Tagged: Ryan Madson

Halladay Keeps the Win-Train Chugging

This Phillies series with the Brewers has been touted by some as a possible playoff preview.  If that is the case, things are not looking great for the Brewers so far.

After a 7-2 victory last night, the Phillies picked up right where they left off, scoring early and allowing their ace, Roy Halladay, to handle the Brewers hitters.  Halladay was his usual sparkling self, allowing only one run through eight innings on four hits.
 

Ryan Howard was back in the line-up tonight after a day of rest yesterday.  The break seemed to help as Howard smashed a 3-run homer in the first inning.  He also walked twice after that.

After spending most of the year in the minors, Pete Orr finally saw some action tonight in place of Chase Utley who is still in Philly.  Utley is being observed for a possible concussion after getting beamed in the head by a fastball on Wednesday.  Orr took full advantage of the playing time, going 3-for-4 at the plate.  Although, he was almost murdered by a rouge group of sausages ;o)

Several Phillies had multi-hit nights including Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez.  Ruiz was on base in all four of his at-bats; he walked twice and collected 1 RBI.

But while Halladay and the offense were all clicking, there may be cause for concern about Antonio Bastardo.  He started the 9th inning and put two runners on base with a hit and a walk, all without recording an out.

Bastardo had a similar situation only two appearances ago where he put two men on against the Marlins and was pulled before getting an out.  In that game, both runs ended up scoring.  Both runs scored tonight as well.

This young lefty has been so good all year, he has seemed practically unhittable.  But suddenly, Bastardo does not look like the same pitcher.  One could argue he has been overused, but before tonight’s game, Bastardo ranked 44th in innings pitched in the NL.

Still, Bastardo’s recent troubles are not a reason to panic, but it is something the Phillies need to keep an eye on.  And tonight, Ryan Madson took over for Bastardo and was able to secure the 5-3 win.

This win ensures the Phillies cannot lose the four game series and they to grab only one of the next two to win it.  Game 3 is Saturday night at 7:10pm with Cliff Lee pitching against former Phillie, Randy Wolf.

Post-Season Magic # – 3 games

Division Magic # – 10 games

 

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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*

Hamels Sharp in 1st Game Off the DL

The Phillies began a stretch of 33 games in 31 days today in Cincinnati against the Reds.  With the schedule shuffling due to Hurricane Irene, the Phils lost their final off-day of the regular season and also have two doubleheaders in September.

Today was an especially important day for pitcher Cole Hamels.  It was his first start since coming off the DL with some shoulder soreness.  Hamels did not skip a beat as he began quickly mowing down Reds hitters.
 

Hamels was perfect through three innings when an outfield blunder ended the streak in the fourth.  Hunter Pence overran a routine fly ball, then slipped and fell trying to go back to make the catch.  The hit was recorded as a triple, which gave the Reds a 1-0 lead soon after.

Probably mortified my the mistake, Pence looked for redemption early with a single to start the fifth.  Carlos Ruiz then singled and Wilson Valdez drove Pence home with a very timely double.

Hamels was able to shake off the earlier mistake and with a 1-1 tie game, he continued pitching very well.  Through six innings, Hamels allowed just the one run on two hits and struck out seven.

The pitchers battle continued as the Reds’ Homer Bailey kept confusing Phillies hitters.  Valdez seemed to be the only one able to hit Bailey and he started the eighth off with a single.

Michael Martinez was then sent up to bunt, which was a minor disaster.  I sincerely hope this is the last time Martinez will be counted on to lay down a bunt, because he looked like he had no clue what he was doing.  He bunted two balls straight up into the air; the first was foul and the second was caught for a very ugly out.

Lucky for Martinez, Shane Victorino stepped up to the plate and finally saw a pitch he liked.  One hanging curve ball  later and Victorino had himself a 2-run homer.  The Phillies then had a 3-1 lead.

That lead dwindled a little in the bottom half of the inning as the struggles of Michael Stutes continued.  He gave up one run on three hits, cutting the lead to 3-2.

In that inning, Placido Polanco missed a hard hit ball and made a throwing error.  Polanco also struck out three times at the plate, which is very out of character for him.  Normally a contact hitter, Polanco did not look like himself today both at the plate and in the field.  This leave one wondering just how badly he is being bothered by the sore hip and back.

After that odd inning, the Phillies were unable to score again.  That meant the game was in the hands of Ryan Madson with a miniscule 1-run lead.  Coming into this game, Madson was 23 for 25 in save opportunities.

Unlike Polanco tonight, Madson was on top of his game.  After allowing a lead-off single, he buckled down and recorded the final three outs of the game.

Tuesday night, Roy Halladay will finally take the mound after getting pushed back with all the crazy weather and game cancellations earlier this week.  Game time is 7:10pm.

 

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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*

Ugly Loss As Madson Blows 2nd Save

So it is only one game, but last night’s Phillies loss to the Nationals was very bad on a number of levels.  First, the inept Nats staff decided to start the game with a huge storm nearby.  That lasted all of five minutes as four batters into the first inning, the game had to be stopped due to heavy rain.

For the second straight night, the Phillies had to endure a rain delay of more than two hours.  It was 2:17 on Thursday and 2:22 last night.  The game probably never should have been started last night, which put the Phillies into another jam with their starting pitchers.

While the Nats starter Livan Hernandez went back out after the delay, Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt was held out as a precaution due to his bad back.  Oswalt had not even thrown a single pitch in the game, but because he warmed up and then cooled down, the Phillies moved Kyle Kendrick up a day to start.

So the game resumed with a 1-1 count on Ryan Howard who drew a 2 hour, 22 minute walk.  That has to be some kind of record or at least an amazing exercise in patience ;o)

In their last outing against Hernandez, the Phillies could not hit him at all.  This time it took until the third inning, but they finally started to figure him out.  With one out, Jimmy Rollins doubled and then John Mayberry Jr. tripled to start the scoring.  That was followed by a parade of hits, including a Chase Utley double.

By the end of the inning, the Phillies had scored four runs.  In the meantime, Kendrick was pitching well and made it through six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk.  Considering the short notice and extreme circumstances, Kendrick did an outstanding job.

The offense tried to tack on, but to no avail.  So they took a 4-2 lead into the ninth inning, where it all fell apart.  Ryan Madson had only blown one save this year, but it was clear after a 10-pitch at-bat to Jayson Werth where eventually Werth singled that Madson was not himself.

 

Three singles, two of which were softly hit bloops into no-man’s land, plus a bunt and a walk later, and Ryan Zimmerman came to the plate with the bases loaded and a tie score.  Madson fell behind and soon after it was a full count.

Madson knew he had to throw a strike or he would walk the winning run home.  Zimmerman knew this as well and was ready.  He smashed the pitch into deep left field for a walk-off grand slam.  Ouch.

This was a tough loss to swallow as under usual circumstances, the 4-2 lead would have been as close to a sure win as you can get for this Phillies team.  But Madson was off his game and the blown save wasted a great performance from Kendrick.

While it is just one game, this one stung.  Hopefully, the Phillies will have a little extra motivation tonight to get revenge.  Game time tonight is 7:05pm and since he did not pitch last night, Roy Oswalt will get the start.

 

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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*

Close Game Turns Into a Blow-Out in Phillies Win Over D-Backs

In their second game against the Diamondbacks, the Phillies spent seven innings embroiled in another tight pitching battle.  Cliff Lee was outstanding through seven, allowing only three hits, although one was a two-run homer.  After the home run though, the D-Backs could not get to Lee at all.

The game was tied 2-2 after a Jimmy Rollins lead-off homer and a John Mayberry Jr. RBI single.  But in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies suddenly began smacking around the D-Backs pitching staff.

The Phils scored three runs in that half inning, with the big hit coming from third baseman Wilson Valdez.  With two men on base, Valdez hit a long, 2-run double that went all the way to the centerfield wall, giving the Phillies a two-run lead.

Valdez has not gotten much playing time lately.  Michael Martinez was on a good streak for a while and did most of the filling-in for the injured Placido Polanco at third.  So in case you have forgotten who Valdez is, here is a quick breakdown by the various types of “Wilson’s” you may know:

 

Valdez was once asked by a reporter why he did not have gloves with his name on them like the other players.  He said he did not need to get any specially made because his name was already on the glove; yes, his name is “Wilson.”

After Valdez put the team ahead, the runs kept on coming.  Rollins ended the day with two hits, two RBI and a walk.  Hunter Pence went 2-for-2 with two walks.  And Mayberry, another player who has not gotten a lot of playing time, had an outstanding day at the ballpark.  He led the team with three hits and an RBI.

Lee was pulled for a pinch hitter in the seventh so the bullpen finally got some work.  Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson pitched the eighth and ninth, respectively.  By the time Madson pitched, he had a 9-2 lead to work with.  The game was over quickly at that point.

Before the game today, Polanco was put on the DL with a groin strain, retroactive to August 7th.  RHP Michael Schwimer was called up to take his roster spot.  Schwimer has been amazing in Triple-A action, posting a 9-1 record with 10 saves and a 1.88 ERA.  He did not get into the game today, but with any luck, we may get a look at him soon.

Carlos Ruiz sat out today as well after getting hit with a ball in the groin yesterday.  The official report says he has a “Left Testicular Contusion.”  Ouch!  Poor Chooch…he is day to day.

Game 3 with the D-Backs is Thursday night at 7:05pm; Vance Worley and his fabulous red spectacles will be pitching.

 

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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*

43 Games to Go

After Sunday’s rain-out, the Phillies have 43-games to go in the regular season, including the make-up game on 9/20 at 1:05pm as part of a split-doubleheader.  As of today, the Phillies still lead all of baseball with 78 wins and are nine game in front of the Braves in the NL East.

With all of the injuries suffered by the Phillies this year so far, it is even more impressive that they have been this dominant.  Four starting position players, two starting pitchers and three relievers have all spent time on the DL and some of them made multiple trips.

They have also used four different closers because of the injuries and two spot / replacement starters.

 

And while Placido Polanco, the starting third baseman, is not technically on the DL right now, he has not played since August 6th due to a sports hernia.  After receiving an injection, Polanco is expected to decide by Tuesday whether or not to have surgery which could put him out nearly the rest of the regular season.

Still, the Phillies keep finding ways to win.  Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels have been terrific on the mound.  While the pitching seems to have carried the team through the first half of the year, the recent addition of Hunter Pence has jump-started the offense.  And once again late in the season, Ryan Howard is heating up.

By the way, am I the only person without a Pence jersey or tee-shirt yet?  The ballpark has been stacked with them in all varieties.

Jimmy Rollins is having his best year since the 2008 season.  And while hitting .265 is not spectacular, he is taking more pitches, drawing more walks and has been healthy all year.

And since coming off the DL with major knee issues, Chase Utley appears to be back to his old self…almost.  Shane Victorino is also having a great year despite two trips to the DL, batting .313.

But the younger role-players have also been key to the Phillies success so far.  Michael Martinez, Wilson Valdez and John Mayberry Jr. have all made big contributions filling in for injured players.  The young pitchers Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes and Vance Worley have been slightly overused for guys at their level of experience, but they have all responded very, very well.

The point is, this team is winning and shows no signs of slowing down.  This is a very special time to be a Phillies fan.  We could very well be witnessing something historic right now.  The season is far from over, but I like their chances.

While the team is off today, think about it.  Sit still for a moment and soak it all in.  Then, take a deep breath.  Can you smell it? 

…43 games to go.

 

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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 Overcome 6-Run Deficit To Sweep Dodgers

Before today’s game against the Dodgers, the Phillies rookie pitcher Vance Worley was hearing his name tossed around in the same sentence as “Rookie of the Year.”  But after allowing five runs in the first inning, Worley looked more like a regular rookie than an award-winning one.  The Vanimal lost a bit of his bite today.

Still, Worley picked himself up after the disastrous 1st inning and went back to pitching like usual.  He surrendered one more run in the 3rd, but for the most part, he settled down.  Being able to bounce back in the face of adversity  is a very good sign from a very young pitcher.

In the 3rd inning, Worley helped his own cause with an RBI-single.  The Phillies cut the 6-0 lead in half that inning, scoring three runs with the Worley hit and a Hunter Pence 2-run homer.

After four innings, the bullpen took over and so did the Phillies offense.  The Phils kept tacking on runs and the Dodgers scored one more off Kyle Kendrick.

But in the 6th, Chase Utley came through big to tie the game with a 2-RBI single.  The next batter, Ryan Howard, put an exclamation point on the inning with a 2-run homer to give the Phillies a 9-7 lead.

The Phillies took the lead into the 9th inning where, for the second night in a row, Ryan Madson tried to give us all heart failure.  After the first batter got on base, a run scored on a force out.  With two outs and one on, Madson, for the second night in a row again, struck out ex-Phillie Rod Barajas to end the game.

This 3-game sweep of the Dodgers gives the Phillies a 9-1 record on the 10-game road trip.  It is the first ever 9-1 road trip for the franchise.

This has been an amazing run for the Phillies and especially for Hunter Pence.  In 12 days and 12 games with his new team, Pence has lost only one game and that was also the only game he did not have a hit in.

The energy Pence has brought with him is a huge boost for an already outstanding Phillies team.  And while it is unrealistic, this run gives the Phillies a feel of being almost unstoppable.

So enjoy the off-day tomorrow!  The Nats come to town on Friday; game time is 7:05pm and Cole Hamels 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*

Lee Does It All in Win Over Dodgers

The new Phillies definition for “multi-tasking” is “Cliff Lee.”  The man does it all.  He pitches, he hits, he fields the ball, he bunts and he covers first base like a blanket.  Cliff Lee is amazing.

 

Through eight innings, Lee shut-out the Dodgers, allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out 10 batters.  As if that were not enough, Lee was spectacular in every other baseball aspect as well.

Several times, Lee had to cover first base as Ryan Howard fielded bunts or short-hop hits, racing to the bag to beat out even the Dodgers fastest runner, Dee Gordon.  On one play, Lee caught Howard’s ball toss with his bare hand while twisting sideways and still running for the base.

Then in the seventh inning with a tight score of 1-0, Lee decided a little more offense was in order.  So he went ahead and did what no other Phillies hitter seemed to be able to do against Dodger’s pitcher Ted Lilly; he hit a home run.  That bomb was his second of the year and second of his career.

Lee handed the game over to Ryan Madson in the 9th with that 2-0 lead he helped build.  Madson tried to give us all a small heart attack when he allowed a run on two hits.  But Madson worked out of the jam, striking out Andre Ethier to end the game with a 2-1 victory.

The Phillies have won two straight over the Dodgers and will play the final game Wednesday afternoon at 3:10pm.  Vance Worley will pitch and help the Phillies attempt to get a sweep in L.A.

 

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Head shot and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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