With a 3-1 win on Thursday night, the Phillies managed to just barely squeak out their 3rd win in the 4-game series with the Nationals…and it was not without drama, as usual. Even with 4 errors in the game, somehow, this team found a way to win.
Of those 4 errors, 3 belonged to Chase Utley. He was so off-kilter in the field, one may have wondered whether or not someone spiked his Gatorade. But he did have a hit in the game and also ran the bases well, scoring a crucial run in bottom of the 8th inning.
The real heroes of the night however, were Darin Ruf and Kevin Frandsen…again. Ruf started off the 7th inning with a double off the Nat’s lone All-Star, Jordan Zimmerman. Carlos Ruiz bunted him to third and then, Mr. Clutch, Kevin Frandsen stepped to the plate. Frandsen smacked a double into no-man’s land in right-centerfield to score Ruf and give the Phillies their first lead of the night.
In the midst of all that, Kyle Kendrick managed to pitch a very solid 7 innings, despite all the fielding errors and the lack of run support. And then both Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon broke recent routine and pitched one drama-free inning a piece to nail down the win. It was as if the stars had finally aligned….
But even after taking 3 of 4 from the Nats, and 2 of 3 from the Braves, the Phillies still have a lot of work to do.
Slightly off topic here, did anyone else see the interview with Darin Ruf that aired a few days ago on CSN Phillly? He was asked why his offense has improved since being called up. While I cannot find a video of this anywhere (and there may be a reason for that), he said basically that he was taking advantage of the “detailed scouting reports” that were available in the majors, but not in the minors.
Here is my question – do they seriously not have scouting reports in Triple-A? Or perhaps they have generic, inferior reports? Either way, am I the only one who thinks this is a major problem? You cannot tell me this organization cannot afford to pay someone to produce minor league scouting reports. Heck, I’ll do it for a very modest paycheck and some free baseball!
Just sayin’… Thoughts anyone?
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Visions of pitcher John Lannan must have haunted the National’s dream last night after he held them scoreless for 8 innings in a Phillies 3-2 win. It was Lannan’s best outing of the year and the first time since 2009 that he made it through 8 innings. Lannan completely dominated his former team, which had to be the cherry on the sundae for him.
Lannan had some help last night as well. Ben Revere had 3 hits and scored twice, while showing off his acrobatic moves. After sliding hard into home plate in the 6th inning, Revere lost his balance and flipped over onto to his head. He turned the handstand into a full gymnastics flip, which announcer Gary “Sarge” Matthews termed an “upsie-do,” thus coining yet another Sarge-ism.
I said before the season began that Revere was going to surprise everyone, countering the naysayers about the trade. I had hoped the surprise would come sooner than it did, but here we are and Revere has been outstanding for the past 2 months. He is batting .300, stealing bases, getting extra base hits and scoring…a lot.
Not to mention that little Ben is cute as a button. He is like an adorable, yet slightly spastic, little puppy dog, bouncing around to win your attention. I seriously want to pat him on his head and feed him a milk bone.
Puppy’s aside, this team is not out of the woods yet. The bullpen remains a serious issue. Even Jonathan Papelbon nearly blew a 3-run lead last night. His outings are beginning to conjure memories of past Phillies closers who, aside from Brad Lidge in 2008, were frustrating fans with every pitch. Let us hope the Phillies do not need to use him for at least a game or two.
Cole Hamels will pitch tonight; game time is 7:05pm.
Photo – Courier Post Online: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Braves did not think it was very sunny in Philadelphia after losing to the Phillies by a score of 7-3. Even in blinding sunshine and near 100 degree temperatures, it was a dark day for the Braves.
Rookie pitcher Jonathan Pettibone was outstanding against a heavy-hitting Braves line-up. Freddie Freeman was so frustrated after striking out at one point that he smashed his bat into the ground, picked it up and then smashed it again. And B.J. Upton was thrown out of the game after mouthing off to the umpire about calling him out on strikes in the 5th inning.
Pettibone went only 5.1 innings, likely due to the excessive heat. It was obvious he was getting tired. But he did manage to leave with only 1 run allowed.
Both the Phillies offense and defense were solid. Domonic Brown had 2 hits, including his 23rd homer of the year. Darren Ruf, starting for Ryan Howard who is now on the DL, had a hit, a walk and scored twice. Carlos Ruiz added 2 hits as well.
The only defensive snafu was when Michael Young, who has been not great at third base lately, nearly ran over Jimmy Rollins going after a pop-up:
And for the most part, the Phillies bullpen held steady. J.C. Ramirez allowed 2 runs in the 6th; those were his first runs allowed since being called up. Aside from that, things were mostly quiet from the 6th inning on.
The Phillies took 2 of 3 from the Braves with this win today. Still, with Howard’s future uncertain and a very young and inexperienced bullpen, this team is going to have to annihilate the Nationals this week to keep GM Ruben Amaro Jr. from breaking up the team.
Here is the Photo Album from today’s game, including shots of Roy Halladay actually throwing pitches before the game! The Doc may not be done just yet…
Game time Monday night is 7:05pm. John Lannan will pitch.
