Tagged: Pedro Martinez

Phillies Prevail Despite Injuries


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? 

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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


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



Double Dip

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While doubleheaders can be draining for teams, two wins in one day makes it worth the effort.  Last night, Pedro Martinez pitched 8 amazing shut-out innings against his former team, the New York Mets.  Martinez looks like he has been sipping from the fountain of youth; he threw 130 pitches, which is his longest outing since May 1, 2001. 

Charlie Manuel almost pulled his starter from the game with 2 outs recorded in the 8th inning, but Martinez convinced him he could get the final out.  Carlos Ruiz helped by tossing David Murphy out at 3rd base as he attempted to steal, which ended the inning.  Martinez is now 5-0 as a Phillie with a 2.87 ERA. Whatever magic potion he is drinking, please pass the cup this way.091309a.jpg

As far as offense, there pretty much wasn’t any.  Chase Utley hit a long RBI single in the first inning to score Jimmy Rollins.  After that, it was 8 innings of nothing but pitching.  Ryan Madson got the save, although it was another eventful one as he allowed a 1-out hit and fans quickly began biting their nails.  But Madson pitched out of it and all is well with the world again.  The Phillies won by a score of 1-0.

Brad Lidge
saved the day game of the doubleheader and his outing was way more intense than Madson’s.  With a 3-run lead, Lidge gave up 2 runs in the inning on 3 hits.  Lidge finally managed to squeak out of the inning, giving the Phillies a 5-4 victory.  But the bullpen has been so scary in the second half of the season, it is making tummies turn on a daily basis.  Here is a photo I took of a bench inside the Phillies bullpen on Saturday:

They had better buy stock in that company if this is what we are in for the rest of the year.

9th inning drama aside, Kyle Kendrick got the start in this game due to JA Happ being out with a strained oblique; it was Kendrick’s first start in the majors this year.  Kendrick had been sent back to the minors after a bad run in 2008 but appears to have improved quite a bit since that time.  In the day game, Kendrick went 7 1/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on a homer right before he was pulled out of the game.  Prior to that homer though, he looked pretty sharp and was finally working a much needed change-up into his routine.  What the future holds for Kendrick is unclear, but for now he has a least given the Phillies something to think about.

So the Phillies took 3 of 4 games from the Mets this weekend and bumped their lead in the NL East up to 6 ½ games.  They also officially eliminated the Mets from playoff contention with the Martinez win last night.  Only the Marlins and Braves are potential contenders now.  The Phillies will need to be careful not to get lazy these last few weeks and take bad teams, like the Nationals, too lightly. 

It is an off day today, but tomorrow the Phils start a 3-game series with those pesky Nats.  For now, feel free to check out the Photo Album from last night’s 1-0 win over the Mets!

Photos by Jenn


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


Bullpen Blows 4 Run Lead

Thumbnail image for 0912 Moyer.jpgThis game got off to an ominous start when Jamie Moyer allowed 4 runs before he even recorded an out in the 1st inning.  Things were not looking good.  But the Phillies offense battled back and by the 6th inning, they had an 8-4 lead over the Mets.  Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz and Raul Ibanez all homered to give the team a lift.

And yet, despite 12 hits, including the 3 homers, 3 doubles and a triple (Rollins), the bullpen blew the game for the Phillies.  Even Moyer battled back after a terrible start and wound up with 5 runs allowed over 7 innings.  It appeared as if the planets would align and the Phillies would overcome the bad start.  But when Ryan Howard struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th, fans began to wonder if that would come back to haunt them.

091209.jpgLet the haunting begin…the bad start came full circle and turned into a bad ending as well.  Brett Myers and Chan Ho Park combined in the 8th inning to give the Mets 3 more runs, making the score 9-8.  With a precarious 1 run lead, Ryan Madson took the mound in the 9th and gave up a two run homer to David Wright with 2 outs in the inning, his second homer plus 6 RBI’s on the night.  Madson, in for the struggling Brad Lidge, has now blown his 6th save of the season.  Madson and Lidge together have 16 blow saves on the year.

It is official – this team has NO closer.  If the Phillies cannot close out games, they have no shot at success in the post-season, if they even get that far.  Unless a miracle occurs and Lidge can figure out what is ailing him, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, we are so totally screwed.  I had a few other choice words in mind to express that feeling, but I will refrain for now.  Feel free to add your own “color” to that sentence.

gloves 091209.jpgFrustration
is another good word – frustration, disappointment and downright exasperation.  So, just to make myself feel better, here is a small piece of comic relief.  At batting practice today, I watched a Mets player using what appears to be a child’s glove to shag balls.  It is tiny and quite colorful.  Check out the comparison between a real glove and the baby-glove:

I have had my fun for the day then :O)  The Phillies have a double-header tomorrow night with Kyle Kendrick pitching the 1:05pm game and Pedro Martinez at 8:05pm.  I will be at the night game praying for a win!  For now, here is the Photo Album from today’s game.

Photos by Jenn


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


Homer Happy

After a depressing 4 game slide against the Astros, the Phillies bats came out swinging last night against the Nationals.  Five home runs later, and it looked like this team may be finding its stride again.  Raul Ibanez busted out of his slump with 2 of the 5 homers plus a single.  The other 3 home runs came courtesy of Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley.  The Phillies became only the 12th team in history last night to have at least 4 players with 30 or more home runs in a season: those 4 are Utley, Werth, Ibanez and Ryan Howard.

Although the forecast called for rain last night, Pedro Martinez got a break from Mother Nature and was able to pitch 6 2/3 innings uninterrupted.  Martinez gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk and did a good job keeping the Phillies in the game.  He even showed some attitude when he signaled to a Nationals player that he had his eye on him.

Here are a few shots from the game:

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Despite the 5-3 lead going into the 9th inning, the drama was not yet over for the Phillies.  As usual and despite his struggles, Brad Lidge was sent in for the save and proceeded to self-destruct once again.  A hit, then a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases.  With only one out and the game on the line, Charlie Manuel emerged from the dugout, angrily tossed his gum across the dirt and took Lidge out of the game.  Ryan Madson bailed him out by retiring the Nationals best hitters in order; Ryan Zimmerman struck out and Adam Dunn grounded out.

It seems to be crystal clear to everyone except Charlie Manuel that Lidge is DONE.  He should be removed from the closer role immediately.  This has gone on long enough and has turned into a major problem.  I respect Lidge as a person and as the guy who got it done for this team in 2008, but this has gone too far.  Put him on ice and try it again next year.  If Manuel refuses to do what is necessary, then I believe GM Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to step in and take the decision out of his hands.  I have never been a fan of GM’s interfering with the manager, but in this case, it appears that Manuel just cannot muster the courage to do the right thing.

I feel for Charlie, really I do.  I would not want to be in his shoes, but the manager needs to put personal feelings aside and get this team back on track.  Brett Myers has experience closing and he wants to do the job.  Right now, Lidge looks like he is dreading having to step on the mound every time out.  Myers is capable, he is healthy and last night, he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings; it was his third straight scoreless outing since returning from hip surgery.  Clearly, he is ready, willing and able to do the job.

I understand that Manuel does not want to crush the confidence of his closer, who is going to be with the Phillies for the next two years.  However, Lidge will have an entire off-season to get over it.  And yes, the Phillies have a lead in the division, but watch how fast that lead disappears when the Phillies do things like get swept in a four game series by the Astros and then nearly blow the next game against the Nationals because Manuel is worried about hurting feelings.  No lead is safe when your closer cannot perform.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game….enjoy!


Photos by Jenn


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


Shameful Sweep In Texas

The Phillies were swept out of Houston yesterday in a horrible 4-game series.  In fact, this team is playing so badly, I am running out of adjectives to describe it. 
Let us consult the Thesaurus: BAD – awful, terrible, dreadful, appalling, ghastly (a personal favorite), dire, unpleasant (does not really scratch the surface, but we’ll use it), evil (now we are getting somewhere!), wicked, corrupt, depraved, reprehensible, cruel (are you feelin’ me?), shameful….

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  And “shameful” is a good one to end on.  Jamie Moyer pitched a great game in the absence of JA Happ who is out with an oblique strain, but should be back very soon.  Moyer went 6 innings and allowed only 2 runs.  But the offense was (insert favorite Thesaurus term here)…again…and even the bullpen joined in the debauchery (yes, I looked that one up too…thank me later).  Chan Ho Park, who has been the most consistent in the pen gave up two runs in the 7th inning; one of those, he actually walked in with the bases loaded.  It was an abysmal performance when this team really, really, needed a lift.

The Phillies could not muster any runs after that and went down with a 3-4 loss, their 4th loss in a row all at the hands of a mediocre team.  Any bright spot here?  Well, I guess we have all had our grammar lesson for the day, but that is really the only bright spot I can see.

Today, Pedro Martinez is schedule to pitch in DC against the Nats.  You will never guess what is in the forecast?  RAIN – lots of it.  Could this be his 3rd rain shortened start in his very brief Phillies career?  Let us hope not – this team needs a win and I need to sit through a game without having to BOO or get soaked!  If the game actually happens and I can keep the camera dry, I will be back with photos.  Wish me luck!

Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

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

Age Trumps Youth As Martinez Regains Old Form

With 2 rain-shortened games for Pedro Martinez in his first 4 starts, he had to be wondering when he might get a real shot at showing the Phillies what he has left in the tank.  Wonder no more; Pedro is back to the Pedro of old.  The 3-time Cy Young award winner beat out the Giants ace, reigning NL Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum.  Take a look at the stats comparison: 









Martinez, P (W, 3-0)









Lincecum (L, 13-5)










Martinez Lincecum copy.jpgIt was a really, really close match up, but Martinez came out on top.  The only big mistake he made all night was the very first pitch of the game which the Giants Eugenio Velez sent into the outfield seats.  After that, it was lights out from Martinez.

Lincecum made a few more mistakes and the Phillies made him pay.  Jayson Werth sent a hanging slider into the second deck of the left field seats in the 2nd inning.  Then in the 6th, Chase Utley was hit by a pitch.  A visibly annoyed Lincecum then had to face the big man, Ryan Howard and Howard took advantage.  Howard smashed a fastball into centerfield for a double which scored Utley.   Those were the only two runs for the Phillies, but with the great pitching, it was all they needed. 

The back-end combination of Ryan Madson in the 8th and Brad Lidge in the 9th finally worked the way it was meant to.   Madson sent the Giants down in order and Lidge got the save, although it was another eventful one.  With 2 outs, he gave up a hit, a walk and two stolen bases.  But Lidge buckled down and to the relief of everyone, finally got the third out.  Whew!

In other news, Brett Myers is back!  He will be activated tonight when the Phillies travel to Houston to start a 4-game series.  Myers has made an amazing comeback from a very serious hip surgery that looked like it may have him out for the entire year.  But Myers worked hard to get back into shape and the Phillies can really use him in the pen, especially if Lidge had another melt down.

A few other September call-up include pitcher Jack Taschner, who was with the Phillies a good part of the year.  And Paul Hoover, a 33-year old career minor league catcher, has been called up as well.  We should also be seeing JC Romero back soon; I saw him working out with the team on Wednesday, which is a very good sign.

Tune your TV in to Phillies baseball tonight at 8:05pm; Cliff Lee will try to bounce back from a bad start his last time out against the Astros.  Go Phillies!

Photoshopping by Jenn


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



Moyer & Martinez: Together Again

Fate or coincidence?  If you ask me, lightning (or rain in this case) does not tend to strike twice unless it means it.  For the second home start in a row for Pedro, Mother Nature intervened to bring Pedro Martinez and Jamie Moyer together once more.  Martinez only notched 2 scoreless innings against the Braves before the storm came and then he had to sit through not one, but two rain delays.  He almost made it to the mound after the 1st delay, but only a few minutes later, the rain came again and the umpires called for the tarp again.  By the time the game resumed, Pedro was out and again, Jamie was in.

Moyer went on to pitch 4 1/3 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 5 batters.  I hate to sound like a broken record, but this Martinez-Moyer 5th start duo works.  Obviously some higher power is trying to sell this idea to the Phillies as well.  Fate has intervened yet again and brought the Phillies a win on the strength of this Batman and Robin combo.

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Ryan Howard’s
bat did not hurt the situation either; Howard blasted 2 home runs for 3 RBI in the game plus a double and a walk.  Howard looked like there was nothing he could not hit, rain or no rain.  Pedro Feliz had the only other RBI for the Phillies which came off a single to score Raul Ibanez from third.

Charlie Manuel, the most loyal manager in baseball, sent Ryan Madson out for the 8th inning and Brad Lidge out for the 9th again.  Both pitchers have struggled, especially Lidge who looks like a shell of his former self.  Madson got into trouble in the 8th, loaded the bases and allowed a run to score.  But he worked his way out of the potential disaster and handed the game to Lidge. 

With a 4-2 lead, Lidge pitched a clean inning and secured the win for the Phillies.  Do not jump up and down just yet; it has been this type of performance that Lidge has been unable to duplicate all season long.  No one, except maybe Manuel, is convinced yet that this is the end of the Lidge problems, although we all hope that it may be so :O)

Tonight the series will continue with the Braves at 7:05pm.  The match-up of Cliff Lee and Derek Lowe should be an interesting one!

By the way, the Phillies Cruise package that I posted yesterday is still available!  And yes, I will be going!  I also went last year and can attest that is was the BEST vacation ever!  Hanging out with major league players, their families and fellow fans….what could be better?  NOTHING I tell you….nothing.  Join us!

Photoshopping by Jenn


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