Tagged: Vance Worley

Pitching a Fit Over Phils Pitching

At the start of the season, everyone was worried about the Phillies offense being strong enough to carry a solid starting pitching staff to wins.  Now that the offense is slowly piecing runs together, the entire pitching staff has fallen apart.  Let us examine the grisly evidence:

Roy Halladay is on the DL.  Vance Worley is pitching will bone chips in his elbow.  Cliff Lee has no wins and is recently making a habit of blowing leads.  Cole Hamels has been hit or miss.  Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton keep see-sawing between okay and downright horrible.

As for the bullpen, 5 out of 7 pitchers have little big league experience.  4 of those are rookies in their first (3) year or second (1) year in the majors.  Chad Qualls, a veteran, has basically been a bust.  And their $50 million closer hardly ever pitches because the save situations are slim and they are afraid to use him in non-save situations.

Last night in a horrible 11-7 loss to the Twins, 3 of 4 bullpen guys who pitched combined to allow 5 runs.  Kendrick started the game allowing 6 runs in only 4 innings.  He was beyond awful.  Meanwhile, closer Jonathan Papelbon has not thrown a single pitch since 4 days and 3 games ago.

Making matters worse, Hunter Pence has officially lost his mind in right field.  He only has 3 official errors on the year, but if you add in the mental mistakes and plays that he clearly should have made despite not being an “official” error, he probably has at least 10 by now.

In fact, my favorite moment of last night’s game was a comment by announcer Tom McCarthy.  After Pence failed to field a routine hopper in the 5th inning, turning a single into a triple, McCarthy said, “I think it is safe to say he needs to stop doing that.”  He hit that nail on the head.

Right now, the Phillies are a very BAD team.  Now 9.5 games back of the Nationals in the NL East, they do not have time to wait for Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to return.  If they do not turn it around right now, this season is over.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Umpires Become the Story Once Again in Phillies Loss

It is a real shame when the focus of any baseball game becomes the umpires instead of the actual plays.  But this seems to be an ever increasing trend as MLB continues to sweep bad umpiring under the rug.

After a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers last night, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon got all bent out of shape about the performance of home plate umpire D.J. ReyburnPapelbon told reporters, “I thought he sucked. It’s that simple.”

Reyburn is a Triple-A umpire who was filling in.  When given this information, Papelbon said, “Doesn’t surprise me. He probably needs to go back to Triple-A.”  Papelbon also noted that Reyburn was bad throughout the game, for both teams, including Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw.

It is easy to understand Papelbon’s frustration.  Phillies starter Vance Worley had a hard time with the ball-strike calls in his first inning coming off the DL.  That certainly did not help his recovery.  Kershaw was equally frustrated and the both the Dodgers’ bench coach and manager were ejected by Reyburn as a result.

Then in the 9th inning, Papelbon had Dee Gordon struck out, but Reyburn missed the call.  Gordon went on to hit a triple and score the winning run for the Dodgers.

While the ultimate outcome of the game cannot be blamed on Reyburn, he did certainly affect it.  Still, the Phillies had their chances and blew it.  But Papelbon makes a good point.  And he did so knowing fully that there would be repercussions to his statements, likely to include a hefty fine.  But it was really nice to see a guy willing to take a stand; I now have a new respect for Papelbon.

But the Phillies are really not doing a lot to help themselves here.  They had only 8 hits in the game and left 6 runners on base in situations where the opportunity to score was high.  The Phils wasted a Jimmy Rollins triple in the 5th by having him run on contact from third during Placido Polanco’s at-bat.  Rollins was a dead duck at home plate when Polanco hit a hard grounder to short.

Then in the 7th, the Phillies hit 3 singles to load the bases, but Freddy Galvis was held at third by coach Juan Samuel on a ball bobbled by the Dodgers.  He should have scored there.  Hunter Pence came up and grounded out to end the inning.  Pence has been awful with runners in scoring position, having successful in only 2 of his last 33 chances.

This loss puts the Phillies back at .500 baseball and 4 games out of first, dead last in the division.  The Dodgers are a great team; if the Phillies do not pick it up in the next 3 games, they are going to find themselves in buried even further in the standings.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Fish Drown Phillies in Series Loss

The Phillies dropped two out of three games against the Marlins this weekend, with the ugliest of the 3 games coming in a 5-1 loss today.  Joe Blanton pitched 6 innings, giving up 5 runs, including two home runs, one of which came off the bat of the opposing pitcher.  Blanton has now allowed 24 runs in his last 4 games.

For the Marlins, Carlos Zambrano had a good day, including a bunt base-hit and a home run.  The Phillies offense did a great job helping him out with only 6 hits in the game and 8 runners left on base.  3 of those 6 hits belonged to Juan Pierre.  Zambrano has certainly improved since leaving the Cubs, but the Phillies made him look like All-Star material.

Offensively, this game was so boring, a 20-something year old guy sitting next to me fell asleep in the 4th inning.  I am not kidding.  His friends were laughing about it and poking him but even that did not wake him.  He finally woke when it started to rain.

So since I have nothing much nice to say today after a very disappointing loss, I have decided instead to hand out some awards.  The winner of the “I Plastered Myself Against The Outfield Wall, But It Was A Home Run Anyway” award goes to Juan Pierre:

And Placido Polanco wins the award for the “Silliest Face Of The Day” on a play at third:

The “Oops, I Did It Again” award was a tie between Blanton (for 5 runs or more in his last 4 games) and  Hector Luna:

The “At Least The Bullpen Didn’t Totally Suck Award” goes to the bullpen:

The “I Came All This Way And Did Not Even Get To See My Son Play” award goes to former Major Leaguer, John Mayberry Sr. and Mrs. Mayberry:

And finally, the “Nothing Wrong With A Little Man-Love” award goes to Jimmy Rollins and Greg Dobbs:

The Phillies begin a 4-game series with the Dodgers tomorrow and hopefully, Vance Worley will be off the DL and pitching.

By the way, my condolences to Jose Contreras who is done for the year with a complete tear of the flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow…again.  At 40 years of age, it looks like this may be the end of his career :O(  That had to be devastating news for him, poor guy.  I wish him the best of luck.

And in other news, Chase Utley is finally headed to Clearwater to push forward with his recovery.  No clue when he will be back, but do not hold your breath.

Instead, enjoy my Photo Album from the game today.  Unlike the game, the album does not suck.  ;o)

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Career Day for Wigginton Leads to Phillies Win

After a rough day on Sunday with a loss to the Cardinals and Roy Halladay pulled early due to shoulder soreness, the Phillies needed a serious lift.  Seeing Carlos Ruiz scratched from today’s line-up with a sore hamstring was also not the good news this team was looking for.

But with Cole Hamels on the mound, you had to think the Phillies had a shot against the Mets.  Hamels delivered again with 4 runs allowed in 8 innings.  Technically Hamels’ worst outing of the season, this would have been a great day for most other pitchers.

Still, 4 runs has been no small challenge for this Phillies team and their up and down offense.  But one guy came through in the clutch; Ty Wigginton.  With a career high 6 RBI in the game, including a 3-run homer and a double, Wigginton put the team on his back and carried them to a victory.  Wiggy was also walked twice and went 3-for-3 overall, putting him on base in all 5 at-bats.

John Mayberry Jr. also had a multi-hit day with a single and a 2-run homer.  Wiggy and Mayberry combined for all 8 of the Phillies runs in the 8-4 win.

Going forward, the starting rotation still has some question marks.  Halladay will be examined when the team returns to Philly later this week.  And Vance Worley, although still on the DL, appears to be making progress.

Joe Blanton is another question mark as he has allowed 13 runs in his last 2 starts.  If he can bounce back Tuesday night against the Mets, that would be a big relief for everyone concerned about the starting pitching right now.  Game time is 7:10pm.

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

The Base Path Ball and Chain

In recent days, the Phillies seem to keep finding new ways to lose.  After a 6-game winning streak, the offense went back to sleep and the team has lost 3 in a row.  A 2-1 loss to the Nationals Monday night was the worst of the bunch.

While Kyle Kendrick started out shaky, filling in for the injured Vance Worley, he did settle in and keep the Phillies in the game.  Kendrick allowed only 2 runs over 7 innings, which is more than was probably expected of him.

But again, the offense let Kendrick down and did so in every way they could have imagined.  At the start of the year, no one was hitting.  Now, they are hitting but not scoring.  It actually appears as if Phillies hitters get on base and then are somehow magically chained down to the base path via an evil, invisible force.  Because they just cannot seem to get as far as home plate.

Last night, they left 10 men on base and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.  All by himself, Hunter Pence left 7 men on base, including a ground out with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 3rd.

Even Carlos Ruiz, who has been the hottest hitter this year, left 5 men on base.  But the hitting alone was not the only issue.  The Phillies managed to make several base running blunders to add to the chaos.

In the 6th, with no out and runners on 2nd and third, the Phillies again failed to score.  Placido Polanco froze at third on a fly ball to center and did not tag up.  Then in the 9th, John Mayberry Jr. also got chained to 3rd base and failed to score twice, once on what should have been a sac fly and then again on a wild pitch.  He did finally score on a sac fly after that, but then Mike Fontenot found himself super-glued to second and did not advance to 3rd on the play.

With the base path ball and chain in place, the Phillies were “bound” to lose.  Bound, tied and chained; in the world’s oldest profession, that may sound like fun to some of you.  But in the world of baseball, it is not fun at all.  And even worse, we are not getting paid to watch this crap!

Random Updates

– Pitcher Vance Worley has sought out a second opinion on his sore elbow, which appears to have a bone fragment floating around in it.  No word yet on whether he will opt to have surgery.

– Congratulations to Jimmy and Johari Rollins!  Johari gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday night.  She is their first child :O)

– And if you can stomach it, Game 2 with the Nationals starts at 7:05pm tonight.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

From the Minors to The Moon: Extras Help Phillies to a Win

In a 9-2 win over the Cubs Wednesday night, 6 of those 9 runs were produced by pinch hitters.  Many of the “extra” pieces the Phillies picked up over the last few weeks contributed to the win.

Even the starting pitcher sort of came “off the bench.”  With no warning, Kyle Kendrick was thrust into the starting role when Vance Worley unexpectedly went on the DL with elbow soreness.  Kendrick has had a rough year being pushed and pulled from the bullpen to the rotation and back again.  But on this night, he managed to pull a great performance seemingly out of the air.

Kendrick allowed only 1 earned run through 6 innings and did walk anyone.  He also had an unearned run on a routine fly ball that Juan Pierre dropped in left field.  Luckily, that was the only major blunder for the Phillies that night.

It did not look like Kendrick would get much run support as the Phillies took turns leaving men all over the base paths, especially on third base with less than 2 outs.  Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence were the worst offenders with 7 and 5 men left on base, respectively.  Victorino did manage 1 RBI though while Pence, again, went hitless.

Freddy Galvis and Carlos Ruiz picked up their teammates, both with 2 hits in the game.  Ruiz is making a strong bid for an All-Star spot with his team leading .343 average and many clutch hits.

With a 2-2 tie going into the 7th, the Phillies bench came into play in a big way.  In his first Phillies at-bat, Mike Fontenot singled and later in the game, scored a run.  Ty Wigginton came off the bench in the 9th and gave the Phillies some breathing room with a 2-run single.

But the big blast came from the Moon Man, Hector Luna, in his first Phillies at-bat.  “Luna” means “moon” in several languages, including Latin, Italian and Spanish.  And Luna went straight to the moon with his first career grand slam in the 9th, giving the Phillies a huge 7 run lead.

Yet another new Phillie entered into the 9th as well.  Raul Valdes pitched the bottom of the inning and nailed down the 9-2 win without any drama.  The night before, Jake Diekman made his major league debut and got 4 outs to end the game, also minus the usual bullpen drama.  These two guys are at opposite ends of the spectrum: one is a rookie and the other an experienced veteran.  But together, they may signal very good news for this weak Phillies pen.

And this win is also very good news as the Phillies finally reach the .500 mark at 19-19 for the first time in weeks.  They have not been over .500 since Opening Day.  Perhaps they can accomplish that task tonight in Game 2 with the Cubs?  Game time is 8:05pm.

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

Lehigh Valley Train Keeps Rolling as Phillies Finally Win a Game

Falling behind fast in the NL East, the Phillies were more than due for a team shake up which began on Thursday.  Over the course of almost 3 days here is who is in and who is out:

COMING IN FROM LEHIGH VALLEY:

LHP Jake Diekman, 25 years old (no major league experience), LHP Raul Valdes, 34 years old (2 years in majors, 6 in minors), Third baseman Hector Luna, 32 years old (parts of 7 years in majors out of 11 years total), 2nd and 3rd baseman Mike Fontenot, 31 years old (6th season in majors out of 8).

OUTTA HERE:

LHP Joe Savery (to Lehigh Valley), RHP Michael Schwimer (to Lehigh Valley when Cliff Lee came off the DL), RHP Brian Sanches (to Lehigh Valley), Catcher Erik Kratz (to Lehigh Valley), Outfielder Laynce Nix (to the 15-day DL with a strained left calf), Oufielder Scott Podsednik (to the Boston Red Sox for cash).

Is your head spinning yet?  Here is an analogy for you: Remember years ago when people joked that McDonalds chicken McNuggets were “pieces parts?”  You had no idea if you ate one what exact part or grade of chicken you might be getting.  That is now the Philadelphia Phillies.  They are going to toss out onto the field some “pieces parts” and see what happens.  Just call them the “McPhillies.”

Last night’s version of the McPhillies actually tasted ok.  Thanks to 3-RBI nights and home runs from both Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry Jr., things worked out well and ended in a 7-3 win.  Freddy Galvis added an RBI as well with a double in the 6th inning.

It appears that Galvis is getting a little better at the plate everyday, which is great news.  And Mayberry has a 4-game hitting streak going, which means maybe he is out of the slump.  That would be huge for this team because Mayberry can add some real power if he keeps going well.

Vance Worley had a quality start with 3 runs allowed in 6 innings.  So the bullpen was going to have to hold the Padres to those 3 runs, which they have been unable to do in many games now.  But magically, both Antonio Bastardo and Chad Qualls decided they like their jobs and pitched pretty well.  I say magic, but perhaps it was the oncoming lights of the Lehigh Valley train that inspired them?

Whatever it was, it’s a win and we’ll take it.  Can the new McPhillies pull off 2 wins in a row?  We shall see…game time tonight is 7:05pm.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography