The Phillies have been on quite a roll lately, winning their last 3 games against the Braves and 12 out of 14 since the All-Star break. But today, the Phils momentum puttered out as they lost to the Braves, 2-6. Rookie Adam Morgan started the game and went 5 innings allowing 4 runs with 7 hits and 3 walks. He did not look awful except for all the walks and the big 3-run homer, but that was all it took today.
Morgan certainly kept the outfielder’s busy. Defense was mostly very good but a lot of balls kept squeezing through the infield.
And the super-hot Phillies offense was certainly cooled off by Julio Teheran, who apparently only pitches well against the Phillies. There were many swings and misses and dull grounders tossed about, with the exception of a few solid hits in the 2nd and 5th innings. Cody Asche and Odubel Herrera accounted for the only two RBI in the game.
There were many Alumni on hand over the weekend, so at least that was entertaining. Today I saw Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, Brad Lidge, Matt Stairs, Nick Punto, Mike Lieberthal, Scott Eyre, John Kruk and Mariano Duncan. They all appeared to be having a good time.
Probably Burrell had the most fun. He was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame yesterday and I got a good look at the plaque today. I also got a good look at Pat celebrating by smoking….eh…something? You be the judge. Clearly, he is unaware of the advent of the zoom lens. But this whole episode does go a long way towards explaining the purse he was seen carrying around all weekend. Ok, the Phillies claim it is a “satchel.” Whatever the case, I guess he really needed it to carry his….eh….important stuff? How is that for investigative reporting? LOL!
And here is my Photo of the Day: Justin DeFratus, pre-game, pretending to karate kick a small child. This will make me laugh for days …
Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game and pre-game Behind the Pinstripes taping.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri except “Purse” photo, via Twitter, @Phillies
Both the Red Sox and the Celtics were in town Friday night, which is something that does not happen very often. Also a rare occurrence, both home teams came out on top…the Phillies beat the Sox, 6-4 and the 76ers took down the Celtics, 92-83 in playoff action. The stars aligned in Philly for what was a special night.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had a great view of the game from the Hall of Fame club section as he served his one day suspension for a heated argument with umpire Bob Davidson on Tuesday. Davidson was also suspended one game, even though he is the one who instigated the entire incident. I felt like he should have gotten more…but hey, MLB suspending an umpire publically? That is also something you do not see every day so we’ll take it.
An even bigger story last night was closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was looking forward to facing his old team. He had many reason to be fired up, including the fact that after last season, the Red Sox did not even bother to offer him a contract. But whether or not Papelbon was going to get a shot at revenge would depend on the rest of the team…
Cole Hamels did his part, winning 6 straight starts in games in which he earned a decision for the first time in his career. He allowed 3 runs over 7 innings last night while striking out 9 batters.
Meanwhile, the Carlos Ruiz ridiculous hit parade continued with 2 more hits, 2 more RBI, another stolen base and a run scored in the game. Hunter Pence is reaping the rewards of Chooch’s success; batting in front of Ruiz, Pence is getting better pitches to hit. Pence homered in the game and had 2 hits total. Freddy Galvis and John Mayberry Jr. each also had a hit and an RBI.
Chad Qualls came out of the pen for the 8th and right away cut the Phillies lead to 5-4 as he gave up a homer. Luckily, the Galvis home run in the bottom of the inning gave Papelbon some breathing room in the 9th.
Then, as if it was scripted, Papelbon got his wish; a 2-run lead and a save situation in the 9th against his former team. And just like a storybook ending, Papelbon got the save. But as he noted after the game, he will got gloat until the Phillies win the 3-game series.
Game 2 starts a little late tonight at 7:15pm as Pat Burrell will retire before the game on a 1-day contract with the Phillies. If you had not heard, a group of comedians (www.birdtext.com) recently made a video spoof which pokes fun at Burrell’s reputation with the ladies. According to the model who stars in the video, Burrell saw the video and liked it so much, he invited them all to tonight’s game and even requested the tee-shirts they are selling to promote the video. You can hear her interview on the Preston and Steve show here or at www.birdtext.com .
You have to see this….it is hysterical:
So remember, don’t let your mom, wife, sister, girlfriend or whoever get “Burrelled” tonight ;o)
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Pat Burrell returns to Philly on May 19th to retire; apparently, not everyone is happy about this. Warning: this may cause you to break out in spontaneous laughter. It is hysterical!
Over the past several weeks, the Phillies have made a number of off-season moves. Some of them make sense, some of them make a bit less sense. The following is a breakdown of the various Phillies events, the reasoning behind it and my opinion as to the real reason for the move.
Event: The Phillies send Wilson Valdez to the Reds in exchange for a minor league pitcher.
Reason: One can only assume that the Phillies wanted to add pitching depth.
The Real Reason: Having a great back-up for Jimmy Rollins is unnecessary since J-Roll is superman and cannot possibly get injured again, right? Also, Ryan Madson needed the company of an old teammate for his transition to the Reds.
Event: Brad Lidge, left unsigned by the Phillies, goes to the Nationals on a one-year, $1 million deal.
Reason: Lidge was told he was not in the Phillies’ future plans and that was the extent of the explanation he received.
The Real Reason: Lidge has lost the speed on his fastball and is almost guaranteed to get hurt multiple times based on his past track record. Also, after the awful 2011 season Jayson Werth had with the Nationals, Lidge can now provide him with moral support. The Phillies like to take care of their former players ;o)
Event: Hunter Pence received a $10.4 million, one-year deal for 2012.
Reason: To avoid arbitration. Pence is the final arbitration-eligible player therefore, no hearings for the Phils this year.
The Real Reason: Had the Phillies allowed this to go to arbitration, they would have gotten spanked by Pence and probably would have been forced to pay him more. But the real reason for the contract is simple; a happy Pence means more “Let’s Go Eat!” T-Shirt money for the Phils.
Event: The Phillies have torn out the grass on the field and are putting down brand new sod.
Reason: The Winter Classic torn up the field pretty bad.
The Real Reason: While the stated reason is valid, there is another underlying reason as well. Having raised ticket prices yet again, the Phillies now have more money than God and they need to justify that by spending a boat load of cash. Last year it was a new Phantavision screen; this year is a new field. Maybe next year they can hire more employees so the concession lines will be less than an hour wait time? Nah…dream on people.
Event: The Phillies sign former Padre, Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million contract. Qualls is a 33-year old right-handed reliever who posted a 6-8 record with a 3.51 ERA in 2011.
Reason: Ruben Amaro Jr.’s favorite saying – Low-risk, high reward. In other words, if he sucks, they did not pay much for him.
The Real Reason: Because we really miss Chad Durbin and this was the best right-handed Chad they could find.
Event: Pat Burrell has decided to retire. Amaro is “considering” a 1-day contract so he can retire as a Phillie.
Reason: Burrell retired due to a nagging foot injury. Amaro is “considering” the 1-day contract because Burrell deserves a proper send-off.
The Real Reason: The foot injury may have played a role, but really, no one was going to sign Burrell. He has passed his expiration date. And the only reason Amaro hesitates to make a decision here is because he is afraid that Burrell’s dog Elvis will pee on his brand new field.
Yesterday I posed a question about Chase Utley and his health. Today, the Phillies finally spilled the beans and admitted that Utley has tendinitis in his right knee. An MRI revealed the issue which requires rest in order to heal.
While Utley has agreed to take things slow, the injury is still worrisome. According to the Mayo Clinic, knee tendinitis can involve a grocery list of complications including weakened leg muscles due to overcompensation, tendon tears and chronic pain. The recovery time is anywhere from weeks to months.
In my own personal experience, tendinitis can be chronic and linger for years. Utley has already stated that this is a condition he has dealt with in the past, so it appears to be an ongoing issue. How much it will hamper his future performance remains to be seen. But for now, it is not good news.
On to another sore subject, Jayson Werth made a very bad error in judgment this week when he trash-talked his former team. The Washington Post reported that Werth stated, “I hate the Phillies, too,” during a conversation with his new GM, Mike Rizzo.
I wonder which parts he hated. Could it be his 2008 World Series ring? Or maybe it was all the attention from fans who routinely professed their admiration of him? No, I’ll bet it was that the Phillies signed him when every other team in baseball assumed he was a washed-up, injury prone discard.
Then again, Werth is a National now. And I suppose all Nationals hate Philly for winning four straight division titles while they have done nothing but suck since moving to DC in 2005. Sounds like sour grapes from an underperforming club that has to beg fans of opponents to come to their ballpark just to sell tickets.
In another interview about Phillies fans outnumbering Nats fans in DC, Werth also said, “The reason why those people come over here is they don’t have a chance to watch their team in Philadelphia and as soon as we fill the seats with Nats fans those people are going to go away and we are going to regain homefield advantage and I am looking forward to that day too.”
News flash Werth – We see our team in Philly all the time. The reason most of us go to DC is because Nats tickets are super easy to get. And we do not mind the drive because we love and support our team, unlike most Nats fans who cannot be bothered to show up.
I will be honest; Werth has never been a favorite of mine. I have seen him treat fans badly and even watched him make rude, ignorant comments to small children who were politely asking for an autograph during a previous spring training. So frankly, the “hate” comment does not shock me.
But if Werth thinks his $126 million paycheck is going to fill seats in DC, he is in for a rude awakening. And if he is expecting a Pat Burrell-like greeting upon his return to Philadelphia, I am not sure that “rude awakening” would even begin to cover what Philly has in store for him.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Yes, Ryan Howard saved some Mets fans from certain death…on TV anyway. Last night both Howard and Chase Utley made guest appearances on the show “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Howard may have gotten the biggest laugh of the night when he stopped one of the characters from attacking a few Mets fans:
Utley did not have many lines, which is probably a good thing. So while a career in acting is out, at least his hair looked terrific. And Howard got the best line of the night with, ” I just saw you bite that dude.”
Crossing Broad has the video of their segment, in case you missed it.
Free Agent News With a Dash of Sarcasm
– Pitcher Kyle Kendrick and outfielder Ben Francisco were both tendered contracts yesterday in order to keep them with the Phillies and out of free agency. Francisco was a no-brainer. And due to a lack of starting pitching depth, signing Kendrick makes sense as well…unless his 27.51 ERA with 2 outs and runners in scoring position bother you.
– The San Francisco Giants have asked Pat Burrell to return and signed him to an undisclosed amount. Apparently his 0 for 13 with 11 strikeouts World Series performance prompted the signing? Here is another fun Burrell fact; Pat “The Bat” has two World Series rings and only one World Series hit. It is good to be The Bat.
– Adam Dunn and his 38 home runs in the 2010 season signed a four-year, $56 million dollar deal with the White Sox. The Washington Nationals collective batting average immediately dropped about 100 points. Attendance will likely drop to a 15 fan per game average.
– Star closer for the Yankees, Mariano Rivera, 41, has been signed to a new two-year deal. As part of the contract negotiation, Rivera will still be allowed to use his Senior Citizen discount at the team gift shop.
– Jayson Werth has still not signed with the Phillies and hell has not yet frozen over. Coincidence?
Have a great weekend!
The Phillies lost Game 6 of the NLCS to the Giants last night, prematurely ending their season. The Giants will go on to face the Texas Rangers in the World Series while the Phils sit at home and watch. Having made it to the World Series two straight years, this loss was tough to take.
The game ended, perhaps fittingly, on a Ryan Howard strike out with 2 men on base. Howard struck out 12 times in 22 at-bats and had zero RBI the entire series. This performance was a microcosm of entire Phillies playoff run where the big producers did very little. Chase Utley hit .182 with only 1 RBI; Shane Victorino batted .208 with only 2 RBI; Carlos Ruiz hit .167 with only 1 RBI…you get the picture.
In last night’s game, the Phils had plenty of chances to turn things around and force a Game 7; they simply did not do it. Roy Oswalt pitched a great game while Jonathan Sanchez did not.
The Phillies took advantage of Sanchez early in the 1st inning; after a walk and a wild pitch, Utley doubled, Howard singled and Jayson Werth hit a sac fly. Two runs scored and it looked like the Phils were in control.
It started out similar in the bottom of the 3rd inning too; Sanchez walked Placido Polanco and then hit Utley in the upper back. As Utley ran to first, the ball bounced to him; he caught it and underhanded it to Sanchez who then started spewing cuss words at Utley. If you read his lips, Utley said, “What? What’s bulls*it?” And then the benches cleared…
Here are some photos I took and I have marked where a few interesting things are going on in the group. You can see Carlos Ruiz getting pretty angry; Utley running in while Polanco tries to restrain a Giants player; Pat Burrell right in the middle of the argument having words with his old friends; JC Romero trying to hold back Sanchez:
Utley and Sanchez have a history; Sanchez threw at his head on 7/30/09, to which Utley said nothing. Later, Utley called time out during his at-bat and Sanchez got mad about when he called it. Utley then took him deep for a homer to right. Apparently, Sanchez has issues with Utley.
Anyway, after the near-brawl on the field, Sanchez was pulled; the Phillies had two free base runners with NO outs and still failed to score. That may have been the moment that changed the entire season for the Phillies. Because in the top of the inning, everything had gone wrong for the Phils defensively. Getting a run after that may have made the difference.
The 3rd started with a hit by the pitcher Sanchez which Utley should have fielded and did not. A single and a sac bunt were followed by this missed fly ball to Victorino:
On the very same play, Victorino threw home and Ruiz made the tag to save a run:
The Phils could have escaped with just the one run scored but Polanco got a ground ball and was charged with a throwing error as Howard did not make the catch at first. Frankly, it looked like a ball he should have caught. Another run scored on the error to tie the game 2-2.
It was a virtual stalemate after that for a while. The Phillies had chances to score, like in the 5th when Howard doubled but the 3rd base coach held Jimmy Rollins at third. With two outs and little offense working, he should have been sent home.
In the 6th, Raul Ibanez doubled and Ruiz moved him to third with a bunt. But pinch hitter Ben Francisco went down on strikes instead of hitting a much needed sac fly. No scoring…again. In all, the Phillies left 11 men on base and went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. It was a lackluster effort, just like most of this series was for the Phillies.
Werth did make a heroic catch in foul territory, which was one of the few highlights:
But in the 8th, forced to pitch his 2nd inning of the night, Ryan Madson gave up a solo homer to Juan Uribe which broke the tie. The Phillies could not manage a rally, down by only one run and with many base runners. They lost 3-2 and sent the Giants to the World Series.
I would like to congratulate the Giants and their fans for the victory. They are a great team who fought hard and earned it. The Phillies did not play like the team we all know and that is the most disappointing part. But to have made it this far is still an accomplishment as 26 other teams did not.
In the coming days, I will be analyzing the aftermath and looking ahead to what next season might bring. For today, I will quietly mourn the end of the 2010 Phillies season and try to look on the bright side later.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game. It includes game shots, pre-game, Darren Daulton tossing the 1st pitch, Kane Kalas singing God Bless America and more…
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography