While it was not very funny, the Phillies committed 3 errors in a 7-2 loss to the Giants tonight. That, combined with a serious lack of offense for the second consecutive day, contributed to the loss. Myself and many other Phillies fans endured harassment from the Giants crowd who were more than pleased about their team running all over the defending World Champs like a 16 wheel tractor trailer. It was an ugly night in San Francisco. Let us recount the errors:
1st inning: Jayson Werth misses what should have been a routine fly ball. He misjudged it, ran the wrong way and could not recover. That error led to a run for the Giants.
4th inning: Former Giant, Pedro Feliz, fielded a ground ball that he should have tossed to first base; instead, he tried to get the lead runner going to 2nd and threw the ball away. That led to a 4-run inning.
7th inning: Chase Utley committed an error, but no harm was done that inning.
Utley did have an interesting game though. He took exception to Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, throwing a pitch at his head. Utley had words for Sanchez and then proceeded to tick off the pitcher by stepping out of the batters box and shortly after that, hitting a home run.
But the bigger story here was the lack of offense and failure of the Phillies hitters to make good contact with the ball. In the 3rd inning, Jimmy Rollins was left stranded on 3rd base with no outs; Utley struck out; Werth popped the ball up; and then Ryan Howard grounded out softly. This sort of play is not going to win games, obviously.
Tomorrow, Cliff Lee will make his Phillies debut. I got a few shots of Lee in his new red uniform during batting practice today. I also took a few shots of new Phillie, Ben Francisco who filled in for Shane Victorino tonight. Shane is day to day with swelling in his knee.
And let me just say this about San Francisco; it is COLD here, people! Yikes! Hoping for warmer weather tomorrow! Start time is 10:15pm EST again.
FYI – I will be posting a Photo Album from my entire trip when I get home; stay tuned for that next week :O)
Photos by Jenn
Since Friday night’s game did not go well, I decided that it was time for J-Roll Smurf to intervene and add a little Phillies Smurf magic to the equation. So, before the game on Saturday against the Cardinals, J-Roll Smurf enjoyed visiting personally with many of the Phillies players. The real J-Roll was excited to see his old buddy again and Ryan Howard laughed out loud as he thinks J-Roll Smurf is too awesome for words. Also rubbing the luck from J-Roll Smurf yesterday was Brad Lidge, JA Happ, Chad Durbin, Pedro Feliz, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, John Mayberry, Kyle Kendrick and Tyler Walker. And although a few Phillies, like Chan Ho Park and Jamie Moyer, seemed confused by the little blue mascot, J-Roll Smurf rubbed his luck upon them anyway :O) You’ve gotta LOVE Photo Day:
And the Smurfy magic paid off with wins both Saturday and today for a series win over the Cards! In fact, the original J-Roll Smurf, Jimmy Rollins, nailed a GRAND SLAM on Saturday and then a 2-run homer today! There is no stopping him now!
All these wins and entertainment too! On Saturday, some crazy guy tried to interrupt the game with a laser pointer to distract the Cards hitters and a very drunk guy named, “Sully” distracted the entire outfield crowd later on:
Here is the Photo Album from the entire 3-game series!
So the Phillies will hit the road for 3 games against the D-Backs and then 4 with the San Francisco Giants. I will be in San Francisco for all 4 – hope to see you there!
Photos by Jenn
Yesterday, it was Fish Fry with a 3-game sweep of the Marlins in Miami. Tonight, it was a cub clubbing in Philly. Perhaps Animal Control needs to issue a citation to the Phillies for animal cruelty? On second thought, nah…
To continue their assault on nature, the Phillies uprooted Ted Lilly of the Cubs and put 9 runs on the board during Lilly’s short 4 innings of work. The delicate flower was no match for the bashing of the Phillies’ bats; especially that of Raul Ibanez who plucked Lilly’s petals with a 3 run homer in the 1st inning. And that homer came with two outs and two strikes on Ibanez after Ryan Howard failed to score any runners by striking out in the previous at-bat. Just when it looked like Lilly may live to bloom another day, Ibanez went in for the kill.
The offense did not end there: Carlos Ruiz joined in later and nailed a 2 run homer and had 3 RBI in the game; Shane Victorino went 2 for 4 and in the 8th, Howard made up for a few bad at-bats with a solo home run. Chase Utley was 1 for3 and also had an RBI in the game.
Rodrigo Lopez finally got another start after leaving early in his last outing with a sore shoulder. Looks like the shoulder is doing well; Lopez got through 6 innings and allowed just one run. Chad Durbin was handed the ball next and given an opportunity for a save by going the final 3 innings. Durbin did the job and notched the Phillies 9th win in row!
Jack Nicholson attended the game tonight and sat behind home plate wearing a Yankees hat. The Phanatic tried to convert him to a Philly-Phaithful by doing his best Joker impersonation, but the hat remained. So here is a little help from Photo Shop to convert Mr. Nicholson:
How about JA Happ? This kid is making a case for Rookie of the Year, without a doubt. He notched his 7th win yesterday in the 5-0 win over the Marlins and his ERA is now 2.68 with no losses recorded. Happ has allowed only 6 runs in his last 5 starts. And last night, Pedro Feliz did his best to lose the game for Happ by committing 2 official errors and had one other ball fly off his glove that should have been, but was not counted as an error. Feliz helped load the bases at one point, on what should have been an easy double play ball, but Happ never rattled and pitched out of the jam. His command and above all, his poise on the mound, make it hard to believe he is a rookie. Happ has the ultimate poker face; you never know what he is thinking or feeling.
And that composure is exactly why the Phillies would be insane to trade him, even for the likes of Roy Halladay, as has been rumored. Happ has pitched as well as Halladay since being promoted to the starting rotation. I agree with going after Halladay, but not if the trade involves Happ. And so this is my plea to the Phillies as the trade deadline draws closer…please, please, please – KEEP JA HAPP! It would be a monumental mistake to let him go. Mark my words.
Utley Photo by Jenn
Everything was looking great for the Phillies last night until the rain came. Cole Hamels appeared to be slowly returning to form; he pitched 5 innings before the delay and allowed one solo home run, 4 hits and struck out 5. The offense too, seemed ready to pounce on the Marlins for a second day in a row. In the 1st inning, Jimmy Rollins started the game off with a double and Chase Utley hit a home run to drive them both in. They scored 2 more runs in the 4th with singles by Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth; then Pedro Feliz doubled and the Phillies went up 4-1.
But Mother Nature thought it would be fun to interrupt the momentum and a downpour stopped the game in the middle of the 6th inning. After a 1 hour 18 minute rain delay, the game resumed and the Phillies looked like they had not woken from the nap they took in the clubhouse. Chan Ho Park allowed 1 run over 2 innings of work, which is not too bad. And Park has been very solid out of the pen lately. But then Ryan Madson came in for the 8th and could not make it through a whole inning; he did record 2 outs, but also gave up 2 more runs to tie the game at 4-4.
Both JC Romero and Chad Durbin wound up pitching in the same inning, which seemed like it would never end as ex-Phillies players put a hurting on the pen. Ronny Paulino, who was with the Phils in Spring Training, obviously has a chip on his shoulder when playing the team who let him go. Having gone 0 for his last 13 at-bats, Paulino rallied for 3 hits, 1 RBI, 3 runs scored and a walk against the Phils. Even Wes Helms got in the action with a hit and an RBI.
Once it went into extra innings, the potential outcome appeared bleak as the Phillies began to run out of players.
The umpire was no help in this game either; Mark Wegner, a 10 year veteran, did not have a good game behind the plate. His strike zone was all over the place and both teams argued with him all night. Then, with the potential go-ahead run on 3rd base for the Phillies, the Marlins pitcher balked – an obvious balk. But all 4 umpires missed it so the extra innings continued. All I can figure is that the umpires brought their sleeping bags and were content to make this game go all night long.
But the Phillies finally woke up in the 12th inning as singles from J-Roll, Utley and Werth turned into 2 runs and put the Phillies up 6-4. Brad Lidge came in to close it out, and it was another ugly, ugly turn of events. Stomaches churned as Lidge walked 2 batters in a row and then uncorked a wild pitch to score a run. With the tying run on 3rd and the winning run at the plate, Lidge finally got Dan Uggla to ground out and end the game; final score 6-5, Phillies. And all in Phillies-land rejoiced as we staggered sleepily to our beds after the 4 hour ordeal.
And we will do it all over again tonight! Same time, same place; Joe Blanton will take the mound at 7:10pm in Land Shark Stadium (formerly Dolphins Stadium). We all hope the Phillies can win it in NINE innings tonight. Please and thank you. ;O)
Howard Photo by Jenn
It has been a slamming first half for the Phillies who today, hit their 7th Grand Slam of 2009. Three went to Ryan Howard and then one a piece to Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, and today, Pedro Feliz. Howard had a chance at a slam early in the 1st inning this afternoon, but hit a sac fly instead. But then Feliz came to bat later that same inning and took care of the salami for him. The five runs in that inning were the only offense of the day for the Phils, but that was all they needed to sweep this 3-game series with the Pirates.
Today’s 5-2 win made this a 9-1 home stand for the Phillies who had struggled most of the year at home. It also marked the 3rd most wins during any home stand in history for the Phillies. The pitching and offense finally worked together; sprinkle in some great defense, like the three double plays turned today, and things are looking very bright for this team going into the break.
And as usual, JA Happ did an outstanding job on the mound. Happ went 7 innings and allowed just one run. There have been many rumors lately about Happ being involved in a possible trade for Roy Halladay, but it seems like it would be a foolish move to make. Happ has been the most consistent starter since he was handed the job and he is unwavering on the mound when under pressure. We would all like to see Halladay in Philly, but losing Happ is too steep a price.
Home Run Derby featuring the Phillies’ Ryan Howard and Workout Day. The Derby begins at 7pm.
Red Carpet Parade, 2pm
80th All-Star Game, 7pm
After that, the Phillies will have just one day off (Wednesday) and have to return to play a day earlier than all but one other team, the Florida Marlins. Due to an NFL scheduling conflict, a Phillies-Marlins game that was to take place in September, has been moved to Thursday, 7/16 in Miami at 7:10pm. Hopefully, the shortened break for the Phillies will have no effect.
But for now, get ready to cheer on Howard at the Derby tomorrow night!
Feliz Photo 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
Before I get to FOX Sports, I have a game re-cap for you. Jamie Moyer, the oldest player in the major leagues, took the mound today against the New York Mets for his 600th career start! Congratulations Jamie! What a milestone! Moyer was outstanding in his effort and allowed only 1 run in 6 1/3 innings. Not only is Jamie an amazing baseball player, he is an even more amazing human being. Jamie dedicates countless hours to charity work with The Moyer Foundation and is ever-present in the community; a true role model for children and people of all ages. It is refreshing to see such success come to a person who really deserves it.
Jamie got the win by a score of 4-1. Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz were the Phillies offensive stars of the game today; Victorino went 3 for 4 with an RBI; Feliz had 3 hits as well. Even Jimmy Rollins joined the party and collected 2 RBI on a double. SO nice to see Jimmy creeping back to life! It is also a big relief to see Ryan Madson begin to pitch his way back to normal. In to relieve JC Romero, he recorded 2 quick outs to retire the Mets in the 8th inning. Then Brad Lidge came in for the 9th, saved the game, and all is as it should be…at least for today ;O)
This gives the Phillies a series win at home for a change, and more importantly, an opportunity to sweep the Mets! I will be at the game tomorrow and bring back news and photos.
In some very odd news, Paul Bako, our back-up, back-up catcher (not a typo) has started 3 of the last 4 games. This has given me some reason to speculate. Could Carlos Ruiz be on the trading block with the Phillies desperately seeking pitching? If they are in the middle of negotiating with another team, it makes sense to sit Ruiz as they would not want him to get hurt while making decisions. With Chris Coste as a solid back-up and Lou Marson waiting in AAA, this may not be such a strange move. Another possibility is that Ruiz is hurt again and no one is talking. Then again, maybe Charlie Manuel was just feeling a bit silly this week? We shall see as the week progresses.
Why FOX Sports Sucks
Can someone please explain to me WHY my Phillies – Mets game today was interrupted multiple times so that FOX sports could should gratuitous footage of Manny Ramirez at bat in San Diego? It was Manny’s 2nd game back with the Dodgers since serving a 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy. Can I get a big “WHO CARES??” from the peeps, please? Thank you.
Seriously, it was not Manny setting some amazing record; not Manny greeting aliens from a spaceship for our first extraterrestrial encounter; not even the President of the United States giving an important speech…Manny’s 2nd game back after a STEROID suspension. Heck, not even the 1st game back (even so, I would not have cared to see that either). Has FOX Sports reached an all-time low in trying to get ratings? You betcha. It was like them interrupting a blessing from Jesus Christ himself to show a drive-by shooting. What exactly were they expecting to happen? That Manny’s head would explode? Or, he was going to announce the cure for cancer? Now THAT would have been news.
And yet, on this most important day in America where we celebrate the freedom of our great country, we are subjected to this ridiculous, infantile Mannywood hype by FOX Sports. On the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig retiring from baseball while suffering from a fatal disease…we get Manny-Insanity. On the day Jamie Moyer celebrates his 600th career start as a pitcher, are we shown historical footage of the eldest current player in baseball…a person who is a great humanitarian as well? No…we get dreadlock fever.
Truly disgusting. FOX Sports – you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Moyer & Manny Photos by Jenn