Tagged: Tim Lincecum

Phillies Will Meet The Giants In The NLCS

The San Francisco Giants defeated the Braves last night to advance to the NLCS against the Phillies.  This match-up promises to be a hard-fought duel to the death between two great pitching staffs.  The season series between the two teams ended in a draw with 3 wins each out of 6 games.  These teams are very closely matched.

The real drama will unfold in Game 1 on Saturday when two Cy Young winners face off.  Tim Lincecum of the Giants has won the award the past two years and Roy Halladay of the Phils is the favorite to win the award this year.  Halladay already has won the award once before.


Halladay Lincecum.jpgIn 2010, Halladay finished the year with a 21-10 record and a miniscule 2.44 ERA.  Lincecum went 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA, a disappointing year by Lincecum standards.  But in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves, Lincecum pitched a complete game 2-hitter.  He was outdone only by Halladay who pitched a no-hitter in his postseason debut against the Reds.  A slight edge goes to Halladay with this match-up, but only by a hair.  The deciding factor is likely to be the offense of both teams.

Here are some stats for the last 5 years of Phillies batters vs. Lincecum and Giants batters vs. Halladay:

VS. Lincecum

AVG

AB

HR

RBI

Dobbs, Greg

.200

5

0

0

Gload, Ross

.400

5

0

0

Howard, Ryan

.250

16

2

4

Ibanez, Raul

.143

7

0

0

Polanco, Placido

.500

2

0

0

Rollins, Jimmy

.167

18

0

0

Ruiz, Carlos

.250

8

0

0

Schneider, Brian

.000

5

0

0

Utley, Chase

.118

17

1

1

Victorino, Shane

.222

18

1

2

Werth, Jayson

.500

6

1

1

 

VS. Halladay

AVG

AB

HR

RBI

Burrell, Pat

.333

18

0

1

Fontenot, Mike

.333

3

0

0

Huff, Aubrey

.238

42

0

2

Renteria, Edgar

.286

7

0

0

Ross, Cody

.250

4

0

1

Sanchez, Freddy

.333

3

0

0

Uribe, Juan

.167

12

0

0

 

For the Phillies, Jayson Werth and Placido Polanco have the best shot at rattling Lincecum.  And for the Giants, our old pal Pat Burrell has done well against Halladay in 18 at-bats.  However, several big guns for the Giants like Pablo Sandoval and rookie Buster Posey have never faced him.  So, there is no telling how they may fare.

Another possible factor in the game is the lengthy lay-off before the series begins.  However, both teams will be dormant for almost the same amount of time; the Phillies ended their NLDS on Sunday and the Giants ended on Monday.  The same concern was expressed back in 2008 and the Phils won the World Series that year.  Also, I think the time-off will be good for the Phils who have a lot of banged up players like Polanco with his bum elbow and Jimmy Rollins, who is still nursing a hamstring injury.

My biggest personal concern is the Phillies having to play 3 games in San Francisco.  They lost 2 of 3 there this year and 3 of 4 the year before, with their only win coming in Cliff Lee’s Phillies debut.  I was there for the entire series and can tell you, this team does not like playing in AT&T Park.  It is bitterly cold, windy, the ballpark is huge with odd dimensions and the bullpens are uncomfortably close to the field.  Not to mention the visitor’s clubhouse is cramped and awkward…I know; I have been in there.  In short, it is a hostile environment.


P9213064 Burrell2.jpgThe Phillies will need to use the home field advantage to jump on the Giants quickly.  Fans can help out by bringing their usual fervor and enthusiasm to the ballpark.  Feel free to give Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand their proper welcome back, but after that, all bets are off. 

Burrell should not be allowed to get too comfy coming back home because he can really hurt the Phillies; he loves hitting in Citizens Bank Park.  And yes, it pains me to think of heckling Burrell; he helped bring us the 2008 championship.  But fans need to suck it up and treat him like the enemy!  After the series, we can all give him a group hug to make up for it ;o)

 

 

Photo and head shots by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

A Wild Win In The West

The Phillies started tonight’s game with the hope of winning and avoiding a 3-game sweep at the hands of the Giants.  More than once, it looked like the Phils were going down in flames.  And more than once, it looked like they might pull it out.  It is hard to believe how it all went down:  

The game stayed very close until the 6th inning when pitcher Cole Hamels fell apart.  Having pitched very well through 5 innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing just 1 run, seeing him self-destruct in the 6th was hugely disappointing.

Hamels had the bases loaded and 2 outs and walked a run home.  Any good pitcher in this situation, 2-outs, bases loaded and a full count, has to be able to throw a strike.  The walk gave the Giants 2-1 lead and all the momentum.  The next batter whacked a single to right, which scored 2 more runs and nearly sentenced the Phillies to a 3-game sweep.


Game 3 Aug 1 (28)a.jpgBecause the Phillies offense has been completely non-existent recently, you had to figure there was no way they could climb out of the 1-4 hole against back-to-back Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum.  In fact, if you skipped the next 2 innings, you did not miss anything.  Well, except maybe some additional humiliation imparted upon the Phils by Lincecum.

Ryan Howard hit him hard twice, once for a homer and once for a double. The only other hit for the Phillies off Lincecum was a blooper into right from Placido Polanco.  Do not even worry about men left on base for this one through 8 innings; they didn’t have anyone on base to leave there.

But after Lincecum walked a batter with 1 out in the 9th, the Giants put in their closer, Brian Wilson. 
A Pre-game warmups (6).jpg
This move helped out Chase Utley as he knocked a single for the 1,000 hit of his career.  Congrats to Chase! 

But Utley was not the only one to benefit from this bonehead move.  The Phillies loaded the bases with 2 outs and Wilson on the mound.  Jayson Werth stepped to the plate and smashed a 3-run double to right to tie the game up at 4-4!  Giants fans got real quiet, real fast.

But hey, no worries for the Giants, right?  Because the Phillies went ahead and countered that bonehead move with one of their own.  That’s right, we’ll see your Brian Wilson and raise you Ryan Madson.  In save situations, Madson has not been good…at all.  Despite that fact, Madson pitched the 10th inning after the Phillies had finally taken the lead by a score of 5-4 on a wild pitch.  And what does Madson do?  Well, I figure maybe he felt bad for Wilson blowing the save for the Giants so he went ahead and blew the save for the Phillies.  Nice of him to share the humiliation.

So it was on to the 11th inning with a 5-5 tie.  Raul Ibanez started the inning off with a single and moved up to 2nd on a sac bunt.  Our back-up, back-up short stop, Wilson Valdez, doubled to score him on a ball that bounced off the outfield wall just over the head of left fielder Eugenio Velez.  And the adventure for Velez did not end there.  Shane Victorino hit a routine fly ball to him, but Velez one-handed the catch and the ball bounced off his glove, allowing an insurance run to score for the Phils.  Can you say “embarrassing?”  Ouch.

Now the Phillies have a 7-5 lead and send sometimes bullpen guy, sometimes starter, Nelson Figueroa to the mound.  He can now add sometimes closer to his resume…although the save did not come easy.  Juan Uribe wound up with a single on a hit ball that ricocheted off Figueroa’s leg, allowing a runner to advance to 3rd.  That runner then scored when the next batter doubled.  The lead was down to one run with 1 out in the inning and runners on 2nd and 3rd.

Velez, still not done with his extra innings adventure, hit into a fielder’s choice which Ryan Howard fielded and threw home to get Uribe out at the plate.  Catcher Brian Schneider did an amazing job blocking the plate with his glove and Uribe basically tagged himself out.  The next batter grounded out to end the game and Figueroa picks up the first save of his career.  Unbelievable.

This win gave the Phillies 4 wins and 5 losses on this road trip; certainly not great, but it could have been worse.  The Phillies have the day off tomorrow to prepare for the 3-game home series against the Mets.  And now, I need a Valium…whew!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Missing: Phillies Bats


missing bats.jpgLast seen on April 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, PA, the Phillies bats have mysteriously gone missing.  Weighing around 33 ounces and measuring about 40 inches in length, these large wooden sticks may be seen in either a tan or black color with the “Phillies” name engraved in them.  If you happen to see these missing bats, please notify authorities at 1-888-WECANTHIT.

The Phillies have gone from the best offense in the league during the first 10 days of the season to one of the worst.  Where, oh where, have those little bats gone?  Even a very hittable pitcher with an 8.16 ERA like the Giants Todd Wellemeyer could not cure the slump.  The Phils managed only 2 runs in the game and went only 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Ryan Howard had two hits in the game, but one was spoiled as he did not hustle on his way to second, did not slide and got tagged out in an embarrassing play. For the rest of the starters only Chase Utley and Jayson Werth had a hit with Raul Ibanez picking up an RBI on a sacrifice. The rest of the evening was more of the same: nothing.

There was one spectacular defensive play in the game; Juan Castro and Utley turned a double play like you have probably never seen before.  Castro dove for a ball that was ready to scoot past him up the middle, but he snagged it and in the same motion, while lying on the ground, he tossed the ball with his glove up to Utley.  Utley barehanded the ball and threw to first in time for the second out.  Amazing.

But sadly, that was the end of the “amazing” for the day.  Jamie Moyer did what we normally expect of him and allowed 4 runs on 10 hits over 6 innings.  Chad Durbin gave the Giants two more insurance runs in the 7th inning on a walk and 2 hits.  Last time out, Durbin was great.  We just never know what to expect from this bullpen.  Although, JC Romero did come back strong from his last outing and pitched a scoreless, hitless 8th inning.

But the pitching did not really matter; with no offense, they cannot be expected to win.  And having to face Tim Lincecum this afternoon is not going to help bust the slump either.  The Phillies dropped out of first place for the first time this year with no signs of improvement on the horizon.  Look for a sweep by the Giants in San Francisco today…bust out your sense of humor.  You will need it.

 

Photoshopping by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

Holidays, Baseball and Food Coma’s…

To start with, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and did not lapse into a turkey coma!  I also hope no one got trampled attempting to enter Wal-Mart at 3am on Friday ;o)  Holidays can either be fun or hazardous to your health…I hope you went with “fun.”

Speaking of holidays and shopping, what would you like to receive this holiday season?  I would like for Mike Schmidt to age backwards and play 3rd base for the Phillies again. 
Thumbnail image for P8013596 Lincecum.jpg
I would also like the Giants to release Tim Lincecum for his
bad, drug induced behavior so the Phillies can have him.  I also wish aliens would come down from outer space and give us back Cole Hamels: Version 2008.  Clearly, he was abducted and it is time to bring him back.

By the way, 3 years ago, current GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who was assistant GM at the time, asked a room full of female fans if they could sign any pitcher in the league to the Phillies, who would it be?  I shouted, “Tim Lincecum!”  Ruben looked at me like I was nuts and decided that the woman who suggested Brandon Webb had a better idea.  Webb went down with a shoulder injury in April 2009 and did not play the entire season.  Lincecum has now won 2 Cy Young’s in a row.  Hey Ruben, still think I am nuts?  Just a little holiday fun for you there :O)

Ok, so clearly we cannot sign Mr. Lincecum.  But the Phillies have a lot of work to do this off-season to improve the pitching staff.  It looks to be a quiet market right now.  Things should start to heat up when the Winter Meetings begin on December 7th.

The few moves made so far have not even made a small ripple in the atmosphere.  The signing of Juan Castro to replace Eric Bruntlett on the bench seems like a lateral move, rather than an improvement.  Castro hit .277 last year with the Dodgers but is a career .230 hitter.  This news is not exactly knocking Phillies fans out of their boots.  We hope bigger and better things will be coming soon…

In other news, Jamie Moyer was recently hospitalized and had surgery to remove an infected blood collection that may have resulted from his previous groin surgery.  It should not affect his Spring Training schedule and he appears to be recovering well.  I wish him luck!


Thumbnail image for PA040202 JAHapp.jpgFrom the long time veteran to the rookie, JA Happ has been named to the Topps’ 51st All-Rookie Team, which is just one of many honors he garnered this off-season.  Happ is still up for the Rookie of the Year award in the This Year In Baseball awards. 
Voting continues until December 11th and many Phillies like Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and others are in the running.

Thumbnail image for shane melissa 2.jpgAnd finally, congratulations to Shane and Melissa Victorino who tied the knot earlier this month in Hawaii!  They are two really great people and I wish them all the best!

Lincecum & Happ photos by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

Age Trumps Youth As Martinez Regains Old Form

With 2 rain-shortened games for Pedro Martinez in his first 4 starts, he had to be wondering when he might get a real shot at showing the Phillies what he has left in the tank.  Wonder no more; Pedro is back to the Pedro of old.  The 3-time Cy Young award winner beat out the Giants ace, reigning NL Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum.  Take a look at the stats comparison: 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Martinez, P (W, 3-0)

7

5

1

1

0

9

1

3.52

Lincecum (L, 13-5)

7

4

2

2

1

11

1

2.34

 

Martinez Lincecum copy.jpgIt was a really, really close match up, but Martinez came out on top.  The only big mistake he made all night was the very first pitch of the game which the Giants Eugenio Velez sent into the outfield seats.  After that, it was lights out from Martinez.

Lincecum made a few more mistakes and the Phillies made him pay.  Jayson Werth sent a hanging slider into the second deck of the left field seats in the 2nd inning.  Then in the 6th, Chase Utley was hit by a pitch.  A visibly annoyed Lincecum then had to face the big man, Ryan Howard and Howard took advantage.  Howard smashed a fastball into centerfield for a double which scored Utley.   Those were the only two runs for the Phillies, but with the great pitching, it was all they needed. 

The back-end combination of Ryan Madson in the 8th and Brad Lidge in the 9th finally worked the way it was meant to.   Madson sent the Giants down in order and Lidge got the save, although it was another eventful one.  With 2 outs, he gave up a hit, a walk and two stolen bases.  But Lidge buckled down and to the relief of everyone, finally got the third out.  Whew!

In other news, Brett Myers is back!  He will be activated tonight when the Phillies travel to Houston to start a 4-game series.  Myers has made an amazing comeback from a very serious hip surgery that looked like it may have him out for the entire year.  But Myers worked hard to get back into shape and the Phillies can really use him in the pen, especially if Lidge had another melt down.

A few other September call-up include pitcher Jack Taschner, who was with the Phillies a good part of the year.  And Paul Hoover, a 33-year old career minor league catcher, has been called up as well.  We should also be seeing JC Romero back soon; I saw him working out with the team on Wednesday, which is a very good sign.

Tune your TV in to Phillies baseball tonight at 8:05pm; Cliff Lee will try to bounce back from a bad start his last time out against the Astros.  Go Phillies!

Photoshopping by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

Penny Gives Phillies His 2 Cents

After being shut-out 1-0 on Tuesday, the Giants were looking for revenge and they got it in the form of new acquisition, Brad Penny.  Penny struggled with the Red Sox and had an ERA near 6.00, but the move to the National League seems to be the cure.  Phillies hitters looked ridiculous all night long and managed only 5 hits in the game, all singles.

 

But this is nothing new; the Phillies have been in an offensive slump for a while now and there are no signs that it will end anytime soon, especially with Tim Lincecum pitching for the Giants tonight.  When things are going bad, a Cy Young winner is the last person you want to see.  But they have no choice and will need to figure out where the bats have disappeared to.

 

JA Happ has pitched well all year, but is getting no run support at all.  Happ has the third lowest run support of any pitcher in the NL with more than 100 innings and he has still has managed a 2.77 ERA and a 10-4 record.  Last night, he made a few mistakes, including allowing back-to-back homers in the 6th inning which tallied 3 runs for the Giants.  Happ still pitched a good game with just the one bad inning that did him in; but again, no runs = no win.

 

And while it is always nice to see Aaron Rowand back in Philly, he did hit one of those home runs.  And what was this all about exactly?  See Carlos Ruiz pointing?


 

Sorry, could not resist.  It does kind of look like he might pee on the plate, but he hit a home run instead.  Just as effective, I suppose.

 

Here are few non-offensive shots from the game:


Thumbnail image for 090209a.jpg 

Charlie Manuel needs to start smacking some heads together in that clubhouse.  The inability to score runs, especially those in scoring position, is becoming a major issue in what is usually a breakout month for this team.  Raul Ibanez has not been able to hit the side of a barn since the All-Star break, after what was an amazing first half.  Now, Ibanez is hitting into double plays all the time which is killing the offense. 

 

But everyone is guilty; since the Atlanta series, Shane Victorino has 2 hits in his last 20 at-bats; Jayson Werth is 4 for 16; Jimmy Rollins is 4 for 20.  And just for fun, Ibanez is 1 for his last 21 at-bats.  Ugh.  Someone please find the offense…now!

 

On to more fun topics:  Before the game, Cole Hamels was awarded with the Roberto Clemente award for his community service.  His wife Heidi joined him on the field and if you were not sure before if she was pregnant, it is pretty obvious now.  How cute are these two with all their aspirations to adopt like 500 African babies, plus popping out a few of their own?  All together now…”Awwww!”

 

Here is a Photo Album with more pictures from last nights very depressing game.  It was Latino Heritage night and there are some shots from that as well as the pre-game activities.  Enjoy!

 

 

Photos by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Hamels Steals A Base And A Win

It was a tight one, but Cole Hamels pitched the Phillies to a 1-0 win; a complete game shut-out against the Giants.  He has not only found his Mojo, but Hamels also found his curveball and even his fastball location.  Towards the end of the game, Hamels retired 21 batters in a row. 

By the 9th inning, he had a 1 hit shut-out going when Rich Aurilia knocked a single and it looked like things might get scary.  But then Hamels busted out his new and improved pick-off move and nailed the pinch runner trying to steal second base.  He nailed down the final two outs and sent the crowd home happy.P6216377 Hamels.jpg

In 9 innings, Hamels struck out 9 batters and gave up only 2 hits and 1 walk.   All that and he even stole a base in the game; it was the first stolen base of his career.  Is Hamels back?  It certainly looks that way.

Both pitchers were dealing tonight and Jonathan Sanchez shut down the Phillies offense.  Ryan Howard managed to knock in the only run for the Phillies after Shane Victorino singled, stole a base and advanced on a Chase Utley sacrifice.  Howard had 2 hits in the game, but the rest of the offense was mostly anemic.  But all is well that ends well and the Phillies take Game 1 of this series.

Up Next

The series continues with the Giants tomorrow at 7:05pm with JA Happ on the mound.  Tim Lincecum was originally scheduled to start for the Giants, but with the new acquisition of Brad Penny off waivers from the Red Sox, it looks like Penny will get the nod; Lincecum will go on Thursday night.  I will be at the game tomorrow hoping for the Happ-Y outcome :O)

Accolades

Ryan Howard has been named NL Player of the Week right on the heels of Jayson Werth receiving the same honor last week.  Howard batted .393 with 5 homers and 12 RBI.  September is here and Howard is all warmed up!

Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*