After an abysmal road trip where the Phillies lost 7 out of 10 games, this team had to be relieved to be back in Philadelphia last night. They took an absolute beating from the Brewers, Twins and the Rockies. If you Google the meaning of “bad baseball,” this road trip should be used as an example.
But things looked a tad brighter after last night’s 5-4 walk-off win against the Nationals. John Lannan returned to the rotation after a knee injury and pitched well; Ryan Howard finally broke out of his home run drought; and Domonic Brown seems to be getting hot again. He even delivered the game-winning RBI single in the 9th.
Despite the win though, I simply cannot stop thinking about the awful road trip. In particular, I am greatly disturbed by the events that have taken place at and around third base and home plate lately. Most of these little disasters seem to revolve around veteran third-baseman Michael Young.
I hate to keep picking on Young, who seems like a very nice guy, and maybe some of this is not his fault at all. Did you notice that Young got thrown out at home plate THREE times in the last 6 games of the road trip? My question is, does he run home on his own or is Ryne Sandburg sending him? I understand being aggressive, but Young is one of the older and slower players on this team. This is not the guy you send on a close play.
I have begun leaning towards Sandburg’s lack of experience coaching third base as the issue, especially after last night. Because it appears he got Howard into a similar jam. He was sending Howard home and quickly changed his mind, signaling for Howard to stay at third. But his momentum was already heading home and Howard got tagged out at third. Sandburg is a Hall of Famer…I get that. So he should know that you cannot stop a moving train. Either make the decision quicker or take your chances that Howard will bowl over the catcher at home.
Then again, guys have been getting tossed out on the base paths all over the place all by themselves. Young also got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double last Tuesday. He also had a bad fielding error and hit into 2 more double plays on this road trip.
None the new players Ruben Amaro Jr. brought in this year, including Michael Young, are holding up their end of the bargain. Delmon Young is hitting only .231; Mike Adams has a 4.13 ERA and cannot seem to pitch a clean inning; Ben Revere has started out super slow, although he is improving. And Revere is young so he has a lot to learn yet. Lannan has been ok, but the injury was a huge setback.
As for the returning Phillies, too many of them are hurt or under producing. I hate to be such a downer after a rare Phillies win, but this team is just so frustrating! Who are they? Are they going to get any better? Will some of these guys ever be healthy? Your guesses are all as good as mine.
Maybe another win tonight will improve my mood? Hope so!
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
I am guessing that John Lannan and Chase Utley will never be BFF’s, but Lannan signing with the Phillies may at least prompt a truce. In 2007, Lannan threw the pitch that broke Utley’s hand, essentially ending his run for the MVP award that year.
In 5 plus years in the majors with the Nationals, Lannan has hit Phillies’ batter’s 11 times; 3 of those were directed at Utley. I would venture an educated guess that these two guys do not like each other.
Regardless, Lannan is on-board for 1 year and $2.5 million to take the place of Vance Worley, who was traded to the Twins earlier this month. It sounds like a low-risk, high reward situation, as long as Lannan can stop himself from whacking his new teammates with the ball. The temptation may linger until he gets used to his new location.
As for Mike Adams, this sounded like a good signing until I heard the terms. We will get to that in a moment. Adams is a very solid relief pitcher who has a lifetime 2.28 ERA over 8 seasons. However, he is 34 years old and coming off a surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition in which a rib bone presses against a nerve, causing pain and numbness in the arm.
Does this sound like a guy you would sign to TWO years and $12 million? Not so much. And yet, that is what the Phillies are giving him. While this is not fully in the range of a Freddy Garcia-type disaster (whom the Phillies gave $10 million to in 2007 to do basically nothing), the potential is similar. If Adams does not recover from surgery or comes back as a lesser pitcher, this deal is a huge bust.
But the Phillies are once again rolling the dice and praying for the best case scenario. Let us hope they come out on the winning end this time.
By the way, if you missed my 2012 Phillies Photo Tribute slideshow, here it is again for your entertainment. Enjoy!
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Lannan photo by Nick Wass (AP)
Slideshow photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Watching the Phillies win a game against the Nationals last night and seeing the Nationals celebrate instead was like being in the Twilight Zone. Not many teams get to pop the champagne after a loss. But before the game even ended, the Nats were celebrating as the Braves lost, making Washington the new National League East Champs.
It was quite a role reversal for the Phillies who, prior to this disastrous year, won that title 5 years in a row. Sadly, they have officially traded placed with the Nationals.
It was a somber win that will guarantee the Phillies a winning record to end the season. But even that small accomplishment cannot make-up for the fact that the Phils have missed the playoffs and will go quietly into the off-season with many questions.
Perhaps less of a question now is Kyle Kendrick, who appears to finally have his act together. He pitched 7 scoreless innings last night and should be a starter next season.
Kevin Frandsen continues to hit, with 2 singles last night, even with a stress fracture in his leg. Still, he does not appear to be an option for 3rd base next year, despite his efforts.
Rookie Darin Ruf keeps slugging away and his triple last night scored the Phillies only 2 runs. But his future is also uncertain, as are many futures of players on this team. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard are hurt again; Roy Halladay had a bad year.
The Phillies still have many questions left to answer. And they still have 2 games left to play. Game time is 7:05pm tonight.
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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography