After the sluggish bats the last few games, seeing the Phillies score 5 runs today was a huge relief. And seeing Jimmy Rollins, still fresh off the DL, smack a huge 3-run homer was an even bigger relief. It is good to have J-Roll back!
Joe Blanton looked very good through 6 innings, although he started to get beat up in the 7th inning where he loaded the bases and allowed 2 runs. Blanton allowed a total of 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk. Overall, he did a very good job.
But Blanton still did not get the win as the Cubs tied the game up when Antonio Bastardo gave up a homer in the 8th to Kosuke Fukudome. The 4-4 tie was broken up by Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the 8th. Chase Utley used his speed to score from 2nd on the Ibanez single.
Jose Contreras earned the save, although it was an interesting 9th inning for him. After throwing 10 pitches to Alfonso Soriano who kept fouling them off, Contreras finally hit him with pitch #11. The next batter singled, putting Contreras in a 1st and 3rd no out jam. But he struck out the next two batters and popped up the third to seal the 5-4 win for the Phillies.
So now the real fun begins: Interleague play. And while the 3-game series with the Red Sox is really just a short interlude to the full interleague schedule that will go full force on June 11th for the Phils, this weekend will still be very interesting. The Sox have struggled this year and are lingering down in 4th place in the AL East. And the Phillies have been very, very bad in Interleague play over the last several years. So will the curse of Phillies Interleague play endure or are the struggling Sox the spell breaker? Game 1 starts tomorrow at 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Mid-March is about the time when I begin to find Spring Training dull and get anxious for the real games to begin. Ok yes, Joe Blanton had a good outing against the Tigers today after a shaky spring start. Cole Hamels looks like he is in good shape with two solid performances so far. The bats are jumping and as a team, the Phillies are hitting at an average of .301 with 7 homers and 36 RBI. And still, I am a bit sleepy about the whole thing.
In my boredom today, I decided to scan through this week’s MLB headlines to see what was going on around the league. Here are a few fun tidbits I came across in my search:
Yankees shortstop and baseball God, Derek Jeter, sat out of a Spring Training game with flu symptoms. And then an Angel lost its wings :O(
Come on Opening Day! Get here….quick! if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13’); Reyes photo by Jenn Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
The Mets Jose Reyes may not be ready to play on Opening Day. His thyroid hormone blood levels are elevated and he is not supposed to do anything that could raise his heart rate. You know, things like showboating on the base paths or talking to Federal agents about his Canadian doctor’s link to performance-enhancing drugs…stuff like that.
Come on Opening Day! Get here….quick!
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Reyes photo by Jenn
Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Here are some highlights from the last 2 Phillies Spring games:
3/7 vs. Tampa Bay; final score 5-3, Tampa: JA Happ started the game and went 2 1/3 scoreless innings; he did walk 2 batters, but overall looked good. But even better news was that newbie Phillipe Aumont recovered from his Phillies debut, which was a 5-run pounding in less than inning against Florida State. Against the Rays, he went 2 2/3 scoreless innings with 1 walk and 2 hits. Time for Aumont to exhale; he is back in top prospect form.
Joe Savery, on the hand, has a rough inning where he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits. Savery is a former first round draft pick of the Phillies but sadly, The 6’3″ lefty has never looked comfortable on the mound. He has a 4.14 ERA in 3 years of minor league play.
The polar opposite of Savery has been young outfield propect Domonic Brown; he continues to impress this Spring and went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI against the Rays. He also threw a runner out at home, just for good measure. New bench piece Ross Gload also went 3 for 5 in the game in the DH role.
3/8 vs. Yankees; final score 7-5, Yanks: Kyle Kendrick is putting the pressure on Jamie Moyer in competition for the 5th starters spot. Kendrick went 3 solid innings allowing just one hit and no runs. But more than that, he looked comfortable and confident. I suppose sporting that Roy Halladay look-alike beard has given him an ego boost ;o)
And then in the opposite category, Jose Contreras looked horrible today. He could not seem to throw a first pitch strike, worked behind almost every batter in the count and as a result, he allowed 6 runs on 3 walks and 6 hits over only 1 2/3 innings. Luckily, the Phillies have very little invested in the righty so if he does not shape up, no big deal. Then again, Contreras was supposed to be an upgrade over the departed Chan Ho Park; do I smell a huge disappointment on the horizon? Hmmmm….
Incidentally, Contreras began his career with the Yankees and his signing in 2002 is what precipitated the Yankee nickname, “Evil Empire.” It is said that the Red Sox were so intent on signing Contreras that they booked every hotel room in the area of Cuba where Contreras was to keep the Yanks away. In the end, they still lost out to the Yankees and the Sox owner allegedly threw a chair through a window in anger. This is just a rumor, of course :O)
As for the bat today, Ryan Howard finally got his first, and then second, hit of Spring against the Yankees. Whew! But the big blast of the day came off the bat of Jimmy Rollins. Pitcher Javier Vazquez made his return to the Yankees today since departing in 2005 and his very first pitch was taken out of the park by Rollins. 1 pitch, 1 homer – nice.
Rollins had 2 hits in the game as did Howard, Chase Utley and John Mayberry Jr., who knocked the second Phillies homer of the game in the 6th inning. But while the bat were popping, the outing by Contreras put the Phils in a hole they could not climb out of.
Shane Victorino was still missing from the line-up, but it appears he may make his Spring debut tomorrow against the Braves at 7:05pm. His sore shoulder has been an issue so far this Spring and the Phillies are playing it safe with him. But hopefully the Flyin’ Hawaiian will take flight again tomorrow night.
And congratulations to reader “blueferret” who was the first person to find the mistake on the new Cliff Lee Topps trading card from Saturday’s blog. Topps photoshopped an old Phillies card to change the Phillies uniform to a Mariners uniform but they forgot to remove the “HK” patch from the new Mariners version. The “HK” patch was a Phillies-only items that the team wore in 2009 in honor of the late Harry Kalas.
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Photos by ESPN.com
It appears the Phillies are going to land Roy Halladay. However, in an unbeLEEvable twist, it is said that Cliff Lee will be shipped to the Seattle Mariners as part of a 3-team deal. Shock and awe have overcome me….Cliff Lee???
Really??? Our ACE miracle pick-up of 2009 traded away? A few acronyms come to mind here; mainly OMG and WTF.
Ok, so apparently Lee is dead-set on testing the free agent market after 2010 and Halladay is agreeable to a multi-year deal; plus, Halladay really wants to come to Philly. The Phillies are looking to keep the core of this team intact for at least 2 more years and I suppose, with Lee not being a possibility past 1 year, they feel he is disposable. But we would be basically trading and ace for an ace instead of keeping TWO aces. Ugh.
Halladay may be a slightly better pitcher than Lee, but he has also pitched nearly twice as many innings as Lee at almost the same age. Halladay is 1 year and 3 months older and has pitched 2046.2 innings; Lee has pitched 1196.2 innings.
Also take into consideration that Lee was amazing in the playoffs and is super steady mentally. He may be one of the calmest players under pressure anyone has ever seen. Halladay on the other hand was rattled in July and August over the trade rumors and it affected his performance. This does not mean Lee is better than Halladay; clearly the numbers show otherwise. However, Lee has advantages that Halladay does not. The innings pitched and Halladay’s age (he will be 33 in May) are causes for concern in signing a long-term deal.
If there is any way possible to keep both pitchers, it should be done. The Phillies with both Lee and Halladay may be unstoppable. In fact, for only 2-3 million more, the Phils could trade Joe Blanton instead of Lee. Why would they NOT do this? But the money is the big issue, as it usually is; even a mere couple million apparently is too much for them to handle. I can tell you this; teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, a few of MLB’s richest teams, would not have to make such a decision. They would keep both players without question. And that is what makes this idea hard to swallow.
Not that the Phillies are poor; they ranked 7th in payroll for 2009. But a lot of money is tied up in big name players like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. The window for this group of players to score another World Championship is probably about two years. With that being the case, I would like to see the Phillies throw everything and the kitchen sink at this 2010 team. But the kitchen sink is Lee, and it looks like he will be gone.
Do not get me wrong, I will be thrilled to have Halladay. But the price does seem a bit steep, which puts a damper on the celebration. And now what about the bullpen? Is there money left to fix that gaping hole? That is the other thought that worries me. It will not matter how good the rotation is if the pen blows games, like they did a lot in 2009. That solution or lack thereof is yet to be determined.
And on top of all this, it is also rumored that the Phillies top pitching prospect, Kyle Drabek, will be sent to the Jays. This is the player the Jays have been asking for since last July. So tell me, WHY exactly would the Phillies wait until we LOSE the World Series to give up Drabek when we could have had Halladay in July had they traded him then?? This makes me very, very, very angry. Of course, we do not know the details of the deal yet, but usually, where there is smoke, there is fire.
And so we all wait with bated breath for the decision to come down from above…
Photo by Jenn
So, did we all thoroughly enjoy the Phillies TBS TV coverage this post-season? No? Oh, come on now, they were mildly entertaining, right? Let us examine some of the broadcasting highlights:
– These guys are brilliant; just check out this quote about Raul Ibanez: “He’s not 37 because he started his career late.” Really? Wow…the true fountain of youth; late bloomers.
– On a 2-base hit: “It’s an inside-the-park double.” You know, as opposed to the out-of-the-park double.
– During Game 1 of the NLDS, 2nd inning: “There has been great defense in this ballgame and in this series.” Yes, all 2 innings of it.
– About the catcher: “All the game calling is to make the pitcher comfortable.” The catcher calls pitches to make the pitcher comfy? Not to get outs? Ok then. Genius. Sheer genius.
– During a bunt to the pitcher with a runner on first: “He is thinking about second base because it is right behind the mound.” Is it? I never would have noticed…thanks, TBS! Baseball geography lesson 101.
– On Clayton Kershaw after he gave up a 3-run homer, allowed to 2 more runners on base and was then pitching to Ryan Howard: “This is a grow-up moment (for Kershaw).” No more little league for you buddy!
But wait, there’s more! Did you see the main sponsor for TBS during commercial breaks? Avocados. Yes, the disgusting, slimy, green fruit is THE big money maker for this station. Awesome.
And how about the commercials for the new TBS series “Men of a Certain Age.” It is October – this series is set to begin in December. Not only will we have forgotten about it by December, but with the thousands of previews shown, we have already seen the series in its entirety. No need to tune in then in December….we already know that Ray Romano plays a moron with a dirty mind; Scott Bakula is a man-sl*ut; and Andre Braugher is sad because he cannot live up to his daddy’s high expectations. Think that about covers it.
So how about some media video highlights! Here ya go; let us begin with Buck Martinez, who has NO idea which team he is watching…he mentions the Yanks and the Red Sox before he figures out it is the Phillies:
Chase Utley is also annoyed with the media coverage…watch his reaction as a media member pulls a Kanye West:
And my favorite clip of the Comcast Sportsnet coverage…Ricky Botallico flips out during the Jimmy Rollins 9th inning game winning hit in Game 4 of the NLCS:
Hope you all enjoyed these broadcasts as much as I did :O)
By the way, if anyone is looking to sell a ticket (1) to Game 3 of the World Series (the Saturday game, home opener), please email me. I cannot afford the Stub Hub prices so I am looking for anyone to take pity on me and sell me a ticket at face value or just above it. I cannot do standing room, but am open to other seating arrangements. Thank you and Go Phillies! :O)
UPDATE 12pm: Game 3 has been postponed due to the bad weather in Colorado. It will now be played Sunday night at 10:07pm EST, 8:07pm MT. Game 4 then is moved to Monday, but no time has been announced yet.
AM blog: The most important game in the series, beginning with the Phillies and Rockies tied at 1 game each, will be played under the worst of conditions. Snow, sleet and freezing temperatures will likely be the most talked about part of this game which is scheduled for 9:37pm EST, 7:37pm Mountain time. The late start is likely to add to the chill.
Pedro Martinez will start the game and it is a huge opportunity for him to officially make a comeback at 37 years of age. Pedro pitched in Boston, so he is used to the cold, but snow may be another thing altogether. Plus, he has not pitched a full game in almost a month; his last start beyond 4 innings was on 9/13/09. Then again, Pedro has experience and a good post-season record on his side. Which Pedro will show up? The former Cy Young winner or the aging, injury-prone pitcher of the last several years?
As for the offense, anyone who has seen this team play in April knows, they do not like hitting in cold weather. But the playoffs are a different animal and the Phillies tend to step it up in October. But will they be swinging at snowflakes or at strikes?
If nothing else, this should be a very interesting game, should Mother Nature allow it to unfold without interruption. Best of luck to the Phillies!
It’s A Boy!
Cole Hamels and his wife, Heidi, welcomed their first child into the world yesterday morning. Caleb Michael Hamels arrived at 9am on Friday morning. Caleb is a cute name, but most are just happy the poor kid did not get stuck with “Colbert” like his dad ;O) And no, I am not making that up…his full name is Colbert Michael Hamels. So congratulations to the Hamels family and best wishes for a healthy, happy baby!
Bad Parenting 101
Speaking of parenting, this kids parents get the Bad Parenting of the Year Award: 12-year old Jennifer Valdivia ended up with Ryan Howard’s 200th home run ball at a game in Miami. As is the baseball tradition, she was ushered to the clubhouse and exchanged the ball for an autographed one. ALL players do this and ALL teams do this for milestone balls, it is not an unusual practice.
However, when the girl returned home, her parents decided their child was taken advantage of and sued Ryan Howard to get the ball back. They were upset that she was given what they termed a $100 ball” in exchange for one worth “thousands.”
That’s right folks, way to teach your kid how to extort money! Not to mention, why were a 12-year old girl and her 15-year old brother at a ball game without an adult? I am sure the opinions here vary, but I can assure you, if my kids were that age, there is NO way they would be on their own. A ballpark is NOT a safe place to let your kids run free as far as I am concerned.
And then they have the nerve to complain. Here’s a question for those parents: what if you child was kidnapped or attacked in the bathroom, or anything of that nature? Were you going to sue the ballpark for YOUR neglect? Just sayin’…
Ms. Valdivia was probably thrilled to get an autographed ball, until her parents convinced her otherwise. At that age, I know I would have been…and still to this day. The only reason it mattered to them was because of the money. So, if this kid really is going to keep the ball, like they profess, then why does the money make a difference? Unless you are going to sell it, the personally autographed ball is a great souvenir. Maybe they should have thrown in a bat as well or something, but again, the parents sent their kids in there alone, so they obviously felt their kids were old enough to handle any situation that may arise. If they do not feel that way, then they never should have sent them without an adult.
That ball meant a lot more to Howard than it would to anyone else, unless money was the only objective. With that 200th home run, Howard became the fastest player in Major League history to reach that milestone. If the girl’s parents felt she should have been given more in exchange, then ASK. They would have been happy to send the girl a signed bat, photo or whatever she wanted. But, no. These jerks decided to sue. And rather than argue, the Phillies gave the kid the ball and moved on.
So, way to go Valdivia family; you have not only taught your kids that it is all about the money but now they know, in a sue-happy country, they can get whatever they want in life if they just yell loud enough. Forget about doing the right thing, it is all about getting your way. Forget about who you hurt, as long as you claim the cash. Nicely done. It is no wonder this country is quickly descending into the dark pit of hell where morals are thrown out the window. This youth is our future, America. Start praying.
UPDATE: The above facts were as presented by The Miami Herald and ESPN. A new report from CNN says the girl’s grandfather was with her, but decided NOT to accompany her to the clubhouse. So, he chose to let her go alone. Add bad grandparenting to the story then as well. The family was also offered VIP ticktes to the next Florida series and they turned it down. And the law suit was for the amount of $15,000. Yes, that is 15 thousand dollars. And this was NOT about the money? Enough said.
Photo by Jenn
The Phillies announced their playoff roster today and there were a few surprises. Here is how it played out (courtesy of Phillies.com):
Catchers (2): Paul Bako and Carlos Ruiz
Infielders (6): Miguel Cairo, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley
Outfielders (5): Ben Francisco, Raul Ibanez, Matt Stairs, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth
Pitchers (12): left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Scott Eyre, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Cliff Lee and right-handers Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Pedro Martinez and Brett Myers
Miguel Cairo was the right decision over Eric Bruntlett. And the rest of the bench players are what I expected.
There was one surprise with the pitchers, however. Clay Condrey and Tyler Walker were left off the roster in favor of Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo. I did say earlier that Bastardo may be picked over Walker, so that is not too shocking considering the lack of lefties in the pen. But Kendrick over Condrey, I am a bit surprised about. Kendrick did pitch well in September, but Condrey is more consistent and has a lot more experience. I think the nagging back injury did him in; the team must not be convinced that Condrey is healthy.
I also predicted that the Game 1 starter would be Cliff Lee, and that is correct. Cole Hamels will get Game 2 and Game 3 has yet to be decided. My feeling is that it should be JA Happ as the Phils want to overload the Rockies with lefties. But all Charlie Manuel would say is that Happ, Joe Blanton and even Pedro Martinez will be “available” in the pen for the first two games. I suppose then whoever does not get used will start Game 3.
This may also be a strategic move. This gives less preparation time to the Rockies since they will not know who to prepare for.
So, if you are actually home tomorrow at game time, tune in at 2:37pm for the first pitch. The game time still disgusts me. I understand all teams need air time, but how exactly is it that the reigning World Champions do not get one of the prime time slots? I’ll tell you why…because MLB cares only about the Yankees and the Red Sox. It has been and probably will always be about these teams, whether deserving or not. I root for the Yankees too, so it is not personal. It is a matter of respect.
Not to mention, normal people have jobs, kids have school and 2:37pm does not allow ANY of these people to enjoy the game, unless they call out sick or skip school. And how about the poor Rockies fans? The game time for them is 12:37pm! (Mountain time) That is just wrong. But hey, if you are a Yankees or Sox fan, I’ll bet you are happier than a pig in mud, right? Must be nice.
Well, best of luck to everyone tomorrow (except the Rockies, of course)! Go Phillies!