The Phils got swept in 4 games against the Astros earlier this season and were looking for revenge last night. The problem is, they need to look a lot harder. In a horrible 2-8 loss, Cole Hamels allowed 6 runs in 6 2/3 innings. 5 runs were scored by Houston in the 7th inning with 2 outs and NO ONE on base. Tyler Walker gave up 2 runs of his own, plus allowed 2 for Hamels that same inning with runners he left on base.
The offense did no better. Their only 2 runs came on a sac fly and a balk call. And all this against a pitcher that they should have beat the crap out of; Yorman Bazardo was with the Phillies in Spring Training and had a 9.55 ERA coming into last night’s game. So, the Phillies knew exactly what to expect from him and still only managed 2 hits off Bazardo.
The only real highlight of the game was when Paul Bako blocked home plate as Lance Berkman tried to score. Berkman missed the plate and Bako ran him down on the dirt track behind home plate to tag him out.
Ok, I lied; 1 more highlight: JC Romero returned to the Phillies last night after a long DL stint with a torn muscle in his forearm. JC – we missed you! SO glad to see Romero healthy again. He pitched 1 inning, allowing 2 hits and no runs. Romero will need to shake some rust off, but overall, he looked great. Welcome back!
With the loss last night and a win by the Braves, the magic number is STILL at 3 and the division lead, once at 8.5 games, has dwindled down to 4. Time to panic yet? Well, do not push that button just yet…however, if the Phillies do not win tonight, go right ahead. The pitcher they will face today, Wilton Lopez, is making his first major league start. Again, the Phillies should beat the pants off this guy…”should” being the critical word.
JA Happ will start for the Phillies; Happ will need to be spectacular and show the rest of this pitching staff how it should be done! Happ and Joe Blanton are the only 2 Phillies starters to have recorded wins in the last 8 games. The rest of the staff had better step up…fast! Best of luck to JA Happ tonight!
Cole Hamels had his second outing of spring yesterday against the Reds in a 8-4 loss. Looking a bit un-Cole like, he gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and one homer in 2 2/3 innings. After the game, Hamels told Comcast SportsNet that “the fastball’s not there” and that his changeup “doesn’t really have that deception that it normally has during the season.” Well, where ever those pitches are hiding, I hope he finds them before Opening Day. Maybe the new blonde highlights have gone to his head? Ok, so I am really not worried; but if he dyes his hair red next, I may have to consult a counselor.
And in Ryan Howard news, I have a Phillies Phollowers exclusive for you! Ryan got a new tattoo this week…what is it? You will have to stay tuned to find out; I am awaiting word on a photo. A friend of mine knows the guy who did the tattoo and brought her son to meet Howard while he was getting it done. Reportedly, Howard designed the new ink himself. And I am guessing it brought him luck, as Howard went 2 for 3 with a solo home run in yesterday’s game against the Reds. And the ink news continues: Brett Myers got a new tattoo of his own this week. Will it bring him luck as well?
The luck does appear to have rubbed off on Jason Donald, who is on fire at the plate suddenly! Donald went 3 for 4 in the game which he played at 3rd base and has brought his spring average to .320 with 8 hits in 25 at-bats, 6 walks and 2 RBI. If he keeps this pace up, he may be a shoe-in to fill in for Pedro Feliz or Chase Utley if they are not ready for Opening Day. Plus, he is adorable and very friendly. I give out extra points for those qualities :O)
Speaking of Utley, here is what he had to tell Comcast SportsNet yesterday about the progress of his recovery:
Chris Coste, who has been nursing an injury, played a few innings yesterday and looked like he was feeling good. Also getting back to form, Chad Durbin, Brad Lidge and Feliz are expected to see their first spring action tomorrow at 1:05pm against the Atlanta Braves.
And the sad news of the day; six Phillies rookies were sent to the minors yesterday; pitcher Yorman Bazardo; infielders Ozzie Chavez, Anthony Hewitt and Terry Tiffee; and outfielders Jeremy Slayden and Chris Walker. This narrows down the roster a bit. I wish them all good luck!
Team Italy beat out Team Canada yesterday, knocking them out of the classic. Looks like Matt Stairs will return to the Phillies shortly. Later today, Italy will play Venezuela to see who will face Team USA tomorrow. Personally, as an Italian-American, I am voting for an Italy-USA match-up. Of course, I may have just doomed Italy to failure by stating that… :O)
And in yesterday’s win over the Netherlands, Phillie JC Romero pitched 1 1/3 innings of 1 hit ball, getting the win for Team Puerto Rico. You go JC!
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