Tagged: Opening Day

Bullpen Woes Ruin Opening Day

The Phillies took a 2 – 1 lead into the 8th inning against the Reds yesterday in their first game of the season.  And then, the wheels fell off.  Much criticism has been heaped onto the Phillies bullpen this offseason.  While most of the team looks promising, this is going to be a sore spot.

Of course, the rest of the team was not setting the world on fire, either.  With only 6 hits in the game, including a 2-run Freddy Galvis homer, the Phillies offense was mostly silent.  And the defense started off badly with a huge error from veteran Ryan Howard in the 1st inning which led to an early run for the Reds.  Howard also did not have a hit in the game and left 3 men on base.

Hernandez wall of shame But while Howard should be elected to the Opening Day Wall of Shame, he was beat out by David Hernandez for the title.  Hernandez allowed 3 runs in the 8th inning on a hit and 2 walks, sinking the Phillies ship for good.  He did not record a single out.  James Russell was not much better, allowing 2 more runs.  In all, the bullpen 8th inning follies ended in a 6 – 2 win for the Reds.

The real shame of this is that Jeremy Hellickson pitched a heck of a game.  I am still not sure why he was pulled after only 6 innings and 70 pitches.  Manager Pete Mackanin could have let him go one more inning and put Jeanmar Gomez in for the 8th inning.  The 9th inning may still have been a mess, but at least with only 3 outs left, he would have had more wiggle room to mix and match pitchers.  But that is only my humble opinion.

The Phillies are off today and will try again on Wednesday; game time is 7:10pm and Aaron Nola will pitch.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

2015 Opening Day – Phillies Begin with a Beating

On Opening Day this past Monday, the Phillies got trampled by the Red Sox in a 0-8 loss in front of what will probably be the only sell-out crowd they will see this season.  Well, at least the pre-game activities were fun as usual.
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One thing we learned from the ceremonies was that Jonathan Papelbon thinks Phillies fans have cooties, as witness by his gloved hands in the pre-game entrance:
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The next time a fan runs into Pap, they should fake sneeze on him for fun.  If anyone gets the opportunity, please let me know…thanks!

The only other real highlight of the day was seeing our old buddy, Shane Victorino.  He got a standing ovation before his first at bat, which was well deserved.
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And then the day went downhill from there.  Cole Hamels was awful; he could not hit any of his spots and the Red Sox wasted no time taking him yard.  Hamels allowed 4 home runs in only 5 innings, two of which came off the bat of super mini-sized ball player, Dustin Pedroia.  He is little and adorable, I’ll give him that.  But he seriously needs to stop beating up on the poor, defenseless Phillies who are clearly in awe of his short stature.
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However, the smallest thing in the stadium on this day was the Phillies offense.  They were no-hit through 3 innings and then only managed 3 hits total for the whole game.
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Jake Diekman got beat up as well; he gave up a Grand Slam to Hanley Ramirez who also had 2 homers in the game.  If this performance is a taste of what is to come, it is going to be a long season.  Buckle in Phillies fans…the next game is Wednesday night at 7:05pm.

And here is the Photo Album from Opening Day.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Spring Training Ends With Two Wins Over the Bucos

040415 UtleyWell it wasn’t pretty, but the Phillies did beat the Pirates in two exhibition games this weekend.  Friday’s game was damp and icky and today was WINDY and cold.  When I say windy, I mean the kind of wind that sends 5 giant trash cans at once hurdling across Ashburn Alley without warning.  At one point, I actually had to stop and hold on to something.  It was that bad.  And the players on the field had fun avoiding all of the floating debris.

The Phillies also had to avoid many, many bad pitches from the Bucos starter, Charlie Morton.  This guy was all over the place.  In the first inning, he was so bad that the game was stopped; I am not sure if it was to warn the managers or if the Pirates thought he was hurt, but both managers were spoken to.  The Phillies wound up scoring 4 runs in the inning after Morton hit 2 batters, walked 3 and threw 1 wild pitch (at least, officially it was 1).  Needless to say, there was a lot of dancing at the plate.
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After scoring 2 more runs in the 2nd, the Phillies sort of went to sleep.  I, however, could not sleep, as I was freezing and being pelted in the face by 50mph wind gusts.  Although this did not seem to faze pitcher David Buchanan.  He pitched a scoreless 5 innings, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks.  The effort paid off as the Phillies announced that Buchanan will be the #3 starter behind Cole Hamels and Aaron Harrang.

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So the Phillies went on to win by a score of 6-4, ending their Spring Training with 14 wins. Overall, it was a pretty bad spring with sloppy play and a serious lack of offense.  But none of it counts, so on Monday, we will see what this team has in store for us this season.  There are a lot of new faces and people playing new positions, so at the very least, it should not be too boring….I hope.

Hamels will pitch on Monday for Opening Day.  Game time is 3:05pm.

And here is the Photo Album from today’s game.  See you on Monday!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Braun Puts a Roid Rage Hurting on Phils Opening Day

Do not make Ryan Braun angry.  You won’t like him when he’s angry.  The Phillies found that out the hard way during Tuesday’s 1-day delayed Home Opener.  First it rained (Monday), then it poured (Braun).

The day must have been cursed from the start as Chase Utley was sent home with the flu before the game.  But aside from that, the day started off so nice, who would have guessed it would turn into a massacre?  The pre-game festivities, as always, were colorful:
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Of course, for the umpteenth, the Navy parachuters jump was cancelled due to wind.  I seriously do not know why the Phillies bother scheduling this every year.  It almost never happens.

Instead, we got 2008 World Championship pitcher and current broadcaster, Jamie Moyer to toss the first pitch with his baseball idol, Steve Carlton looking on.  He had a nice reunion with Carlos Ruiz as well:
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And then the game started and it was all downhill from there.  In his typical inconsistent behavior, Kyle Kendrick followed up a good 1st start with a horrible one on Tuesday.  Adding insult to injury, he pitched against former Phillie Kyle Loshe and gave up the first 2 of Braun’s 3 home runs.
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A former All-Star, Braun is actually best known for his steroid use and overall bad behavior.  He got away with a positive test by blaming the Fed Ex man, who was then fired from his job after Braun’s adamant denials.   But then Braun did finally get caught afterwards and was suspended 65 games.  The number of people Braun hurt with his lies is what makes him, in my opinion, one of the worst offenders in baseball.  It is also what prompted all of the boo’s and chants of “Cheater!” throughout the ballpark.

But those chants did nothing but fuel Braun’s fire to beat the Phils.  He even killed a Phillies rally in the 2nd inning with a diving catch in right field that would have scored 2 runs.

The Phillies did manage to scatter some hits throughout the day and made a few nice plays in the field.
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All of the good plays were unfortunately overshadowed by 3 errors and some head scratching misreads in the outfield.  The worst of the day was Ben Revere in deep center, who had the ball lined up to catch and then just missed it.  The 3rd photo below is the most interesting as you can see Revere’s head and face smashed into the fence.  That pretty much sums up the day:
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That misplay put another run on the board for the Brewers.  Then in the next inning, Braun hit his third homer of the day.  He finished with 7 RBI and single-handedly crush the Phils.  I seriously hope someone checked his urine after the game (insert your own sarcastic remarks here).

The 4-10 loss was a disappointment, to put it mildly.  But today is another day and maybe the Phillies can bounce back with a strong start from Roberto Hernandez.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Here is the full Photo Album from the Home Opener, including batting practice, pre-game festivities and more.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Take First Two in Chicago

After a devastating loss on Wednesday, the Phillies have bounced back in the next series, winning their first 2 games against the Cubs.  Friday’s game was a 7-2 score and today they won 2-0 as Cliff Lee stunned the Cubbies.

Lee was able to lower his horrible 14.40 Opening Day ERA to only 6.00 with this 7 inning effort.  So all is well again with the Phillies ace…yeah!

And the offense is not too shabby to start the season.  Chase Utley is absolutely on fire after a very slow Spring Training.  In the last 2 games, Utley has 5 hits and 4 RBI including 2 home runs.  He also hit his 300th career double today and ended the game just a triple shy of the cycle.

Domonic Brown has also come to life with 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 RBI in these 2 games, plus ZERO strikeouts.  Nada.  That alone tells me he is in the zone.

P7073923Another interesting note is that we are learning some things about the Phillies manager, Ryne Sandberg, early in the season.  First, he is totally in love with Jake Diekman.  Diekman has pitched in 4 out of 5 games so far this season while fellow reliever Brad Lincoln has yet to throw a pitch.  Justin DeFratus has pitched 1 inning and Jeff Manship has thrown exactly 2 pitches total.

Sandberg says he is trying to establish who fits in which spots in the bullpen.  By the way, is that not what Spring Training was for?  Just saying.  And if he is looking for good fits, does this mean those 3 pitchers that have not been or barely been used do not “fit” anywhere?  Hmmmm…

We have also learned that Sandberg is not totally sold on Roberto Hernandez.  In Friday’s game, Hernandez appeared to be cruising in the 6th inning when, after one out was recorded, Sandberg pulled him and put in Diekman.  Hernandez had given up 2 runs in the first 5 innings, but his pitch count was low (73).  That was a weird move.

