Tagged: NLDS

Roster in Place, the Phillies Are Ready for the NLDS

Game 1 of the NLDS is scheduled for a 5:07 start tonight.  Here is the post-season roster for the Phillies:

  • Catchers (2): Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.
  • Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez.
  • Outfielders (6): Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco and Ross Gload.
  • Pitchers (11): Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton.
  • Extras: Infielder Pete Orr and Catcher Erik Kratz will travel with the team. RHP Justin De Fratus, LHP Joe Savery and outfielder Domonic Brown will work out in Clearwater, FL and Outfielders John Bowker and Brandon Moss and RHP Michael Schwimer have been sent home.

The only slightly interesting move here is that Blanton was chosen for the roster instead of David Herndon, despite missing most of the season with injuries.  The Phillies chose experience over a younger guy, even though Herndon was with the team most of the year.

As for the pitching match-ups in the series, here are the probable starters for the Phillies and Cardinals:

  • Game 1: Roy Halladay vs. Kyle Lohse (ex-Phillie)
  • Game 2: Cliff Lee vs. Chris Carpenter (on 3 days rest)
  • Game 3: Cole Hamels vs. Jaime Garcia

These are some odd moves by Tony LaRussa.  It will either turn out to be genius, or a huge mistake.  The Phillies should be able to handle Lohse and will then get Carpenter on short rest.  That is another situation they can probably take advantage of.

The pitcher the Phils have the most trouble with is Garcia, who was pushed back to Game 3 because his home numbers are much better than his road numbers.

This all seems to add up to a Phillies advantage, however, that remains to be seen.  Also of note, Game 2 has been pushed back to 8:37pm (ugh) on Sunday due to the Yankees – Tigers rain postponement.

I also wanted to share with you an article I just read about how Danys Baez has helped Antonio Bastardo out of his recent pitching funk.  Baez was released by the Phillies in July and was not picked up by another team.  He has been sitting at home in Miami watching and noticed Bastardo, a player he previously mentored, was having problems.  He reached out to Bastardo and helped him find the issues in his mechanics.

Bastardo has bounced back since then and it seems that Baez is the reason.  The story made me a little sad, thinking about how much criticism Baez took while he was in Philly from fans and media.  For him to swallow his pride and reach out to an ex-teammate like that is a sign of true character.  He may not have been the bullpen solution the Phillies hoped for, but he gets huge brownie points in my book for just being a great guy.

Hope to see you all at the game tonight!  Go Phillies!

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Make History With 102 Wins

The Phillies ended the 2011 regular season with 102 wins after a 13 inning  4-3 victory over the Braves.  The 3-game sweep knocked the Braves out of the playoffs and also set a new record for the Phillies.  The franchise mark of 101 wins in a season has been surpassed, making this 2011 team statistically the best in Phillies history.

It also made Charlie Manuel the best manager in Phillies history.  His 646th win with the team surpassed the previous record of 656 held by Gene Mauch.

And as usual, the Phillies fought for their manager until the very end.  The game lasted 4 1/2 hours and 13 innings with 17 total pitchers used between the two teams.  The pitching was very good all around for both and hits were hard to come by; 11 for the Phils and 10 for the Braves.

In the 13th, Hunter Pence finally broke up the stalemate, knocking in the winning run with an RBI-single.  He had two hits in the game, as did Chase Utley, Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard.

By beating the Braves, the Phillies basically chose their own opponent.  The win handed the Wild Card spot to the Cardinals.  The Phillies struggled against the Cards in the regular season, winning only 3 games out of 9.  But coming off the momentum of this 3-game sweep and making Phillies history, the team should be ready to face the Cards again.

In the American League, the Red Sox are out, having lost what was previously and 8.5 game lead in the Wild Card race.  As they crashed and burned against the lowly Orioles again, the Tampa Bay Rays climbed out of a 7-0 hole to beat the Yankees and take the Wild Card spot.

