After last night’s tummy turning, see-saw circus act, a nice old-fashioned blow-out would have been a welcome event. And through 7 innings tonight, it was so very nice and relaxing. The Phillies offense swung the bats like a starving man who was just tossed a cracker. They scored against the Marlins in every inning except the 6th and the 8th.
Ryan Howard led the fish feast with 6 RBI, including a 3-run homer to the opposite field. Chase Utley was hungry too; he went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI, a walk and was hit by a suspicious pitch in the 7th. The 9-0 lead at the time and ball thrown near his head made people wonder if the Marlins pitcher, Jose Ceda, was expressing his displeasure at the routing. Luckily, it hit him in the upper shoulder area and Utley looked to be okay.
Jimmy Rollins had two hits in the game before having to leave with a tight right hamstring. Leslie Gudel reported on Twitter that J-Roll was not feeling well and was dehydrated before the game, even skipping batting practice. Why he then started the game is a mystery. Hopefully, the injury is not serious.
As the runs were piling on, Cole Hamels kept right on pitching as if it were a tie game, which later on, turned out to be a really good thing. Hamels went 7 strong without allowing a run and striking out 5. Marlins batters were feeling the heat as Hamels kept right on cooking.
A former Fish, Nate Robertson, was called on in the 8th inning to pitch to his former team. However, Robertson was the one who got cooked this time. In 2/3 of an inning, Robertson walked two batters and allowed 6 runs, including a 3-run homer. If Robertson was looking to revive his career, he did himself no favors tonight.
Entering the 8th inning with a 10-0 lead, manager Charlie Manuel put in a bunch of back-ups to give them some playing time. Ross Gload at first has issues handling an Utley throw; catcher Paul Hoover dropped a pop-up and later dropped a ball after a collision at home. Had he held it, the inning would have been over. Instead, the 5th run of the inning scored.
The 10-0 blowout at the start of the 8th turned into a 10-6 “holy crap-fest” real fast. David Herndon, who finished off the 8th inning, came in again to pitch the 9th. He got one out, walked the next batter and them forced the managers hand…Ryan Madson, who should have had this day off, was forced to come in to pitch and prevent further damage. Madson got the final two outs for a 10-6 final score. Whew!
So tomorrow is an off-day for the Phillies for some much needed rest after a LONG stretch of 23 games and no off-day. On Friday, they will return in New York to face the Mets for 3 games. Brad Lidge, who says his elbow is sore, should be back for that game. And with any luck, J-Roll will be back and well rested.
In the meantime, feel free to check out my new Facebook community page, “I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney.” And when you are done there, hop over to the Phillies #1 fan contest and VOTE for me! You can vote up to 25 times a day :O) Thank you for the support!
Hamels photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies won their 4th game in a row tonight with an amazing start from Cole Hamels. The Brewers did not get a hit off Hamels until the 5th inning as he mowed down hitter after hitter. He walked 3 batters, gave up just 3 hits and struck out 7.
Most impressive with Hamels tonight was his demeanor. Even thought the Phils have not scored for him basically all year long, he did not let it bother him that the offense gave him only one run to work with…again. Hamels got into some trouble in the 7th when he issued a lead-off walk and then a single but he worked out of the jam.
Although it did not appear to affect him, Hamels must be wondering what he has done to offend his teammates. In his last 6 games, including tonight, the Phils offense scored 2 runs or less for him in five of those games, with two of them being shut-outs. Perhaps he needs to change deodorants?
Whatever the reason, runs seem to be impossible to come by when Hamels is on the mound. The one run scored tonight was after a 2nd inning Shane Victorino double; Raul Ibanez moved him to third and Carlos Ruiz grounded out to score him. But after that…nothing. The Phillies even left the bases loaded with NO outs in the 4th and did not score. Ibanez struck out and Ruiz hit into a line-drive double play, catching Jayson Werth off the bag. As a team, the Phillies went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Despite the offensive struggle, the Phillies went on to win 1-0 and Ryan Madson got the save in the 9th. Roy Halladay will pitch tomorrow; game time is 7:05pm.
A few roster moves were made today also; Greg Dobbs was brought up from AAA and Ross Gload was activated off the DL after a groin injury last month. A few more moves will be made in the next few days as the Monday double-header approaches and an extra pitcher will be needed. No word yet on who will be called upon, but it may be Vance Worley who pitched very well in AAA and pitched one scoreless inning for the Phils in July. Other possibilities may be Nate Robertson or Drew Carpenter. We shall see.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Ryan Howard came off the DL today, trading places with Ross Gload who went on the DL with a strained groin. So Domonic Brown remains on the roster and Greg Dobbs has accepted an assignment in AAA. While the return of Howard was very good news, the Phillies offense still appears to be on hiatus.
The Phils managed only 2 hits and 1 run off the Nats Stephen Strasburg. Howard had the lone RBI. But early in the 5th inning, Strasburg looked at his elbow, obviously in pain, and was removed from the game. There is no word yet on how serious the injury might be. But even with the Nats rookie ace pulled from the game, the Phils offense still went silent.
Not helping the cause at all was pitcher Kyle Kendrick who had a horrible outing. Just when you thought Kendrick was getting on track, there he goes again with 5 earned runs allowed in the first 3 innings. Kendrick was pulled after just 5 2/3 innings. The Phillies have a serious decision to make here; Kendrick cannot be counted on and in a pennant race, that is not what they need.
After Chad Durbin gave up a 3-run homer in the 9th, sending the Phillies down by a score of 8-1. They will have one more shot at the Nats tomorrow at 1:35pm to try for a series win. Roy Oswalt will pitch and I will return with photos.
Roy Oswalt’s first home start in Philly went very, very well against the Dodgers tonight. He did not surrender a run while allowing 5 hits and 2 walks. Oswalt was finished after 7 innings with a really good strike-ball ratio of 73-36. It looked so easy, one may have thought that Oswalt could have pitched this game in his sleep. Yawn!
But as has been the case for Oswalt this year with both the Astros and the Phillies, he got very little run support. Domonic Brown collected the first run of the game in the 4th inning with a bases-loaded RBI ground-out. Raul Ibanez extended his hit streak to 18 games with an RBI-double in the 6th. However, in that same inning, the Phillies lost Ross Gload. He hit a double down the right field line and came up limping halfway to second base. Gload has been diagnosed with a groin strain.
If Gload goes on the DL, he will be the 16th Phillies player this year to land there. And he would be the 5th player on the DL right now, along with Ryan Howard, whom Gload was replacing at first base. Mike Sweeney took over for Gload tonight and may wind up playing a lot more than anyone expected.
With a 2-0 lead, the Phillies would now have to lean on their 8-9 combination of Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. Getting a few extra runs would have been nice too, but that did not happen. In fact, the Phillies wasted a Wilson Valdez lead-off triple at one point and left runners on third base with less than 2 outs twice. It began to look more and more like this game would come down to the Phils bullpen.
And it did come down to the pen. Madson pitched a scoreless 8th and looked pretty solid. Lidge came in for the 9th with the same 2-0 lead and quickly got three outs for the save. Oswalt got his first win as a Phillie behind Lidge’s save, just as they both used to do for the Astros. Teammates once again, Lidge had to be thrilled to help out his friend.
The final game with the Dodgers will be at 7:05pm tomorrow night. The pitching match-up should be Joe Blanton vs. Clayton Kershaw. Blanton did well in his last outing; a solid follow-up performance would be nice.
In other news today, Chase Utley has been approved by his doctor to start swinging a bat again since the surgery on his thumb. Utley has been running drills and fielding balls so this is one more step towards getting him ready to play again. Utley expects to be back in the line-up either at the end of August or early September.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Dodgers came to town today and the in-flight food service must have been seriously lacking on their way to Philly. Because they were really hungry by the time the game started. They snacked on Phillies pitchers like they had been starved for weeks.
The tastiest morsel was Kyle Kendrick; he allowed 5 earned runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. A 6th run was unearned on the first of Jimmy Rollins’ two errors tonight. When things start to go bad, things really go bad. For instance, Rollins tripped over second base and fell over during what should have been a sure out. Dodgers say, “Yum, yum! Me love scoring runs!”
The snack turned into a 7-course meal when David Herndon gave up 4 runs in the 6th after the Phillies offense had finally scored 3 runs the prior inning. Herndon pitched a perfect 5th inning, but lost his command in the 6th. Prior to that, Antonio Bastardo allowed a run of his own. The lefty Bastardo was just added to the roster after outfielder John Mayberry was sent back to AAA.
After the 7-course meal in the 6th, the Dodgers were still hungry in the 7th when Danys Baez came in to pitch. They ate him up to the tune of 2 more runs. I suppose that was desert. With a 13-5 lead, the Dodgers were bordering on pure gluttony. Even The Count was tired of counting runs at that point.
Former Phillie Vincente Padilla handled the Phillies offense well until he met Ross Gload. He was the one Phillies player who tried to join in on the feast. Going 3 for 5 in the game, Gload hit not one, but two 2-run homers. He was a one man wrecking crew.
Rookie Domonic Brown had 4 RBI on a sac fly and then his very first major league home run. He got the final 2 RBI in the 9th on a double. The homer was not as exciting as it should have been considering the 13 runs on the board for the Dodgers. Also, Brown has not played well in the outfield and needs a LOT of work on his fielding and hitting the cut-off man.
But back to the Dodgers; 13 runs would just not suffice. JC Romero came in to pitch the 9th inning and the Dodgers began to salivate again. Romero hit the first batter and gave up a 2-run homer to the 3rd batter. With one huge 2-run chunk already taken out of his back side, Romero let the Dodgers have another nibble. He walked the pitcher, George Sherrill. It was Sherrill’s very first at-bat in his career. Not that is embarrassing. Wow.
Out of 7 Phillies pitchers tonight, only Jose Contreras and Chad Durbin did not allow a run. The final score of this vomit-inducing nausea-fest was 15-9. Good news? 9 runs. Bad news? Phillies pitching.
Roy Oswalt will pitch tomorrow night. Hopefully, in his first outing at home in a Phillies uniform, Oswalt can tame the ravenous Dodgers. Game time is 7:05pm.
Kendrick photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Sesame Street characters by Jim Henson
Throughout most of the year, Roy Halladay has not gotten a great deal of run support from his teammates. Today, he had a rough time against the Mets, allowing 2 runs in the first inning alone to put the Phillies in a quick hole. Halladay seemed off but he did pitch 7 innings; on 9 hits and a walk, he allowed 5 runs while striking out 10 batters.
But the offense did not let Halladay down this time. After a Jimmy Rollins 1-out double in the 3rd, the Mets short stop Jose Reyes committed a fielding error that allowed Placido Polanco to reach base. From there, a rally was born. Remember yesterday when mascot J-Roll Smurf put the voodoo hex on Reyes? Coincidence? Well, who cares…it worked, whatever it was.
The Reyes error sent the Phillies on a huge tear; Ross Gload singled, which scored Rollins. And then the super-hot Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a career high 16 games with a 3-run homer. Later, a Brian Schneider single scored Jayson Werth for the 5th run of the inning. Werth had also homered the inning before. Here are a few shots of the home runs and subsequent celebrations:
The effort was all around for the Phillies. Not only did the offense score 6 runs for Halladay, they played solid defense as well. Halladay kept running into trouble, but some good pitches, a double play and a few diving grabs helped him out. Gload especially gave a great effort at first base filling in for the injured Ryan Howard. Here are a few more action shots from the game:
Another huge positive to come out of this 6-5 win was the back-end of the bullpen. Ryan Madson played “Bridge to Lidge” in his former excellent fashion, shutting the Mets down in the 8th. And then Brad Lidge, with his usual tense moments, did finally get the save with only a 1-run lead. Both pitchers have been up and down so it was nice to see the pen work the way it is actually supposed to in a tight game.
There was positive news before the game as well. Both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino were out running around and playing Frisbee on the field. This is meant to be a conditioning exercise, and Utley was quite serious about getting the job done.
Victorino, on the other hand, while still getting the job done, looked more like a kid playing in his back yard than a professional ballplayer. He even raced someone’s kid at one point. Nothing wrong with a little fun ;o) Victorino was running very well and it looks like he may be activated soon. He will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday and may be back by next weekend.
Also before the game, the Alumni Batting Challenge took place with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles. Stocker and Bottalico took home the prize. You can see many photos from the even in the full game Photo Album.
The Phillies have a day off tomorrow before the Dodgers come to town. Kyle Kendrick will start Tuesday’s game which is scheduled for 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The match-up of Cole Hamels and Johan Santana tonight had potential to be a very tight pitcher’s duel. And that is exactly what happened; the two pitchers were fairly even through 6 innings. Santana did not allow a hit until Placido Polanco broke through in the 6th with a single. Hamels scattered 6 hits but also struck out 11 batters. The only scar on the line for Hamels was a solo homer from Jeff Francoeur in the 7th.
Hamels reached 99 pitches by the end of 7 and was pinch hit for in the bottom of the inning. Chad Durbin pitched the 8th and had a very scary outing. With the bases loaded, he nearly walked a run home. Luckily for the Phils, Francoeur was done with the home run hitting. He went fishing for a high fastball that would have been ball four and struck out.
With the score still 1-0 in favor of the Mets going into the bottom of the 8th. The Phils had an exciting inning with a few singles and a walk. But with the bases loaded and 2 outs, Ross Gload grounded out after a very good battle at the plate.
In the 9th inning, the Phillies still could not get anything done. They ended up with only 5 hits in the loss, went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left 9 men on base. While it was a disappointing loss, overall it was a good game because of the pitching. Hamels was outstanding so it hurts to see him not get the win…again. Poor guy.
The final game with the Mets is tomorrow afternoon at 1:35pm. Roy Halladay will pitch :O) The Alumni Batting Challenge will also take place before the game with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles.
I will return with photos from both the pre-game event and the Halladay domination of the Mets – yes, I fully expect Halladay domination. J-Roll Smurf, our official Phillies Phollowers mascot, says it will be so. He is in charge of the voodoo and I believe him. J-Roll Smurf has been practicing his voodoo bat attack all day long, so expect results. Go Phillies!
Reyes and Smurf photos by Jenn Zambri Photography