Tagged: Ryan Howard

Farewell to The Big Piece

The Phillies did right by Ryan Howard on Sunday by honoring his 13 years in Philadelphia before the final game of the season.  Everyone entering the stadium received Howard’s head on a stick for full participation in the ceremony.  Mike Schmidt also made an appearance.
2016.10.02 Howard

This all had the potential to be quite awkward considering Howard still has an option left on his contract which it is obvious will not be picked up.  But the Phillies and the fans did a great job honoring the former MVP and All-Star.  Howard spoke to the crowd and got pretty choked up; a lone tear could be seen streaming down his cheek as he realized his time in Philly was done.
2016.10.02 Howard heads

Howard did not have the final game he envisioned, though.  He went hitless in the game, but the Phillies still beat the Mets so I am sure that made his final goodbye a bit easier.  Several guys went hitless as well, but Maikel Franco and Andres Blanco finished strong with 4 and 3 hits, respectively.
2016.10.02 hitting

Plus, Jerad Eickhoff pitched very well, allowing only 1 run over 6 innings.
2016.10.02 Jerad

So the Phillies finish a very up and down season in 4th place with a record of 71-91.  The Phillies offense finished dead last in all of baseball with only 610 runs scored.  As such, and as is seemingly a Phillies tradition, Phillies hitting coach Steve Henderson got the ax right after the game.

There may be more fallout in the days to come.  In the meantime, here is the full Photo Album from the game and pre-game ceremonies.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

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Chase Utley is Still the Man

There is no denying it; Philadelphia still loves Chase Utley, despite the blue uniform.  I heard on the news this morning that someone said Utley could “punch my mom in the face” and they would still root for him.  After what I witnessed last night, that sounds about right.
2016.08.16 Welcome

The ovation as he stepped to the plate was ridiculously long, as I expected.  Utley tipped his capped to everyone in the ballpark, including his old teammates.
2016.08.16 Intro

Cameron Rupp understandably took the time to anoint his hand with the special blessings of the Utley rump:
2016.08.16 Rupp

Grown men fought back tears (seriously, I saw this) and women tried to snap photos with trembling hands (ok, that was me).  Between that and the dreaded netting behind home plate, some shots are a tad blurry, but I got what I came for; lots and lots of Mr. Utley.
2016.08.16 Lots

Watching Utley on the bases interact with his former teammates warmed the heart.  But I have say, after the home run he hit in the 5th inning, I did not see the curtain call coming.  I have never seen that in an opposing team’s ballpark.  It was magical.
2016.08.16 Chase and Howie

Then another curtain call came after the Grand Slam he hit in the 7th inning!  Despite watching their home team get trampled, Phillies fans cheered him on anyway.  Their love for Chase simply knows no bounds; I can personally attest to that.
2016.08.16 slam

Of course, the game would have been much improved if, for example, Elvis Araujo did not walk in 3 runs (1 hit batter) in the 7th inning.  And it would have been nice if the Phillies offense did better than 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position.  And maybe the entire bullpen could, just thinking out loud here, not suck.

But since none of those wishes came true, we all settled for the Utley euphoria.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Here is the full, Utley-tastic Photo Album from the game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Phillies Sweep the Rockies

The Phillies swept the Rockies yesterday, collecting their 4th straight win and prompting “Wild Card” talk around town (Don’t hold your breath though…the Dodgers are up next). The day started out on a positive note. Placido Polanco signed with the team for the day so he could retire and then threw out the game’s first pitch. Later, fellow alumni Randy Wolf helped the Phanatic shoot hot dogs at the fans.

2016.08.14 Alumni

Once the game began, the intense heat appeared to be baking player brains. It was a sloppy affair, for sure. Odubel Hererra gave a clinic on how not to catch a baseball:

2016.08.14 Hererra

Cesar Hernandez missed an easy tag in the 3rd, which led to a run for the Rockies. And Adam Morgan, recently called back up due to an injury to Zac Eflin, was not terribly sharp. He racked up a high pitch count early and then managed to get whacked in the arm with a line drive. Morgan exited after only 3 innings and then Severino Gonzalez took over. Gonzalez immediately balked runners into scoring position (*sigh*).

2016.08.14 Morgan

But the Rockies had their share of heat-induced blunders as well, which the Phillies took advantage of. And Hererra made up for his earlier gaff with a home run saving catch later in the game.

2016.08.14 defense

The offense scored in every inning from the 2nd to the 6th, which was nice to see. Also very nice to see was some Ryan Howard hustle around the bases. He seems to have new life suddenly.

2016.08.14 Howard Rupp

Buy the big bangs of the day came from an unexpected source, Jimmy Paredes. He went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI and raised his average from below .200 to .226 in one game.

The 9th inning, however, was quite an adventure. Jeanmar Gomez gave up 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs making it a very close game at 7-6. Luckily, he got out alive and the Phillies held on for the win. We will chalk that up to the heat as well.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

By the way, CHASE UTLEY returns to Philly on Tuesday night!! And I will be there, right behind home plate, cheering him on (sort of…lol). I shall return with photos 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Beat-Down for Phillies; Snooze-Fest for Fans

I cannot remember the last time I was as bored at a Phillies game as I was today. Literally, I could have slipped into a coma. Between the excessive heat and lack of any Phillies offense, it was basically nap time. The only thing that kept me awake was my disdain for the cheering Mets fans. And the only good news of the day is that all the Mets fans have gone home.

Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom blew through the Phillies line-up with ease; as if the Phillies players were asleep, along with the fans. Maybe the Mets spiked the Phillies Gatorade with Ambien? It is he only logical explanation for the total lack of activity from Phillies bats.
2016.07.17 offense

The only Phillies hit of the day came from the pitcher, Zach Eflin, who now has a higher batting average (.231) than Ryan Howard (.159), Freddy Galvis (.229) and Jimmy Paredes (.228). And he pitched pretty well; not his best outing, but still a quality start.
2016.07.17 Eflin

Alas, Eflin was all alone out there. Some fielding did occur behind him, but nothing exciting. And the total lack of hitting by the rest of his teammates made for a very boring and pathetic loss.
2016.07.17 defense

So the Mets are gone, having won 2 of 3 games in the series, and the Marlins are coming in next for four games.

Here is the full Photo Album from the final Mets game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Bullpen Woes Ruin Opening Day

The Phillies took a 2 – 1 lead into the 8th inning against the Reds yesterday in their first game of the season.  And then, the wheels fell off.  Much criticism has been heaped onto the Phillies bullpen this offseason.  While most of the team looks promising, this is going to be a sore spot.

Of course, the rest of the team was not setting the world on fire, either.  With only 6 hits in the game, including a 2-run Freddy Galvis homer, the Phillies offense was mostly silent.  And the defense started off badly with a huge error from veteran Ryan Howard in the 1st inning which led to an early run for the Reds.  Howard also did not have a hit in the game and left 3 men on base.

Hernandez wall of shame But while Howard should be elected to the Opening Day Wall of Shame, he was beat out by David Hernandez for the title.  Hernandez allowed 3 runs in the 8th inning on a hit and 2 walks, sinking the Phillies ship for good.  He did not record a single out.  James Russell was not much better, allowing 2 more runs.  In all, the bullpen 8th inning follies ended in a 6 – 2 win for the Reds.

The real shame of this is that Jeremy Hellickson pitched a heck of a game.  I am still not sure why he was pulled after only 6 innings and 70 pitches.  Manager Pete Mackanin could have let him go one more inning and put Jeanmar Gomez in for the 8th inning.  The 9th inning may still have been a mess, but at least with only 3 outs left, he would have had more wiggle room to mix and match pitchers.  But that is only my humble opinion.

The Phillies are off today and will try again on Wednesday; game time is 7:10pm and Aaron Nola will pitch.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Phillies Offseason in Review So Far

Good

  • Pete Mackanin as manager – The guys like Pete and he is smart baseball man; I think he will do as well as can be expected with a team full of average players.

P2263638AB

  • Micky Morandini as the new first base coach – A welcome blast from the past.
  • The end of the Domonic Brown experiment – I was really at the end of my rope with this guy. Sorry, he will not be missed.

 

Bad

  • Ken Giles – Seriously, Giles was the ONLY reason I though watching the 2016 would be bearable, and now he is gone. Who else am I supposed to root for (maybe Aaron Nola)?  And this is a clear sign the Phillies are still many years away from competing.
  • No more Jeff Francour? WTH?  It is not official, but with the addition of so many new outfielders, one can surmise that Frenchy will not be back.  He was the only other entertaining guy on this roster…boo!!
  • We are still stuck with Ryan Howard’s salary – I don’t mind Howard himself, I just wish the Phillies didn’t still owe him like a bazillion dollars.

 

Not Sure Yet

  • New GM Matt Klentak – I thought this was a good idea until the Giles trade, which reeks of a move Ruben Amaro Jr. would have made. Is this younger, hipper guy just Ruben 2.0 in disguise?  That may be a bit harsh; we shall see.
  • New President Andy MacPhail – I hesitate to be excited about this because of the above mentioned issue with Klentak. But also, frankly, because the guy’s name includes the word “PHAIL (fail).”  Not to mention that MacPhail has not seen any major success since the Twins won the World Series in 1987 and 1991.

 

Who Cares

  • Everyone picked up in the Ken Giles trade – these do not appear to be impact players and could be a waste of time.
  • Adding Peter Bourjos (wait, who?) – Outfielder Bourjos hit .241 in two seasons in the majors.
  • The signing of 32-year old righty Charlie Morton – meh.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri