Ryan Howard showed everyone today why he is an All-Star; Howard went 3 for 3 with 3 RBI and 2 walks. But more importantly, he came up to bat in the 9th inning with 1 out, 2 men on base and the Phillies trailing by 3 runs and he saved the day. Howard nailed a 3 run home run to centerfield to tie up a game which, until that moment, looked like a sure loss for the Phillies against the last place Pirates.
Howard had some help though; Raul Ibanez, in his first start since coming off the DL, doubled after Howard’s home run; it was Ibanez’s 2nd hit of the night. After that, Pedro Feliz singled, Jayson Werth was walked to load the bases and Paul Bako stepped to the plate. You may be asking, Bako who? Bako, in his 12th year in the majors and playing for his 10th different team as a back-up catcher, made name for himself in Philly tonight. He whacked a single through a hole in the infield, scoring Ibanez and giving the Phils an 8-7 win. Bako is batting only .214 and his lifetime average hovers right around only .230, but that did not matter tonight. With his second hit of the game, he got the job done.
The Phillies really needed some heroics tonight after Cole Hamels had another bad outing. In 6 innings, Hamels allowed 6 runs on 7 hits, which included 3 home runs. Hamels even allowed a home run to Andrew McCutchen, who had only 1 homer the entire year until tonight. Another went to Delwyn Young, who in a 4 year career, had only 5 home runs until Hamels helped him to #6. Can you say BAD location? Apparently, Hamels can and we all wish he would unlearn that particular phrase.
The bullpen had a bad night too; Chad Durbin allowed 2 runs, one of which scored when Scott Eyre came in to relieve him and walked a run home; a combination bad effort. But we are all entitled to have bad days, and for the Phillies pitchers, this was certainly one of those; especially since it came against the Pirates. But it was all erased with the outpouring of offense late in the game.
Only one game left before the All-Star break! The Pirates will try to salvage a game and the Phillies will try to stop them; 1:35pm tomorrow.
Sale At The Spectrum
Did anyone else attend the Spectrum sale earlier today? I was there and oh boy, what a mess! For the first time ever, the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers joined forces to host a blow-out sale of discontinued merchandise at low prices.
I spoke to a Spectrum representative as the horror was unfolding and he told me that they were expecting, and only prepared for, 500 people. What they got was thousands upon thousands and as a result, a lot of very unhappy customers. Check out lines, which began with 2 cashiers on each side (Phillies side & Sixers/Flyers side) took hours to get through. No exaggeration…hours. And it was like watching cattle being herded; the small shopping area was jam packed with shoulder-to-shoulder shoppers and you could barely move. Meanwhile, thousands of other shoppers formed a line outside the building waiting to be let in.
I got there early, as I expected a crowd, unlike the Spectrum management, so I did get in with the first group and got some pretty cool stuff. But, it took me over 2 hours, with help, to do so. Most of the merchandise was old playoff gear, but a few nice finds were there. And the lines began to thin out after the management added a cash only line and a few more cashiers. I do believe that next year, they will be a bit more prepared. At any rate, it was a real adventure.
Photos by Jenn
The Phillies got behind early against the Reds last night who scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning, but Chase Utley was not giving up so soon. In the 3rd, Utley hit a ball which bounced off the centerfield wall as he rounded the bases; Utley was so fast that he scored standing and the Reds did not even bother throwing home. Here are a few shots from that home run:
After that, back-to-back doubles from Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth brought the Phillies within a run. Werth also hit a solo homer, the over-the-wall kind, in the 6th; it was his 4th consecutive game with a home run and his 20th of the season. In fact, that home run made history for the Phillies; they are the first National League team ever to have 4 players with 20 home runs before the half way point of the season.
Jamie Moyer struggled last night, but the offense picked him up and even got him the win with a final score of 9-6. Moyer pitched 5 innings and allowed 6 runs on 8 hits and a walk. Chan Ho Park was amazing through 3 innings of relief pitching and did not surrender any hits. Park has really found his groove in the pen and triumphed over his disappointment about not starting. He appears so happy and relaxed that on Wednesday, he danced around the field with a “Vote Victorino” sign and then last night, I watched during batting practice as he played catch with a bunch of kids in the stands for a good 5 minutes. Park has really found a home here in Philly and, more importantly, in the bullpen.
Rumors abound that the Phillies are close to a deal with former Met, Pedro Martinez. Many teams have scouted Pedro, but none have shown any interest. Martinez returned to the Mets in 2008 after a hamstring injury and was simply not the same pitcher after that. No one picked him up in 2009 so he continues to try to prove he can still pitch. In my opinion, this guy is done and the Phillies need not take out the trash. But if you follow the Phillies, you know that they have a penchant for doing just that. It is the trash to treasure mentality. Sometimes it works out (ie: Scott Eyre) and sometimes, it is a disaster (ie: Freddie Garcia…the 10 million dollar disaster). To me, Martinez is a disaster waiting to happen. He is almost 38 years old, appears unable to recover from injury and has a long history of mental issues. Not to mention, can every other team in major league baseball who has passed on him be wrong? It is a scary thought.
Phillies fans united this week and voted Shane Victorino into the All-Star game! Victorino thanked the fans last night as he waved to the crowd during warm-ups. He will join teammates Utley, Ibanez and Howard in St. Louis for his first All-Star experience. Congratulations to Shane!!!!!
And as always, here is a Photo Album from last night’s game. I did not have great seats, so these are not as fun as the ones I usually post, but it is a different perspective :O)
And finally, I would like to dedicate this blog to the memory one of my best friends, Fuzz the cat, who had watched Phillies games with me for the last 15 years. He was a big fan as well and I will miss him very much :O(
Photos by Jenn
The Phillies season is slowly, but surely, circling the drain. With 11 losses in 13 games, injuries piling up and even the steady Cole Hamels beginning to lose his cool, this season is quickly working its way into the crapper.
Hamels had a very bad 5th inning against the Jays, but the umpire did him no favors with the inconsistent strike zone. Still, after giving up 3 runs in the 5th and 1 prior to that in the 4th, Hamels was at the end of his rope. Charlie Manuel pulled him from the game and as he walked off the mound, he gave an earful to the home plate ump who tossed him from the game. It was the 1st player ejection for the Phillies of the season, although technically, he was out of the game already.
But the frustration from Hamels was just a microcosm of how the past several weeks have panned out for this team. Bad breaks, bad hitting and even worse mental mistakes have led the Phillies down a dark and treacherous path. Fans everywhere are waiting for a tornado to tear down the stadium; that is simply how bad it has been.
The Phillies offense did not record a hit until the 7th inning when Chase Utley singled. Right before that, they saw yet another pitcher run out of the game early with an injury. Chan Ho Park appeared to get hit by a batted ball in the knee and went down screaming in pain. It was not pretty:
With Clay Condrey and Scott Eyre still on the DL; Brett Myers lost for the season and Brad Lidge just returning, Park going down is a serious kick in the gut. Not to mention, still no Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins continues sit on the bench for a “mental” break.
Well, speaking of Lidge, Manuel decided to get him some work today, despite being down 0-4. Lidge, in the non-save situation, did not fare well. He gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in only 1/3 of an inning. Welcome back, Brad?? Ugh. Just one more bummer in an already disastrous situation.
And the road to hell continues in Canada again tomorrow. JA Happ will take the mound at 1:07pm and pray for a miracle…
TV photos by Jenn
The losing streak, 6 long, depressing games, is finally over! And the cure to what ails the Phillies? You guessed it – Road Trip! Landing in Tampa to play their 2008 World Series foes, the Phillies rolled right over the Tampa Bay Rays tonight. Notching 6 runs in the first half of the 1st inning set the tone for the game. Some good pitching, lots of hitting, a few home runs and a trio of Rays errors got the job done.
Jamie Moyer put forth a great effort tonight and allowed just one run in 6 innings of work; he struck out 4, walked 3 and allowed 5 hits. Former Phillie, Pat Burrell, was mystified by his old teammate, going 0-2 with a walk against Moyer. Sorry Pat – and yes, we still miss your presence :O(
As for the offense, Chase Utley was on fire tonight! He went 3 for 5 with a single, double and a home run, driving in 4 runs. Shane Victorino joined the Utley-Show with 2 hits, 2 walks and an RBI. The rookie, John Mayberry, stood out tonight as well with a 3-run homer. Yesterday at the Phillies Phestival, Mayberry was told by a fan, “I am glad to see you here in the big leagues!”; Mayberry responded with, “So am I.” He showed his gratitude tonight. Mayberry is now batting .292 with 3 homers and 7 RBI in 24 at-bats.
A few more rookies / new Phillies were given the opportunity to shine tonight, as more players are down with injuries (Condrey put on DL today; Lidge & Eyre still out; Ibanez still out with groin strain). Tyler Walker pitched 2 scoreless innings and then Sergio Escalona handled the 9th; Escalona nailed down the final 3 outs and the Phillies went on to win, 10-1.
In other injury / illness news, Ryan Howard did join the team today after an infection that sidelined him for a few days. Howard served as the DH and went 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Great to see Ryan feeling better!
Be sure to check out my PHOTO ALBUM from yesterday’s Phillies Phestival in case you missed it earlier today.
Photos by Jenn
There was so little contact with the ball in last night’s Phillies-Red Sox match-up, that for most of the game, the fielders looked like this:
The Phillies pitchers struck out 14 batters and the Sox struck out 20 batters. Phillies starter Joe Blanton had a great game, giving up just 2 solo homers in 7 innings. But Jon Lester of the Sox out-pitched him by 1 run. It was a classic pitcher’s duel, but left many fans at the park were left wondering if they should have brought their pillows.
The greatest excitement for most of the game was watching the emotional JC Romero pitch against the team that let him go in 2007 (thank you, Sox!). In his usual style, Romero was all over the zone, but effective. He pitched part of the 8th and the entire 9th while allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk. JC, we are SO happy to have you back!
Phillies fans were woken from their slumber though in the bottom of the 9th when Ryan Howard hit a solo home run to tie the game at 2-2. Extra innings followed, for the 3rd game in a row, but the Phillies were robbed of the win from the umpire (in my opinion anyway).
Greg Dobbs hit what should have been a 2-run homer that was called a foul ball in the 11th inning. Jim Joyce, who called it foul, refused to check the replay after manager Charlie Manuel requested it. Tell me why then do we have Instant Replay? Wasn’t the entire purpose to check on game changing calls?
Look at the photo to the right; I freeze framed the video right as the ball passes the pole. If the pole were taller, the ball would have hit it. Therefore, it is a fair ball – game over. But either Joyce is a Red Sox fan or he just likes staying up all night into extra innings. At the very least, he should have reviewed it. If he did so and still called it foul, fine. I can live with that. But the fact that he just flat out refused? Unacceptable.
But as we all know, umpires can screw with games as often as they like and suffer no consequences. So, on to the 12th inning they went… was recalled from the minors today after Scott Eyre was placed on the 15-day DL before the game with a calf strain. This is a big shot to the Phillies bullpen. Eyre has been great this year with a 2.57 ERA in 25 games. And Kendrick trying to replace him, clearly was not up to the challenge. He did fine in the 12th but then allowed 3 runs to the Sox in the 13th, losing the game for the Phillies.
So despite the amazing pitching (except Kendrick), and the 2-run homer that was called foul from Dobbs, the Phillies went down 5-2 in this first game of three. I am getting ready to go to the game tonight and will be packing an extra set of glasses for Mr. Joyce. Oh, and if I could somehow impart some common sense and decency onto him, I would gladly do that as well.
Kitty – funnyanimalphotos.com
Kendrick – Jenn
Foul or Fair? – mlb.com
Raul Ibanez brought the pain to the New York Mets last night with a 3-run shot into the bullpen in the 10th inning. The Phillies win the series in New York, 2 games to 1 and come home with a 7-3 record on this most recent road trip.
Ibanez has been the biggest surprise of the year for this team, bringing the defense to match his offense. In the 4th, Ibanez played a hot shot off the wall and nailed David Wright at 2nd who was trying for a double. From all the way back on the warning track, not only did Ibanez get the ball to Chase Utley without a hop, he placed the toss perfectly so Utley could make an easy tag.
