Tagged: Raul Ibanez

Phillies Open Second Half With a Win Over the Mets

Although the day began with the Phillies placing Placido Polanco on the DL, it ended well.  Polanco, battling back pain, should be back around July 20.

All of the recent injuries have given many young players big opportunities.  Michael Martinez started at third again and John Mayberry Jr. started in center and had a huge day at the plate.  In the 7-2 win over the Mets, Mayberry accounted for five of those runs with a single and a bases-clearing double.

Having struggled in his last trip to the majors earlier this year, it looks like Mayberry has finally made the adjustments he needed in order to get his swing straight.  If Mayberry keeps up this pace, the Phillies may not to need any further for a powerful right-handed bat.

Vance Worley also had a nice day on the mound.  He allowed only one run through 5.1 innings.  The only issue was that Worley walked four batters and had a high pitch count early.  He still has some work to do, but so far, Worley is fitting right in to this rotation.

When Worley was called back up today, Ryan Madson joined him as well, coming off the DL after dealing with a bruised hand.  The two roster spots were cleared by Polanco’s DL trip and Scott Mathieson was sent down.

Madson pitched the seventh inning and it appears that he has not skipped a beat.  His command was good and he had zip on his fastball.  Michael Stutes, on the other hand, looked rusty after the All-Star break and he gave up a homer in the eighth.

One other item of note today was the performance of Raul Ibanez.  His bat is suddenly on fire and as a result, he was named the National League Player of the Week.  The week before the All-Star game, Ibanez hit .310 with three homers and 13 RBI.  He hit another home run tonight and also singled.  Congrats to RAUUUUUUL!

Game 2 with the Mets is Saturday afternoon at 4:10pm.  Cole Hamels will pitch with Kyle Kendrick on Sunday.  The top two aces, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, are getting a break after pitching almost two innings each in the All-Star game on Tuesday.

 

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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*

Phillies Enter All-Star Break With a Bang

It seems to be feast or famine with this Phillies team lately.  Saturday, Cliff Lee homered for the only Phillies run of the game.  Sunday, the offense exploded to the tune of 14 runs behind pitcher Cole Hamels.

It was evident early in this game that Hamels was on top of his game.  Over eight innings, Hamels allowed only one run on three hits and struck out six Braves.  His command was spot-on and the Braves looked a bit silly swinging at his pitches.

 

This was also a huge game for many Phillies batters as well.  Raul Ibanez, who struggled most of the first half, led the offense today with six RBI on two hits, including a three run homer.  He also made several great plays in the outfield, including a home-run saving catch in the eighth.

 

John Mayberry Jr. also found his swing against Derek Lowe and the Braves bullpen.  His three hits were all doubles and he collected four RBI as well.  Mayberry also made some nice plays in center field.

 

For Michael Martinez, it was a career day.  There has been much debate over the Phillies keeping this Rule-5 utility player on the roster this year as he has not been productive.  Today, he earned the job with four hits, a career high.  Martinez also showed heart and hustle when he flipped over the Braves dugout railing catching a foul ball.

 

It seems a little playing time was all Martinez and Mayberry needed to get them going.  And thanks to a ton of Phillies injuries, they are getting that time.

The Phillies went on to wipe the floor with the Braves in a 14-1 win, matching their biggest run total of the year and racking up 20 hits, a season high.  They maintain the best record in all of baseball at 57-34 to enter the All-Star break.

Before the game today, the Phillies All-Stars were handed their All-Star jersey’s and Shane Victorino thanked a fan who voted for him over 10,000 times in the final vote.  I am guessing they later awarded him with a tee-shirt that said, “I have no life.”  10,000 votes?  I love Shane, but please, someone give this man a real job.

 

Both Victorino and Placido Polanco will go to Arizona, but due to their injuries, neither will play in the All-Star game.  Hamels will also not pitch because he started today.

Here is the full Photo Album from the Sunday game.

 

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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*

Lee’s 1st Career Homer Only Offense in Phillies Loss

Saturday’s Phillies game against the Braves featured Cliff Lee doing it all and everyone else, not so much.  Lee pitched eight very solid innings of one run ball, allowing only three hits and striking out nine batters.  he even made a few diving plays on the field.

But the Braves starting pitcher, Tommy Hanson, matched Lee.  He also allowed just one run.

 

And that one run was something very special.  After a 10-pitch at-bat and six foul balls, the Phillies pitcher, Cliff Lee, smashed his 1st career home run off Hanson in the third inning.  Yes, the man really can do it all.

 

Lee ran the bases smiling and even looking a little giddy as fans went wild, realizing the importance of the moment.  It is not every day we see a pitcher hit a home run.  And for a guy like Lee, who gives it 110% every time he is on the field, it was especially rewarding.

While Lee did everything he could to help the team win, sadly, the rest of the team did not join him.  Of course, they were facing an amazing pitcher so most expected this to be a close game.  But the Phillies had some opportunities to score and did not execute.

 

John Mayberry Jr. doubled in the sixth, but then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th.  Ryan Howard went 0-5, leaving two men on base in the sixth, including Mayberry.   And Raul Ibanez, the hero of Friday night’s 10-inning win, made the last out Saturday in the 11th with a fly ball.

In extra innings, the Phillies leaned on the same bullpen pieces as they had the night before, only in a different order.  Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez pitched a scoreless the 9th and 10th.  And then Michael Stutes gave up three runs in the 11th.

 

A foul ball pop-up made the 11th interesting as Howard dropped the ball, but it was a very tough play in and out of the shadows.  Overall, the defense was solid, but that one, plus a walk to start the inning, turned out to be important later.

 

So the Phillies lost 4-1 and go into today’s game with a chance to win the series.  Game time is 1:35pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.  Derek Lowe is scheduled to start for the Braves.

Here is the full Photo Album from the Photo Day event and also from the game.  I will have photos from the Sunday game hopefully later today.

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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*

Walk-Off Win After Long Rain Delay

It has been a long while since Phillies fans have been able to shout, “RAUUUUUUUL!” with any real gusto.  Raul Ibanez is hitting just .239 with a .287 on-base percentage this year.  But Philly still loves Ibanez, and last night, he gave them extra reason to cheer.

After a two-hour rain delay, multiple roll-outs of the tarp on the field and double warm-ups for both starting pitchers, the Phillies – Braves series finally got under way.

So it took almost five hours total, 10 innings and one Ibanez walk-off homer for the Phils to defeat the Braves.  Roy Halladay battled Brave Brandon Beachy (say that three times fast) on the mound.  The battle ended up in a draw as both pitchers allowed two runs and left with a tie game.

It was then up to the bullpens, where it seemed the Braves had the advantage.  But Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez combined for three scoreless innings to keep the Phillies in the game.

 In fact, Perez, a newcomer to the Phils, accomplished a feat that has not been done in 20 years of Phillies history.  He struck out the side in the 10th on exactly nine pitches, the bare minimum; nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs.

Ibanez rewarded Perez by smashing the game-winning homer in the bottom of the 10th.  The 32-year old lefty earned his first major league win thanks to Ibanez and the nine-pitch inning he tossed.

So the Phillies 3-2 win puts them in a great position for the rest of the weekend.  I will be at both games Saturday and Sunday and return with photos and, hopefully, two more wins.

Game time today is 4:10pm and Cliff Lee will pitch.

 

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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*

Worley Shows Big League Stuff in Win Over the Red Sox

The rookie Vance Worley faced a difficult task this evening against the Red Sox.  Not only was he pitching against a great offense, Worley also had to follow an amazing performance from Cliff Lee the night before.  Not to mention, Worley is a young, inexperienced pitcher who had yet to go more than six innings in a major league game.

Worley got the job done.  He even pitched a full seven innings for the first time in the majors.  The only run Worley allowed was knocked in by the opposing pitcher, John Lackey, who surprised everyone with an RBI-double.

But Worley maintained his composure throughout the game.  His final line included only five hits, two walks and one run.

The offense did little to help Worley out, scoring only one run through the sixth inning on a Raul Ibanez RBI-single.  With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh, Ibanez finally gave the Phillies the lead with a solo homer.  This also put Worley in line for the win.

It would be up to a very young bullpen after that to hold down the slim lead.  Fans got a sneak peak at what the near future holds for a pen with three closers on the DL.  Michael Stutes served as the set-up man in the eighth inning and sent the Sox down in order.

After the Phillies were again unable to score in the eighth, Antonio Bastardo stepped onto the mound in the ninth as closer #4 on the year for the Phillies.  He quickly disposed of the Sox batters to earn the save and award Worley with a win.

The Phillies have taken the first two games of this series, which is very good news.  They play the final game tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm with Cole Hamels on the mound.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Cardinals Implode in the 8th & Hand the Phillies a Win

Tonight’s Phillies – Cardinals match-up was basically a snooze-fest through six innings.  For the Cards, few hits were not surprising since they had to face Roy Halladay.  But the Phillies faced a pitcher they really should have hit and they did not.

Halladay allowed only one run.  Although if Placido Polanco had gotten a ground ball out of his glove quicker in the 5th, he would have had a double play to prevent that run from scoring.

Polanco had a bad day overall.  He is simply not hitting while in the 5-hole and went 0-for-3 today.  In the 8th inning, Polly got plunked with a pitch in the hand.  And though he got an RBI because the bases were loaded, he had to leave the game.  No word yet on how serious the injury may be.

The rest of the offense was just as bad against starter Kyle McClellan.  They managed only five hits and one run off a very average starter.  Carlos Ruiz was the only exception with three hits off McClellan and four hits in the game total.

What is really frustrating is watching Phillies batters strike out with less than two outs and the bases loaded or hit into a double play with runners on base.  Raul Ibanez did both tonight.

But the Cardinals proceeded to implode in the 8th after McClellan was lifted.  The drama began when two hitters got hit with pitches, including Polanco, and Chase Utley was walked before that.  Three runs were forced home that inning.

Suddenly, the Phillies offense woke up.  I suppose three free runs will do that.  Another run scored on a Ben Francisco pinch-hit and two more on a Jimmy Rollins single. All of this happened with two outs, and they were not done yet.  After batting around, Utley added two more runs with a single.  Ryan Howard followed suit and another run scored.

Let us total the top of the 8th inning damage:  4 walks, 2 HBP, 5 singles, 9 runs scored & 43 minutes of playing time.

By the time the magical 8th inning came to a close, the Phillies went from trailing 2-1 to leading by a score of 10-2.

The only shame, again, was that a great pitching performance from Halladay did not yield a win for him.  So both he and Cole Hamels are still waiting for win #10.

Cliff Lee will pitch on Wednesday night; game time is 8:15pm.

 

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

A Tale of Two Away Games

The Phillies final two games in Seattle were a stark contrast to each other.  Saturday night’s 5-1 win was against 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez.  But on Sunday, the Phillies lost to Jason Vargas, an average pitcher who entered the game with a 4.13 ERA.

With Vance Worley starting Saturday, the Phillies managed to score some runs.  Worley held the Mariners to just one run over five innings and then Shane Victorino provided most of the offense.

Victorino ended the game just a single short of the cycle and had four RBI on three hits, including a 2-run homer.  Jimmy Rollins had three hits as well.  Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez added two hits apiece.

But Sunday, the Phillies seemingly could not hit their way out of a barn.  Howard had two hits, Ben Francisco had one and that was it for the offense.  Vargas tossed a complete game shut-out as the Phils sat and watched.

Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing only two runs on a few very cheap, bloop hits.  Hamels also collected his 1,000 career strike out in the fourth inning.

If he had won the game, Hamels would have been the first pitcher in the majors to 10 wins.  He and six other pitchers, including Roy Halladay, are stuck at nine wins.  But it was not meant to be.  Wasting such a great performance was a real shame.

But welcome to Interleague play with the Phillies.  Every year, it is a struggle for them.  After losing two out of three to the Mariners, the Phillies are off tomorrow as they travel to St. Louis for three games with the Cardinals starting on Tuesday.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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