Even though there is still a lot of baseball left to play, JA Happ is definitely making a case for Rookie of the Year. Tonight, he took the Phillies through 7 solid innings of 1 run ball. This win gives him a record of 10-2 on the year plus an outstanding ERA of 2.59. Happ is the first rookie of the year to reach 10 wins even after starting his year in the bullpen – amazing. If I could reach through the TV and bear hug him, I totally would. He has made a lot of Phillies fan very, very Happ-Y this year!
Chase Utley added to the happiness in the 6th inning when he finally got the Phillies on the board with a 2-run homer. Until that moment, the offense was shut down by Tim Redding of the Mets in his 5 innings of work; Redding is a very below average pitcher but every time he faces the Phillies, he looks like a Cy Young candidate. Thank goodness Redding is old and can’t get much past 5 innings, because he is a Phillies nightmare.
After the Utley bomb, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz went back to back with doubles to score one more run. The final RBI came off a sac fly from Carlos Ruiz.
Hoping for a small amount of redemption, Brad Lidge was given yet another save opportunity in the 9th inning. He struck out the first batter he faced to notch his 700th career strikeout, and get off to a good start. The next batter grounded out and the final batter struck out for #701. That’s right Phillies fans – Lidge saved a game and did it without a base runner! Is this a sign of things to come? Let us hope so.
We now go from 2 night games with the Mets in which the Phillies are 1-1, to 2 day games starting tomorrow at 1:10pm. Pedro Martinez will face his old team for the first time and face Oliver Perez of the Mets. After Martinez had a rain shortened outing his last time out, this is going to be a big game for him on a number of levels. Good luck to him!
Happ photo by Jenn
The Phillies dropped the first game of this 3 game series against the Nationals today, losing 7-4. Kyle Kendrick, who took the loss, has become a real problem for this Phillies team. Today, he gave up 6 earned runs in only 4 innings; Kendrick was wild his entire outing as he also walked 3 with one hit batter. Out of his last 11 starts, Kendrick has had only 4 Quality Starts (min. 6 innings, no more than 3 runs allowed). He is averaging less than 5 1/3 innings per start in those 11 games since 7/6/08 and his ERA has ballooned to 5.06. Among his issues have been the lack of control, inability to spot his pitches and his sinker has seemingly stopped sinking. He is constantly leaving pitches up in the zone and has way too many base runners. I really don’t think this team can afford to start Kendrick again. With the roster expanded today, I’d start getting JA Happ ready to replace Kyle in his next start. Whether Charlie Manuel decides to do this or not, I do not know, but at the very least, I think if Kendrick goes out there again and has a bad game, at that point, I believe he will be done.
And what is it about Tim Redding, an average pitcher with a 4.55 ERA, that makes his pitches invisible to Phillies hitters? Was he exposed to some kind of cosmic radiation and now has super-invisibility powers? Because every time the Phils face this guy, they look like little leaguers up there at the plate. It took until the 6th inning for the Phillies to get a hit off this guy and then luckily, the radioactive hit by Shane Victorino must have knocked off Redding’s magical invisibility cape. Because after that, Ryan Howard hit a double to score Victorino and then Redding walked Jayson Werth. 2 more walks after that by the relief pitcher, Charlie Manning, gave the Phillies 2 more runs in the inning.
Sadly, those 3 runs were not enough to overcome the giant crater-sized hole the Phillies dug for themselves against this last place team. Once again, they left way too many runners on base, stranded men in scoring position and did not hit in clutch situations. The defense also looked sloppy; even the usually solid Jimmy Rollins committed a throwing error which led to a Nationals run. The Mets won today and this loss puts the Phillies a full 2 games behind in the standings. We are either about to witness a very slow and painful death of the Phillies season or, somebody better start knocking heads together in that locker room and get them back on track. 4 hits against a last place team is disgusting. If the Phillies don’t win the next 2 games in this series, they are in serious trouble.
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Every time the Phillies face Tim Redding, they take a very average pitcher and make him look like a Cy Young Award winner. Now Tim, have some manners and say thank you to the nice Phillies offense for doing you such a favor. Not to underscore the man’s ability or anything; he is good, but he is not THAT good. The Phillies have simply lost their ability to play small ball. With everyone stepping up to the plate trying to hit one out of the park, your odds of getting on base steadily decrease, thus adding to the surmounting numbers of men left on base for this team. Last night, Geoff Jenkins managed to get a lead-off double twice, but no one could manage to get him over and get him in. They were too busy looking for the easy way out and Redding capitalized on the mistakes.
Brett Myers rebounded well last night after his last messy outing and gave up only 3 runs, which for this offense, should be acceptable. He had some trouble spots, but pitched his way out of them and did not lose his cool. This is a really good sign for Brett and I really do hope he was pleased with his overall performance. It is just a shame that rest of the team could do nothing to help him out. Utley had 2 hits and VIctorino, probably still wondering about his job status, squeaked out 2 as well. Then, besides the 2 Jenkins doubles and a Ruiz single, the bats were very quiet.
Has anyone ever noticed Geoff Jenkins’ strange base running technique? I really would like to know where he picked this one up and why. Take a look at the photos of him taking a lead off of base. He looks like a cat begging for treats!
And thus, I have dubbed him Geoff “Kitty Cat” Jenkins. I have seen guys do all kinds of strange things when taking a lead off the bag, but this one is really odd. What in the world is he doing with his hands? And the little hop steps he takes back and forth to the base make it even cuter! Well, there is your comedic observation for the day at any rate. Let’s hope for a better game tonight with Cole Hamels on the mound!