The Phillies did not allow the injuries that occurred in Friday night’s game to change the outcome. But as those injuries begin to pile up, it is starting to have an effect.
Pedro Martinez pulled a muscle in his neck while swinging the bat last night and was forced to leave the game after 3 innings and 3 runs allowed. The fact that he threw 130 pitches in his last start combined with his age and injury history probably did not help.
Friday night, the bullpen kept the Braves in check after JA Happ was pulled after he appeared to be in some pain in the 3rd inning. But last night, the pen did not get the job done. Chad Durbin allowed 2 earned runs which were the direct result of 2 walked batters, both of whom scored. Paul Bako, filling in for an injured Carlos Ruiz made a throwing error in the 4th which, combined with a walk issued by Durbin, allowed Nate McLouth to score on a sac fly for an unearned run. Those 3 runs turned out to be the difference in a 4-6 loss to the Braves.
The offense was shut-out through 8 innings but made a run at a comeback in the 9th. Ryan Howard hit a two run homer with no outs; then singles by Greg Dobbs and Jimmy Rollins plated 2 more runs. Had the bullpen held the Braves down, those 4 runs would have won the game for the Phillies. Instead, they took a difficult loss. Now this afternoon’s finale of the series has become a must-win for the Phillies so they do not lose more ground to either the Braves or the Marlins, who also won their game last night.
Florida is now 7 games back and Atlanta is 7.5 back. Cliff Lee will try to get the Phillies a series win this afternoon at 1:30pm. Best of luck to him!
Photos by Jenn
September baseball can be really entertaining, but it can also drive a fan to drink. Nerves fray as teams battle for a playoff spot; add a few key injuries to the tension and you may find yourself having to meditate or do some yoga in order to remain calm. The Phillies seem fairly calm after a 9-4 win in Atlanta last night, despite injuries to pitcher JA Happ, catcher Carlos Ruiz and slugger Ryan Howard. Although, none of the injuries seem serious, so take a deep breath and exhale…
JA Happ appeared to grimace as he stepped towards first base in the 3 inning but insisted he felt fine. Happ gave up a solo home run to the next batter and was then lifted from the game at the end of the inning for “precautionary reasons.” Happ had missed the two previous starts with an oblique strain so the Phillies are not taking any chances that he may aggravate the injury.
Carlos Ruiz sprained his right wrist after blocking home plate as the Braves’ Matt Diaz tried to score in the 2nd inning. The throw by Raul Ibanez was right on target and Ruiz tagged Diaz out at home. But in the process, he hurt his wrist and eventually left the game with Paul Bako taking his place. The injury appears to be mild and the Phillies are hopeful that he will only miss a game or two.
Next victim: Ryan Howard. Howard destroyed pitched Tim Hudson with 2 home runs for 3 RBI in the game. But later, relief pitcher Boone Logan nailed Howard in the forearm with a fastball. Howard continued on to first base, yelping in pain on his way up the baseline. He appears to be alright and hopefully, will not miss any time.
Shane Victorino also missed the game yesterday with a gastrointestinal illness. Translation?
He has the poops. Poor Shane! It is expected that he will play tonight. But last night, Ben Francisco took his spot in center. The Ben Francisco-treat went 3 for 5 at the plate with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored, including a solo homer. He also got caught stealing 3rd base for the first out of the 6th inning, but he made up for it with hitting, so all is forgiven :O)
Jimmy Rollins had 3 RBI in the game and Jayson Werth continues his hot streak with some clutch hitting; Werth went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI on a bases loaded, 2 out single in the 8th. Also clutch in the game was Kyle Kendrick who took over for the injured Happ and pitched 4 scoreless innings.
So game 1 of this HUGE series is in the books! If the Phillies can win at least 2 of 3 in this series, they will likely kill any hope the Braves may have had at a playoff run. The still undefeated Pedro Martinez will take the mound tonight at 7:00pm.
PS: The Magic Number is now 8!
Francisco / San Fran photos by Jenn
Meditation photo: hubpages.com
The game began with a Pirates lead-off home run off the rookie, JA Happ. But after that, Happ did not budge and sent the Bucos away each inning frustrated.
Happ went 8 innings, gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. Happ had a 2-1 lead until the 8th inning when he surrendered the big blow; a 2-run shot by Garrett Jones to give the Bucos a 3-2 lead. Still a great outing by Happ, but with no offense to back him up, the result was not ideal.
Well, no offense except Jimmy Rollins and Paul Bako. Rollins looked like the energizer bunny all night long as the ball jumped off his bat and his defense was stunning. But his effort of 3 for 5 on the night was the only real offense in the game. Ryan Howard collected an RBI on a force out in the 1st inning with the bases loaded. The following inning, back-up catcher Paul Bako hit a rare home run as fans did a double take at their TV sets…Bako who? The surprise homer from Bako seemed to lull the Phillies into a deep trance from which they did not wake up. In fact, neither team scored again until that killer home run by the Pirates in the 8th.
The Phillies offense this entire 3-game series was pathetic. Howard helped give the numbers a boost with his 3-run homer yesterday, but that was about the only hitting highlight of the series. Losing 2 out of 3 to a last place team is just very, very sad.
The Braves come to town tomorrow for 3 games and hopefully, the Phillies will find their bats!
The 2nd annual Phillies Cruise will set sail on January 9th, returning on the 16th. Players past and present including Shane Victorino, Ryan Madson, JC Romero, Matt Stairs and Greg Luzinski will all be aboard! The cruise is officially sold out, but there is still ONE opportunity left to grab your spot! This package includes an ocean view cabin for 2, two Southwest airline vouchers (cruise departs from Ft. Lauderdale) plus ALL Phillies activities! The package, put together directly from the Phillies, is being sold for $3100 (a $4500 value). Email me and I will put you into direct contact with the seller.
Photos by Jenn
After the oddities involved in yesterday’s Phillies-Mets match-up, including a game-ending unassisted triple play, the circus act continued into the beginning of today’s game. Yesterday, the Phillies hit two 3-run homers in the first inning; today, they only managed one 3-run homer in the first inning, but still an amazing feat. Ryan Howard provided the power after Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch and Chase Utley walked. Victorino also stole second and then wound up on third base after a throwing error that same inning, leaving the Mets looking like a pack of clowns.
But the spectacle got even weirder in the bottom half of the 1st; Chase Utley must have taken up juggling in his spare time, because that is exactly what he did with a routine pop-up from the first hitter for the Mets, Angel Pagan. Utley dropped the ball as Pagan sped around the bases and then proceeded to join the Mets clown troop by throwing the ball away into left field. The double error allowed Pagan to round the bases and score. Pagan is the same Met who wound up with an inside-the-park homer in the 1st inning of yesterday’s game after Victorino became confused over the Citi Field ground rules and did not field a ball that got stuck under the outfield wall padding.
Next, Jayson Werth put on his clown suit as he over ran a ball to right field, stumbled around trying to catch it on a hop and looked absolutely ridiculous doing it. Gary Sheffield wound up with a triple and eventually scored. And this was only the 1st inning.
Oh yes, the circus has indeed come to town. But Sheffield, despite his triple, was next in line to receive his badge of silliness as in the 2nd inning, he too dropped a routine pop-up which came off the bat of Phillies catcher, Paul Bako.
But after the 2nd inning, things began to calm down and Cliff Lee was amazing, yet again. Ignoring the shoddy defense at the start of the game, he buckled down and pitch 7 solid innings, allowing 6 hits and NO earned runs. Both Mets runs were unearned due to the Utley errors. Lee is now 5-0 as a Phillie and has yet to even walk a batter! Lee is the anti-clown; just amazing.
Howard hit another homer (say that 5 times fast) in the 3rd inning and the 2-run shot plus the 3-run shot earlier was all the offense Lee needed to notch the win. But just for fun, Raul Ibanez knocked in one more in the 9th inning on a double to left that scored Utley.
Chan Ho Park and Brad Lidge took the 8th and 9th inning respectively and shut down the Mets. Lidge looked good which is excellent news, especially considering he went into a non-save situation and still got the job done cleanly.
Player of the Week
Jayson Werth has been on fire! Whatever has been lit under his backside recently has earned him Player of the Week honors for the National League. Werth led the majors with 5 home runs and 29 total bases plus he hit .440 for the week. Today, he did not have a hit in the game, but did walk three times. Congrats to Jayson!
Eric “I am only hitting .158” Bruntlett has been asked to send his jersey to the Hall of Fame. Yesterday, Bruntlett turned an unassisted, game-ending triple play after a horrible start to the inning where he committed 1 official error and bobbled another ball that was eventually scored a hit. But redemption is sweet as Bruntlett not only saved the game, but he made history in the process.
This will actually be the 2nd item for Bruntlett in the Hall; last year, he donated his “Elmer Fudd” cold-weather, ear-flap cap from the World Series.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh to begin a 3-game series with the Pirates tomorrow. Joe Blanton will take the mound for the Phillies; game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn
Cliff Lee was welcomed to Philadelphia today by the fans. In his second start for the team, his first at home, Lee pitched extremely well. He went 7 innings and allowed only 1 run on 6 hits and 1 walk. While not as spectacular as his first start in San Francisco where he went a full 9 innings, today’s start was more than acceptable and exactly what the Phillies were hoping to get out of the 2008 Cy Young winner.
Lee had some help; Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4 at the plate and was just a home run short of the cycle. J-Roll also scored 2 of the 3 Phillies runs. Paul Bako, the Phillies back-up catcher, hit a solo home run in the game; it was his first homer since June of last year.
There were also several miscues in the game including an error by Lee, a ball missed by Ryan Howard that should have been an error, but was not scored as such, and J-Roll also missed a ball up the middle that he normally gets to. On top of that, the young Ben Francisco drew a walk in the 7th, only to get himself picked off at 1st base. Whoops! But through all the blunders, Lee remained calm and pitched through it. That, more than anything else, was very impressive.
Earlier today, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that JA Happ will stay in the rotation. How this will happen has not been disclosed, although Ruben did mention getting “creative” to solve the dilemma. Could “creative” mean he likes my 5 ½ man rotation idea?? Hmmmmm…..
Whatever the case, good news for Happ! Likely what happens next is Jamie Moyer starts against the Marlins this week and after that, the real fun of juggling these guys begins.
The Fish are coming to town! Tomorrow’s 7:05pm game start time has been pushed back to 7:35pm in order to hold a special ceremony to induct our beloved Harry Kalas into the Phillies Wall of Fame. It is sure to be an emotional day for all as Harry’s sons, friends and family of fans pay tribute to a Philly legend one more time. We still miss you, Harry!
And finally, here is the full Photo Album from today’s Phillies – Rockies match-up and Cliff Lee’s 2nd start.
Photos by Jenn
Ryan Howard showed everyone today why he is an All-Star; Howard went 3 for 3 with 3 RBI and 2 walks. But more importantly, he came up to bat in the 9th inning with 1 out, 2 men on base and the Phillies trailing by 3 runs and he saved the day. Howard nailed a 3 run home run to centerfield to tie up a game which, until that moment, looked like a sure loss for the Phillies against the last place Pirates.
Howard had some help though; Raul Ibanez, in his first start since coming off the DL, doubled after Howard’s home run; it was Ibanez’s 2nd hit of the night. After that, Pedro Feliz singled, Jayson Werth was walked to load the bases and Paul Bako stepped to the plate. You may be asking, Bako who? Bako, in his 12th year in the majors and playing for his 10th different team as a back-up catcher, made name for himself in Philly tonight. He whacked a single through a hole in the infield, scoring Ibanez and giving the Phils an 8-7 win. Bako is batting only .214 and his lifetime average hovers right around only .230, but that did not matter tonight. With his second hit of the game, he got the job done.
The Phillies really needed some heroics tonight after Cole Hamels had another bad outing. In 6 innings, Hamels allowed 6 runs on 7 hits, which included 3 home runs. Hamels even allowed a home run to Andrew McCutchen, who had only 1 homer the entire year until tonight. Another went to Delwyn Young, who in a 4 year career, had only 5 home runs until Hamels helped him to #6. Can you say BAD location? Apparently, Hamels can and we all wish he would unlearn that particular phrase.
The bullpen had a bad night too; Chad Durbin allowed 2 runs, one of which scored when Scott Eyre came in to relieve him and walked a run home; a combination bad effort. But we are all entitled to have bad days, and for the Phillies pitchers, this was certainly one of those; especially since it came against the Pirates. But it was all erased with the outpouring of offense late in the game.
Only one game left before the All-Star break! The Pirates will try to salvage a game and the Phillies will try to stop them; 1:35pm tomorrow.
Sale At The Spectrum
Did anyone else attend the Spectrum sale earlier today? I was there and oh boy, what a mess! For the first time ever, the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers joined forces to host a blow-out sale of discontinued merchandise at low prices.
I spoke to a Spectrum representative as the horror was unfolding and he told me that they were expecting, and only prepared for, 500 people. What they got was thousands upon thousands and as a result, a lot of very unhappy customers. Check out lines, which began with 2 cashiers on each side (Phillies side & Sixers/Flyers side) took hours to get through. No exaggeration…hours. And it was like watching cattle being herded; the small shopping area was jam packed with shoulder-to-shoulder shoppers and you could barely move. Meanwhile, thousands of other shoppers formed a line outside the building waiting to be let in.
I got there early, as I expected a crowd, unlike the Spectrum management, so I did get in with the first group and got some pretty cool stuff. But, it took me over 2 hours, with help, to do so. Most of the merchandise was old playoff gear, but a few nice finds were there. And the lines began to thin out after the management added a cash only line and a few more cashiers. I do believe that next year, they will be a bit more prepared. At any rate, it was a real adventure.
Photos by Jenn
It has been a very weird day for the Phillies. For starters, Raul Ibanez returned to the team and is expected to play the next two games before the All-Star Break. Then, Chris Coste was let go and picked up by the Houston Astros. Coste has not had a great year off the bench and apparently, the Phillies prefer Paul Bako’s skills behind the plate as the back-up; neither Coste nor Bako have performed well offensively, so the defense was the deciding factor. Coste is a great guy and has been a huge part of this team; he will be missed :O(
And then to round out the day of weirdness, Charlie Manuel chose his outfield replacement for the All-Star game – it is Jayson Werth. Many have questioned the selection as Werth’s batting average is below many others who could have been picked, like Matt Kemp, but it is Charlie’s team and he gets to make the decision. The Phillies have gotten screwed several times in the past with All-Star picks, like Pat Burrell last year, so I guess what comes around, goes around. But Werth has been great and his power numbers are excellent; many players deserve to go and he is certainly one of them. Either way, the Phillies now have 5 players headed to St. Louis :O)
Then tonight the Phillies began a series with the Pirates. Joe Blanton had another great start and pitched through 7 1/3 innings, allowing just 1 run, a solo homer. It was a great job by Blanton and a real boost to the starting rotation.
The offense did not score much, but got just enough to win the game for Blanton. Werth rewarded Manuel for his All-Star decision by smacking a 2-run double in the 3rd inning. Shane Victorino did the same for the fans who voted him in by going 3 for 4 on the night. And Chase Utley, Mr. All-Star himself, had 1 hit, 1 walk and scored a run. Final score was 3-2 with Brad Lidge getting the save, although another nerve-wracking one after he gave up a solo homer. But, a win is a win :O) We’ll take it.
By the way, for anyone who has been following the Friday Night Phever game on CSNPhilly.com with Ricky Bottallico, I just won! Whoo Hoo!
Photo by Jenn