Tagged: Pat Burrell

Staying Alive; Phillies Pull Out A Win And Head Back To Philly

Everyone expected Roy Halladay to come out firing tonight with the Phillies season on the line.  Instead, he walked the first batter he faced and allowed a run to score.  The entire 6 innings he pitched were uncomfortable, at best.  He did only allow 2 runs total; the second one, of course, off the bat of Cody Ross with an RBI-double.  But he never looked settled, fell behind in counts and ended with 2 walks and only 5 strike outs.PA163444AR.jpg

While Halladay’s entire outing was a nail biter, he did battle through it and kept the Phils in the game.  Tim Lincecum only had one bad inning through 7 and that was the 3rd.  The Phillies scored 3 runs in a very odd sequence of events.  Raul Ibanez, back in the line-up after being sat yesterday, singled to start the inning.  That was his first hit this entire series.

Lincecum then hit Carlos Ruiz to put two men on base with no outs.  Halladay bunted what looked like a foul ball but the umpire, much to everyone’s surprise, called it fair.  The base runners moved up as Pablo Sandoval at third missed the bag while Ibanez slid in.  Halladay just stood at home looking confused as he was thrown out at first on a foul ball.

But it worked out for the Phillies as an error by Aubrey Huff allowed both Ibanez and Ruiz to score.  Placido Polanco singled to score another run.  But then with runners on first and second, needing a simple sac fly to score again, Ryan Howard struck out…again.  Howard has zero RBI’s this series.  Jayson Werth flied out to end the inning, stranding 2 runners.

You had to wonder if these stranded runners would cost the Phillies both the game (again) and the season.  They headed into the 7th clinging to the slim 3-2 lead.  Jimmy Rollins singled and then stole 2 bases to land on 3rd with Ruiz on 1st and only one out.  But again, the Phillies failed to score.  Pinch hitter Ross Gload hit a line drive right to 1st.  Huff caught the ball and stepped on 1st for the easy double play.

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In the middle of the 7th, the Giants sent this strange thing out to sing God Bless America; I think that is a small village on her head?  Weird.

So it would be up to the bullpen to keep the series going and send it back to Philly.  Jose Contreras and JC Romero took care of the 7th.  Ryan Madson was tossing 95mph bullets in the 8th, despite having pitched the last two games.  He struck out the side, including our old friend Pat Burrell.  Remember when a Burrell strike out was SO frustrating?  Not so much anymore ;o)

Giving the Phillies a little extra breathing room in the 9th, Werth hit a monster homer over the huge right field wall.  Brad Lidge had a 4-2 lead to work with and got the first out quickly with a shallow fly ball.  Next out, an easy ground ball. (Biting my nails…) Pinch hitter, whose name no one can pronounce…Travis Ishikawa…IsHeWaWa?  IshiMama?  IdunnoA?  Whatever.    He struck out, so who cares.  Phillies win, 4-2!!!  LIDGE gets it DONE!

With the win tonight, the NLCS series heads back to Philadelphia with the Phils trailing 2 games to 3.  They have an off-day tomorrow for travel and will play Game 6 on Saturday, either at 3:57pm or 7:57pm, depending on the Rangers – Yankees series results tomorrow.  I assume Roy Oswalt is still slated to pitch; we should know for sure tomorrow.  Whatever happens, I am excited to go to the game on Saturday; this team may still have life in them yet.

UPDATE: Halladay apparently pulled his groin early in the game last night during either the 1st or 2nd inning.  Manuel said 2nd, but also said it was during the Buster Posey at-bat, which was in the 1st.  At any rate, he pitched basically the whole game injured.  Halladay will have an MRI today to determine how bad the pull is.

 

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? 
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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 Game 1: Disappointment For The Phillies

I feel like I have a hangover, but I did not have anything to drink.  The Phillies 4-3 loss to the Giants last night was the kind of life-sucking let down that leaves you wishing you had stayed in bed.  Where was the big comeback?  Where was the timely hitting?  And more importantly, where was the pitcher’s duel we were promised?  The raucous crowd used all their energy to try and will this team to a victory.  But when Shane Victorino struck out to end the game, all the air went out of the balloon.

Neither Roy Halladay nor Tim Lincecum pitched very well and both were visibly annoyed by the home plate umpire, Derryl Cousins, who had a moving strike zone.  Cousins only called hitters out on strikes twice all night and one of those was Lincecum.  Although, if you count the time he tried to call Jimmy Rollins out when he only had 2 strikes on him, I suppose he went for 3.
101610 PITCHING.jpg  Ex-Phil Pat Burrell was out in the 6th inning on a strike right down the middle, but the idiot in blue didn’t call it, which led to 2 more runs.  Of course, Raul Ibanez probably should have caught this ball that Burrell hit; and there was no need to scale the wall like he did either:

101610 Ibanez.jpg

The Phillies offense had opportunities to score but did not capitalize.  Ryan Howard led off the 2nd inning with a double and then never moved until the inning was over.  In the 3rd, Carlos Ruiz tied the game with a homer.  Halladay then singled and it looked like the Phillies had a real shot at rattling Lincecum.  But then Victorino stepped to the plate and grounded into a double play to kill all the momentum.  Still, Placido Polanco and Chase Utley kept the inning going only to have Howard strike out to end it.

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It was that kind of up and down drama that never materialized into runs.  Jayson Werth, the only Phillies batter with 2 hits in the game, nailed a 2-run homer in the 6th to give the Phillies a chance at a comeback.  But despite the defensive efforts and pitching to keep it a 4-3 game, the Phils offense never stepped up and got it done.

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For the Giants, Cody Ross was getting it done.  I never liked Ross when he was a Marlin and last night’s game certainly has not changed that as Ross hit not one, but two home runs off Halladay.  In fact, I now believe that Ross is pure evil; the spawn of Satan.  I swear he is the brother of Chucky, the most despicable of all Satanic spawn.  He must be stopped before he steals our souls.  Exorcism, anyone?  Ugh.

Ross chucky2.jpg

By the way, has anyone else noticed that despite Rollins’ claims he is healthy that he looks like he could not hit the broad side of a barn right now?  I hope Charlie Manuel watches film of his at-bats and holds him out of the game if he is not right.  It is the playoffs; they do not have time for Rollins to work his way back.  Love ya Jimmy, but please do not hurt the team by trying to tough it out.

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PA163801CU.jpgOne fun note from the game was the whistling and catcalling directed at Lincecum and his long hair.  Some fans shouted that he looked like a girl and then the whistling began, as if being directed at a pretty girl.  Lincecum was asked if he noticed and he said, “I was thinking I must have a really nice butt.”  Sorry Timmy, you actually have no butt at all.  I have photographic evidence.

And here is the full Photo Album from the game, which includes pre-game ceremonies, a shot of VP Joe Biden in the crowd and some Phanatic fun to cheer you up.

So tonight the Phillies will lean on Roy Oswalt to get a win.  They will also try to do something they have never done before; hit Jonathan Sanchez.  Cross your fingers…game time is 8:00pm.

 

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 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*

 

J-Rolling Past The Giants


The Phillies have taken the first two games of this three game series with the Giants.  Last night, Jimmy Rollins led the pack, coming just a double short of hitting for the cycle.  His 3 RBI came on a 3-run homer in the 4th inning off Giants pitcher Matt Cain.  The Phillies tagged Cain for 5 runs and then kept right on rolling through the Giants bullpen. 

Other players with multiple hit nights were Carlos Ruiz, Jayson Werth and Chase Utley, who got his first hits since coming off the DL on Tuesday.  One was a dribbler down the 3rd base line, but the other was a solid line drive into right field for a double.  The Phillies hit a bunch of triples as well; Rollins, Ruiz and Raul Ibanez each collected one.

Phillies starter Joe Blanton had a good night as well.  Blanton allowed only 2 runs in 6 1/3 innings without walking a batter.  Both runs were solo homers; one was in the first at-bat of the game and then ex-Phil Pat Burrell hit one later.  Since Burrell has hit a homer in each game of the series, I would expect another tonight just for good measure.  He does love this ballpark.

 

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Here are my Photos of the Day:  Before the game, the Phanatic assaulted the Giants players while they warmed up.  He goosed Burrell and made fun of Pablo Sandoval’s figure:


0818 phanatic2.jpg

The Giants were very gracious and had fun playing with the furry green mascot.

Here are a few more shots from the game:

0818 action2.jpg

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.  Cole Hamels will pitch tonight in the final game of the series at 7:05pm.  I should have photos from that one tomorrow as well.  Let’s hope for a SWEEP!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Reunions Abound In Win Over Giants

There were many reunions tonight at the Phillies-Giants game.  Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand came back to Philly again in Giants uniforms.  And Chase Utley returned to the Phillies line-up, making a super-speedy recovery from thumb surgery.  You could feel the love:

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And more importantly for the ladies, it was a visual treat.  Pat the Bat and other legendary backsides were welcomed with open arms:

0817 butts.jpg

Oh, you were expecting a game recap, right?  Sorry…got sidetracked.  So the game was very nice as well.  Roy Oswalt got off to a rocky start, allowing 2 runs in the first inning. 
0817 Oswalt.jpg
One of those runs was Burrell’s first at-bat; clearly, he is right at home in Philly.  The standing ovation he received while stepping to the plate died down quickly once that ball left the yard.

But Oswalt rebounded and allowed only 1 more run, another solo shot, through 7 total innings pitched.  He finally got some offensive support as well. 
P8177421G.jpg
Placido Polanco had a 4-hit night; Jimmy Rollins collected 3 RBI; Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz had 2 RBI each.  By the way, Victorino’s wife Melissa is pregnant!  Check out the baby bump.  Congrats to them both!

With a 4-3 lead going into the 8th, the offense exploded in a very odd inning.  With the bases loaded and no outs for Ruiz, he nailed a 2-run double.  Later, the Giants pitcher balked to send another run home and send manager Bruce Bochy to the showers early as he was tossed for arguing the call.  A wild pitch followed by a fielding error scored Rollins and the Utley was picked off going to third to end the inning.  5 more runs scored that inning and the Phils won by a score of 9-3.

0817 action.jpg

By the way, Mike Sweeney has not exactly been lighting up the ballpark at the plate, but this guy shows some serious hustle out there. 
P8177859 sweeney.jpg
At one point, he went into the crowd trying to catch a foul ball.  I got this shot of it, not too in focus, but take a look at his glove and the ball next to it, surrounded by fans.  That is a brave man.

So the rest of the photos will be up later.  I have to get some sleep, prep for tomorrow’s game and do it all over again!  Check back for more later.

UPDATE: Here is the full Photo Album from the game!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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