This guy has been like the Incredible Hulk for the Phillies (or the Ibanez Hulk), tossing opponents around as if they were small woodland creatures instead of professional ball players. While leading the majors with 58 RBI’s, slugging percentage (.674) and he is also second in homers with 21, Ibanez has put this team on his back and intends to carry them to the promise land. Could chants of “MVP!” from the fans at the ball park be far behind? Just wait; it’s coming.
And the starting pitching continues to improve as well. Jamie Moyer had another quality start against the Mets, going 6 innings with 3 runs on 8 hits and did not walk anyone. He looked a bit frustrated at times, but he is the master at buckling down and getting it done. The bullpen had another great outing too. Clay Condrey continues to turn heads with his 2.27 ERA and last night he pitched 2 scoreless and hitless innings. Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre took care of business in the 9th and Ryan Madson saved the game in the 10th.
But just when everything is about to click….the Phillies are getting ready to butt heads with the Boston Red Sox who are coming off a 3-game sweep of the Yankees. The Phillies have been extraordinarily bad in inter league play historically; will 2009 be different? Or will the Sox derail the train in Philly? We shall see…
Save A Pet
If you are going to the game tonight, stop by the Save A Pet charity booth which will be located at the first base gate and run by the Phillies Wives. You can adopt an animal in need, donate toys and blankets, and/or purchase a calendar for which the proceeds go to benefit the SPCA. Phillies players were photographed with either their own animals or adoptable pets from the SPCA and the result is a very adorable calendar. You can also buy the calendar online if you are not able to get to the game. I may need to get about 10 copies… :O)
“Minor” Steroid Issue
Pablo Ozuna signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies on Jan. 22 and has since been playing 2nd base for the AAA Iron Pigs. Yesterday, he was suspended 50 games for violating the league’s drug policy with an elevated testosterone level. Prior to this year, he spent a short time with the Dodgers in 2008 and 3 years with the White Sox before that. The Phillies are the 5th team he has played for.
Utley photo: Phillies.com
Despite the west coast jet lag, the Phillies pulled off a win in San Diego last night with help from Chase Utley and Ryan Howard who nailed back-to-back solo homers in the 5th. Shane Victorino collected 2 RBI on 2 hits and Raul Ibanez also had a 2 hit night. The Phillies left a lot of men on base and in scoring position, but the pitching held up and they walked away with the victory.
Joe Blanton continues to improve upon his slow start to the season; Blanton pitched 5 innings of one run ball, but ran into trouble in the 6th. Not to be outdone by the Phillies, the Padres also hit back-to-back homers in that inning. But Blanton collected himself and went 7 solid with 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk. Scott Eyre pitched 1 inning held the Padres down, allowing Brad Lidge to notch his 4th save in a row.
While the game was entertaining, the Padres 2nd baseman was far more interesting. Can someone explain exactly what is up with David Eckstein’s batting stance? Or, maybe I should call it his batting dance? This guy looks like he downed a gallon of pure sugar before stepping to the plate. He bounces all around, waves the bat back and forth frantically and looks as if his head may explode. See for yourself:
Somebody get this man a Valium.
So tonight the Phillies send the rookie, Antonio Bastardo to the mound for his first major league start. And yes, that IS his real name (Insert joke here). Poor guy. Incidentally, Bastardo is from the Dominican Republic and his name does in fact mean what you think it means. In Spanish, the literal translation of “bastardo” is “Bast*ard, a son born out of wedlock or Boa, a short, thick-bodied, and very poisonous snake.” Either way, not flattering. Let us hope his pitching is more impressive ;O)
Also, JC Romero is back tomorrow!!! Say it with me now…Whooo Hooo! After serving a bogus and totally undeserved 50 game suspension, Romero will finally be eligible to pitch. Free at last! Look for emotions to run high the first time he steps on the mound. Welcome back JC! We missed you!
Don’t forget to keep VOTING for our Phillies All-Stars! Raul Ibanez has moved up to 2nd place among outfielders, as deserved, and Utley continues to dominate at 2nd base. Rollins and Howard are 2nd and 3rd respectively at their positions. So keep VOTING!! We have a long way to go still and need to get these guys into the game! VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!
Photo by Jenn
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