So here is how the NLDS and ALDS line-up:

  • Phillies vs. Cardinals
  • Brewers vs. Diamondbacks
  • Yankees vs. Tigers
  • Rangers vs. Rays

The first game for the Phillies is this Saturday; no time has been announced yet.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

2010 Phillies Photo Tribute

I normally do not have this video done before Christmas, but it is amazing how much extra time that the lack of a World Series provides ;o)  For those who have missed it previous years, at the end of every season, I pick out my favorite Phillies photos from that year and put them into a video slideshow.  These photos were all taken by me and my giant zoom lens, from the stands, at both home and away games throughout the season.

In the 2010 season, I attended 27 games and 7 Phillies-related special events, like the Phestival and the Phillies Cruise.  Yes, it was down year for me due to a lack of funds ;o)   Going through the digital files on my computer, I calculate that I shot more than 18,000 photos at Phillies games this year.  If you add in the special events, the total is over 25,000.  Of those, I picked out and published around 5,000.  The slideshow contains the best of the game shots for a total of 257 photos. 

I am eternally grateful for the invention of the digital camera.  Remember the days when we had to use film?  That was one expensive habit.  Well, here it is…enjoy!

 

 

Thank you for stopping by!

 

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 One Game Away From Elimination

The Phillies seem determined to lose this NLCS series; they did everything they could think of to hand it over the Giants tonight to go down 3 games to 1.  Lose tomorrow and they will go home.  There are many ways to describe the Phillies effort this series, such as pathetic, disgusting or downright ugly.  It appears they already have their bags packed.

Not to take anything away from the Giants who are a great team with an amazing pitching staff.  But the effort they have gotten from Phillies so far in no way properly emulates the talent on this team.  The offense has been minimal to non-existent and the pitching has varied from great (Roy Oswalt, Game 2) to unexpectedly lackluster (Roy Halladay, Game 1) to horrible (Joe Blanton plus Chad Durbin, Game 4).

Tonight, Blanton was not good.  He allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk in only 4 2/3 innings.  All 3 runs were scored with two outs in the inning and one of those came after two wild pitches in the first inning.  Worse than that, after the offense squeezed out 4 tough runs in the 5th for him, Blanton could not manage a shut-down inning and gave a run right back.

The 4 runs they managed came after a string of singles and a double by Placido Polanco.  A hit batter loaded the bases but Jimmy Rollins swung at ball 4 to end the inning instead of adding on runs.  The addition of Ben Francisco in place of Raul Ibanez was an improvement as Francisco actually hit the ball a few times.  But in the end, not much else went right for the Phillies.


P8248770 Durbin platter.jpgTrying to hand the game over on a silver platter, Chad Durbin and Carlos Ruiz combined to take a 4-3 Phillies lead in the 6th inning and turn it into a 4-5 deficit.  Durbin led the inning off by walking Pat Burrell.  Then, apparently leaving his brain back in Philadelphia, Ruiz called for inside fastballs to Cody Ross who has gobbled those same pitches up this series to the tune of 3 homers and 4 RBI.  Well, he did it again with a double and eventually scored along with Burrell.

I hate to criticize Ruiz, who has been fabulous all year, but this was the 5th time he made the same mistake to Ross this series.  FIVE times!  WHEN will it end?  And that was not the only mistake; Ruiz called for a high fastball to Pablo Sandoval that same inning, which led to a 2-RBI double.  I was screaming at the TV, “Keep the ball down!” because I knew he wanted a high fastball.  If I know this, WHY doesn’t Ruiz??  Sandoval took a ridiculous swing at a low curve ball earlier in the at-bat and missed badly.  Plus, if you have EVER seen Sandoval hit, you know he likes them high.  Hello???  Am I some sort of baseball genius or was this just a bonehead move by the pitcher and catcher?  Hint: Bonehead move!!

I do not think “frustration” begins to cover the range of emotions I am experiencing right now, along with thousands of other Phillies fans.  As just another example of this, why in that same 5th inning we discussed earlier did the 3rd base coach send Ruiz home from 2nd on a ball hit to very shallow center? 
Head-Explosion.jpg
He was nailed at the plate by a mile.  And why on that same play is Shane Victorino, who hit the ball, still standing on first base instead of advancing to 2nd during the play at home?  Did he have a brain freeze?  Whatever the issue, it was about to induce a brain aneurism as my head felt like it might explode.

In the 8th inning, doubles from Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth tied the game up.  But is it just me, or did this not just seem to delay the inevitable?  So going into the 9th inning and running out of pitchers that manager Charlie Manuel felt he could trust, he brought in starter Roy Oswalt on TWO days rest.  I kid you not.  He still had Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge and JC Romero in the pen, but went with Oswalt.

That turned out to be a huge disaster.  Oswalt gave up two singles and a sac fly that scored the winning run for the Giants.  Not Oswalt’s fault by any means; what did they expect from him on two days rest and off his usual routine?

Game 5 tomorrow – Roy Halladay will attempt to keep the series alive.  Is it possible for the Phillies to win the next 3 games?  Anything is possible I suppose.

 

Durbin 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 Offense Non-Existent In Game 3 Loss

The Phillies travelled to San Francisco for Game 3 of the NLCS but apparently, they did not take their bats with them.  They did the same thing back in April when they scored only 3 runs in the first 2 games of that series.  And last year, the Phils lost 3 of 4 against the Giants in San Fran.  The Phillies lack of offense and extended slumps throughout the year were a big concern going into the postseason and it is easy to see why.

In today’s game, the Phillies left 7 men on base and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.  They had hit Giants pitcher Matt Cain very well in previous meetings, but not today.  Cain blanked them through 7 innings despite hitting 2 batters and walking 3; that is 5 free base runners that the Phillies did absolutely nothing with. 


throw up - Copy.jpgChase Utley
was the worst offender, leaving 3 on base and hitting a bunch of weak grounders.  He also missed a ground ball which led to runs, although it was officially not scored an error.  Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino left 2 on base and Raul Ibanez left 3.  Ibanez looked ridiculous at the plate, swinging at pitches well out of the strike zone, even grounding into a double play to end the game.  Early in the year, Ibanez suffered from prolonged slumps that took weeks and months to emerge from.  The Phillies do not have time for him, or anyone else, to break out of it.  I admire Charlie Manuel for sticking by his guys, but it is time for a wake-up call here.

So the Phillies offense wound up with only three hits the entire game.  And although Cole Hamels was not at his best, it really didn’t matter what he did.  Three hits are not going to win any ball games.  Hamels had a quality start with 3 runs allowed in 6 innings, but I am sure even Hamels is not happy with that result.  But he certainly did not get any help.

The two ex-Phillies on the Giants roster had a hand in the damage.  Pat Burrell walked with 2 outs in the 4th to set up Cody “The Devil” Ross, who singled in a run.  Burrell then scored on an Aubrey Huff single.  Then Aaron Rowand led off the 5th with a double and eventually scored.  I am sure Burrell and Rowand had a nice time sticking it to the team who sent them packing.

While this is a best of 7 series, the Phillies are now in big trouble.  Joe Blanton was set to pitch tomorrow, but that game is now a must-win.  It is possible that Manuel may ask his 3 ace’s all to pitch on 3 day’s rest.  Blanton has not pitched since 9/24. 

However, I am not so sure that short rest will be a good thing for any of these 3 starters, especially when you consider the number of innings they all pitched in the regular season.  Roy Halladay pitched 250 2/3 innings this year, 2nd most in his career.  Roy Oswalt pitched 211 2/3 and Hamels has never pitched on short rest.  In fact, Hamels would be most affected as he has been very vocal in years past about being able to stick to his usual routine.

But even more concerning is the lack of energy and production out of this Phillies offense.  They look lethargic and complacent.  Right now, I feel like I am writing an obituary instead of a blog entry.  No, they are not dead yet, but it is getting close.  I would love to be wrong on this.  Game 4 tomorrow: 7:30pm.

UPDATE: In
a post-game interview, Charlie Manuel said Blanton will start tomorrow.

 


Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

*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.

DSCF3279.JPG

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:

PA103014.JPG

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*