Tagged: Yankees

Howard Saves Mets Fans While Free Agency Heats Up

Yes, Ryan Howard saved some Mets fans from certain death…on TV anyway.  Last night both Howard and Chase Utley made guest appearances on the show “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”  Howard may have gotten the biggest laugh of the night when he stopped one of the characters from attacking a few Mets fans:


Howard Mets fan.jpgUtley did not have many lines, which is probably a good thing.  So while a career in acting is out, at least his hair looked terrific.  And Howard got the best line of the night with, ” I just saw you bite that dude.”

Crossing Broad has the video of their segment, in case you missed it.

Free Agent News With a Dash of Sarcasm

– Pitcher Kyle Kendrick and outfielder Ben Francisco were both tendered contracts yesterday in order to keep them with the Phillies and out of free agency.  Francisco was a no-brainer.  And due to a lack of starting pitching depth, signing Kendrick makes sense as well…unless his 27.51 ERA with 2 outs and runners in scoring position bother you.

– The San Francisco Giants have asked Pat Burrell to return and signed him to an undisclosed amount.  Apparently his 0 for 13 with 11 strikeouts World Series performance prompted the signing?  Here is another fun Burrell fact; Pat “The Bat” has two World Series rings and only one World Series hit.  It is good to be The Bat.

Adam Dunn and his 38 home runs in the 2010 season signed a four-year, $56 million dollar deal with the White Sox.  The Washington Nationals collective batting average immediately dropped about 100 points.  Attendance will likely drop to a 15 fan per game average.

– Star closer for the Yankees, Mariano Rivera, 41, has been signed to a new two-year deal.  As part of the contract negotiation, Rivera will still be allowed to use his Senior Citizen discount at the team gift shop.

Jayson Werth has still not signed with the Phillies and hell has not yet frozen over.  Coincidence?

Have a great weekend!

 

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

Staying Alive; Phillies Pull Out A Win And Head Back To Philly

Everyone expected Roy Halladay to come out firing tonight with the Phillies season on the line.  Instead, he walked the first batter he faced and allowed a run to score.  The entire 6 innings he pitched were uncomfortable, at best.  He did only allow 2 runs total; the second one, of course, off the bat of Cody Ross with an RBI-double.  But he never looked settled, fell behind in counts and ended with 2 walks and only 5 strike outs.PA163444AR.jpg

While Halladay’s entire outing was a nail biter, he did battle through it and kept the Phils in the game.  Tim Lincecum only had one bad inning through 7 and that was the 3rd.  The Phillies scored 3 runs in a very odd sequence of events.  Raul Ibanez, back in the line-up after being sat yesterday, singled to start the inning.  That was his first hit this entire series.

Lincecum then hit Carlos Ruiz to put two men on base with no outs.  Halladay bunted what looked like a foul ball but the umpire, much to everyone’s surprise, called it fair.  The base runners moved up as Pablo Sandoval at third missed the bag while Ibanez slid in.  Halladay just stood at home looking confused as he was thrown out at first on a foul ball.

But it worked out for the Phillies as an error by Aubrey Huff allowed both Ibanez and Ruiz to score.  Placido Polanco singled to score another run.  But then with runners on first and second, needing a simple sac fly to score again, Ryan Howard struck out…again.  Howard has zero RBI’s this series.  Jayson Werth flied out to end the inning, stranding 2 runners.

You had to wonder if these stranded runners would cost the Phillies both the game (again) and the season.  They headed into the 7th clinging to the slim 3-2 lead.  Jimmy Rollins singled and then stole 2 bases to land on 3rd with Ruiz on 1st and only one out.  But again, the Phillies failed to score.  Pinch hitter Ross Gload hit a line drive right to 1st.  Huff caught the ball and stepped on 1st for the easy double play.

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In the middle of the 7th, the Giants sent this strange thing out to sing God Bless America; I think that is a small village on her head?  Weird.

So it would be up to the bullpen to keep the series going and send it back to Philly.  Jose Contreras and JC Romero took care of the 7th.  Ryan Madson was tossing 95mph bullets in the 8th, despite having pitched the last two games.  He struck out the side, including our old friend Pat Burrell.  Remember when a Burrell strike out was SO frustrating?  Not so much anymore ;o)

Giving the Phillies a little extra breathing room in the 9th, Werth hit a monster homer over the huge right field wall.  Brad Lidge had a 4-2 lead to work with and got the first out quickly with a shallow fly ball.  Next out, an easy ground ball. (Biting my nails…) Pinch hitter, whose name no one can pronounce…Travis Ishikawa…IsHeWaWa?  IshiMama?  IdunnoA?  Whatever.    He struck out, so who cares.  Phillies win, 4-2!!!  LIDGE gets it DONE!

With the win tonight, the NLCS series heads back to Philadelphia with the Phils trailing 2 games to 3.  They have an off-day tomorrow for travel and will play Game 6 on Saturday, either at 3:57pm or 7:57pm, depending on the Rangers – Yankees series results tomorrow.  I assume Roy Oswalt is still slated to pitch; we should know for sure tomorrow.  Whatever happens, I am excited to go to the game on Saturday; this team may still have life in them yet.

UPDATE: Halladay apparently pulled his groin early in the game last night during either the 1st or 2nd inning.  Manuel said 2nd, but also said it was during the Buster Posey at-bat, which was in the 1st.  At any rate, he pitched basically the whole game injured.  Halladay will have an MRI today to determine how bad the pull is.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Division Series Schedule

As you may know already, the Phillies will be playing the Reds in the NLDS.  The Phillies won 5 out of 7 games against the Reds this year in the regular season; 3 of those in July all went to extra innings and ended in spectacular walk-off fashion for the Phillies.  So while the Phils have a slight edge, it is sure to be a well played series.

With the 8 playoff teams finally decided, TBS and MLB announced some of the start times for both the AL and NL Division series.  Here is the schedule so far:

Series

Teams

Day/Date

Time ET

ALDS Game 1

Rangers @ Rays

Wed. Oct. 6

1:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 1

Reds @ Phillies

Wed. Oct. 6

5 p.m.

ALDS Game 1

Yankees @ Twins

Wed. Oct. 6

8:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 2

Rangers @ Rays

Thurs. Oct. 7

2:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 2

Yankees @ Twins

Thurs. Oct. 7

6 p.m.

NLDS Game 1

Braves @ Giants

Thurs. Oct. 7

9:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 2

Reds @ Phillies

Fri. Oct. 8

6 p.m.

NLDS Game 2

Braves @ Giants

Fri. Oct. 8

9:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 3

Rays @ Rangers

Sat. Oct. 9

5 p.m.

ALDS Game 3

Twins @ Yankees

Sat. Oct. 9

8:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 3

Phillies @ Reds

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

NLDS Game 3

Giants @ Braves

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*ALDS Game 4

Rays @ Rangers

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*ALDS Game 4

Twins @ Yankees

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*NLDS Game 4

Phillies @ Reds

Mon. Oct. 11

TBD

*NLDS Game 4

Giants @ Braves

Mon. Oct. 11

TBD

*ALDS Game 5

Rangers @ Rays

Tues. Oct. 12

TBD

*ALDS Game 5

Yankees @ Twins

Tues. Oct. 12

TBD

*NLDS Game 5

Reds @ Phillies

Wed. Oct. 13

TBD

*NLDS Game 5

Braves @ Giants

Wed. Oct. 13

TBD

 

As I expected, the Phillies, despite have the BEST record in baseball, still got screwed out of the Prime Time slot in favor of the Yankees…again.  So for the 3rd year in a row, I will have to take a day off work to go to get to the stadium in time to find parking and see the pre-game festivities.

Now I realize there are 22 other teams out there whose fans would love to have this problem so it is hard to complain.  But when is a team, other than the Yankees, going to get some much deserved respect?  The Phillies have certainly earned it.   

To the TV people it is all about ratings, and I suppose it is their prerogative.  But guess which team brings in more fans based on stadium capacity?  The Phillies – 103.5%.  It is over 100% due to standing room only tickets that are sold to accommodate more fans.  The Phillies sold out EVERY game this season.  Where do the Yankees rank?  They are 7th in baseball with 88.9%.  If the Phillies had a bigger stadium like the Yankees do, they would no doubt have sold all those seats as well.  Just sayin’…

Not to mention that the TBS coverage of the games, in general, is horrible.  The announcers have NO clue about the teams they are watching and tend to be biased towards particular teams.  The coverage has been historically so bad that there is even a section on Wikipedia dedicated to how bad they suck.  The TBS slogan is “very funny” but we are not laughing.

National League Wins All-Star Game, Ending The American League Streak

The National League entered today’s All-Star Game not having won against the American League since 1996.  That win took place in Philadelphia.  Manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies coaching staff had a huge task on their hands for the second consecutive year, trying to win World Series home field advantage for the NL.

P6253786a.jpgTwo Phillies took part in the game today; Chase Utley stayed home as he is recovering from surgery on his thumb.  Ryan Howard served as the DH and went 0 for 2; but hits were difficult to come by in this game.  Through 6 innings, the both teams had only 4 hits each.  Two of the hits for the AL came off Phillie Roy Halladay, although one hit was a pop-up that landed in the middle of nowhere and ex-Phillie Marlon Byrd could not quite get to it.

The AL struck first in the 5th as Dodger’s pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo allowed an unearned run after a costly error where he overthrew 1st base on an easy grounder.  He had already walked a batter, then the error gave the AL two runners and a sac fly scored Evan Longoria. 

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But the NL fought back in the 7th.  Another ex-Phillie, Scott Rolen, singled followed by a Matt Holliday single.  Rolen’s aggressive base running put him on third base.  Byrd walked with 2 outs and then Braves catcher, Brian McCann, hit a bases-clearing double to give the NL the lead.  Two runs were charged to Yankee Phil Hughes and another to White Sox Matt Thornton.

In the bottom of the 7th, Holliday took a bad route to a ball in left and it went off his glove, giving Blue Jay John Buck a double instead of an out.  Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals was pitching but Holliday could not help out his teammate.  Shane Victorino could have caught that ball from either left or center…just saying ;o) 

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But to Wainwright’s credit, he worked out of the inning without allowing a run.  Whew!  So the NL went into the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead.  The NL did not score in the 8th and Giants closer, Brian Wilson, erased the AL batters in the bottom of the inning.  Personally, I think the mohawk is his secret weapon.

So it would come down to the 9th inning.  The NL did not score and Manuel brought in another Dodger, Jonathan Broxton, to try and nail down the save and the win for the NL.  Broxton gave up a hit right away to the Home Run Derby champ, David Ortiz.  He struck out the next batter but gave up a single to Buck.  However, with Big Papi Ortiz running, Byrd was able to throw him out at second from right field.  That was an amazing, heads-up play by Byrd!

The next batter flew out and the National League won it!!  FINALLY!  A win for the NL!  Way to go, Charlie!  Now, let see if the Phillies can actually use the home field advantage this year; that, of course, would require a third straight trip to the World Series.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Don’t Mess With Texas; Cliff Lee Will Be There

Phillies fan everywhere can breathe a huge sigh of relief as it was announced today that Cliff Lee has been traded to the Texas Rangers.  The relief comes for many reasons.  #1 – He did not go the Mets or anywhere in the Phillies division.  #2 – He did not land with their World Series rivals, the Yankees. #3 – He is in the American League.  Whoo Hoo!


P8195298 Lee2.jpgWhy so excited?  Because Lee was LOVED in Philly and losing him this off-season in a very bad trade stung enough.  To have seen him go to a local or rival team would have been rubbing salt in the wound.  Of course, Philly would have loved to have him back, but did anyone really think that was going to happen?  Not likely.  To acquire Lee again would have meant Ruben Amaro Jr. would be admitting he made a mistake trading him in the first place.  Plus, the Phillies farm system has very little left to offer in any trade.

Here are the gritty details of the trade:  The Mariners get first baseman Justin Smoak and minor leaguers Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson.  The Rangers get Lee plus reliever Mark Lowe.  They will call up Chris Davis to play first since Smoak was moved.

Best of luck to Cliff Lee in Texas (unless he is playing the Phils, of course)!  He will always hold a special place in the hearts of all Phillies fans.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Follies: Losing 3 of 4 To The Pirates

Realizing the season is not quite even halfway over, it is hard to say that the Phillies are done.  But after losing 3 out of 4 games to the worst team in the league this weekend, it sure does feel that way.  Murphy’s Law has ruled this team for about 2 months now where anything that can go wrong does.  Massive injuries to star players, a serious and prolonged offensive slump, pitching and hitting never going well on the same day and now this; 3 loses to the Pirates.

The one win in this series came on an offensive explosion of 12 runs.  But if the Phillies need to score 12 runs every time to win a game, then I guess their season really may be over. 
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5 runs on 9 hits today did not cut it.  Dane Sardinha, the Phils 4th string catcher, getting two hits and a home run did not help.  Greg Dobbs, who is in the worst hitting slump of his career, got a hit and an RBI; no matter though.  It also did not help.

The big boys like Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins did absolutely nothing in this game.  And besides the solo home run by Sardinha in the 7th, the Phillies offense gave up after the 3rd inning.  And then there was the pitching…

While Joe Blanton looked solid through most of the game today, he began to fall apart quickly after 6 innings.  He threw 3 pitches at the start of the 7th inning which ended up like this: home run, single, double.  Blanton left with one out and Jose Contreras came in with two runners on base.  Contreras picked up the disaster right where Blanton left off, allowing a double, a single and 3 more runs to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead.  So the Phils entered the 7th with a 3-run lead and the pitching blew it.

It only got worse when Mike Zagurski came in for Contreras and allowed two more runs to score on a 2-out single.  So Blanton’s final line was 5 runs over 6 1/3 innings.  He was fine through 6 innings, but when Blanton starts to fall apart, he really goes down hard.  Then the bullpen totally ruins the day by allowing a 3-run lead to turn into a 3-run deficit…against a last place team.  Disgusting.

So the Phillies went on to lose by a score of 5-8.  If the Braves win today, the Phillies will enter tomorrow’s 3-game series with the Braves down by 6 games.  That means, even if they win the series, they will still be a minimum of 3 games back with only 4 to play before the All-Star break.  Or worse, they will lose ground and dig a hole too deep to emerge from. 

Does anyone out there think the Phils can sweep the Braves?  After losing 3 of 4 to the Pirates, they do not stand a chance.  I will be happy to eat those words if they do, but the odds are certainly not in their favor.

Phillies All-Stars


ALL-STAR roster 2010.jpgWith all the recent injuries, many Phillies, like Placido Polanco, dropped off in the All-Star voting late.  As a result, the only Phillie to make it in via fan vote was Chase Utley.  Utley cannot play due to his recent surgery and will be replaced by Martin Prado of the Braves.

Two more Phillies were added to the roster; Roy Halladay won the player’s vote and Ryan Howard was added by manager Charlie Manuel. Both are very deserving.  Halladay’s dominant performances plus the Perfect Game he pitched this year make him an obvious choice. Howard is one of the league leaders in RBI’s with 58 and was batting .296 coming into today’s game.

Earlier today, MLB.com posted the starting rosters for each league.  Take a look at the list.  Notice anything wrong?  Either the writer just got used to typing the word “Yankees” over and over or Evan Longoria was just involved in some weird, mysterious trade.  No need to panic Rays fans; Longoria is still in Tampa.

By the way, I hope everyone has a Happy 4th of July, despite the Phillies being a major bummer.  This is one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken and it always makes me feel better:

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Happy Independence Day!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schultz

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

 

Early Independence Day Fireworks For The Phillies

The Phillies have been playing an unusual and frustrating game of hide and seek with their offense for well over a month now.  Tonight against the Pirates, play time ended in the 3rd inning when the offense finally came out and yelled, “Here we are!” while scoring 5 runs.

The Phillies scored in 6 out of 9 innings tonight, making some wish they had saved a few runs for the next game.  But the early Independence Day offensive fireworks display was long overdue.  After scoring just 8 runs in their last 3 games, the Phils exploded tonight to the tune of 12 runs.

Howard Rollins fireworks.jpg

Every starter in the game had at least one hit.  Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins each collected 3 RBI on 2 and 3 hits, respectively.  Shane Victorino also had 3 hits and 1 RBI.  Cody Ransom was called up from the minors and took the place of Brian Bocock on the roster.  Ransom, right off the airplane, contributed immediately with 2 hits and an RBI.

Last year, Ransom filled in at 3rd for the Yankees when Alex Rodriquez was hurt.  A knee injury this year delayed his call up to the Phils big club until today, but Ransom is healthy now and will fill need to a big hole as Placido Polanco recovers on the DL.  But Ransom’s defense came into question tonight when he dropped an easy pop-fly in the 8th inning.  The 10-run lead made it less of an issue, but Ransom had better shape up quick.  This team needs him to be solid at 3rd.

Ben Francisco started in place of Raul Ibanez who has just not been hitting.  Francisco looked rusty his first few at-bats, but after a couple nice swings, he belted his first home run of the year and collected 2 RBI.  The job in left field should be his for the taking if he continues to hit.

The only player who still looked perplexed at the plate tonight was Jayson Werth.  He did hit an RBI double in the 4th that almost went for a homer, but he looked terrible in every other at-bat.  Werth is taking strikes and swinging at balls.  He struck out in his first at-bat on a ball in the dirt.

But with most everyone else hitting, Werth’s struggles do not make a huge impact.  Plus, Kyle Kendrick pitched a very good game, allowing just 3 earned runs in the 12-4 win.  And for the first time in his major league career, he pitched a complete game.  Congrats to Kendrick!

Having lost the first two games to a very bad team, the Phillies really need to come away with a split here and build momentum going into the Braves series which starts Monday.  Joe Blanton will pitch in the finale tomorrow; game time is 1:35pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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