If there were any questions about Roy Oswalt not pitching after the rain delay on Friday, those questions were answered tonight. With a fresh start and no interruption in his routine, Oswalt was very sharp.
Oswalt tossed eight innings of shut-out baseball against the Nationals, allowing eight hits and a walk. He began to look tired near the end of the eighth, but manager Charlie Manuel stuck with his man after a quick conversation on the mound. Oswalt looked fantastic and best of all, the back issues do not seem to be bothering him anymore.
Another guy who had an outstanding night was John Mayberry Jr. He had two hits and a walk tonight plus a huge play in the field. In the fourth inning, Ryan Zimmerman tried to go 2nd to home on a Jayson Werth single. Mayberry fielded the ball and fired. It was a perfect, one-hop throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz that nailed Zimmerman at the plate.
Mayberry’s play recently is prompting questions about whether Raul Ibanez should even be in the starting line-up. At the very least, this has already turned into a platoon with Mayberry starting against lefties. But as Mayberry continues to out-perform Ibanez, how long will Manuel keep his loyalty to Ibanez? That remains to be seen.
Several other players had multi-hit night’s as well including Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins. And once again, Wilson Valdez was right in the middle things with a huge triple that scored the Phillies first two runs in the fourth inning. And in the sixth, Hunter Pence hit his 14th of the year and fourth as a Phillie.
Michael Stutes took over for the Phillies in the ninth inning and had a nice outing. His last appearance was not great, so this had to be a relief for Stutes to get in a clean inning. The Phillies went on to win by a 5-0 score.
The finale of this 3-game series is scheduled for Sunday at 1:35pm with Roy Halladay pitching. Sadly, it appears more rain is also on the schedule. So cross your fingers & toes; with any luck, I will return from D.C. with photos.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
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
In a strange turn of events last night, the Phillies lost a 4-2 game to the Astros in 16 innings that took 5 hours and 20 minutes to play. The game started with an outstanding effort, again, by Cole Hamels who allowed just 2 runs. But as has been the case all year, Hamels got no help.
The Phillies offense scored only 1 run off Bud Norris who entered the game with a 5.23 ERA. The one run was a Raul Ibanez double that scored Jayson Werth. Not only are they not hitting, the Phils are striking out at a record pace lately. Adding to the problem, Jimmy Rollins even got thrown out trying to steal 3rd base. Most of the few hits they got came with 2 outs and the next batter could not capitalize.
Rollins tried to redeem himself with a game-tying homer in the 9th that sent the game into extra innings. But as in the first 9, the Phillies still did not hit. Both teams’ bullpens got a workout though and both performed well. 15 pitchers were used in total for both teams.
There were some nice defensive plays in the game; most notably two double plays, one of which Rollins started from the ground to toss to Chase Utley:
The real drama occurred when in the 14th inning, umpire Scott Barry, acted like a child, which led to the ejection of Ryan Howard from the game. Howard put his hands on his hips in disgust as a check swing was called a strike. Barry in response mimicked Howard’s action by placing his hands on his hips and gawking childishly at Howard. Howard told the home plate ump he was mad at himself, not at Barry. The kindergarten move by Barry was unprofessional, uncalled for and outright disgusting.
As a result, the already annoyed Howard tossed his bat after being called out on another check swing. He was mad, and with good reason. Replay shows the bat never crossed the plate and Howard should not have been called out. But Barry, still in 3-year old mode, took offense to the bat toss and ejected him. But this should have been an equipment fine, not an ejection. However, the infantile Barry made up his own rules. Check out the VIDEO. Here are a few game shots of Howard:
Barry, 31, is a minor league call-up who just started his 4th year of AAA ball umpiring. This is the same ump who tossed Charlie Manuel from the game on Monday night after another BS call. And on August 18th, the same umpire ejected the National’s Ryan Zimmerman for tossing his bat and helmet after striking out. Zimmerman said nothing but Barry ejected him anyway for the first ejection of his career. Again, this should have been an equipment fine, not an ejection.
