Tagged: Roy Oswalt

Opportunity Lost As Cards Tie Series

So far in this NLDS, two of the Phillies heralded four aces have been hugely disappointing.  In Game 2, Cliff Lee gave up 5 runs in 6 innings.  Tonight in Game 4, Roy Oswalt did exactly the same.

Those two starts, and even yesterday’s Game 3 win, only served to amplify another Phillies major issue: the offense.  The bats have been mostly quiet in every game except the first one.  The Phillies snuck by with 3 runs for a win in Game 3 thanks only to a Ben Francisco homer.

It looked like the Phils might put a hurting on the Cardinals early tonight, scoring two quick runs in the 1st.  But instead of piling on, Ryan Howard struck out and on the same pitch, Hunter Pence got nailed going to second, although on replay, he was safe.  No matter, because that one strike out / throw out killed the rally and the offense died after that.

The slow, painful death of the Phils offense this postseason could signal the premature end of their playoff run.  Even with Roy Halladay to pitch in the final Game 5 of the NLDS on Friday, if the Phils do not score, what Halladay does will not matter.

The only light moment in tonight’s disgusting loss was the reappearance of the Busch Stadium squirrel.  The BS Squirrel enjoyed a run around the field in Game 3.  In Game 4, he interrupted an Oswalt pitch by running straight across home plate.

The umpire had no sympathy for Oswalt.  Shocking, I know.

The Phillies will head back home, in a 2-2 series tie.  Friday night is a case of win or go home…start praying that the Phillies find their bats before then.

 

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

Big Ben Unlikely Hero In Game 3 Win

With the NLDS series tied 1-1 between the Phillies and the Cardinals, Game 3 was going to be big for the winner.  The Phillies had not been able to hit Cards starter Jaime Garcia in previous meetings, so for the Phillies, this was not an easy task.

Equally intimidating, Cole Hamels pitched for the Phillies.  Over 6 innings, he did not allow a single run.  But multiple base runners and deep counts ran Hamels out of the game earlier than the Phillies would have liked.

Big Ben Francisco There was no score by the time Hamels was out of the game, but an unlikely hero emerged in the top of the 7th inning to keep Hamels in-line for the win.  Shane Victorino singled to start the inning and later, Carlos Ruiz was intentionally walked to bring up Big Ben Francisco.

Outfielder Francisco  was a relative non-factor most of the year after the emergence of John Mayberry Jr. and the acquisition of Hunter Pence.  He hit only 6 homers the entire regular season and saw limited at-bats.

But on the one night the Phillies really needed a hero, Big Ben stepped up with a 3-run blast in the 7th.  Even better, the bomb came off a pitch from Garcia who suddenly lost some of his command in that inning.  Finally, the Phillies hit Garcia and took a 3-0 lead.

The Phillies bullpen made the final 3 inning a real adventure though.  Vance Worley gave up a run in the 7th.  Then he and Brad Lidge combined to load the bases in the 8th.  But Ryan Madson, brought into the game earlier than usual, coaxed a double play ball to end the threat.  Madson did give up a run later in the 9th, but still earned the save.

This was a huge win for the Phillies who now need only one more win to erase the Cards and advance to the NLCSRoy Oswalt will pitch tomorrow night; game time is 6:00pm.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Roster in Place, the Phillies Are Ready for the NLDS

Game 1 of the NLDS is scheduled for a 5:07 start tonight.  Here is the post-season roster for the Phillies:

  • Catchers (2): Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.
  • Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez.
  • Outfielders (6): Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco and Ross Gload.
  • Pitchers (11): Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton.
  • Extras: Infielder Pete Orr and Catcher Erik Kratz will travel with the team. RHP Justin De Fratus, LHP Joe Savery and outfielder Domonic Brown will work out in Clearwater, FL and Outfielders John Bowker and Brandon Moss and RHP Michael Schwimer have been sent home.

The only slightly interesting move here is that Blanton was chosen for the roster instead of David Herndon, despite missing most of the season with injuries.  The Phillies chose experience over a younger guy, even though Herndon was with the team most of the year.

As for the pitching match-ups in the series, here are the probable starters for the Phillies and Cardinals:

  • Game 1: Roy Halladay vs. Kyle Lohse (ex-Phillie)
  • Game 2: Cliff Lee vs. Chris Carpenter (on 3 days rest)
  • Game 3: Cole Hamels vs. Jaime Garcia

These are some odd moves by Tony LaRussa.  It will either turn out to be genius, or a huge mistake.  The Phillies should be able to handle Lohse and will then get Carpenter on short rest.  That is another situation they can probably take advantage of.

The pitcher the Phils have the most trouble with is Garcia, who was pushed back to Game 3 because his home numbers are much better than his road numbers.

This all seems to add up to a Phillies advantage, however, that remains to be seen.  Also of note, Game 2 has been pushed back to 8:37pm (ugh) on Sunday due to the Yankees – Tigers rain postponement.

I also wanted to share with you an article I just read about how Danys Baez has helped Antonio Bastardo out of his recent pitching funk.  Baez was released by the Phillies in July and was not picked up by another team.  He has been sitting at home in Miami watching and noticed Bastardo, a player he previously mentored, was having problems.  He reached out to Bastardo and helped him find the issues in his mechanics.

Bastardo has bounced back since then and it seems that Baez is the reason.  The story made me a little sad, thinking about how much criticism Baez took while he was in Philly from fans and media.  For him to swallow his pride and reach out to an ex-teammate like that is a sign of true character.  He may not have been the bullpen solution the Phillies hoped for, but he gets huge brownie points in my book for just being a great guy.

Hope to see you all at the game tonight!  Go Phillies!

 

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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*

Phillies Tie Franchise Record With 101 Wins

With a 7-1 win over the Braves on Tuesday night, the Phillies tied the franchise record for wins in a season with 101.  The Phillies also reached 101 in 1976 and 1977.

There was a lot of good news in this game, besides the win.  Roy Oswalt looked playoff ready on the mound.  He pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits.

Chase Utley appears to be finding his swing again; he started the game with a solo homer in the 1st.  And Jimmy Rollins has now hit home runs in back-to-back games.  Hunter Pence also had a big night with 3 RBI.

In the bullpen, one major relief was seeing Antonio Bastardo get back on the horse after a bunch of bad outings.  He pitched a scoreless inning and looked convincing doing it.  Another interesting note is that rookie Joe Savery also pitched a scoreless inning and has looked very sharp his last few times out.  This is significant because he is also a lefty and could be called upon in the playoffs if Bastardo loses his stuff again.

The final regular season game for the Phillies is tonight at 7:10pm.  The Phils will have a shot at breaking the franchise record in wins and also dashing the playoff hopes for the Braves.  Go Phillies!

 

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

666 – 6 Runs Allowed in 6th Straight Loss with 6 Games To Go

For the first time in 2 seasons, the Phillies have dropped 6 consecutive games.  The 6-1 loss to the Nationals on Thursday completed a 4-game sweep, making the Phillies the final MLB team to suffer a 4-game sweep that had not previously done so this year.

Oh yes, all sorts of records were set last night, and not all of them were good.  The Phillies also became the 1st 98-win team to drop 6 straight since the 1904 Giants.  That’s right, more than a century ago.  They also became the first team EVER to lose 6 straight after clinching their division.  What this means is that the Phillies have delivered bad, sucky baseball in historic proportions ;o)

So it was no surprise that the Phillies final regular season home game ended with a chorus of boo’s.  Fans did not pay their hard earned money to watch the Phillies basically lay an egg on the field.  For “Fan Appreciation Night,” it was more like Fan Un-appreciation Night.  Like I always tell my kids, it is okay to fail as long as you go down putting up a fight.  And that, more than the losses, is what bothers me about these 6 games.  Not that the Phillies are trying to suck, but their hearts do not seem to be in it right now.

The one good sign to come out of the game was Roy Oswalt finally getting some life back on his fastball.  He hit 95mph on the gun and stayed in the low to mid nineties most of the night.  The 6 runs he allowed could have been avoided had certain defensive plays been made.

The Nats first run of the game scored when Chase Utley and John Bowker nearly collided in right field chasing after a pop-up.  The miscommunication resulted in a dropped ball, which literally rolled off Utley’s mid-section:

Bowker also made an awful throw to 2nd later in the game and went 0-2 at the plate.  To recap, since coming to Philly, Bowker is 0-11, he nearly killed Utley and has contributed little more than a bad throw.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here is one GOOD play by Pete Orr:
 

Utley and others did not have a good series either.  Joining him in the debacle were Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.  All three Phillies stars combined at the plate to go 0-36 in the 4-game series with no RBI’s, not even a sac fly.  As a team, the Phillies scored only 9 runs over all 4 games.  The offense was simply non-existent, except Carlos Ruiz with 3 hits.  Those who always complain about Ryan Howard striking out a lot should stop and take a look at how the Phillies play without their #1 RBI machine.

Last night’s game was so horrid, that even Phillies Elvis was more entertaining:
 

And even more exciting than that, the Phillies pre-game ceremonies, which included Cliff Lee getting his pitcher of the month award and then addressing the crowd.  Shane and Melissa Victorino also shared a cute moment as they celebrated the re-opening of the Victorino Foundation funded Nicetown Boys & Girls Club.  And PA Announcer Dan Baker was greeted on field by his family to celebrate 40 years with the Phillies.

 

Another record-breaking moment came when the final season attendance was posted.  With 45,064 at the game last night, the Phillies total attendance for the year wound up at 3,680,718, a new ballpark record.  The game also marked the 204th straight regular season sell-out.

With 6 games to go, the Phillies travel to New York to play the Mets starting at 7:10pm tonight.  Let us all hope they snap out of this funk and get hot going into the playoffs!

Here is the full Photo Album from Thursday’ game, including pre-game ceremonies and more Elvis.

 

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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 Clinch 5th Straight NL East Title

For the 5th straight year, the Phillies are National League East Champs!  A 9-2 win over the Cardinals sealed the division.

The winning pitcher was Roy Oswalt who did not allow a single run through seven innings.  Oswalt seems to finally have his mojo back after suffering a good part of the year with back issues.  But tonight, he was spot-on.

The celebration began a little bit early in the eighth inning.  Going into the eighth, the Phillies were in a tight 3-2 game.  But Raul Ibanez rode in like a knight on a white horse, blowing the game wide open when he smashed a grand slam.  The crowd exploded and the party carried right through to the end of the game.

Although it was not a save situation, Ryan Madson was given the 9th inning, which was fitting.  After going through four closers this year due to injuries, Madson has established himself as the go-to guy.  He deserved to be on the mound to close out the game.

Chase Utley made the final play with a little bit of flash as he barehanded a hopping grounder and tossed to first.  For a guy who is normally all grit and no glitter, it was fun to see him add a bit of style to the final out.

To kick off the champagne celebration, the Phillies gathered around Hunter Pence.  He looked like he was the monkey in the middle as the team started popping the corks, dousing Pence in the process.

 

Clinching the title early means more rest for guys who have been nursing injuries like Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco.  But there are still games to be played and home field advantage up for grabs.  Look for the Phillies to keep trying to win games, starting tomorrow night at 8:05pm.  Cole Hamels will pitch.

I will return with photos.  See you there!

 

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Head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Phillies May Be Riding A Mud Slide Out of Houston

There are several adjectives that come to mind when mentally reviewing these last few Phillies games against the Astros; sloppy, messy, disgusting, lackadaisical and slothful, are just a few.

Some low-lights from Monday night’s 1-5 loss include:

  • Michael Martinez watched a bouncing grounder fly past his glove at third base.
  • Raul Ibanez dropped a low fly ball to left that bounced out of his glove.
  • Covering first base, Roy Oswalt missed an descent throw on what looked like an easy out.
  •  Jimmy Rollins and Pete Orr collided near second base on what should have been an easy double play if they had simply remembered who was covering what area.

But the fun did not end there.  On Tuesday night, the Phillies tried to out-sloppy their Monday night performance with these gems:

  • John Mayberry Jr. watched a ground ball to center roll mysteriously under his glove.
  • Mayberry recovered, tossed to Martinez and then Martinez proceeded to make one of the crappiest throws to third that you have ever seen.  With a good throw, the runner would have been out, despite the Mayberry error.  Instead, the guy winds up on third.
  • Ryan Howard dropped an easy ground ball to first, allowing the Astros pitcher to be safe at first and move a runner to third.  This lead to four runs in the inning, including a 3-run homer hit off Cole Hamels.

In these two games, the Phillies faced many of their old teammates, including pitchers Brett Myers and J.A. Happ.  Neither pitcher was having a good year, but the Phillies may have just single-handedly revived both their seasons.

Also in the Phillies – Astros trade merry-go-round, both Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence made their first trip back to Houston since coming to Philly.  Oswalt had a bad game Monday, allowing five runs in seven innings.

As for Pence, he seemed to be the only Phillie interested in winning these games.  Pence went 2-for-4 Monday with a double.  And he also hit a solo homer on Tuesday.

The only other good news is that Joe Blanton pitched in Monday’s game for the first time since May 14th.  He allowed one hit but looked pretty good overall.

What I am wondering now is, where have the Phillies gone?  Because this is not the same team we have been watching all year.  They seem to be in a coma.  It may not seem like they have much to play for right now, but home field advantage can be a big boost in the playoffs.

So come on Phillies…wake up!  Get your behinds off the mud slide and back onto solid ground.  Thank you in advance. ;o)

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Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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