Here is a summary of the Phillies 2010 first half, according to Jenn:
Best Off-Season Move – Acquiring Roy Halladay
Worst Off-Season Move – Trading Cliff Lee (duh!)
Biggest Win – 7/9/10: The Phillies overcame a 7-1 deficit in the 9th inning against the Reds to win the game in the 10th; it was the second walk-off homer win in a row, giving the Phillies a huge confidence boost.
Biggest Loss – When the bullpen blew a 5 run lead; Phillies lose to the Twins by a score of 10-13 on 6/19/10
Best Series Win – The 4-game sweep of the NL Central 1st place team, the Reds, 7/8-7/11
Worst Series Loss – Losing 3 out of 4 to the worst team in the National League, the Pirates, 7/1-7/4
Biggest Surprise – Jamie Moyer: At 47-year old, the combination of Moyer’s age and 3 off-season surgeries left many doubting he could be an effective pitcher. But Moyer has performed beyond anyone’s expectations. But at the half, Moyer has 9 wins and 2 complete games, one of which was a shut-out.
Biggest Disappointment – Raul Ibanez: Batting only .243 with 7 homers at the half, Ibanez is on pace to hit only 14 homers, which would be his worst power outage since 2001. He has also only driven in 39 runs, and is therefore on pace for 78 RBI, which would be his worst since 2004. Ibanez gave his all in the first half of 2009, but since then, it has been mostly downhill and his age is starting to show. With another entire year left on his contract, this is looking like another bad move by the Phillies.
Biggest Question Mark – Brad Lidge: Sometimes Lidge looks like Mr. Perfect from 2008 and sometimes he looks like a little leaguer. The Jekyll and Hyde routine is getting old. Lidge needs to step up his game if the Phillies are to have success.
Best Moment of the First Half – Roy Halladay’s Perfect Game, 5/29/10 (again, duh!)
Worst Moment of the First Half – Chase Utley’s thumb injury. Noooooo! Not Utley!! Then there are the rest of the major injuries that have plagued this team: Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, JA Happ, Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, etc… The combined impact of these star players going down have combined for the Worst Moments of the year so far.
Jenn’s Crystal Ball
– Will Jayson Werth be with the Phillies next year? – No. Sorry, ladies. He may even be gone sooner than that…
– Will the Phillies make a trade before the deadline? – Yes.
– Which position will they upgrade? – Pitching
– Will Jenn continue to let her sanity slip slowly away as each day without Chase Utley passes? – Sadly, yes. Please come back soon, Chase!
– And finally, will the Phillies win the NL East again? – My crystal ball broke due to being overworked when I asked this question. But I will step out on a limb here and say, yes. I mean, YES! Let’s be positive people ;o)
Jamie Moyer will take the mound tonight in Chicago against the Cubs to kick off the 2rd half. Game time is 8:05pm. Go Phillies!
Realizing the season is not quite even halfway over, it is hard to say that the Phillies are done. But after losing 3 out of 4 games to the worst team in the league this weekend, it sure does feel that way. Murphy’s Law has ruled this team for about 2 months now where anything that can go wrong does. Massive injuries to star players, a serious and prolonged offensive slump, pitching and hitting never going well on the same day and now this; 3 loses to the Pirates.
The one win in this series came on an offensive explosion of 12 runs. But if the Phillies need to score 12 runs every time to win a game, then I guess their season really may be over.
5 runs on 9 hits today did not cut it. Dane Sardinha, the Phils 4th string catcher, getting two hits and a home run did not help. Greg Dobbs, who is in the worst hitting slump of his career, got a hit and an RBI; no matter though. It also did not help.
The big boys like Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins did absolutely nothing in this game. And besides the solo home run by Sardinha in the 7th, the Phillies offense gave up after the 3rd inning. And then there was the pitching…
While Joe Blanton looked solid through most of the game today, he began to fall apart quickly after 6 innings. He threw 3 pitches at the start of the 7th inning which ended up like this: home run, single, double. Blanton left with one out and Jose Contreras came in with two runners on base. Contreras picked up the disaster right where Blanton left off, allowing a double, a single and 3 more runs to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead. So the Phils entered the 7th with a 3-run lead and the pitching blew it.
It only got worse when Mike Zagurski came in for Contreras and allowed two more runs to score on a 2-out single. So Blanton’s final line was 5 runs over 6 1/3 innings. He was fine through 6 innings, but when Blanton starts to fall apart, he really goes down hard. Then the bullpen totally ruins the day by allowing a 3-run lead to turn into a 3-run deficit…against a last place team. Disgusting.
So the Phillies went on to lose by a score of 5-8. If the Braves win today, the Phillies will enter tomorrow’s 3-game series with the Braves down by 6 games. That means, even if they win the series, they will still be a minimum of 3 games back with only 4 to play before the All-Star break. Or worse, they will lose ground and dig a hole too deep to emerge from.
Does anyone out there think the Phils can sweep the Braves? After losing 3 of 4 to the Pirates, they do not stand a chance. I will be happy to eat those words if they do, but the odds are certainly not in their favor.
With all the recent injuries, many Phillies, like Placido Polanco, dropped off in the All-Star voting late. As a result, the only Phillie to make it in via fan vote was Chase Utley. Utley cannot play due to his recent surgery and will be replaced by Martin Prado of the Braves.
Two more Phillies were added to the roster; Roy Halladay won the player’s vote and Ryan Howard was added by manager Charlie Manuel. Both are very deserving. Halladay’s dominant performances plus the Perfect Game he pitched this year make him an obvious choice. Howard is one of the league leaders in RBI’s with 58 and was batting .296 coming into today’s game.
Earlier today, MLB.com posted the starting rosters for each league. Take a look at the list. Notice anything wrong? Either the writer just got used to typing the word “Yankees” over and over or Evan Longoria was just involved in some weird, mysterious trade. No need to panic Rays fans; Longoria is still in Tampa.
By the way, I hope everyone has a Happy 4th of July, despite the Phillies being a major bummer. This is one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken and it always makes me feel better:
Happy Independence Day!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schultz
The Phillies have been playing an unusual and frustrating game of hide and seek with their offense for well over a month now. Tonight against the Pirates, play time ended in the 3rd inning when the offense finally came out and yelled, “Here we are!” while scoring 5 runs.
The Phillies scored in 6 out of 9 innings tonight, making some wish they had saved a few runs for the next game. But the early Independence Day offensive fireworks display was long overdue. After scoring just 8 runs in their last 3 games, the Phils exploded tonight to the tune of 12 runs.
Every starter in the game had at least one hit. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins each collected 3 RBI on 2 and 3 hits, respectively. Shane Victorino also had 3 hits and 1 RBI. Cody Ransom was called up from the minors and took the place of Brian Bocock on the roster. Ransom, right off the airplane, contributed immediately with 2 hits and an RBI.
Last year, Ransom filled in at 3rd for the Yankees when Alex Rodriquez was hurt. A knee injury this year delayed his call up to the Phils big club until today, but Ransom is healthy now and will fill need to a big hole as Placido Polanco recovers on the DL. But Ransom’s defense came into question tonight when he dropped an easy pop-fly in the 8th inning. The 10-run lead made it less of an issue, but Ransom had better shape up quick. This team needs him to be solid at 3rd.
Ben Francisco started in place of Raul Ibanez who has just not been hitting. Francisco looked rusty his first few at-bats, but after a couple nice swings, he belted his first home run of the year and collected 2 RBI. The job in left field should be his for the taking if he continues to hit.
The only player who still looked perplexed at the plate tonight was Jayson Werth. He did hit an RBI double in the 4th that almost went for a homer, but he looked terrible in every other at-bat. Werth is taking strikes and swinging at balls. He struck out in his first at-bat on a ball in the dirt.
But with most everyone else hitting, Werth’s struggles do not make a huge impact. Plus, Kyle Kendrick pitched a very good game, allowing just 3 earned runs in the 12-4 win. And for the first time in his major league career, he pitched a complete game. Congrats to Kendrick!
Having lost the first two games to a very bad team, the Phillies really need to come away with a split here and build momentum going into the Braves series which starts Monday. Joe Blanton will pitch in the finale tomorrow; game time is 1:35pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Not many would have guessed at the beginning of the season that a 4-game series against the worst team in the National League and 2nd worst in all of baseball would be such a huge turning point for the Phillies. But this series with the Pirates has become just that. With 7 players and major contributors on the DL, a banged-up back-up catcher and 2 losses to the Bucos already behind them, the Phillies next two games could make or break their season.
The Phillies are five games behind the Braves after last night’s 0-2 shut-out loss to the Pirates. They do have a series with the Braves next, but if they lose 3 or even 4 games in this Pirates series, they will not have much left to bring to the Braves series. Getting whipped by a last place team will mean that they have allowed the injuries to win.
Plus, last night this team looked like it was sleep-walking. Like the energy and confidence has been sucked right out of them. The only player who still looked determined was Jamie Moyer, who pitched six solid innings and allowed only one earned run. Moyer has been rock solid in his last several starts. The rest of the team looks like runny oatmeal.
Oddly enough, the only position player showing some life is back-up Wilson Valdez. Even Jimmy Rollins said after the game about Valdez, “My man right here, he’s got some swag.” Last night was the 3rd multi-hit game for Valdez in his last 4 games. He has also hit 2 home runs in those games. While it is great to see a bench guy step-up like this, where is the rest of the team?
Charlie Manuel said yesterday that he moved Raul Ibanez to the 2-spot in the lineup because “he is a high on-base percentage guy.” Really? Because every starter on the team has a higher OBP than Ibanez who is in 11th place at .322. Not to mention, Ibanez had only 5 hits in 96 at-bats in the month of June. What part of this screams 2-hole hitter?
It is moves like this that make people wonder. It appears that Manuel is grasping at straws trying to get his team back into action. What the Phillies really need is a bucket of ice down the pants to wake them up.
The team did get a small bit of good news. Back-up catcher Brian Schneider has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb; yes, the exact same injury Chase Utley was said to have. Except, Utley wound up with a torn ligament where Schneider says he just needs a few days to rest and can play in an emergency. Schneider is one of the tough guys; you have to love that.
So it boils down to these next few games. Will the Phillies fold under the pressure or come out swinging? They have overcome a lot in years past so there is no reason to think they cannot do it. But this time, if they cannot get back on track fast, it may be too big a hill to climb later. Game time tonight is 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
As more players continue to drop like flies, manager Charlie Manuel was also forced to miss today’s game against the Pirates due to a suspension. On Thursday night, Manuel bill-butted the umpire with the brim of his hat as he argued a call. Manuel has been ejected 3 times in just over a week, obviously frustrated with how this season is going. This suspension was just one more blow to this already limping Phillies team.
The Phillies went down against the Pirates today with their anemic offense again giving no run support to the pitcher. The final score was 2-3 and the Phils had only 8 hits. Wilson Valdez hit a solo homer and the 2nd run was unearned due to a Pirates throwing error. Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez both went hitless.
Ibanez has had one hit in his last 8 games and 34 at-bats. The Phillies need to put Ben Francisco in left and be done with it already. Ibanez has not contributed in any significant way in a long time. In fact, in the month of June, Ibanez had 5 hits…total. That is the entire month. Francisco had 11 hits in 37 at-bats compared to 5 hits in 96 at-bats for Ibanez. This is a NO brainer.
So another good pitching performance was wasted by the Phils offense. Cole Hamels allowed 3 runs in 7 innings and deserved a win. Instead, he gets another loss and to a last-place team no less. But sadly, that was not the only drama tonight.
Just when you thought, after having 7 players on the DL and Chase Utley going in for surgery today, things could not get worse…they did. Back-up catcher Brian Schneider got hit in the hand with a pitch and has a hyper-extended left thumb and had to leave the game. No word yet on how serious it is, but if he goes on the DL too, the Phillies will be left with a 3rd string catcher and have to call up a 4th from the minors. My head hurts.
And by the way, Utley’s recovery time has been changed from the original 6 weeks reported to 8 weeks. By tomorrow, who knows? They may go with 3 months. But realistically, this kind of surgery can have widely varying recovery times based on the extent of the damage and how the surgery went.
As for Placido Polanco, he has 3-4 weeks before he can return due to bone chips in his elbow. And catcher Carlos Ruiz was examined in Pittsburgh today and the tests for his concussion apparently did not go well. That means he may be out even longer than 15 days. The Phils may as well open their own ER at this rate.
Will GM Ruben Amaro Jr. find a quality infielder to help out? This will be interesting. We already know Amaro screwed up when he traded Cliff Lee and probably every team in the league wants to get Lee now. I have heard many fans say they think we can get him back to Philly. Stop right there. Here is the one reason that will never happen: to bring Lee back would mean Amaro would be admitting he made a mistake by trading him in the first place.
Some men admit when they are wrong, like umpire Jim Joyce admitted he blew the call that cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game. And when Andy Pettitte admitted he did steroids and was obviously ashamed. But Amaro? It will never happen. Put it out of your minds and move on.
And now the infield is a bigger concern than the pitching. The Phillies will have at least a month without their 2 All-Star infielders and then an additional month without Utley. They need help and Amaro has to go make something happen. Right now, I really don’t want his job.
Player photos and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies squandered an opportunity for a series win today, losing to the Reds by a score of 3-4. Roy Halladay has now lost 6 of his last 9 games, even though he has pitched at a 3.19 ERA during those 9 games. He did not have his best stuff today, allowing 2 big homers and 13 hits in an 8-inning complete game. But as has been the case all year, the offense did little to help him out.
It looked like the back-up players might carry the team for the second day in a row when 3rd string catcher Dane Sardinha hit a 3-run homer in the 4th inning. Wilson Valdez had 2 hits again and Greg Dobbs had a hit and a walk. But with both Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez going 0 for 4, no Chase Utley or Placido Polanco, the offense did not get anything else done.
Games like these are when the Phillies are going to feel the full effect of having 7 players on the DL. The injuries are out of control and as a result, this is going to be a very rough ride for the rest of the season.
Yesterday, Brad Lidge said that the Phillies players were going to have to “step-up” during this trying time. I found that comical after Lidge became the only player yesterday who did not step-up. However, he has a point. The question remains though, can these bench guys get the job done?
Once the team has a better idea of how long Utley and Polanco will be out, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have some very serious decisions to make. Can they go out and get a descent infielder while still adding to the pitching depth? All Phillies fans can do right now is hang in there and hope that this team can weather the storm.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh now for a 4-game series. The first game is Thursday night at 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Roy Halladay did his usual yesterday against the Pirates. He pitched a complete game, however, the Phillies offense gave him no support and he lost the game despite the effort which included 132 pitches. With the misty cold weather and the Flyers playoff game going on next door, the entire stadium was dead. The Phillies offense followed suit and played like they were asleep in this 1-2 loss.
So the most exciting thing that happened all night besides Halladay’s 9 inning, 2-run game was watching actor and Delaware native, Ryan Phillippe, attempt to throw the ceremonial first pitch. He drilled it into the ground nowhere near the plate. I will post photos of that later. For now, here is a quick shot of Phillippe and Halladay:
So while the Phillies batters collected just 6 hits, three of which were from Ryan Howard, and just 1 run, the defense behind Halladay looked sleepy as well. Placido Polanco and Juan Castro made back-to-back errors in the 5th inning, extending Halladay’s work load. Then in the 6th inning, Jayson Werth made a great throw home to catch Lastings Milledge trying to score. He would have been out by a mile, and it looked like he was, until the ball flew off into the grass. Carlos Ruiz was so busy making the tag, he forgot to catch the ball first:
Milledge did his job by plowing into Ruiz to break up the play. Earlier in the game, Werth had the chance to do the same when the 3rd base coach sent him home after a Castro single. He probably should not have been sent as the throw beat him there, but instead of sliding and trying to knock the ball out of the catcher’s glove, Werth, quite politely, walked slowly into the tag. The Phillies failure to score there combined with the dropped ball by Ruiz turned out to be the difference in the game.
Here are a few other plays from the game…check out the shot of Polanco with both legs levitating off the ground…weird:
So this game was a huge waste of a great performance from Halladay and on his bobblehead giveaway night, too. Sad. The good news is, I got my bobblehead and stayed mostly dry, which is what I had wished for before the game. Perhaps I should have also wished for some offense? Oh well…next time.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game.
Jamie Moyer will pitch later tonight as the Cubs come into town for another short 2-game series. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography