It has been an interesting few days for the Phillies. On Sunday, they finished off a four-game sweep of the Padres, scoring only 12 runs total in all of those games. An inside-the-park homer by Shane Victorino helped seal Sunday’s sweep.
That same day, closer Jose Contreras was sent to the DL with a strained right flexor pronator tendon in his elbow. As a result, Michael Stutes joined the club to fill the roster spot and made his major league debut on Monday.
Also on Monday night, the Phillies five-game win streak ended with a 0-4 shut-out loss to the D-Backs. Cliff Lee pitched an odd game where he struck out 12 batters but still allowed four runs in seven innings. However, Lee’s performance was basically rendered obsolete as the Phils offense did absolutely nothing to help out.
The three-hit shutout by the Diamondbacks Ian Kennedy where he struck out 10 batters and did not issue a walk, matched a team record. Only two other pitchers in team history tossed a shutout while allowing three or fewer hits with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. One was Curt Schilling on April 10, 2001 against the Dodgers (2 hits allowed, 10 SO) and the other, Randy Johnson, when he pitched a perfect game on May 18, 2004 at Atlanta (13 SO).
While that feat by Kennedy is very impressive, the Phillies offense certainly made it a little easier on him by swinging at bad pitches and watching good ones fly by.
The Phils offensive offense has not scored more than four runs in 14 consecutive games this season. They currently rank 28th in baseball for runs scored since April 9th.
The worst offender amongst the starters has been Raul Ibanez, who is hitting just .179. He should be benched in favor of John Mayberry Jr. until he figures things out. Maybe at almost 39-year old, Ibanez needs to be in a platoon with Mayberry to get him more rest.
Team leader Jimmy Rollins is also not producing. He got off to a hot start and has seriously cooled off. Rollins has not had a multi-hit game since April12th. He has batted .182 since that time.
But a few players are not to blame. The entire team is just not hitting, as if they all caught the same virus at once. If the disease continues to spread, who will be the fall guy? Last year it was hitting coach Milt Thompson. Frankly, the players themselves need to be held accountable. Play the bench guys until the starters find their swings.
While the bench is solid, it is not the long-term solution. However, maybe benching a few guys will light a fire under them. Because the Phillies have few other options.
Their payroll is maxed out. The Phillies will never be a team that decides to pay the luxury tax along with the Yankees. So as far as getting new blood into the line-up, they are out of options. Besides, it is only April and no teams are ready to trade anyone yet.
Then again, it is only April. The team is still winning, despite the offense, thanks to a solid starting staff. But even the pitchers are going to get weary of the lack of support very soon.
So choose your most relaxing yoga pose and just keep telling yourself, “It’s only April. Its only April…”
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
If there was ever a question that Roy Halladay should indeed be the 2010 National League Cy Young award winner, then clearly you have not been paying attention. With a both perfect game and playoff game no-hitter to his record this year, Halladay was the hands-down winner, garnering all 32 first-place votes for a unanimous decision.
This is Halladay’s second Cy Young; he won the first with the Blue Jays in 2003. He is the 5th player ever to recieve the award in both leagues, joining Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens. Halladay is also the 4th Phillie to win, joining Steve Carlton (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982), John Denny (1983) and Steve Bedrosian (1987).
Finishing the season with a 21-10 record and a 2.44 ERA, Halladay had a career year and was the indisputable favorite for the award. In short, it was slam dunk.
As we near the holiday season, this award made me wonder, what do you get for the person who has nearly everything? He has a perfect game, a no-hitter, more than 20 wins, millions of dollars and now a second Cy Young award. With this in mind, I put together a list of ideas for anyone shopping for Mr. Halladay this season.
What To Get Roy Halladay For The Holiday’s
1. A World Series Championship (Duh)
2. His very own “Most Interesting Man In The World” beer commercial
3. A World Series Championship (can we get one in gift card form to redeem in 2011?)
4. A spaceship so he can visit other planets when he gets bored with Earth
5. A World Series Championship (did I already say that??)
6. An I-Pod Dock Toilet Paper Holder – For tunes while you toot. Several web sites recommend this…seriously.
7. A World Series Championship (in case I forgot to mention it earlier)
8. A Solar-Powered Rainbow Maker – Have you ever just been sitting around thinking, gee, I’d love to see a cheery rainbow right now? Yeah, me too. Besides, Halladay already has the pot of gold to go with it.
9. His very own country – call it “Happy Halladayville”
10. If you are still online shopping for the TP holder, maybe I was not clear the first 4 times…get Roy Halladay a World Series Championship!!!
Roy Halladay thanks you in advance ;O)
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Cole Hamels returned to MVP form last night against the Diamondbacks in a 4-3 win. Everyone was a little nervous in the 1st inning when Hamels allowed a solo home run, but after that, he settled in and did not allow another run. Even better than that, Hamels pitched all the way through 8 full innings, allowed only 4 hits and struck out nine batters. Welcome back, Cole! We missed you.
Shane Victorino led the offensive attack with 3 hits, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. The D-Backs helped out the Phillies offense as well with 2 key errors in the game, much like they did on Monday night. But those errors and the extra run the Phillies scored because of the errors turned out to be the difference in the game.
Going into the 9th with a 4-1 lead, the Phillies sent Brad Lidge to the mound and he immediately got into big trouble. Lidge walked the leadoff batter and then gave up a 2-run homer to the next batter to cut their lead to 1 run. By what must have been some act of God, Lidge managed to get the 3 outs and end the game without blowing the save.
But fans everywhere are now officially worried about Brad Lidge. No one expected perfection like last season, but a record of 0-4, 6 blown saves, 24 walks in 38 innings and an ERA of 7.11 was not expected either. The Phillies will not go far in the playoffs with a closer posting these numbers. Either Lidge needs to get his act together, or could Brett Myers return to the closer role in August, which is when he may return after hip surgery? Does this seem farfetched? Maybe. But Lidge cannot continue to hurt the team. Last night, he got lucky. Going forward, it will not always be the case.
And is this some sort of weird Phillies curse? You get a great season out of a guy, like Lidge in 2008; you sign him to a huge contract and mayhem ensues. Remember Pat Burrell? Burrell had a breakout season in 2002; then in 2003, the Phillies gave him a monster contact of 6 years, $50 million dollars and guess what happened next? Burrell struggled for years and did not fulfill his true potential until he led the Phillies to the playoffs in 2007 and then to the World Series in 2008. But from 2003-2006, it was not always pretty. Is Lidge suffering from the post-contract blues? Whatever the case, with 3 years invested in Lidge, the Phillies need to get him back on track and fast.
The Phillies have one more game against the D-Backs tonight at 9:40pm with JA Happ on the mound. I am in San Francisco right now awaiting their arrival on Thursday for a 4-game series against the Giants. And while I am very excited to see Giants pitchers like Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito, disappointment set in this morning when it was announced that Randy Johnson has a torn rotator cuff and will be out for at least 3 weeks. Johnson is a future Hall of Famer, so I was hoping to see him pitch. I even tried to see his 300th win in DC back in June, but the game was rained out and I could not go the next day. And such is my luck…oh well! I still get to see my Phillies and hang out in California for a week, so it’s all good :O)
Off topic, I would like to send out my condolences to the family and friends of former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson. Johnson lost his battle with cancer yesterday at the age of 68. May he rest in peace.
Photo by Jenn
Well, I don’t know what is cooking in the Phillies front office these days, but I sure hope it is more than hamburgers! After another artery-clogging
performance by Adam Eaton today, it is painfully obvious that the Phils are desperate for starting pitching. Without enough cooks in the kitchen, we are going to wind up starting a 5-alarm fire and watch this team go down in flames! Eaton only went 3.2 innings and gave up 8 earned runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and struck out 4. The real damage came when with two outs in the 4th, he gave up a double to the pitcher, Randy Johnson! Instead of getting out of the inning, the D-Backs went on to score 7 more runs. What a disaster!
The only bright spots of the day came off the bat of the Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino who popped not one, but TWO home runs off the Big Unit, Randy Johnson, who looked less than pleased about it. Those homers accounted for 3 of the 4 Phillies runs in the 10-4 blow-out loss today. The only other run was knocked in pretty much by accident by rookie pitcher RJ Swindle whose bat just happened to magically find the ball, scoring Eric Bruntlett from 3rd base. Bruntlett filled in for Chase Utley who had the day off to rest and, as it turns out, he did not miss much.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Phillies will have one last chance to go out before the break on a high note with Cole Hamels on the mound facing the ace of the D-Backs, Brandon Webb. It is also “Hawaiian Day” at the ballpark, which having been there last year, I can tell you is a lot of fun. They are giving away the Shane Victorino bobble heads again for the kiddies. I will be going again this year and if you remember last year, Shane hit a walk-off home run to end it last year…can we hope for more of the same in 08? Well, I’d even settle for a blow-out win… J
And remember to stay tuned for my All-Star week coverage! I’ll be going to Fan Fest Monday morning and then to the Derby Monday night. Then it is off to the Red Carpet Parade on 6th Ave. on Tuesday J I will be covering all events as I am able to get back to my laptop and upload photos. Hoping to have some coverage of tomorrow’s game before then as well. Until then…Go Phillies!
Probably not the one he wanted I assume, bringing his record for the year to 0-1. In the process, the managed to raise a lot of questions, yet again, about his ability to pitch and keep this very talented Phillies team in games. He had a chance to get out of a very rough 4th inning last night with minimal damage, keeping the game well within reach, but blew it by walking the opposing pitcher on 4 straight balls! Talk about just plain losing it…wow. I mean, I know that yesterday I said Randy Johnson was “scary” and had a “crinkled and monster-like glare,” but I meant while he was pitching, not batting! Geez! Sorry if I psyched ya out there, Adam :o)
So, I think we have gone way past the “injury” excuses now as Mr. Eaton appears to be healthy. And in his post game comments, he fully admits to blowing the game. I actually felt kind of bad for him, but I guess that is just a female hormonal thing :o) Sorry, the mommy in me wants to pat him on the head and tell him it is ok… But I’ll just have to grit my teeth and get tough now! Maybe it is time to look towards trying someone else if he has another bad outing? Benson is not ready yet, so how about Chad Durbin? He was a once in a while starter in Detroit and has done very well in long relief for us. Maybe I am just biased because I just really like Chad… he was very friendly in Spring Training. I have a cute picture of him waving hi to me below. And then a disturbing photo of Adam, looking confused…and I “added” to that photo a bit :o) I mean, maybe all he needs to get back on track is a little counseling? Why not give Dr. Phil a try? It worked for Britney! Or, did it? I can’t keep up with all that…
In other news, Pat Burrell is up for the Pepsi Clutch performer of the Month for April! Yeah! So, please, please VOTE FOR PAT here! And you can also enter the sweepstakes to win a trip to the All-Star game on this same page. Hint: If you refresh the page, you can vote over and over again! I know what I’ll be doing all day! Also, keep voting for Pat for the 2008 All-Star team! And Chase, and all the other Phillies too!!!
And while I am in the chatty mood, just an FYI…I recently added some new links to my page here. Look over to the right and you will see some new photo albums and some new web page links as well. Feel free to leave me comments or send me an e-mail with any thoughts you may have about the site or if you just want to talk Phillies. Thanks and have a great day!
And apparently, Jamie Moyer is not counting… As for the Diamondbacks however, he certainly had their number last night. Let’s start with ZERO – the number of walks issued by Moyer last night, and the whole Phillies staff for that matter. How about 2 – Moyer only gave up 2 earned runs over 7 innings, keeping his team well within the game. And then the really fun numbers – Moyer went 2 for 3 at the plate with 1 RBI and a sac bunt, bringing his season average to .273. Not too shabby for a pitcher.
And holy crap, the offense is back! Victorino is hitting again, Howard looks like we can take him off the life support machine now, and Bruntlett finally found his comfort zone with this team, although it may be just in time for him to take a back seat again to Jimmy’s return… Even Jenkins and Feliz showed signs of life and appear to be blending well into the mix…ah, the joys of May! The sun came out, the players are smilin’ and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside :o) That is, until they see Randy Johnson staring back at them tonight… Eeek! I don’t know about you, but to me, he is one scary looking dude… So, let’s hope the love fest continues despite the crinkled and monster-like glare of the tall-one. Go Phillies!