This minor leaguer is a disgrace to all umpires and he should be fired for his childish actions. Barry is the kind of ump who gives all the good ones a bad rap. But as usual, NO umpires are EVER held accountable for their actions. It is a real shame and a serious blemish on the game of baseball.
All that drama led to the Phillies not having ANY players left. As a result, starting pitcher Roy Oswalt was put in to play left field; it was the first time since Bill Wilson on Aug. 6, 1971 that any pitcher had been made to play another position. Raul Ibanez, having some experience at first base, was moved to take Howard’s place.
And of course, the first batter of the 15th inning hit the ball right to Oswalt who snagged the fly ball easily and had a nice giggle over it. Ibanez did a descent job at first, considering he has not played there in years. He did drop a ball in the 16th, but no one can really blame Ibanez for the loss. Same goes for relief pitcher David Herndon who gave up 2 runs that inning. He got all ground balls, they were just hit in odd places.
I was at the game for the first 9 innings but having to get up early for work today, I did not stay for extras. I listened on the radio in the car and then saw the last 3 innings on TV at home. Here is the full Photo Album from the first 9 innings.
As for tonight, the Phillies had better find their bats if they are going to avoid losing this 4-game series to the Astros. Roy Halladay will pitch against former Phillie JA Happ who will be in another uniform in Philly for the first time. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Before the final game of the Nationals series today, umpire and Philly native Jerry Crawford was honored for his 33 years of MLB service. Today was to be his last Phillies game as he will retire at the end of the year. Crawford was given a standing ovation and a present from the Phanatic; a baby Phanatic doll:
Once the game began, Roy Oswalt was in control. Though he had a rather high pitch count and led off several innings with runners, Oswalt got the job done when he needed to. He was also very effective at the plate with two hits and in his third at-bat, almost hit a home run. The ball went all the way to the warning track in deep center before a Nat tracked it down. A little bit to the left and it would have gone out.
Oswalt gave up 5 hits and a walk in 7 innings without allowing a run. His day was cut short when the skies opened up and dumped buckets of rain onto the field. The 1 hour, 44 minute delay sent many fans home early.
But to that point, the Phillies offense started to hit again. Jimmy Rollins double to lead off the game and a sac fly from Placido Polanco scored him. Later in the 3rd, Oswalt scored after one of his hits and a Polanco single. The 6th inning was interesting as well. With 2 men on and 2 outs, the Nats decided to intentionally walk Carlos Ruiz to get to Wilson Valdez. With the bases then loaded, Valdez made them pay with a 2-run single.
There were a lot of good play both on offense and defense:
And then there were some not so great plays, like a Ruiz throwing error to second. And some weird plays too; if you look at the top row of photos below, you will see Ryan Zimmerman checking out Valdez’s leg; Nats shortstop Ian Desmond, who caught a ground ball which got stuck in the netting of his glove, allowing another hit from Oswalt; and finally, Adam Kennedy puts his hand in a place that Rollins probably did not appreciate:
With a 4-0 lead coming out of the rain delay, Rollins got another hit and Raul Ibanez cranked a 2-run homer to give the Phils a 6-0 win and a 2 game to 1 win in the series. Ibanez, Polanco and Valdez each had 2-RBI on the day. Valdez played in place of Chase Utley who was given a day off to rest.
And now the real fun begins; the Astros are coming to town for a 4-games series. It will be like the Phillies vs. all the guys the Phillies no longer wanted. Both Brett Myers and JA Happ will pitch in the series, plus we will see more old teammates like Michael Bourn, Nelson Figueroa and Jason Michaels. Myers will pitch tomorrow against Joe Blanton at 7:05pm.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game. If it is not working, try again later. TypePad is having issues with photo albums right now.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
After last night’s disappointing Roy Oswalt debut plus a serious lack of offense, the Phillies were hoping to bounce back today against the Nationals. Oswalt threw one pitch and gave up a triple.
Tonight, Joe Blanton threw 3 pitches and the singles started coming. Blanton had 2 base runners with 2 outs in the 1st inning and from there, allowed 3 runs to score with a total of 5 singles in the inning.
Settling down after the first, Blanton pitched 4 clean innings but allowed another run in the 6th. He escaped the 6th with just one run thanks to an amazing diving catch by rookie Domonic Brown and then a double play after that. So it was 6 innings and 4 runs for Blanton; not great.
The Phillies bats did little to help early on, not scoring their first run until the 4th inning on a Wilson Valdez single. Carlos Ruiz hit a solo homer in the 6th and then Raul Ibanez had the big knock in the 7th. His two run homer tied the game up at 4-4. Ibanez has been the Phillies hottest hitter of late, which is nice to see after he struggled the entire first half of the season. In his last 10 games before tonight, Ibanez is hitting .438.
On the other side of the spectrum, Ryan Howard is suddenly not hitting at all. He got his very first day off of the year today as a result. Manager Charlie Manuel thought a little rest could do him some good. Howard had only 2 hits in his last 5 games. Cody Ransom got a start at first base in his place.
Things were quiet again until the 9th inning when Jayson Werth walked. Ross Gload bunted him over; Brown moved him to third on a ground ball out. But the big hero was Ruiz who, with his 3rd hit of the night, singled to score Werth, giving the Phils a 5-4 lead. It was also Ruiz’s 2nd RBI of the game.
But no lead is big enough when Brad “Heart Attack” Lidge is about to come into the game. He used to be “Light’s Out” Lidge, but I have renamed him; more appropriate, I think. The first batter Lidge faced singled and a bunt moved him to 2nd. Then he walked the next batter. Get out the nitroglycerin; I feel an episode coming on. Yes, there it is…Ryan Zimmerman + fast ball down the middle = 3 run homer + Nationals win.
Let us give Lidge a few more nicknames…why? Because it will make me feel better. How about Brad “Please go back on the DL” Lidge? Or Brad “Blown Save” Lidge. It could be “BS” for short. And then there is Brad “I Suck Big Time” Lidge.
Hey Ruben Amaro Jr., you have about an hour and a half to find us a closer. WE ARE DONE WITH LIDGE! Bring Vance Worley back up if you have to. This cannot continue to happen. This team battled their as*ses off to get back in this game and Lidge BLEW IT. We, the fans, have had ENOUGH.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The afternoon started out sunny, with the Phillies receiving their National League Championship rings before the game against the Nationals. While it was a tad anticlimactic when compared to last year’s World Series ring unveiling, it was still a nice celebration of a very good 2009 season. The ring is made of 14 carat white gold with rubies and diamonds, showing the NL trophy on one side and 2008, 2009 pennant flags on the other side. A baseball diamond on front has the Phillies script logo across it. Charlie Manuel’s ring is seen here to the right.
Today’s game was started by JA Happ who still seems to be struggling with his pitch location, although he only allowed 1 unearned run over 5 1/3 innings. But his pitch count was mounting as he had issues throwing strikes and fell behind a lot of batters. He should be going deeper into games; expect this to improve over his next few starts. In all, he got the job done by keeping runs off the board.
The Nationals pitching staff kept the red hot Phillies offense at bay for most of the game.
They did manage to score 3 runs in the 6th inning thanks to a Juan Castro 2-out, 2-run single. Castro had 3 hits on the day and is doing an admirable job filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins. Greg Dobbs drew a bases loaded walk later that same inning. And earlier, Chase Utley hit a solo home run in the first inning; it was his 3rd homer in 2 games.
So with a decent 4-1 lead going into the 7th inning, the Phillies would have to rely on the bullpen. This was their first real test of the year with a small lead and sadly, they failed. Antonio Bastardo gave up 1 run in the 7th, but the real damage came in the 8th with Danys Baez on the mound.
Baez gave up a solo homer to Adam Dunn on one pitch to start the inning, which was not a good omen. He got one out, but then walked a batter and allowed a 2-run homer from pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman. Those 3 runs put the Phils in a 4-5 hole. Ryan Madson tried to hold the Nats to just the one run lead in the 9th, but he too faltered, giving up 2 more runs.
Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the 9th with a solo homer, giving the Phils hope. Placido Polanco then got his 2nd hit of the game to give them a base runner. But Chase Utley struck out and then Ryan Howard flied out. Jayson Werth was their last chance and he flew out to center, sending the crowd home very unhappy with a 5-7 loss.
All of the recent wins and big numbers being put up by this Phillies offense have spoiled us a bit so this loss is tough to swallow. I am feeling a bit annoyed about it, frankly; this is the second time the Phillies have lost a game to the Nationals that they should have won. And this is also very bad news for the bullpen; if they cannot hold a lead against the lowly Nats, how will they perform against a real team? Ugh.
But tomorrow is a new day… (she said with a tinge of sarcasm ;o)… and Roy Halladay will make his Philly debut against the Florida Marlins. Game time is 7:05pm.
Castro photo by Jenn
After a depressing 4 game slide against the Astros, the Phillies bats came out swinging last night against the Nationals. Five home runs later, and it looked like this team may be finding its stride again. Raul Ibanez busted out of his slump with 2 of the 5 homers plus a single. The other 3 home runs came courtesy of Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley. The Phillies became only the 12th team in history last night to have at least 4 players with 30 or more home runs in a season: those 4 are Utley, Werth, Ibanez and Ryan Howard.
Although the forecast called for rain last night, Pedro Martinez got a break from Mother Nature and was able to pitch 6 2/3 innings uninterrupted. Martinez gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk and did a good job keeping the Phillies in the game. He even showed some attitude when he signaled to a Nationals player that he had his eye on him.
Here are a few shots from the game:
Despite the 5-3 lead going into the 9th inning, the drama was not yet over for the Phillies. As usual and despite his struggles, Brad Lidge was sent in for the save and proceeded to self-destruct once again. A hit, then a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases. With only one out and the game on the line, Charlie Manuel emerged from the dugout, angrily tossed his gum across the dirt and took Lidge out of the game. Ryan Madson bailed him out by retiring the Nationals best hitters in order; Ryan Zimmerman struck out and Adam Dunn grounded out.
It seems to be crystal clear to everyone except Charlie Manuel that Lidge is DONE. He should be removed from the closer role immediately. This has gone on long enough and has turned into a major problem. I respect Lidge as a person and as the guy who got it done for this team in 2008, but this has gone too far. Put him on ice and try it again next year. If Manuel refuses to do what is necessary, then I believe GM Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to step in and take the decision out of his hands. I have never been a fan of GM’s interfering with the manager, but in this case, it appears that Manuel just cannot muster the courage to do the right thing.
I feel for Charlie, really I do. I would not want to be in his shoes, but the manager needs to put personal feelings aside and get this team back on track. Brett Myers has experience closing and he wants to do the job. Right now, Lidge looks like he is dreading having to step on the mound every time out. Myers is capable, he is healthy and last night, he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings; it was his third straight scoreless outing since returning from hip surgery. Clearly, he is ready, willing and able to do the job.
I understand that Manuel does not want to crush the confidence of his closer, who is going to be with the Phillies for the next two years. However, Lidge will have an entire off-season to get over it. And yes, the Phillies have a lead in the division, but watch how fast that lead disappears when the Phillies do things like get swept in a four game series by the Astros and then nearly blow the next game against the Nationals because Manuel is worried about hurting feelings. No lead is safe when your closer cannot perform.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game….enjoy!
Photos by Jenn