Tagged: NLCS

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*

 

The Joys Of The Post-Season Media

So, did we all thoroughly enjoy the Phillies TBS TV coverage this post-season?  No?  Oh, come on now, they were mildly entertaining, right?  Let us examine some of the broadcasting highlights:

 – These guys are brilliant; just check out this quote about Raul Ibanez: “He’s not 37 because he started his career late.”  Really?  Wow…the true fountain of youth; late bloomers.

– On a 2-base hit: “It’s an inside-the-park double.”  You know, as opposed to the out-of-the-park double.

– During Game 1 of the NLDS, 2nd inning: “There has been great defense in this ballgame and in this series.”  Yes, all 2 innings of it.

– About the catcher: “All the game calling is to make the pitcher comfortable.”  The catcher calls pitches to make the pitcher comfy?  Not to get outs?  Ok then.  Genius.  Sheer genius.

– During a bunt to the pitcher with a runner on first: “He is thinking about second base because it is right behind the mound.”  Is it?  I never would have noticed…thanks, TBS!  Baseball geography lesson 101.

– On Clayton Kershaw after he gave up a 3-run homer, allowed to 2 more runners on base and was then pitching to Ryan Howard: “This is a grow-up moment (for Kershaw).”  No more little league for you buddy!

But wait, there’s more!  Did you see the main sponsor for TBS during commercial breaks?  Avocados.  Yes, the disgusting, slimy, green fruit is THE big money maker for this station.  Awesome.

And how about the commercials for the new TBS series “Men of a Certain Age.”  It is October – this series is set to begin in December.  Not only will we have forgotten about it by December, but with the thousands of previews shown, we have already seen the series in its entirety.  No need to tune in then in December….we already know that Ray Romano plays a moron with a dirty mind; Scott Bakula is a man-sl*ut; and Andre Braugher is sad because he cannot live up to his daddy’s high expectations.  Think that about covers it.

So how about some media video highlights!  Here ya go; let us begin with Buck Martinez, who has NO idea which team he is watching…he mentions the Yanks and the Red Sox before he figures out it is the Phillies:

Chase Utley is also annoyed with the media coverage…watch his reaction as a media member pulls a Kanye West:

And my favorite clip of the Comcast Sportsnet coverage…Ricky Botallico flips out during the Jimmy Rollins 9th inning game winning hit in Game 4 of the NLCS:

Classic.

Hope you all enjoyed these broadcasts as much as I did :O)

By the way, if anyone is looking to sell a ticket (1) to Game 3 of the World Series (the Saturday game, home opener), please email me.  I cannot afford the Stub Hub prices so I am looking for anyone to take pity on me and sell me a ticket at face value or just above it.  I cannot do standing room, but am open to other seating arrangements.  Thank you and Go Phillies! :O)

Phillies Return To The World Series

Phillies win!!!  And for the second consecutive year, they will return to the World Series!DSCF3011 WS.jpg

 

The chance to pull off the most amazing feat in baseball is upon us:  The repeat!  Can the Phillies become the new Big Red Machine?  We will see.

 

The 10-4 win over the Dodgers tonight had a multitude of highlights.  Here are just a few:

 

Jayson Werth smashed not one, but two home runs!  Those homers accounted for 4 RBI.  Oh, and he hit a single too, just for good measure.

 

Shane Victorino, who has been sick with a nasty cold all week, had 3 RBI in the game including a 2-run homer and a double.

 

– The Phillies bullpen which has been through the ringer this year, came through again this post-season with 4 2/3 innings of 1-run ball.  Chad Durbin was spectacular!  Chan Ho Park had 1 good inning but got into trouble in the next inning; Ryan Madson bailed him out.  And Brad Lidge pitched the 9th; it was a non-save situation but he got the job done.

 

– The Phillies batters finally figured out Vincente Padilla; 6 runs were charged to Padilla on 4 hits and 2 walks.

 

– With this win, the Phillies have scored 55 runs in 9 post-season games.  Nice.

 

– Even better, the Phillies are now the first National League team ever to record 16 wins in 20 post-season games.  The only AL team to do it is the Yankees and it is likely that the Phils will face the Yankees in the World Series; they are up 3 games to 1 over the Angels so far.

 

The not so great news from this clinching game was Cole Hamels, who still cannot seem to remember how to pitch.  Hamels lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing 3 solo home runs to the Dodgers.  Two of those homers came after Hamels had 2 strikes on the batter which is the really disturbing part.  With 2 strikes, why is tossing cookies right down the middle of the plate?  Hamels clearly cannot be counted on this year; it will be very interesting to see what Charlie Manuel does with the rotation for the World Series.

 

But I do not feel like thinking about that right now…it is time to celebrate!  Put on your party hat and have a drink!  The Phillies are going back to the World Series!!!

 

Fireworks photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Unbelievable 9th Inning Comeback

Down 4-5 in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers, the Phillies were down to their last out and their last 2 strikes when Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate with 2 runners on.  Win, and the Phillies would have a huge 3-1 games advantage.  Lose, and the series would be tied 2-2.  What took place next was not only improbable, but it absolutely stunned the Dodgers.

Things looked good when the game started and Ryan Howard nailed a 2-run shot in the 1st inning.  But the bats went quiet as ex-Phillies Randy Wolf bore down and kept the Dodgers in the game.  Joe Blanton started for the Phillies and got roughed up a bit in the middle innings.  By the end of the 6th, Blanton had allowed the 2-run lead slip away into a 2-4 deficit.

The bullpen took over in the 7th and held the Dodgers to those four runs.  Chan Ho Park, Ryan Madson, Scott Eyre and Brad Lidge got the job done.  However, the offense still seemed sleepy after that 11-0 rout the previous day, so a comeback was looking unlikely.

101909a.jpg
But then Matt Stairs stepped the plate with one out in the 9th and everyone began hoping for the same miracle that occurred in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS: Stairs nailed a 2-run homer in the 8th inning of that 2008 game to give the Phillies the lead.  Could this be a repeat performance?

Well, not quite.  Facing the very same pitcher he got that hit off in 2008, Jonathan Broxton, Stairs felt confident.  Broxton may not have felt quite as confident as he threw Stairs four straight balls.  Eric Bruntlett was put in as a pinch runner.  Broxton then proceeded to hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch.101909b.jpg 

But Greg Dobbs lined out for the 2nd out and things were looking good for the Dodgers J-Roll stepped to the plate with one final out remaining and 2 runners on base.  With a 1-1 count, Rollins whacked a line drive into the hole in right-center field.  Bruntlett and Ruiz tore up the base path, scoring 2 runs to win the game for the Phillies.  Phillies fans screamed in celebration while Dodgers fans squirmed in agony.

As amazing and uplifting as this win was for the Phillies, on the other side of the spectrum it was equally as painful and gut-wrenching for the Dodgers.  This was a killer blow, putting the Phillies at a 3-1 advantage; they now need only one more win in 3 possible tries to lock up a second consecutive trip to the World Series with a chance to repeat.

This win also shows why the Phillies are the defending World Champions.  They believe they will win, they support one another and they never give up until the final out is recorded.  To be able to witness this is the greatest joy of any fans life.  Repeat or no repeat, Phillies fans should be proud of their team!  What a year this has been…and it is not over yet.

Here is the Photo Album from the game…Go Phillies!!!

PS:  Thank you to all my readers for making Phillies Phollowers the#1 Phillies fan blog on the MLB site for the entire 2009 season!  And I am #8 overall for ALL fan blogs!  Your support is greatly appreciated; it is an honor to bring you the Phillies through my eyes…Thank you!

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Dodgers Freeze In Chilly Philly

The Phillies bats came alive tonight early in Game 3 of the NLCS against the Dodgers in an 11-0 win.   In the first inning, it appeared the Phils were taking batting practice off a rusty Hiroki Kuroda, who had not pitched in a while due to injury.  Ryan Howard drove in 2 runs with a triple and Jayson Werth followed with a 2-run homer to center.  That hit by Howard broke yet another record for the slugger; Howard became the 1st player ever to drive in runs in 7 straight post-season games within the same year.

The Phils tacked on 2 more runs in the 2nd with doubles from Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins plus an RBI ground out from Howard.  chooch1.jpgRuiz has been the unsung hero this post-season.  Hitting in the 8-hole, Ruiz has come up with clutch hits in nearly every game.  Ruiz is 9 for 21 so far with 7 RBI; 2 of those hits and 1 RBI came in tonight’s game.  This team has been riding the Chooch Train all October.

The overall offensive highlights included 2 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs.  11 hits and 7 walks combined for 11 runs.  Every Phillie in the line-up except Raul Ibanez, who was struggling a bit, had at least one hit.  It was a total team effort.

Chase Utley bounced back after a shaky defensive performance in the first 2 games.  He appeared to be back to normal in the field and continued to produce at the plate.  Utley’s 1st inning single helped kick off a big inning for the team; he had another hit and a walk as well.

The impressive offensive output tonight was matched by superb pitching from Cliff Lee.  Lee tossed an 8 inning, 3 hit shut-out and even had a single at the plate.  This man could do no wrong and the excited crowd cheered him on all night long.  Hate to repeat myself but, thank-you Cleveland!  Chad Durbin pitched the 9th despite the opportunity for a Lee complete game as it was more important to preserve Lee’s arm for future games.  Durbin sent the Dodgers down in order.

With the 11-0 win tonight, the Phillies go up 2 games to 1 in the series.  Joe Blanton will pitch tomorrow at 8:07pm in chilly Philly against a familiar face, Randy Wolf.  I will be there in full winter gear and, assuming my hands do not freeze and fall off, I should be back with photos!  Go Phillies!

Ruiz photo by Jenn

 

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

 

A Tough Loss

The Phillies took a tough loss today against the Dodgers to tie this NLCS series 1 game each.  Pedro Martinez was brilliant through 7 innings where he allowed only 2 hits and no runs.  You could not have asked for more out of him.  But Martinez was pulled before the 8th inning in favor of a pinch-hitter and that proved to be a costly move as the bullpen could not hold down the 1-0 lead.

The pen has been the Achilles heel of this team all year.  Yesterday, they pulled through; today, they did not.  Manager Charlie Manuel went through five pitchers in the 8th inning and they combined to blow the lead.  Chan Ho Park, who was amazing yesterday, started the inning and gave up two base hits with no outs.  But it looked like he may escape the jam when Russell Martin hit an easy double play ball to third.  No such luck…

In a rare and truly scary move, Chase Utley, for the second night in a row, overthrew first base which allowed the tying run to score and left 2 men on with 1 out.  Last night, the slow feed from Jimmy Rollins and off-balance throw appeared to blame.  But tonight, Utley just plain blew it.  He rushed the throw when he had plenty of time and killed any chance Park had of getting out of the inning unscathed.P8195352 Utley.jpg

Utley is human, of course.  And you cannot blame the loss on him when the only scoring the Phillies did all game was a solo homer by Ryan Howard.  But it was a terrible waste of a great performance by Martinez and an even bigger waste of the opportunity to go up 2-0 in what will be a very tough series for this team. 

JA Happ allowed the winning run to score for the Dodgers when he walked Andre Ethier with the bases loaded.  The run was charged to Park.  Chad Durbin got them out of the inning, but in the 9th, they offense went down 1-2-3.  And to add insult to injury, Utley made the last out of the game by flying out to Ethier in right.  I am betting that right now, Utley needs a hug; or maybe a big bowl of ice cream.  Stiff drink anyone?  Ugh.

This loss was depressing on a number of levels.  But the good news is that we now have 3 games in Philly, starting on Sunday night.  With any luck, and some sort of miracle in the bullpen, the Phillies can use the home field to get themselves back on track.

Photo by Jenn

Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

 

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