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
The umpiring this entire post-season so far has been horrific. So bad in fact, that the sports league known well for its lack of interest in getting anything right the first time, has finally made a change. No, there are still no consequences for bad umpiring. That change may be another 3 or 4 decades down the road. But in breaking a tradition that has been in place for 24 of the last 25 World Series, the umpiring crew will not include a first-timer for the 2009 Series.
Each year, the league has rewarded at least one umpire who never called a World Series before. In the last two years, there were 3 new umpires involved in each. But after a string of blatantly awful calls this post-season, only veteran umpires with World Series experience will be put on the field. Those umpires are Joe West, Dana DeMuth, Gerry Davis, Brian Gorman, Jeff Nelson and Mike Everitt. The first 3 have at least 25 years MLB experience and all have worked at least one World Series.
But the question still remains, why all the bad calls? I have a few theories:
– Manny has his own t-shirt; the umpires felt left out.
– Constantly asked, “Are you blind?”, these umps finally realized that being blind = free government disability benefits. Awesome.
– If players can get away with using steroids, cheating on and beating on their wives and setting bad examples for children everywhere, why shouldn’t the umpires able to blow a few calls? No biggie.
– More instant replay = same pay, less work. May as well have a robot call the balls and strikes. The ump can just supervise.
– Chicks dig bad boys.
So forget about those missed hit by pitches, the double play that wound up being only one out or that guy who called a runner out for leaving base too soon when he never even looked at the runner; these umpires are clearly on a mission. And everyone loves a good controversy. So umps, you go on with your bad selves! We all cannot wait to see what you pull out of your back sides next. I just hope it is not a yellow penalty flag, because that is totally the wrong sport. Best of luck to ya!
Manuel photo by Jenn
The Phillies pulled off an amazing 9th inning comeback against the lowly Pirates tonight, only to have Brad Lidge blow the save…again. Joe Blanton started the game and did not have a fun day pitching either. The home plate umpire, CB Bucknor was having a senior moment on the mound, except that the “moment” lasted all game long. He simply could not remember where the strike zone was. Originally titled “Ode to Forgetfulness,” I have renamed this video “Ode to a Senile Umpire:”
Consistency in umpiring is a rare feat these days. So poor Joe had a 2-1 lead going into the 6th inning; just when he thought he had a strikeout to end the inning, Bucknor issued a walk. The next batter knocked one out of the park off a visibly frustrated Blanton. Upon returning to the dugout, Blanton exacted his revenge on an innocent water bottle which was sent soaring through the dugout and eventually ricocheted out onto the field. Blanton ended his outing with 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.
But Blanton had the right to be angry as the Phillies offense did him no favors; the lack of run support for the big righty is becoming a habit. In fact, Jimmy Rollins was the entire offense for much of the game. Rollins saw exactly two pitches in his first two at bats and both of them left the ballpark over the right field wall. Rollins received a sarcastic cheer in his third at bat when he actually took a pitch.
Matt Stairs started the game in place of Jayson Werth in order to get some work, but Stairs has not had a hit since July 11th. 24 at-bats later and he still does not have a hit. Of course, Werth pinch hit in the 8th and struck out with a man on third, so that was no help anyway. The Phillies left several men on third base throughout the game, including that inning. Scoring is the name of the game and that just did not happen tonight.
That is, not until the 9th inning…Carlos Ruiz and Ben Francisco hit back-to-back double to tie up the game at 3-3. Then Shane Victorino tripled to score Francisco and give the Phillies a 4-3 lead! But leave it to Brad Lidge to ruin the moment. Lidge gave up a single, the runner advanced to second on a passed ball and then the next batter hit a long single to Werth who bobbled the ball and a run scored. After that, Lidge pitched a little batting practice and gave up a long home run to Andrew McCutchen. Another blown save for Lidge and the Phillies lose! I am DONE with Lidge – bring back Brett Myers…NOW!
The Phillies will try for a win tomorrow behind a very downtrodden Cole Hamels. Cross your fingers folks; this ought to be almost as scary as Lidge coming into a game. Ugh.
Photo by Jenn
While the season is not over yet, today was definitely a low point for the Phillies thus far in 2009. They hit rock bottom by getting swept by the Marlins in spectacularly bad fashion; today’s final was 12-3. Right now, the Phillies are playing very, very bad baseball.
Jamie Moyer did a decent job and got through 5 innings of one run ball. He ran into trouble in the 5th and was pulled. The bottom of the 6th is where things began to unravel. Ryan Howard was up with 2 outs and 2 men on; ball 4 came across the plate and umpire Ed Rapuano, whose strike zone had been all over the place all day long, called the ball below his knees a strike and rung Howard up to end the threat. And that blown call kicked off a crap-storm of epic proportions.
Still with a 3-1 lead into the 7th inning, Rodrigo Lopez came in to pitch and the strike zone began wandering all over the place again as Rapuano’s brain must have been fried in the heat. With an 0-2 count on the batter, Rapuano called a ball that again, looked like a strike. Shane Victorino, in centerfield (yes, 400 feet away) lifted his arms and put them down in what appeared to be disgust at the call. He did not say anything and even if he had, no umpire could have heard him all the way out in center.
And then the truly unbelievable happened; umpire Rapuano EJECTED Victorino all the way from home plate! For throwing his arms up! Never in my life have I seen such a ridiculous, self-indulgent, asinine call from an umpire. Victorino ran in to defend himself and catcher Paul Bako tried to restrain him. Howard ran in for back-up and subdued Victorino before he was able to get at Rapuano and possibly get a suspension. Charlie Manual argued the ridiculous call, but after that, all hell broke loose.
The crowd, myself included, boo’ed every move that the umpire made after that. Chants of “Victorino!” echoed throughout the stadium in support of Shane who was the obvious victim of a BS call and personal attack from a childish umpire. Rapuano should be ashamed of himself; not only did he call an awful game, but then he cannot handle the pressure and act like a professional. Instead, he throws what amounts to a temper tantrum and gives a bad name to umpires everywhere. Disgusting. See the Video for yourself.
The Phillies did themselves no favors after that and the Fish blew the game wide open. Jayson Werth was forced to enter the game to replace Victorino and committed 2 errors that same inning. Lopez surrendered 6 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks and only made it through 2/3 of the inning. With the blow-out in order, Brad Lidge was sent to the mound for the 9th just to get some work and he gave up 3 runs, 2 of which came on a homer. And thus, the disaster was complete.
With a day off tomorrow and a road series set to begin in Chicago in Tuesday, the Phillies had better get some rest, regroup and come out swinging. They are still ahead in the division by 4 games, but with new life awarded to the Fish and the Braves not far behind, this is the time to forget and move on.
Here is a full Photo Album from the disaster today and also shots from the Alumni Batting Challenge which was won by Ricky & Ricky – Botallico & Jordan.
Photos by Jenn
Everything was looking great for the Phillies last night until the rain came. Cole Hamels appeared to be slowly returning to form; he pitched 5 innings before the delay and allowed one solo home run, 4 hits and struck out 5. The offense too, seemed ready to pounce on the Marlins for a second day in a row. In the 1st inning, Jimmy Rollins started the game off with a double and Chase Utley hit a home run to drive them both in. They scored 2 more runs in the 4th with singles by Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth; then Pedro Feliz doubled and the Phillies went up 4-1.
But Mother Nature thought it would be fun to interrupt the momentum and a downpour stopped the game in the middle of the 6th inning. After a 1 hour 18 minute rain delay, the game resumed and the Phillies looked like they had not woken from the nap they took in the clubhouse. Chan Ho Park allowed 1 run over 2 innings of work, which is not too bad. And Park has been very solid out of the pen lately. But then Ryan Madson came in for the 8th and could not make it through a whole inning; he did record 2 outs, but also gave up 2 more runs to tie the game at 4-4.
Both JC Romero and Chad Durbin wound up pitching in the same inning, which seemed like it would never end as ex-Phillies players put a hurting on the pen. Ronny Paulino, who was with the Phils in Spring Training, obviously has a chip on his shoulder when playing the team who let him go. Having gone 0 for his last 13 at-bats, Paulino rallied for 3 hits, 1 RBI, 3 runs scored and a walk against the Phils. Even Wes Helms got in the action with a hit and an RBI.
Once it went into extra innings, the potential outcome appeared bleak as the Phillies began to run out of players.
The umpire was no help in this game either; Mark Wegner, a 10 year veteran, did not have a good game behind the plate. His strike zone was all over the place and both teams argued with him all night. Then, with the potential go-ahead run on 3rd base for the Phillies, the Marlins pitcher balked – an obvious balk. But all 4 umpires missed it so the extra innings continued. All I can figure is that the umpires brought their sleeping bags and were content to make this game go all night long.
But the Phillies finally woke up in the 12th inning as singles from J-Roll, Utley and Werth turned into 2 runs and put the Phillies up 6-4. Brad Lidge came in to close it out, and it was another ugly, ugly turn of events. Stomaches churned as Lidge walked 2 batters in a row and then uncorked a wild pitch to score a run. With the tying run on 3rd and the winning run at the plate, Lidge finally got Dan Uggla to ground out and end the game; final score 6-5, Phillies. And all in Phillies-land rejoiced as we staggered sleepily to our beds after the 4 hour ordeal.
And we will do it all over again tonight! Same time, same place; Joe Blanton will take the mound at 7:10pm in Land Shark Stadium (formerly Dolphins Stadium). We all hope the Phillies can win it in NINE innings tonight. Please and thank you. ;O)
Howard Photo 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