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
The Phillies are on their way home! Whooo hooo! Today’s 12-10 loss to the Nationals will go down as a blip on the radar screen as the boys prepare for the real thing this Sunday.
A few things worth mentioning from today’s game: Jamie Moyer had a BAD day; 9 earned runs on 11 hits and 2 walks. The good news: 1 – It did not count. 2 – He has gotten the crappy pitching all out of his system and can now get down to business :O) We hope…
Also note worthy, Pedro Feliz had a very GOOD game :O) Feliz went 4 for 5 with 3 doubles and a home run, collecting 3 RBI and scoring twice. Needless to say, even after a difficult back surgery, the 3rd baseman is ready to go! Funny story about Feliz for you…the photo to the left is one I took last April and towards the end of last year, I printed it and asked him to sign it before a game one day. He took the photo, looked up at me, and said, “This is not me.” I giggled and told him that in fact, it was him. He showed it to the security guard standing next to him who proceeded to crack up and told Feliz I was correct, it was him. Pedro smiled at me, signed the photo and handed it back. Slightly embarrassed, he kept smiling and wandered off. Poor guy; guess he does not use a mirror too often. Either that or the sun had fried his brain that day :O) Ok, in his defense, Feliz is clean shaven in the photo, which he usually is not. So, one could deduct that he was thrown off by the lack of facial hair.
It is probably a well know fact by now that Chase & Jen Utley LOVE animals, but have you heard them talk about it? Below is an interview from WMMR radio done on Tuesday with Jen in the studio and Chase on the phone from Florida. Jen was there to promote today’s “Pup Rally” to benefit the PA SPCA; the event will be held from 5pm to 7pm at Rittenhouse Square. Donations of cash, toys and blankets will be accepted and there will also be animals available to adopt. Stop by if you get a chance and help a give an unwanted animal a good home! Here is the interview:
Fun note: Utley did admit during the interview that he missed Jen more than their dog while away at Spring Training. It was either that, or he’d be in the dog house tonight ;O)
The Phillies have 2 games coming up tomorrow and Saturday against their World Series rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays for the On Deck Series. After that, it is GO time! 3 days left!
(Photos by Jenn)
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