Tagged: Vance Worley

Nagging Nats Pound the Phillies

As if Friday night’s gut wrenching loss was not enough, the Phillies stunk up Nationals park again today.  With only 5 hits in the game, the lone RBI came off a sac fly from Carlos Ruiz in the 4th inning.  If you fell asleep after that, you missed nothing.

By the 5th inning, I found myself wishing I had taken a nap instead as pitcher Vance Worley had his first really bad outing of the year.  The Nats pounded him for 5 runs on 11 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.  The worst damage was done by former Phillie Jayson Werth who touched Worley up for a 3-run homer.  Werth sure did look a lot better in a Phillies uniform…

Joe Savery added 2 more runs in the 7th as the Nats kept on hitting.  Gio Gonzalez pitched for the Nationals and went 7 innings allowing just the one run.  Gonzalez is a former Phillies prospect that got traded away for Freddy Garcia before the 2007 season.  We all know how that trade worked out…Garcia won a single game and sat out the rest of the year enjoying the $10 million the Phillies paid him.

As most of us suspected earlier this season, the Phillies are in real trouble here.  Now 5.5 games behind the Nationals, if they fall too far behind, they may never recover.  And the Nats show no signs of going away anytime soon.

Game 3 starts at 8:05pm Sunday night.  Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Hit The Road on a Positive Note

In the finale of a 4-game series with the Cubs, the Phillies got off to a hot start with 4 runs in the first inning.  Having already lost 2 games in this series, it was imperative for this team to get going quickly. But after those 4 runs, the offense went to sleep again.

Vance Worley pitched 7 strong innings while the offense napped.  He allowed only 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks.  The Phillies took the 4-1 lead into the 8th inning as the bullpen took over.

Sadly, no lead seems very safe with this team.  Such was the case as Antonio Bastardo and Chad Qualls combined to blow the 3-run lead.  Bastardo walked his second batter and Qualls gave up a single to score that run and then added a 2-run homer shortly after.

With the game then tied, the Phillies needed that sleeping offense to wake up.  But the way things have been going lately, it seemed unlikely.  It was going to take a small miracle…or at least a clutch hit.

When you find yourself cheering because the first batter of the inning, Juan Pierre, got hit by a pitch, you know things have not been going well.  And when you begin to hope that maybe the pitcher will hit the next 3 batters so you can score a run, things have gone from bad to worse.

But instead of getting hit, the Phillies actually got a few hits.  With 2 outs and Pierre on first, Jimmy Rollins singled to move Pierre to third.  And then the real hero stepped to the plate and proved he has still got the bat to go with his glove.  Placido Polanco smashed a double to left that scored both Pierre and Rollins.  It was the first time this year that the Phillies were able to take a lead in their final at-bat.

The Phillies went on to a 6-4 victory, thanks to Polly’s timely hit.  Even better, it does appear that Polanco is healthy again after 2 hernia issues the previous year.

Going back on the road against the Braves and Nationals, who are leading the division, it was important to start on a positive note.  With any luck, the Phillies may be able to start digging themselves out of this hole and April’s losing record.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Phillies Find Runs in Arizona

After 3 straight ugly losses, the Phillies finally found some runs in the Arizona desert against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.  Like a dying man searching for water, each player drug his tired body to the plate and kept trying until they succeeded.

The offensive outburst included 8 runs with 3 home runs, a double and a triple.  That is a far cry from the pitiful one-run or no run games the Phillies have been producing lately.  But the question now is, was this run explosion the real deal or just a desert mirage?

A quick look at the stats show the Phillies are not out of trouble just yet.  For example, Jimmy Rollins went hitless…again.  And half of the Phillies hits and 5 of 8 RBI’s were collected by bench players.  Laynce Nix had a huge night with 2 hits and 3 RBI, including a home run; and Pete Orr went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI.

But some of the regulars stepped up as well.  Hunter Pence missed the last game with a sore shoulder.  But on Tuesday night, he smashed a 2-run homer.  Maybe he should hurt his shoulder more often?  Ok, maybe not…

As for the pitching, Vance Worley was spectacular again.  He went 6 innings allowing only 1 run.  The bullpen, on the other hand, had some issues.  Jose Contreras bombed in the 7th, allowing 3 runs right after the Phillies had a 3-run inning.  That is the equivalent of a mortal sin in bullpen terms.

Then in the 8th, Chad Qualls committed the same sin, allowing one run after the Phillies had just scored one in the top of the inning.  It was the first run Qualls has allowed so far this year, so he is forgiven ;o)

Regardless, a win is a win and this one was HUGE for a struggling team that is trying to dig themselves out of a hole early in the season.  Game 3 with the D-Backs is early today; 3:40pm.  Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

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The Vanimal Returns

After a shaky start to the season, Phillies pitcher Vance Worley was trying to locate his inner animal last night against the Padres.  In 7 innings of shut-out ball, the Vanimal has indeed returned.

The 11 strikeouts Worley recorded were a career high and left many Padres shaking their heads.  Worley did walk 3 batters, but only allowed 4 hits, fewer than Cliff Lee allowed the night before.  If Worley can maintain this pace, it will be a huge boost for the team going forward.

And they could use a boost because the Phillies batters have still not found their inner animal.  Right now they are playing at the level of a timid lamb instead of a proud lion, like Worley.  This zoo needs a serious upgrade.

After getting only 4 hits against the Giants in the previous game, against the Padres, the Phils posted only 6 hits.  It looked like they may get going when they scored a run in the first on a Jimmy Rollins sac fly.  But then with a man on third and only one out, the Phillies could not add on.

They scored only 2 total bookend runs, one in the 1st and one in the 9th on a wild pitch.  Thanks to the pitching from Worley, Chad Qualls and Jonathan Papelbon, 2 runs wound up being enough for the win.

Game 2 with the Padres starts at 10pm tonight…TGIF!

 

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Sad Phillies drop Two Straight to the Mets

Against the Mets today, pitcher Vance Worley looked less like the “Vanimal” and more like a sad puppy.  He allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks over six innings.  Worley’s usual bite was tamed today.

But what is worse than a sad puppy on the mound?  Sad pandas in the batter’s box.  They are adorable and you want to love them, but ultimately, they will rip your heart out.  Introducing… the Phillies pathetic offense.

They did Worley no favors today.  Despite having the lead-off runner reach base in three innings, the Phillies were still unable to score.  And all 6 hits they collected were singles.

For the Mets, David Wright played with a broken pinky finger and still had 3 hits, including a homer.  That is exactly half of all the Phillies’ hits combined.  And Wright is a pretty boy.  That’s right; the Phillies got spanked by a pretty boy.  I am so depressed…

Obviously, the Phillies have gotten off to some bad starts in the past.  But this year, only 8 games old, seems somehow more alarming.  Maybe it is because there is more on the line.  They have the largest payroll in team history, the best pitching they could possibly have and this is the result so far?  Ouch.

Cross your fingers that they can salvage a win tomorrow before going on the road.  Game time is 1:35pm and I will return with photos.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Four Games, Three Loses and a Whole Bunch of Questions

The start of the 2012 season has not gone well for the Phillies.  And that is putting it nicely.  Losing 3 out of the first 4 games with the ugliest one coming Monday afternoon at the Home Opener has many people worried about this team.

It could just be a slow start…or it may be a glimpse of the future Phillies.  Let us all hope it is just a slow start.

The Phillies offense wasted good pitching performances from Cliff Lee and Vance Worley in back-to-back games against the Pirates.  Then yesterday against the Marlins, Cole Hamels was not sharp and basically, the entire team sucked.

Home team fans looking for some home run excitement got it…only from the wrong team.  The Marlins took Hamels, Joe Savery and even closer Jonathan Papelbon deep.  As for scoring, most of that came from the Marlins as well.

The worst thing I can say about the new Miami Marlins after that performance is that their uniforms are hideous.  Take that, you dreaded fish!

The only bright spot in the game was seeing rookie Freddy Galvis finally get a hit.  His first major league hit was an RBI-double that knocked in both Shane Victorino and John Mayberry Jr.  But that was literally the only offense in the game from the Phillies.

I am stretching to find the positives here so I will add that I approve of Papelbon’s entrance music.  His selection was a great mystery until the home opener yesterday.  He chose “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains, which is in my personal top 10 of the greatest rock songs ever.  So there, another positive ;o)

But sadly, that is where the fun ends. Just keep telling yourself, it is only 4 games…

Here are ALL my photos from the Home Opener!   There are a lot..enjoy!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Questions That Loom Over the Phillies 2012 Season

A new year is upon us and a new Phillies season is almost here, with Spring Training to begin in just over a month.  A few off-season signings have solidified some areas, where other areas may still be of concern.  Here is my list of Phillies looming questions by position:

The Starting Rotation – The projected starters and order are Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Vance Worley.  Halladay and Lee are no brainers.  Hamels is recovering from elbow surgery but reports are that he is throwing and feeling fine.

This means the two questions remaining are Blanton and Worley.  Blanton sat out most of 2011 with a bum elbow and chose not to have surgery this offseason.  How he will respond in 2012 is a mystery.  However, Kyle Kendrick will be waiting in the wings to fill in should Big Joe go down.

And the question for Worley is simply, will he suffer the sophomore slump or pick up where he left off in 2011.  Either way, the Vanimal will be fascinating to watch.

Catcher –  Carlos Ruiz returns as Batman with Brian Schneider backing him up as Robin.  Choooooch!  No questions here.

1st Base – The sight of Ryan Howard tumbling to the ground in agony to end the Phillies 2011 season still burns in our collective memories.  Beat-writer Todd Zolecki reports that Howard is recovering well from Achilles surgery and is now beginning a light exercise program.

Still, Howard will miss some time.  Experts predict that John Mayberry Jr. will pick up most of the time at 1st with an occasional appearance from Jim Thome.  This seems like a terrible shame for Mayberry who should simply be handed left field and allowed to get comfortable there for the long haul.  Instead, the Phillies will probably platoon Laynce Nix in left with someone like Scott Podsednik.

My suggestion?  Give Nix a shot at 1st base and leave Mayberry in left.  Nix has played 1st before and with some work in Spring Training, he could work his way into the role easily.  Of course, I have no real say in the matter.

2nd Base – Can Chase Utley start and end a whole season at 2nd with his health intact?  We shall see…

Shortstop – Jimmy Rollins returns with a fresh 3-year deal.  The question here is that same as that of the other Phillies aging players…can he stay healthy?

3rd Base – I hate to beat a dead horse, but can Placido Polanco stay healthy at  36 years of age, coming off sports hernia surgery?  We hope so.  Polly’s contract is up after 2012, so who will be our 3rd baseman in 2013?

My suggestion?  Glad you asked.  Have minor league prospect Freddy Galvis spend the year working on a move from SS to 3rd.  Galvis is almost major league ready but out of options with J-Roll resigned at SS for 3 years.  Either Galvis becomes trade bait or he finds another way to be useful to the Phils.

Outfield –  As I mentioned before, Mayberry should be the left fielder but it may wind up being Nix until Howard gets healthy.  At least center and right are set: Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence will both be back and ready to play.

The Bullpen – Once again, the Phillies pen is a huge question mark.  The Phils saw rookies and younger, less experienced players, like Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo, rise and fall throughout 2011.  The status of veteran Jose Contreras is mostly unknown since having elbow surgery.  Other veterans, like Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson are gone (for now).  However, neither Lidge or Madson have found homes.  Could they return?  It’s a long shot….but not impossible.

Spring Training is going to be huge in determining the make-up of this bullpen.  There will be a lot of opportunities for younger guys to step up and steal a spot.  It will also be interesting to see if Dontrelle Willis can conjure up some of his early career magic or if he will slide back into oblivion.

And of course, the closer question was answered with the signing of Jonathan Papelbon.  The only question here is will Papelbon play up to his huge salary?

The Bench – Both Thome and Wilson Valdez are set.  The rest of the bench could consist of any number of new signings or guys like Michael Martinez and Pete Orr.  Again, Spring Training should be very interesting.

FYI – Totally off topic, if anyone has noticed some of my photos and albums mysteriously gone missing, this is due to an unexpected issue with the site I was using to store them.  I am in the process of getting it all loaded to a new site and will be working on updating older blogs as I am able to.  For now, all 2011 albums are back up and can be found under my 2007 – 2011 Photo Archives.  Thank you for your patience while I get everything back up and running :O)

I would like to thank all of my loyal readers for stopping by and helping to make Phillies Phollowers the #1 Phillies Fan MLBlog for the 4th straight year.  Among all team MLBlogs, I ranked #10 in 2011.

Many thanks to everyone in the MLBlogs community and congrats to all the leaders!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography