazing.  Plus, the final out was made by ex-Phillie Scott Rolen; icing on the cake.

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As for the offense, the Phillies got off to an early lead thanks to another Reds error.  As a team, the Reds have committed 7 errors in 3 games of this NLDS.  Tonight it was an Orlando Cabrera throwing error after Jayson Werth put the ball in play that cost them a run.  Cabrera had a sore rib cage and was not supposed to play.  But after some magic massages today, Cabrera was in the line-up.

About the massages, Cabrera said, “The guy’s name is Andy. I don’t know his last name.”  Do you think afterwards Cabrera left a few dollars on the bedside table and left?  Poor Andy must feel cheapened by the encounter ;o)  But we are all thankful that Cabrera felt well enough to play.  Thanks, Andy…you deserve some credit as well.

The other run for the Phillies came off the bat of Chase Utley who sent the ball to right center; it snuck over the wall for a homer.  Replay was used to verify the homer as the Reds claimed a fan interfered but ultimately, the run counted.

With Hamels holding down the Reds, the two runs were all they needed.  With the 2-0 win, the Phillies will advance to the NLCS against either the Giants or the Braves, depending on the outcome of that series.  The Giants currently lead the series, 2-1.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Oswalt Falters But Phillies Pull Off The Comeback Win

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The Phillies started the postseason with 2 pitchers named Roy in the first 2 games.  In each of those games, the 2 Roy’s were polar opposites in terms of performance and results.  Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter in his first ever playoff game.  Roy Oswalt on the other hand, with prior playoff experience, did not pitch well at all.  But all is well that ends well as the Phillies went on to win anyway. 

At the start of the game, Oswalt looked pretty bad.  He threw balls right down the middle of the plate and the Reds did not miss them.  Oswalt surrendered 3 earned runs and 1 unearned on 5 hits and a walk.  Chase Utley made 2 throwing errors in the 2nd inning, which is very odd for Utley, and that cost Oswalt the unearned run.

Between the errors, ineffective pitching and lack of hitting, things looked grim for the Phillies early on.  They were not able to scratch out any runs until the bottom of the 5th when 2 Reds errors plus an Utley single scored 2 runs.  Utley redeemed himself and, making him feel even better, the Reds equaled his screw-ups.  Even better, one of the errors was from ex-Phillie Scott Rolen, which the fans enjoyed a lot.  Rolen has been booed mercilessly these past two games.  No love lost between him and Philadelphia…

Things got stranger in the 6th; Carlos Ruiz was hit in the knee with a pitch by another ex-Phillie, Arthur Rhodes.  Ruiz seemed to be fine and Rhodes was lifted from the game.  Pitcher Logan Ondrusek replaced Rhodes and only 3 pitches later, he nailed pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the head to load the bases.  Luckily for Francisco, he moved his head quick enough that the ball hit the brim of the helmet.  So although it looked very scary, he was okay.  Shane Victorino walked next to score a run.

So while all this was pretty entertaining, the Phillies were still down 4-3 going into the 7th.  Utley was hit by a pitch for the 3rd erroneous toss by a Reds pitcher.  Things began to go seriously downhill for the Reds when, with 1 out, they brought in their flame throwing rookie, Aroldis Chapman.  With 100+ mph balls flying, it was the Reds fielders who got rattled instead of the Phillies batters…

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Jay Bruce
missed a fairly easy fly ball off the bat of Jimmy Rollins and then Brandon Phillips dropped the relay throw, allowing 2 runs to score.  Ruiz hit into a fielder’s choice a little later, but it scored another run.  Also in this inning, Mike Sweeney made his postseason debut as a pinch hitter and singled to left.  Having waited 16 years to reach the playoffs, that hit had to feel amazing for Sweeney.  By the way, join us at my “I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney” Facebook page for more Sweeney fun :O)

So the Reds had 4 errors through 7 innings in this game, which the Phillies then led by a score of 6-4.  Ryan Madson erased the Reds in the top of the 8th.  In the bottom half, Utley singled and stole a base, still determined to erase the errors from everyone’s minds.  Jayson Werth knocked him in to add on an insurance run for a 7-4 lead.

That set up the 9th for Brad Lidge.  Despite walking the first batter he faced and making the fans grumble, Lidge buckled down and got the next 3 batter out to put the Phillies up 2 games to none in the NLDS.  The Phillies are one win away from advancing!  Cole Hamels will pitch in Cincinnati on Sunday at 7:00pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies End Season With Best Record In Baseball

The Phillies ended the 2010 regular season today with the best record in baseball for the first time in franchise history.  Their 97-65 record is even more impressive when all of the injuries they suffered this year are added to the equation.  Unfortunately, the injuries do not appear to be behind them yet.

In the 8-7 loss to the Braves today, catcher Carlos Ruiz was plunked on the elbow by a Tim Hudson pitch.  He appeared to be in a great deal of pain and eventually, he left the game.  There has been no word yet about how serious it may be.

Another potential huge loss heading into the playoffs may be JC Romero.  After throwing a pitch in the 6th inning, Romero signed to the coaches that he was hurt.  Reports are that he is suffering from left lower back soreness.  If he cannot play, it looks like lefty Antonio Bastardo will be a lock for the postseason roster.  Having only one lefty in the pen may not be a great idea, but the Phils may have no choice.

The only real highlights early in today’s game were 2-run homers by both John Mayberry Jr. and Jayson Werth.  Also, Cole Hamels pitched very well for 2 innings in his postseason warm-up.  Everyone else had issues getting desperate Braves hitters out.  Even Roy Oswalt gave up a run in one inning of work.  Joe Blanton allowed 2 runs and the big damage was done by Danys Baez.  Baez allowed 4 runs in only 2/3 of an inning, likely cementing his new roll as a cheerleader instead of a spot on the postseason roster.


Baez cheerleader.jpgBut as the Phillies are known to do late in games, the offense started cooking again in the 8th inning.  With 2 outs, Jimmy Rollins singled and Mike Sweeney reached base on a Braves error.  Wilson Valdez hit an RBI single and Ben Francisco doubled in 2 more runs.  The game got a lot closer, with the Phillies trailing by a score of 8-7.  But in the 9th, they were unable to score and the Braves went on to win.

While the Braves won, their playoff hopes are still in the hands of the Padres, who are playing the Giants right now.  They will know more in a few hours.

In the meantime, congratulations to the Phillies, officially the BEST team in baseball right now!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies: The Grim Reaper Of Playoff Dreams

The Atlanta Braves must feel like they have been unknowingly cast in a bad horror flick.  With their playoff hopes on the line, the Phillies have now beat them 2 days in a row with only one game left in the season.  In the meantime, their Wild Card foe, the Padres, keep winning.


Worley reaper of Braves.jpgYielding a large axe, rookie pitcher Vance Worley did his best impersonation of the Grim Reaper today against the Braves.  They did not manage a single hit off Worley until the 4th inning.  Worley went 5 innings, allowing only the one hit and looked like a seasoned veteran.  The only reason he was pulled after 5 innings was because there was a runner on third and the Phils chose to pinch hit for him.

Actually, the Phillies offense had runners on 3rd with only 1 out twice and failed to score.  That finally changed in the 7th inning when a walk by Jimmy Rollins kick started some scoring.  A Braves fielding error followed by a bunch of Phillies singles ended in a 4-run inning.  Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino all picked up RBI’s.

Placido Polanco returned to the field today after having a cortisone shot in his elbow earlier this week.  Polly went 2 for 4 at the plate, which is a very good sign.  He did have one error at third early in the game, but he is probably still shaking the rust off.  It is good to see Polly feeling better though!

The Phillies bullpen pitchers were scary as well.  Antonio Bastardo, Danys Baez, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras continued to stab Braves hitters through the heart, sending them back to the dugout, one by one.  The horror continued for the Braves as the Phillies tacked on more runs in the 8th and 9th for a 7-0 lead.  And that was the final score.

With the Braves loss and a Padres win, the Wild Card race is a dead tie going into the final day of the regular season tomorrow.  As a result, who the Phillies will play in the NLDS is still uncertain.  What is certain is that, no matter the outcome tomorrow, the Phils will end the season with at least 97 wins and the best record in all of baseball!

The final game of the regular season tomorrow starts at 1:35pm.  Cole Hamels will start the game.

Victorinos.jpgBy the way, I would like to send congratulations to Shane and Melissa Victorino on the birth of their baby boy, Kingston Shane Victorino, this past Thursday.  The 7 lb. 8 oz. slugger is the second child for the couple; they have a daughter names Kali’a and Melissa has a teenage boy, Keenan, as well.  Shane & Melissa are great people; I wish them much happiness!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography except baby photo by CSN

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