One last thing I like to mention about today’s game…Jonathan Papelbon saved a game!  Miracles never cease!  Yes, that comment is dripping with sarcasm.  When he saves 3 or 4 in a row with minimal drama, I will curb my smart remarks.  Until then, congrats Pap!  You live to fight another day!

Can the Phillies sweep this series?  Hope so!  Game 3 is Sunday at 2:20pm and A.J. Burnett will pitch.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Opening Day Slug Fest

The Phillies first game of the regular season began with a bang to the tune of 14 runs on 17 hits including 3 homers, one of which was a Grand Slam.  It was a record-setting day on many levels.

First, Phillies ace Cliff Lee allowed 8 earned runs and still got the win.  That is only the 8th time in MLB history that a pitcher gave up 8 runs in at least 5 innings and still won.  It is also only the 3rd time in history that happened on Opening Day.

Then in his first Opening Day start, Cody Asche ended the game just a triple short of the cycle.  With his parents looking on, Asche had a career day with 3 hits, 2 RBI including a solo homer, a walk and 4 runs scored.

But the biggest day record-wise was had by Jimmy Rollins who belted a Grand Slam in the 2nd inning, marking his 200th career homer.  That home run made him only the 19th player in baseball history to have 400 or more doubles, 100 or more triples and 200 or more home runs in a career.  He also tied a record with Cal Ripken Jr. for 14 consecutive Opening Day starts at shortstop with the same team.

Rollins may have had some extra inspiration yesterday as he is on baby-watch.  His wife Johari is expecting their second child any minute now.  Rollins stayed an extra day in Philly in case she went into labor and then joined the team in Texas on Sunday night, one day after the team arrived.

Records aside, many Phillies had big days in this game.  Both Chase Utley and Ben Revere had 3 hits, Marlon Byrd went 2-for-6 with a solo homer and Ryan Howard had 2 hits and a walk.  Maybe the biggest hit of the day, besides the grand slam, was a pinch hit 2-run double in the 5th inning by John Mayberry Jr.  In his first big move of the season, manager Ryne Sandberg had a gut feeling to switch Junior’s; Mayberry Jr. in place of Tony Gwynn Jr.  That double broke a 7-7 tie and propelled the Phillies to the win with some much needed momentum.

While I do not think the Phillies are going to score 14 runs again soon, this was an uplifting start the season.  Enjoy it!  Tonight, A.J. Burnett will make his Phillies debut; game time is 8:05pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

2014 Opening Day Roster

The Phillies have announced their Opening Day roster and were few surprises.  Here is how it worked out:

Pitchers (12): Right-handers A.J. Burnett, Justin De Fratus, Roberto Hernandez, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lincoln, Jeff Manship, Jonathan Papelbon and B.J. Rosenberg and left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, Mario Hollands and Cliff Lee.

Catchers (2): Wil Nieves and Carlos Ruiz.

Infielders (6): Cody Asche, Cesar Hernandez, Ryan Howard, Jayson Nix, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.

Outfielders (5): Domonic Brown, Marlon Byrd, Tony Gwynn Jr., John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Revere.

They also resigned Ronny Cedeno to a minor league deal so he will be at Triple-A until he is needed.  And Jayson Nix, brother of former Phillies Laynce Nix, was signed a few days ago and put on the roster as an extra infielder.

Also of note, the Phillies will begin with only 4 starting pitchers as, due to off days, that is all they will need the first few weeks of the season.  Relief pitcher Mario Hollands was a bit of a surprise to make the roster as he has pitched in only 3 games above Double-A ball (2012, AAA Iron Pigs).  But he was impressive in camp; he will be interesting to watch.

The final spring tune-up on Sunday was canceled due to rain L  That was a bummer as I was hoping to meet some of the new players before the game.  So I wound up going to the 76ers game instead later that night.

The Sixers finally broke their 26-game losing streak in a dominating performance over the Detroit Pistons.  And that win prevented them from becoming the all-time worst team in all major sports.  Instead, they are tied.  But still worse than the 1961 Phillies, so that is an achievement.

Sixers fans were so relieved, with 5 minutes left in the game, chants of “Thank You Detroit” rang out all over the stadium.  Nicely done, Philly fans.

As for the Phillies, Cliff Lee will take the mound in Texas tomorrow against the Rangers for 2014 Opening Day.  Finally, some real baseball!  Game time is 2:05pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography