UPDATE 12pm: Game 3 has been postponed due to the bad weather in Colorado. It will now be played Sunday night at 10:07pm EST, 8:07pm MT. Game 4 then is moved to Monday, but no time has been announced yet.
AM blog: The most important game in the series, beginning with the Phillies and Rockies tied at 1 game each, will be played under the worst of conditions. Snow, sleet and freezing temperatures will likely be the most talked about part of this game which is scheduled for 9:37pm EST, 7:37pm Mountain time. The late start is likely to add to the chill.
Pedro Martinez will start the game and it is a huge opportunity for him to officially make a comeback at 37 years of age. Pedro pitched in Boston, so he is used to the cold, but snow may be another thing altogether. Plus, he has not pitched a full game in almost a month; his last start beyond 4 innings was on 9/13/09. Then again, Pedro has experience and a good post-season record on his side. Which Pedro will show up? The former Cy Young winner or the aging, injury-prone pitcher of the last several years?
As for the offense, anyone who has seen this team play in April knows, they do not like hitting in cold weather. But the playoffs are a different animal and the Phillies tend to step it up in October. But will they be swinging at snowflakes or at strikes?
If nothing else, this should be a very interesting game, should Mother Nature allow it to unfold without interruption. Best of luck to the Phillies!
It’s A Boy!
Cole Hamels and his wife, Heidi, welcomed their first child into the world yesterday morning. Caleb Michael Hamels arrived at 9am on Friday morning. Caleb is a cute name, but most are just happy the poor kid did not get stuck with “Colbert” like his dad ;O) And no, I am not making that up…his full name is Colbert Michael Hamels. So congratulations to the Hamels family and best wishes for a healthy, happy baby!
Bad Parenting 101
Speaking of parenting, this kids parents get the Bad Parenting of the Year Award: 12-year old Jennifer Valdivia ended up with Ryan Howard’s 200th home run ball at a game in Miami. As is the baseball tradition, she was ushered to the clubhouse and exchanged the ball for an autographed one. ALL players do this and ALL teams do this for milestone balls, it is not an unusual practice.
However, when the girl returned home, her parents decided their child was taken advantage of and sued Ryan Howard to get the ball back. They were upset that she was given what they termed a $100 ball” in exchange for one worth “thousands.”
That’s right folks, way to teach your kid how to extort money! Not to mention, why were a 12-year old girl and her 15-year old brother at a ball game without an adult? I am sure the opinions here vary, but I can assure you, if my kids were that age, there is NO way they would be on their own. A ballpark is NOT a safe place to let your kids run free as far as I am concerned.
And then they have the nerve to complain. Here’s a question for those parents: what if you child was kidnapped or attacked in the bathroom, or anything of that nature? Were you going to sue the ballpark for YOUR neglect? Just sayin’…
Ms. Valdivia was probably thrilled to get an autographed ball, until her parents convinced her otherwise. At that age, I know I would have been…and still to this day. The only reason it mattered to them was because of the money. So, if this kid really is going to keep the ball, like they profess, then why does the money make a difference? Unless you are going to sell it, the personally autographed ball is a great souvenir. Maybe they should have thrown in a bat as well or something, but again, the parents sent their kids in there alone, so they obviously felt their kids were old enough to handle any situation that may arise. If they do not feel that way, then they never should have sent them without an adult.
That ball meant a lot more to Howard than it would to anyone else, unless money was the only objective. With that 200th home run, Howard became the fastest player in Major League history to reach that milestone. If the girl’s parents felt she should have been given more in exchange, then ASK. They would have been happy to send the girl a signed bat, photo or whatever she wanted. But, no. These jerks decided to sue. And rather than argue, the Phillies gave the kid the ball and moved on.
So, way to go Valdivia family; you have not only taught your kids that it is all about the money but now they know, in a sue-happy country, they can get whatever they want in life if they just yell loud enough. Forget about doing the right thing, it is all about getting your way. Forget about who you hurt, as long as you claim the cash. Nicely done. It is no wonder this country is quickly descending into the dark pit of hell where morals are thrown out the window. This youth is our future, America. Start praying.
UPDATE: The above facts were as presented by The Miami Herald and ESPN. A new report from CNN says the girl’s grandfather was with her, but decided NOT to accompany her to the clubhouse. So, he chose to let her go alone. Add bad grandparenting to the story then as well. The family was also offered VIP ticktes to the next Florida series and they turned it down. And the law suit was for the amount of $15,000. Yes, that is 15 thousand dollars. And this was NOT about the money? Enough said.
Photo by Jenn
Well, that sucked. Oh sorry, in case you missed it, the Phillies fell just short by a score of 4-5 in Game 2 against the Rockies today. They will head to Colorado with a 1-1 series tie, which is not great news. The weather forecast in Denver is calling for sleet, snow and freezing temperatures. If you follow the Phillies, you know how they perform in cold weather; not good.
So now instead of a Rocky mountain high, we all have a Rocky mountain headache. Cole Hamels started the game for the Phillies and…just a second…I will not say bad things about Cole Hamels, I will not say bad things about Cole Hamels, I will not say bad things about Cole Hamels…ok, maybe I just cannot help myself. What the heck, Cole?? Well, he was not awful, but he was not good either. 4 runs allowed in 5 innings is not what you expect from the reigning World Series MVP.
But Hamels has not been himself all year, and you have to ask yourself now, can he be counted on going forward if the Phillies advance this post-season? Granted, there were extenuating circumstances today, with his wife’s pregnancy running late. In fact, Hamels is at the hospital right now; Heidi went into labor sometime during the game and he left before the game ended. But then again, he has not been consistent all year.
Two other starters were wasted in this game as well. Joe Blanton pitched just over an inning in relief and would up costing the Phillies a run. And then in a very odd move, manager Charlie Manuel put in our other starter, JA Happ to clean up Blanton’s mess in the 7th. On the first batter Happ faced, he was drilled in the knee with a hit ball and had to leave the game to have X-rays. Luckily, nothing is broken, but how long have we now lost Happ for remains to be seen. Plus, the only option to start on Saturday now is Pedro Martinez, who is not a sure thing after suffering a neck / upper rib injury in September.
Why Manuel did not lean on our well rested and experienced bullpen to begin with is beyond comprehension. He risked 2 of our best starters and it back fired.
The offense struggled in this game and did not score until the 6th inning. Shane Victorino had 3 hits, but was unable to pull another one out in the 9th with 2 outs and 2 runners on. Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard had 2 hits each, but no hits and just 1 walk out of 5 bench players hurt. Jayson Werth hit a solo homer in the 8th to bring the team within 1 run and that was the end of the scoring.
And I do wish Cole and his wife Heidi all the best with the labor and their new baby, whenever he or she arrives. Cole, you make me nuts, but I still love ya ;O)
Photos by Jenn
The Phillies announced their playoff roster today and there were a few surprises. Here is how it played out (courtesy of Phillies.com):
Catchers (2): Paul Bako and Carlos Ruiz
Infielders (6): Miguel Cairo, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley
Outfielders (5): Ben Francisco, Raul Ibanez, Matt Stairs, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth
Pitchers (12): left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Scott Eyre, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Cliff Lee and right-handers Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Pedro Martinez and Brett Myers
Miguel Cairo was the right decision over Eric Bruntlett. And the rest of the bench players are what I expected.
There was one surprise with the pitchers, however. Clay Condrey and Tyler Walker were left off the roster in favor of Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo. I did say earlier that Bastardo may be picked over Walker, so that is not too shocking considering the lack of lefties in the pen. But Kendrick over Condrey, I am a bit surprised about. Kendrick did pitch well in September, but Condrey is more consistent and has a lot more experience. I think the nagging back injury did him in; the team must not be convinced that Condrey is healthy.
I also predicted that the Game 1 starter would be Cliff Lee, and that is correct. Cole Hamels will get Game 2 and Game 3 has yet to be decided. My feeling is that it should be JA Happ as the Phils want to overload the Rockies with lefties. But all Charlie Manuel would say is that Happ, Joe Blanton and even Pedro Martinez will be “available” in the pen for the first two games. I suppose then whoever does not get used will start Game 3.
This may also be a strategic move. This gives less preparation time to the Rockies since they will not know who to prepare for.
So, if you are actually home tomorrow at game time, tune in at 2:37pm for the first pitch. The game time still disgusts me. I understand all teams need air time, but how exactly is it that the reigning World Champions do not get one of the prime time slots? I’ll tell you why…because MLB cares only about the Yankees and the Red Sox. It has been and probably will always be about these teams, whether deserving or not. I root for the Yankees too, so it is not personal. It is a matter of respect.
Not to mention, normal people have jobs, kids have school and 2:37pm does not allow ANY of these people to enjoy the game, unless they call out sick or skip school. And how about the poor Rockies fans? The game time for them is 12:37pm! (Mountain time) That is just wrong. But hey, if you are a Yankees or Sox fan, I’ll bet you are happier than a pig in mud, right? Must be nice.
Well, best of luck to everyone tomorrow (except the Rockies, of course)! Go Phillies!
The post-season roster has not been set for the Phillies; they have until 10am tomorrow to make the final decision. The central core is not in question, with 6 current and former All-Stars in starting roles. However, the pitching rotation, bullpen and bench players are going to be tough decisions.
Manager Charlie Manuel seems to favor Eric Bruntlett on the bench because he runs well and can play almost every position in the field. However, Bruntlett has not hit well and ended the year with 18 hits in 105 at-bats for a .171 average. Miguel Cairo has performed much better and can play most of the infield spots; he ended the season batting .267 and went 7 for his last 19 including a triple and a home run in the final game.
While Cairo should get the nod over Bruntlett, it may not happen that way. Bruntlett was with the team last year and Manuel tends to favor guys he is most familiar with. Both could make the team, but only if they sacrifice a bullpen spot. Ben Francisco, Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs should all be locks for the roster, despite the facts that Dobbs has been playing hurt and Stairs batted only .194 this year with 5 homers in 103 at-bats.
The pitching is even more complicated. Most likely Cliff Lee will start game 1 as Cole Hamels would only have 3 days rest. However, Lee has been mostly awful in his last 7 starts, allowing 27 runs in 39 2/3 innings. That is an ERA of about 6.13. Not good. The Phillies hope he will turn things around for his first post-season appearance.
Hamels was equally inconsistent, ending the season with a record of 10-11 and a 4.32 ERA. Pedro Martinez has been dealing with a sore neck, so his ability to pitch deep into a game effectively is in serious question. Joe Blanton and JA Happ have been the only two good, consistent arms in the rotation all year and now Happ may get bumped to the bullpen due to a lack of lefties. That would be a real shame though, because Happ has the best record of the starting staff with 12 wins, 4 losses and an ERA of 2.93. Honestly, I think they need to keep Happ as a starter and take their chances with the lefty situation in the pen. Happ is more valuable for 6-7 innings than he would be for only a few batters.
That brings us to the pen, which is basically a mess. Every regular bullpen pitcher has suffered at least one injury this year, except Ryan Madson. Right now, JC Romero, Jamie Moyer and Chan Ho Park are still hurt and will not play in the NLDS; Moyer is done for the year. That leaves Scott Eyre as the only experienced lefty, and he is pitching through a sore elbow. Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, Brad Lidge and Madson are on the roster for sure. That leaves Tyler Walker, Kyle Kendrick, Brett Myers and the 2 rookies, Sergio Escalona and Antonio Bastardo to fill the remaining spots.
Escalona and Bastardo are both lefties but lack experience and have exhibited a lack of pitching control at times as well. It would be tough to add one of them to the roster, even though lefties are needed. Kendrick spent most of the year in the minors, but pitched fairly well for the big club in September until his last outing where he gave up 3 runs. And Myers has suffered two injuries which kept him out almost the whole year and he still does not look quite right. That leaves Tyler Walker whose 3.06 ERA is 3rd best in the pen, behind Eyre and Condrey.
But with all the injuries, the Phillies options are limited. My best guess is this: Madson, Lidge, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin, Walker and Myers with Pedro Martinez added to the list instead of Happ. That makes 12 pitchers total, including the 4 starters: Happ, Lee, Hamels and Blanton. Although, if one lefty in the pen looks problematic, they may keep Bastardo instead of Walker. Of course, I may be totally off. We shall see.
Pop the champagne Phillies fans; for the 3rd year in a row, this team has won the NL East and will be playing in the post-season. In a game that included at least one RBI from every starting position player except lead-off hitter Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies powered their way to a 10-3 mashing of the Astros to win the title. Rollins did have 2 hits in the game though, plus a walk and he scored twice.
A true team effort, the win included back-to-back triples by Rollins and Shane Victorino, a massive 2-run homer by Raul Ibanez, a sac fly, a stolen base and 3 doubles. Pedro Martinez pitched only 4 innings and allowed 3 runs, but his teammates picked him up with their hitting and some great relief pitching. Kyle Kendrick, who spent nearly the whole year in the minors, pitched 3 innings of scoreless ball allowing only 2 hits. Chad Durbin picked up the 8th; Scott Eyre got the 1st 2 outs in the 9th and, believe it or not, Charlie Manuel put Brad Lidge in to finish the game. Lidge got his old buddy Lance Berkman out on 1 pitch.
So, it is time to rejoice! Since I was not able to attend the game tonight, I broke out some old photos from the 2007 NL East clinching game. Here are a few ways the Phillies may now be celebrating:
Now just take a deep breath and exhale…ahhhhhh! Time to relax…for now. Home field advantage is still up for grabs. That challenge will begin with tomorrow night at 7:05pm in the last game of 4 against the Astros. Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn
Except champagne photo by: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/t
After sending Phillies fan everywhere into panic mode with some really bad baseball, the Phillies finally got their act together last night.
They beat the Astros 7-4 behind the pitching of rookie JA Happ and a Grand Slam from Pedro Feliz.
Happ won his 12th game of the year, which leads all rookie pitchers. He had a lot of base runners, but worked out of jams by remaining calm and throwing strikes. In 5 2/3 innings, Happ allowed 3 earned runs on 9 hits and 1 walk. An interference error by Paul Bako behind the plate gave the Astros one additional run, which was unearned. But once again, it was a Happ-Y day for the rookie.
Jamie Moyer pitched 1 1/3 after Happ left the game and did a great job. But on the last pitch of the inning, he strained a groin muscle and the extent of the injury is still unknown. Everyone is crossing their fingers that Moyer will recover quickly.
Ryan Madson pitched a 2-inning save and it looks like we have a new closer. And the offense finally came to life with 11 hits, the biggest of those being the slam by Feliz in the 4th inning. It was the Phillies 11th Grand Slam of the year. Jayson Werth also helped out with a 2-run shot in the 5th to break the game open for the Phils.
Add this win to a loss by the Braves and the Phillies need only one more win or one more Braves loss to clinch their 3rd consecutive NL East title. Bring a camera if you are headed to the game tonight because today may be the day! Pedro Martinez will pitch and, if he is healthy, it should be a good game. Go Phillies!
Photo by Jenn
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