Tagged: Placido Polanco

Award Season: Which Phillies Made the Grade So Far

Despite an early exit from the playoffs, the Phillies 102 regular season wins and stellar individual performances have earned some players much deserved honors.

Earlier this offseason, Placido Polanco was awarded a Gold Glove for his work at third base.  Polly also won the award playing second base for the Tigers in 2007 and 2009.  He and Darin Erstad are now the only two players in big league history to win a Gold Glove at multiple positions.

MLB.com also handed out awards on Monday.   Ryan Howard was named the club’s Player of the Year, while right-hander Roy Halladay was chosen the team’s Pitcher of the Year.  And rookie right-hander Vance Worley was voted the Breakout Player of the Year.

Not to be outdone, the Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America put its two cents in as well.  Center-fielder Shane Victorino was the winner of the Mike Schmidt Award  for Most Valuable Player and left-hander Cliff Lee received the Steve Carlton Award for Most Valuable pitcher.

The big awards come out next week which will include Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and the Cy Young award.  It is expect that many Phillies will be considered for these top honors, but realistically, none of them will win.  Charlie Manuel is overlooked every year in the manager category; Worley will probably lose out to Freddie Freeman.  As for the Cy Young, both Halladay and Lee will probably get passed over in favor of Clayton Kershaw who had 21 wins and an almost invisible 2.28 ERA.

Of course, anything can happen.  But those are my predictions…how about you?  Leave your best guess in the comments and we will see who gets it right.

And if anyone missed it, here is my annual Phillies Photo Tribute slideshow.  Enjoy!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

2011 Phillies Photo Tribute

I just finished my yearly Phillies photo tribute!  I shot all of these photos during the 2011 season which include game photos, every player who was on the big league roster (even if for only a split second), a few alumni shots and other goodies.

The “For Fun” section is my favorite.  I collect funny shots throughout the year, like players with the giggles, guys sticking out their tongues, silly faces and lots more.  Do not worry, they are all family friendly.  The really fun ones I keep to myself ;o)

Enjoy!

 

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

2011 Phillies Halloween

Happy Halloween!  In keeping with my yearly tradition, I have again dressed up our favorite Phillies players for this special holiday.  Some are repeats from previous years that still crack me up.  And some are brand new and also very funny.

We begin with a new set of costumes; here as Batman, Robin and Luke Skywalker are Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz and Hunter Pence:

Halloween 2011 b

One of my all-time favorites, it is Roy Halladay as Iron Man, Kyle Kendrick as a random super hero and Ryan Howard as the Hulk:

Halloween 2011 e

Next up are some new & old mixed together; Cliff Lee is a magician, Chase Utley is Superman (of course) and Michael Stutes is Michael Jackson.  BTW, the only thing I added to the Stutes photo is the glove.  The rest was an outfit he actually wore to Shane Victorino’s charity fashion event this year:

Halloween 2011

And here we have John Mayberry Jr. as Count Dracula, Raul Ibanez as Captain Jack Sparrow and Ryan Madson as Robin Hood:

Halloween 2011 c

Another favorite costume adventure is Jimmy Rollins in a dual role as both the Easter Bunny and Papa Smurf:

Halloween 2011 Jroll

And for the Grand Finale, Shane Victorino is “The Situation” from Jersey Shore and Placido Polanco is a matador:

Halloween 2011 d

Happy Halloween, everyone!

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 5: Acceptance

With the final game of the 2011 World Series upon us tonight, it seems like an appropriate time to end the drama.  As Phillies fans, it has been a rough ride since our team took an early and unexpected exit from the playoffs.

But not just fans have been on the mend, so have the players.  Some were on the mend in a very literal sense.  Ryan Howard got the stitches out from his Achilles surgery.  Hunter Pence, Cole Hamels and Placido Polanco are all rehabbing from hernia surgery.  Hamels had elbow surgery as well.

It is simply time to move on from all these aches and pains and accept the fact that the season is over.  I found something today that made me smile and even feel a little better.  This is a poem written by manager Charlie Manuel back in 2000 when he was with the Indians.  It was originally published on the Indians web site and can now be found in the online Baseball Almanac.

My Most Memorable Day

by Charlie Manuel

“It was a warm day in August when history was made,
And the fans in the boxes were looking for shade.
The bases were loaded, it was the last inning.
From the sound of the crowd, you knew we weren’t winning.

When out of the dugout came No. 3,
The last hope for the Twins it was sure to be.
Now legend tells of Casey at the bat,
But today it was the Killer who tipped his hat.

Cursing and swearing came from the stands,
When Harmon was waved back by Rigney’s hand.
An astonishing look came over the Brew’s face,
When Rigney said, ‘Manuel is taking your place.’

A disbelieving look as he turned around,
Placed his bat in the rack without a sound.
Then from the bench came No. 9,
Who’d been warming the pine for a long, long time.

As he stepped from the dugout came a yell from the stands,
‘You can’t hit Manuel, the Killer’s our man.’
Never before in history had they pinch hit for the Brew,
Especially with some hillbilly hitting .182.

This was a mockery, a dirty rotten shame,
To pinch hit for a man who’s a sure Hall of Fame.
But Charlie heard not a word as he strode to the plate.
He only noticed the crowd’s eyes; they were filled with hate.

‘God, help me this one time,’ kept going through his mind.
‘If I ever get a hit, let it be this time.’
Jim Palmer looked in and thought, ‘This should be a cinch,
I’ll throw three by this rider of the bench.’

Down came the ball with a little white glare,
As Manuel stood watching for he knew it was there.
‘Strike one,’ came the call from the man in blue,
And four pitches later it was 3 and 2.

Now everything rode on the very last pitch.
Would Charlie stay a poor boy or would he suddenly be rich?
The crack of the bat and a long drive to right,
The back of Blair’s uniform is the only thing in sight.

The roar from the stands gave a deafening scream…
Then Charlie fell out of bed, it was only a dream.”

Charlie….you gotta love him. :O)

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 1: Denial

I have embarked on a mission to cleanse myself of the horror and grief surrounding the untimely end to the Phillies 2011 Season.  I simply cannot continue to carry this overwhelming sense of emptiness and loss  around much longer.  It is like a funeral around here, and that is never much fun.

2006-06-30-denialHowever, I have still not gotten past the Denial stage.  Frankly, I refuse to believe this actually happened.  How did a team with such talent managed to get knocked off in the first freaking round of the playoffs?

No.  I tell you it is just not possible.

I will not cry over the death of the 2011 Phillies because I refuse to acknowledge that they are gone.  If they were actually gone, that would mean that free agents like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Raul Ibanez could be gone for good.

That would also mean, so I have been told, that no fewer than five Phillies are headed for off-season surgery with real potential to totally screw up next season as well.  Ryan Howard needs Achilles tendon surgery, both Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence have sports hernias and Ross Gload needs hip surgery.

But maybe the biggest bombshell of them all is Cole Hamels who will have TWO surgeries back to back starting on Friday.  Hamels will have “loose bodies” removed from his elbow and then a week later, inguinal hernia surgery.

Oh please, say it ain’t so.  No one even knew Hamels was hurt!  And Howard?  He could miss the start of the season.

No, no, no….this is just NOT happening!

Ugh.

Stay tuned for Stage 2…

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

2011 Phillies Season Ends in a Total Disaster

First, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals.  They played well and deserved to win this series.  And that statement may be the only light moment in this post today…

I am angry, disappointed and thoroughly disgusted by this loss and the effort this Phillies team put forth in this NLDS series.  I apologize in advance if anyone is offended by what I am about to say, but I need a good rant to get this off my chest.

I do not want to hear, “We’ll get them next year.”  I do not want to hear, “Hindsight is 20/20.”  Because frankly, the issues on this Phillies team are not hindsight.  They are glaring problems that were obvious to me before the series even began.  If they were obvious to me, what I want to know, is why weren’t they to manager Charlie Manuel?

As my first example, take Placido Polanco.  This is a guy who normally hits at least .300 every year.  But he has been playing on a hip that will require surgery this offseason.  Manuel said after the game that Polly was in pain, but still able to play.  Just because he is ABLE to play, does not mean he should have.

Polanco batted .105 in the series and should have been benched both for his lack of production and for his health.  Putting a guy with a bum hip in the line-up every day was almost a guarantee of an 0-4 day.  Wilson Valdez played in 99 games in the regular season and came through many times in big situations.  Valdez would have at least accidentally run into a hit at some point. 

I am not saying Valdez should have played every game, but Polly certainly should not have stayed in the line-up once it was obvious that he was unable to hit with this injury.  This was a huge mistake.

Another huge mistake was Ryan Howard.  Can anyone think of a good reason for Howard to be tinkering with his stance and location in the batter’s box during a playoff series?  No?  Neither can I.  He did pretty well the 1st two games and then suddenly by Game 3, he had moved so far back in the batter’s box that he was almost in New Jersey.

100811-howard-NLDS-400 Howard messed with his approached and screwed both himself and this team, going 0 for his last 15 at-bats.  And why is a guy who is not hitting giving the 3-0 green light?  WTF.  Seriously.

So Howard made the final out of the postseason again, two years in a row, in the most pathetic manner possible.  He hurt his Achilles and went down like a sack of potatoes trying to exit the batter’s box.  He had to be helped off the field.  Fittingly, the look on his face matched the feeling of every Phillies fans in attendance and watching at home; sheer agony.

Next up, Chase Utley….you all know I love Mr. Utley.  But WHY is he taking a chance trying to steal a base in a 1-0 elimination game against Yadier Molina who throws just about everyone he faces out in that situation?

And my new favorite topic of discussion is Jimmy Rollins.  Rollins may be the only player who had a pretty good series until the final game.  He openly scolded fans about being too quiet after Game 2 and asked them to give it their all in Game 5.  Ok, fine.  The fans more than obliged and Rollins proceeded to go 0-4 in the game.  The fans brought it, why didn’t Rollins?  After the game, Rollins would not speak to reporters.  Go figure.

And then there is Raul Ibanez.  I can see letting him start most games, but when he started swinging at balls 2 feet out of the strike zone, this is a sign.  Ibanez goes hot and cold like the flip of a switch.  When he is obviously cold, take him out!  Give John Mayberry Jr. a shot.  TRY something to kick start this horrid offense!

Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz were just as bad in this series.  After ending the season with a .314 average, Pence hit only .211 in the NLDS.  Ruiz was worse, going 1-17 which equates to a .059 average.

Shane Victorino and Rollins were they only two guys who hit with any sort of consistency, but Rollins crashed and burned in the final game.

And then there is the line-up as a whole.  Manuel moved Utley to the 2-hole and Pence to the 3-hole.  This worked well for all of maybe 3 games total? – A few in at the end of the regular season and Game 1 of the NLDS?  Howard hit well before with Pence behind him.  Why mess with that once it stopped working?

Manuel is big on  what he calls playing the guys who got them to this point.  I’ve got news for Charlie…Valdez, Mayberry and sometimes Michael Martinez were a HUGE part of what got this team there, filling in for injured players and making big plays.  But he started Mayberry once and totally ignored the other guys.

And now for the pitching…Roy Halladay gave everything he had and gave up only one run.  He would have bled for this team if he thought it would help.  But the team let him down and could not score even one lousy run for the one guy who has carried them all year.  Disgusting.  After the game, Halladay said that the worst part of the loss was letting down the fans who were so supportive all year.  For me, the person I feel the worst for is Halladay.  He deserved a win; he earned it.  This team should be ashamed of letting him down like this.

And among the rest of the four aces, only Cole Hamels pitched well.  Cliff Lee blew a 4-run lead in Game 2, which was the real turning point of the series.  Once that happened, the Cards knew they had the Phils by the balls.  It was all downhill from there.

The Game 3 win was a freak accident, thanks to a Ben Francisco homer.  But the Phillies did not really earn that win.  And in Game 4, Roy Oswalt choked and gave up 5 runs.  So much for four aces.  Because the Cardinals had the royal flush.

This is possible the biggest let-down for any Phillies team in history since Black Friday on October 7, 1977 when Davey Lopes with the Dodgers was called safe and the momentum propelled the Dodgers to win the series.  So Friday October 7, 2011 (yes, the same day) may go down in history as Black Friday II.

With the pitching staff the Phillies assembled this year and the overall talent on this team, to see them lose the NLDS is a gut-wrenching tragedy.  I would not be surprised to see GM Ruben Amaro Jr. at the top of a very tall building today contemplating where it all went wrong.

I feel sorry for Ruben – he did his job, got them the players they needed and has nothing to show for it.  In fact, this Phillies team since the 2008 World Series win has taken one huge step backwards each year following: in 2009 they lost the World Series; in 2010 they lost the NLCS; and now in 2011, they lost the NLDS.  One step further back each year – if the trend continues, they will not even make the playoffs next year.

The window of opportunity for this team to win is about to close, which is the worst part of this horrible loss.  The main players are getting older, they are more injury prone and many may not even be back next year.  This may officially wind up being the worst offseason in Phillies recent history.

So I am ready to spit nails, how about you?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section. 

 

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Photo by Philly.com

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Major Lee Let-Down in Game 2

P7096974BH If I had not watched the game last night and you told me this morning that Cliff Lee blew a 4-run lead in a playoff game, I would have assumed that someone put crack in your cornflakes.  But alas, I did see the game and yes, the unbeLEEable happened.

Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa looked like a serious moron in the first two innings, pitching Chris Carpenter on only 3 days rest.  The Phillies beat him up to the tune of 4 runs.  With Lee on the mound, this was a sure win, right?  Wrong.

Because Lee imploded , allowing 3 runs in the 3rd and two more over the 6th and 7th.  Frankly, he never should have been sent back out for the 7th after it was clear in the 6th that this was not his day.

But the Phillies offense also blew a lot of opportunities.  After scoring 3 in the 1st, Placido Polanco hit into a double play with 2 men on base to end the inning.  It was still a good first inning, but they could have really put the game away here and did not.  They left runners on base in the 2nd as well.

Polanco is 0-8 in the series so far.  So is Carlos Ruiz.  Ruiz took a huge shot at the plate to save a run yesterday, but his bat has come up empty.  And Hunter Pence, although he has gotten a few big hits, has also left 5 men on base in the series and hit into a fielder choice in a key situation last night in the 8th, killing the momentum.

So the game cannot all be blamed on Lee, but it certainly is a huge disappointment based on what we all know Lee is capable of.

The Phillies head to St. Louis now and will put Cole Hamels on the mound against Jaime Garcia, who the Phillies have not been able to hit at all in the past.  Game time on Tuesday is 5:00pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*