Only 2 games into the season, some odd things have happened with the Phillies. Game 1 was a 14-10 hitting spree win. And yesterday’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers was quite the opposite. Manager Ryne Sandberg made some very puzzling moves with the line-up and pitching during the game.
First, not all the line-up changes were too weird. I liked Ryan Howard hitting 5th against a lefty and using Chase Utley as the DH. But starting Jayson Nix at third instead of Cody Asche the day after he has a career game with 4 runs scored and 3 hits? That I do not understand.
I get the whole lefty facing a lefty thing and if it were a week or two into the season, then sure, give Asche a break against a lefty. But the timing of this move in only the second game of the season with Asche having big momentum coming off Monday’s win is confusing. I do not think it was the right call; but they don’t pay me to make those decisions.
Another decision I would not have made was tossing a rookie pitcher making his major league debut into a tie game in the 9th inning against a very strong lineup. Poor Mario Hollands had to face Shin-Soo Choo (walk), Elvis Andrus (sac bunt) and Prince freaking Fielder (walk)! Seriously? Is there anyone else out there who thought this was a good idea? Talk about being thrown into the fire…
Sandberg also reused 3 relievers who had pitched the day before while leaving 2 guys in the pen, Justin DeFratus and Brad Lincoln, who have not pitched at all in 2 games. Lincoln did not have a great spring, but few Phillies did. And I definitely would have thrown DeFratus out there in the 9th before a rookie who has barely pitched above Double-A ball.
The end result was a frustrating loss in a very winnable game. Plus it wasted an outstanding effort on the mound by A.J. Burnett who allowed only 1 run over 6 innings. Is this just growing pains for a new manager or is there some method to this madness I am not seeing?
Sandberg is a Hall of Famer and all around cool guy, so he will be given the benefit of the doubt here. A win tonight would go a long way for me :o) Game time is 8:05pm; Kyle Kendrick will pitch.
“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Named the starting pitcher for the National League in Tuesday’s All-Star game, Roy Halladay gave it his best All-Star effort. He pitched two perfect innings using only 19 pitches.
Cliff Lee went right after Halladay, pitching a perfect third inning. But in the fourth, he ran into trouble, allowing a solo homer to Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez. Fresh off the Home Run Derby, Gonzalez was primed and ready to go yard.
But in the bottom half of the inning, Brewer Prince Fielder erased the homer with one of his own, a 3-run shot that hit the top of the padded wall in center field.
The NL added on two more runs for a 5-1 lead. The NL pitches held the lead and Brian Wilson of the Giants finished the game, getting the final two outs and frightening people with his enormous, black beard.
Also very amusing was the Padres’ reliever Heath Bell who made a grand entrance in the top of the eighth inning. He ran full-speed towards the mound and pulled off a feet-first, pop-up slide just before he arrived at the pitchers’ mound. At 6’3″, 260 pounds, Bell’s slide was quite a sight to behold. The Padres are probably just glad he did not snap an ankle.
So the National League won, giving them home field advantage, which we hope will benefit the Phillies. Three other Phillies attended, but did not play in the game. Both Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco are hurt and Cole Hamels was not allowed to pitch because he started on Sunday.
“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!
Photo by David J. Phillip – AP
Of course, I am not referring to an actual wolf…this wolf was Brewers pitcher and former Phillie, Randy Wolf. Although, had it been an actual wolf that devoured the Phillies, that would have been way more interesting.
But as it stands, Randy Wolf pitched 6 2/3 strong innings against his former team, allowing just 2 runs. For the Phillies, Kyle Kendrick basically stunk up the place. Kendrick started the game with a 3-run homer to Prince Fielder. He threw one pitch, missed his spot and Fielder gobbled up the cookie tossed his way. By the end of 4, Kendrick allowed 5 runs on 7 hits and a walk.
The worst part is that the Phillies have a doubleheader with the Marlins tomorrow so pitching was already at a premium. With Kendrick not able to get past 4 innings, many bullpen pitchers had to be used which means less pitching and/or tired pitching for tomorrow. Kendrick has been on a serious downhill slide since early August and seems to be getting worse instead of better as each start goes by.
Add in the fact that the Phillies offense is still struggling to score runs and this is another really disappointing loss. The only two runs scored by the Phils today came on a Carlos Ruiz double in the 2nd inning. After that, the offense had only 2 hits; one from Chase Utley and one from Jimmy Rollins. Of 7 hits on the day, 2 were from Utley.
As for some of the young Phillies arms, Scott Mathieson and Antonio Bastardo are back up from AAA and each pitched an inning. Bastardo looked sharp; Mathieson still lacks control and walked 2 batters. He did work out of the jam, but the big question mark still looms above Mathieson’s head. He can throw 97mph, but that is only helpful if he can throw strikes. So far, it is not looking that way.
The Braves lost their game today as well, so the Phillies missed out on the opportunity to put themselves in a tie for first. They still stand 1 game behind the Braves.
In the doubleheader tomorrow, Vance Worley will be called up to start the day game, probably with Nate Robertson in tow as a back-up/bullpen piece. Roy Oswalt will start the night game. The Marlins are on a role playing spoiler as they took 2 of 3 from the Braves this week so this will not be an easy series. The Phillies had better find their bats!
Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game. Enjoy.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The St. Louis crowd loves Ryan Howard. But when Albert Pujols made his entrance, the fans officially went nuts. Both sluggers were favorites to win the 2009 Home Run Derby; Pujols playing for the Cardinals and Howard, a St. Louis native, both had a lot of support going into the contest.
The first round results, which put Pujols into a swing-off with Joe Mauer and Carlos Pena, ended with both Pujols and Howard making the second round along with Prince Fielder and Nelson Cruz. Pujols ended round #2 with 11 total homers and Howard wound up hitting 15. Cruz stepped in for his turn and out-did Howard by just one home run for 16 total. Howard’s last hope was that Fielder, the final batter in round 2, would not surpass his 15 homers. Sadly for Phillies fans, Fielder wound up hitting 17, knocking Howard out of the contest. Ryan seemed relieved though, as exhaustion set in and he was likely happy to be done.
It was a nice effort all around, although not as exciting as last year’s derby where Josh Hamilton put on a show that will probably never been repeated. Hamilton hit 28 homers in the first round, many of which disappeared from sight in old Yankee Stadium. Although he went on to take 2nd place to Justin Morneau, those of us who witnessed the amazing display of power and grace will not soon forget it. I had a feeling this year’s derby would pale in comparison, but how could it not?
But the derby is always an entertaining event that I look forward to seeing every year. And the 2009 champion is Prince Fielder, who hit 6 in the final round to Cruz’s 5. Congrats to Fielder!
Tune in for the All-Star Game tomorrow night at 8pm on FOX. Tim Lincecum will start for the NL and Roy Halladay for the AL. As for your Phillies, Chase Utley gets the start at 2nd, Raul Ibanez in left and Shane Victorino in center. Howard and Jayson Werth will be available on the bench.
My predictions for the game are as follows:
– The NL will finally break the curse of 11 straight AL wins (plus 1 tie) and win the game!
– Chase Utley will look FABULOUS, even if he strikes out multiple time. I guarantee it.
– Tim Lincecum will be asked by at least 15 fans if he is the teenage son of one of the other players.
– St. Louis fans will chant “RAUUUUUUL!” even if they do not know why they are doing it.
– The broadcasters for FOX will screw up simple facts at an approximate rate of 2.3 times per inning.
– The FOX broadcast will also be boring, redundant and completely void of any redeeming value…sorry to have to break it to you. But, enjoy the game…with the volume turned down :O)
Photos by Jenn
Prince Fielder of the Brewers played magician today and made Cole Hamels disappear; Fielder nailed him with a line-drive in his pitching arm, just below the shoulder in the 4th inning. Hamels left the game having given up 2 runs on a Ryan Braun homer, but he also struck out 6 batters and was really on his game for the first time this year. No word yet on how this injury will affect him.
JA Happ came in for Hamels to get the Phillies out of the inning, but then allowed 3 runs in the 5th on a Fielder bases-clearing double. Ryan Howard could have saved the Phillies that heartache, but he dropped a sure double play ball that would have ended the 5th before the damage was done. No matter though; the Phillies only scored 1 run on a Matt Stairs homer that broke up Dave Bush’s no-hitter in the 8th. The Phillies lost the game 6-1 and had only 2 hits on the day.
So, where, or where, have the Phillies bats gone? Perhaps they are hiding in Fielder’s huge, baggy pants? Is he going to pull a rabbit out of that uniform too? And where is the Phanatic with his new magic act to make the bats reappear? I do hope they find them soon.
Break Out The Calendar
The April 20 Phillies vs. San Diego Padres rain-out has been rescheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, July 23. Anyone holding tickets for the 4/20 game can use those tickets for the rescheduled game on July 23 at Citizens Bank Park. Dollar Dog Night has also been rescheduled for the new game date.
The Phillies vs. Washington Nationals rain-out in Washington on Wednesday, April 15 has been rescheduled for 1:05 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 as part of a split doubleheader. And just to clarify for those unfamiliar with a “split” doubleheader: If you have tickets for 4/15, you can use them for the 1:05pm game on 5/16; after that game ends, you will have to leave and need a separate ticket for the 7:05pm game. Both games are not included. Bummer, I know.
Click HERE to VOTE! Get your Phillies into the game!! Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address. Gizmo the chinchilla needs your help to get the Phillies into the game! Don’t let him down; he is an endangered species :O(
The Phillies will travel to Miami tonight to start a 3-game series with the red-hot Florida Marlins tomorrow. Game time is 7:10pm with Brett Myers on the mound.
Photos by Jenn
***Visit the Phillies Phollowers Online Shop today!***
(Store is non-profit, but lots of fun! I hope you enjoy our artwork!)
*Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGE! Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum! Remember also to check out the homepage, My Team Rivals and my very own Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!
The Phillies are now tied with the Brewers for the lead in the NL Wild Card race. And the Mets lost today, so they also pull within 1 game of the Division lead. Brett Myers was unbelievable again today, pitching a complete game and surrendering only 1 home run to Prince Fielder. Fielder was bound to accidentally run into a homer…the man is like a Mac Truck; hard for him not to run into things like that. That home run was 1 of only TWO hits Myers allowed all 9 innings. Can we clone him and have Myers #’s 2, 3, 4 & 5 pitch every game? Wow.
So get out your fancy shoes and do the Happy Dance! The only way the Phillies were going to have a shot at the postseason was by doing exactly what they just did – sweep the Brewers. The offense has managed to piece itself back together and yes, Pat Burrell IS back like I said earlier today…he hit a monster home run tonight, drew a walk and scored 2 runs. Jimmy Rollins, back to 07 MVP shape, was on base every time he stepped to the plate: 2 hits, 3 walks and 2 RBI. Victorino came charging back as well as he went 4 for 4!
And the Mets have now lost 2 of their last 3, right at the same point at which they collapsed last year. Ghosts of a season past are creeping in on them…how will they handle the pressure? We are all hoping they choke like a midget trying to swallow a watermelon whole J 12 games to go… Keep on dancing J
And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod! All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!
Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose, Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!
The Phillies lost last night’s game for a lot of reasons. You can start with a bad base running mistake and move on to not hitting in clutch situations, but ultimately, I think you’ve got to lay this one on the manager. By making a few big mistakes, he just did not give the players a chance to make up for their own.
First of all, Cole Hamels did a great job. But history shows that once he goes past 100 pitches, stick a fork in him, he is DONE. A lot of pitchers like Myers can sometimes go past the 100 mark no problem, but Cole is still young and still, shall we say, a bit fragile? Injury prone? He gets spaghetti arms at about 105 and begins to over-compensate. Then, disaster ensues… Charlie should know this. So once he gave up that double to the first hitter in the 8th, he should have been pulled right there and then, especially with Prince Fielder coming up who he had already given up a homer to that night. With a one run lead, there was no room for error. Get your starter the win! That is what your bullpen is for! He pitched a great game and he had earned the win! Manual is even quoted after the game as saying, “When a guy pitches real good, I hate to see him end up losing the game.” Then why the hell did you let him pitch to Prince freakin’ Fielder when he had thrown like 110 pitches and was obviously tired!!?? DUH!! OMG!!!
Let’s move to the 9th… Leading off the inning…Eric Bruntlett? Are you serious? With the way this guy has been hitting, Manual doesn’t pinch hit here? Big mistake #2. You’ve got Chris Coste who has been tearing it up! Throw him in there! I don’t even care what the match-up is, lefty or righty – ANYTHING is better than Bruntlett in this situation. He is just NOT hitting right now. And if it goes extra innings, Coste catches, and you put the Aussie, Harman at short. Of course, as you know now, Bruntlett strikes out, Taguchi gets on, steals 2nd, gets to 3rd on a throwing error, Werth strikes out and Feliz grounds out. Ugly, ugly inning to end the game, leaving a man on third. Had Charlie pinch hit to start it off, I think you are looking at a whole new ball game. Again, you give the players a shot to redeem themselves with good decisions, but not with bad ones.
Well, for what it is worth Cole, I thought you did a hell of a job! Here is my favorite photo I took of Cole last year…I was sitting in the front row above the dugout in D.C. and yapping at him between innings trying to get him to laugh. And the kid sitting next to me kept asking him for things (balls, gloves, etc…) so he finally threw him a bag of open, partially eaten sunflower seeds! :o) That was priceless. Just a fun little story for ya. He is a cutie: