Phillies take loss on Bark at the Park Night in San Francisco…

Last nights game at AT&T Park in San Francisco was scheduled to be a pitchers duel between Lincecum and Blanton, although both pitchers were very good the game itself was not so exciting. It was a game where the Phillies team made Lincecum look like a very ordinary pitcher, the problem for the Phillies is the offence is currently struggling with RISP. The Giants hitters were being held in check by Blanton and Blanton was actually looking like the better pitcher, the 5th inning turned the Giants luck into a run the same thing in the 7th, there were no great plays by anyone, no super hits, in fact even Sandoval tried to bunt his way on. The most exciting part of the game between the 7th and 8th inning, Blanton’s evening was done, he new he should be in place for the win, but the offence was letting him down, with a 1 for 6 with RISP and 8 LOB, he had given up just 7 hits and 2 runs had crossed the plate, almost any other game he would have the lead. I guess his temper got the better of him between inning and he took it out on some things in the dugout…..

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…basically that was the game, nothing really stood out.

Other events were probably more interesting to some, it was Bark at the Park night, so there were a lot of dogs in the stands, no I am not talking about any diverse individuals who may or may not live in the San Francisco area…. real dogs… although going by some of the attire of the dogs the owners mentality may have to come into question….

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there’s more….

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and last but not least, what I’d call a normal dog, shame about the gay bandana round it’s neck….


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Hopefully today will be a good game, where all the players on both teams make an effort to be ball players. It’s Hamels against Zito, so it should be a good game, but we thought that yesterday too, so who knows.


the CLIFF LEE show….

Cliff Lee made his debut as a Philadelphia Philly last night in San Francisco, he was acquired this week by the Phillies as a top addition to the Phillies starting rotation, this was his first start for a National League team having spent his major league career with the Cleveland Indians.

This was a chance for the fans and the Philly players to see what Ruben Amaro Jr. had acquired for the team, before the game Dubee and Manuel had said ‘they would sit back and watch, mostly, so they could see what he could do’.

Now before everyone gets overly excited and thinks that he is being put on a pedestal with expectations way above what he could possibly deliver, we all must understand it’s his first game and this cannot be expected every time he goes to the mound… you can hope… but don’t expect it. With that said Cliff Lee came out last night and looked like a natural born NL starting pitcher, the Phillies wanted a pitcher and they got one.

He showed poise and confidence….

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He showed he could field his position…

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and the Kung-Fu Panda was no match…

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and this was just the 1st inning…

What we didn’t know was, could he swing a bat?…

he showed us…


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not just once but twice…

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he hit a single and a double, with a short sharp swing, you’d almost think he had been through an intense Utley hitting course.

and he was enjoying it…

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but how would he fit in with the other Philly players?….

How couldn’t you fit in with the guys in the dugout….

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Cliff Lee is officially a Philly….

Yes there was other players on the field, and they all played their parts with the normal characteristics that the Philly players have, this may have only been a 5-1 win for the Phils, but if they had really hit with RISP, it could have been double digits for the Phil’s.

Ben Francisco had another start in place of the injured Victorino, who by the way, probably wont be back till Tuesday is my guess, had another good game with hard hits at each at bat, he picked up a hit and an RBI.

Well done!! the front office for the new players, initial showings make them an excellent fit for the reigning World Series Champions.

Joe Blanton the Phillies work horse, goes today against Lincecum, Phillies have had a tendancy to come alive when facing the Ace of the opposition, lets hope this happens tonight…


Phils take series finale from Cards 9-2, Jays reject Phillies counter offer…

For me the important part of today was another win, which in reality is what gets you to another post season, and without getting to the post season you can’t win another World Series.

In a game that had a freaky 1st inning, yes for me it was freaky, it’s not often you see the top of the 1st score a run and move a runner from 1st to 2nd on a fly ball, well it happened, but that wasn’t the freaky part, the bottom of the 2nd, it all happened again, exactly the same, it was like one of those if you can do it so can wee things from the movies. it looked as though it would be a very nail bitting game, by the end of the top of the 5th inning. It was just 3-2 Phillies, but the bottom of the 5th inning produced the 2nd 2 run homer from the Phillies by way of a deep to centerfield shot that hit the top of the center blanton.jpgfield batters-eye wall from Ryan Howard, at that point I felt with Joe Blanton on the mound the Phils were on there way to a victory. The game had the Phillies hitting 4, 2 run homers from Utley, Howard, Rollins and Ibanez….coupled with the first inning run it gave the Phillies another hard hitting win.

Even with the long balls and the double plays, for me the guy that made today was Joe Blanton he came into todays game with an ERA of just 0.83 for the month of July, and today he showed us why, he continued to get his pitches in the right location, keeping hitters off the bases. He went a solid 8 innings, giving up just 7 hits and 2 runs, while walking 1 and striking out 6…. The last 3 batters he faced just put an exclamation point on his perfomance, striking out in order, Lugo, Pujols and Holliday to end the top of the 8th. This is the type of trade deadline acquisition that has helped the Phillies. He’s not a media man, he’s not a look at me type guy, he goes out there and gets the job done and he works hard between his starts. I am not saying he’s better or worse than anyone else, my point is as far as acquiring someone, this guy was one of the better mid-season acquisitions the Phillies have made over the past few years. Well Done Joe keep it going through August….

 

So the Blue Jays turned down the counter offer the Phillies made for Roy Halladay, that is understandable, you see there are other teams still making offers and they want to get the maximum they can for him, the fact is other teams now know what they won’t except, so they have a lead role to offer something better than the Phillies offered. There are also reports that the Angels recieved a list of demands from the Jays for Halladay to go to them, it is reported that they like the Phils believe the asking price is too high.

I have read a lot of comments on blogs lately regarding this subject, me personally I am at the point where I say if they don’t like what we are prepared to give then walk away from the deal. Lots of people think Halladay is going to bring us another World Series, well he won’t, it’s a team thing, yes he does have the stats that say he will help the Phillies in acheiving that goal, but for me any trade is risky, regardless, some say the risk is minimal for the Phillies, on paper that maybe, but in reality, no one knows for sure, because there are no guarantees.

It would be nice to add to our starting rotation, in a manner that will improve it, not just add to it with more #4 and #5 rotation pitchers. I would like to see a serious consideration given to Lee at Cleveland, no he’s not Halladay, but he’s more affordable and would still increase our chance of another World Series.

So for all those commenters on the Halladay stories that say the Phillies blew it by rejecting the Jays outlandish request, I say this —- now you’ve got more days to whine, complain, attack management and continuously comment as if it was your discision and that you believe you are the almanac and crystal ball of baseball, and when others dont agree with you, you still have time to turn your frustrations out on them and start bad mouthing each other in the comments of a news story that most people have read and moved on from, sometimes days, but definately hours before you’ve started insulting each other.

It’s off to Arizona for the Phillies, and then onto the west coast for a road trip that will take us into August and past the trade deadline, so who will join the Phillies on the road, anyone or no one???


Phillies Slam Cards, Tie Series 1-1…

Yesterday the Phillies posted 14 runs, but the Cards out hit the Phillies 14-15. It is clearly evident the Cards are team on a mission, and that mission is to get to the post season.

The bottom of the 1st is when the Phillies started the onslaught, driving in 3 runs off Kyle Lohse, the former Philly. The Cardinals, like the Phillies never give up without a fight, top of the 2nd inning they started their come back run at the Phightins, Lopez was able to hold them to just 1 run, the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings saw the Cardinals post runs to the board giving them a 4-3 lead, it caould be that something was said in the dougout, or could be that the Phils players just get their jroll.jpggroove back, bottom of the 6th with a hit and a couple of walks the bases were loaded for J-Roll, who had been running an O-fer with bases loaded this year, today would be different, with his short swift swing, Rollins launched the ball to right field and it just kept going over the fence and into the stands…. GRAND SLAM HOME RUN JIMMY ROLLINS… things were going right for the Phillies and when J-Roll is hot the Phillies are hot, Motte had that,’Ican’t believe I threw that pitch’ look upon his face… a fiercesome looking pitcher that Motte is, pitched to Victorino, while Jimmy was still taking his congratulatory cheers from the crowd, and then the unthinkable happened, Victorino lauched the ball deep to right center field for back to back home runs off Motte, the Cards somehow managed to quieten the Phils bats and get out of the inning leaving the Phils with a 4 run lead.

Top of the 7th with Chan Ho Park on the mound and Lugo at the plate, some one in the stands decided to play the fool and shine a green laser pointer at Lugo, this is one of the worst things you can do to a hitter, take his clear vision away,
greenlight.jpgthe results can be nothing more than deadly
Lugo was eventually struck out on a good breaking ball from Park, but it certainly doesn’t take away the fact that there would have been some part of him still looking for that green light. It didn’t stop there, with Pujols at the plate the light re-appeared, this time the umps put a halt to the game and confered with the Phillies dugout who had security trying to locate the fan responsible… This does nothing more than add to the already tainted reputation of Philadelphia fans, regardless of the sport, not only should this person be barred from sporting events in Philadelphia, but anyone with him that allowed it to happen should suffer the same fate. My suprise was that with all the cameras there, and the fact that Lugo had made people aware of it, was that no one was able to spot who was doing it, the search seemed to have the effect of stopping this person from doing it anymore, still they should be found and punished.

The Cardinals did manage to score another run in the top of the 7th, but the bottom half of the 7th brought on another onslaught from the Phillies, with hits a plenty the Phils drove in another 6 runs making it 14-5.

St. Louis tried to start a comeback in the 9th, but was finally held to just 1 run, giving the Phillies a 14-6 victory.

There were moments in this game when, personally I thought Ankiel
 
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As usual both Holliday and Lugo hit the Phillies well, if the Phils hadn’t recieved some of the same luck the Cardinals experienced Friday, they could have very easily lost this one.

The Phils and Cards go at it again today, and to be honest, it’s anybodys game. Wellemeyer is on the mound for St. Louis looking for his 8th win to give him a .500 record on the year, while the Phillies have the workhorse Blanton starting and he’ll be trying to keep the Phil’s with an above .500 record at home this year, while looking to remain unbeaten in July. He is currently running a 0.83 ERA in the month of July through 21.2 innings of work.

With less than an hour to first pitch, it’s time for me to get ready for the ball game, lets hope it’s another Phillies win


Pitching, Luck, a Dive & a Homer, give Phils 10  straight

This game had it all, and took 13 innings to make it happen.

PITCHING –

Starters Blanton for the Phillies and Harden for the Cubs were outstanding last night, neither gave up more than 1 run and both went 7 solid inning, batter after batter was retired with no sign of any real threat from either offence. Then it was time for both bullpen’s to take over and take over they did, both bullpens were as dominating as the starters had been, going 5 innings, it was the bottom of the 13th with 2 on and 2 out, Werth drove the ball deep to left field for a 3 run walk off home run.

LUCK-

Has Brad Lidge been watching David Beckham at work?

Top of the 9th Lidge is in to hold the 1-1 tie, he ding’s Ramirez
lidgebeckham.jpgwith a ball to put 1 on, gets an out, then with some fancy foot work, normally seen on a soccer field, with a ball hit back up the middle, Lidge turns and flicks the ball with his heel straight to J-Roll at 2nd base, who throws to 1st to get the double play… definately a highlight reel playback

DIVE-

This was simply perfection from Ibanez, you could almost see his cape flapping in the wind behind him as Raul ‘superman’ Ibanez ran to his right, left his feet and flew to catch a line drive that would almost definately have been a double, possibly a triple and set up a chance for a Cubs winning run.

HOMER-

The walk off kind of homer that everybody loves, Werth at the plate, 2 on 2 out, extra innings with both pens about to run out of pitchers, a slight hanger of a pitch and BOOM there it is in some lucky fans glove up in the stand in left field.

Another series comes down to a possible sweep…


Triple H can help the Phillies…..

Husband to Stephanie, son-in-law to Vince, world reknown WWE superstar Triple H, NOT the Triple H, I am refering too.

Halladay, Hamels, Happ and why not….

Halladay, since Ricciardi made it known he would trade his best pitcher the rumours have been filled with Philadelphia being the front runner, everybody and their halladay12.jpgdog has come out of the woodwork to make predictions on who should be traded to get Halladay in a Phillies uniform, most importantly the majority of them are throwing Happ into the mix of players to get this guy. Is he really that good, well he won yesterday for the first time in over a month, okay so he’s been injured. I’ll agree he can help win games, but at the moment so is Happ, so why trade one winning pitcher for another, doesn’t that just give you the same outcome, 1 win every 5 days.

I would love to see Halladay but for pitching prospects not one of our current starters that is winning, and at this point is an excellent candidate for ‘rookie of the year’. Halladay pitched well yesterday a complete game against the RedSox, which is some peoples minds this upped the value of this player, in other peoples minds it just showed that the groin injury is very possibly in the past now. Other reports say that Beeston, the Jays interim President stated that the Jays would need to be “overwhelmed” for them to trade Halladay, so what’s this the Jays front office are playing the, good guy, bad guy routine to get more for Halladay. I say don’t give away what we want just to get Halladay, afterall he only pitches every 5th day and we need more than 1 pitcher on the team.

If we do deal for Halladay it would definately put the Phillies in a strong position, but it depends who we deal to get him.

Hamels has obviously been in a bit of a pitchers slump, but I think he could very well be out of
hamels12.jpgthat and on the way to finishing strong. Before the rain delay in Forida, he was definately starting to look like Hamels should look on the mound, he is still the Phillies Ace, this years numbers may not say that, but he’s earned it.

Happ, anybody willing to give this guy up in a trade is not thinking clearly, they are being blinded by what they appear to be getting and not seeing what they have. I’ve heard it all, Happ is going to come down to earth, he’s in above his head, he’s been really lucky, he’s going to fall like Kendrick did, well I say this, if he was on another team and we had the chance to get him, you’d want him. He’s a rookie he has no past to go on other than the minors and we all know how that is so much diferent, back in 2002 people were saying the same things about Halladay, and again in 2004 and now, time speaks for itself and as they
happ12.jpgalways say “Hinde Sight is 20-20” those same people calling to give up Happ, in 5 years will be same ones saying what a terrible trade that was, we gave up a top pitcher for a guy that stuck with us for 1 year. Well you can’t have it both ways and noone has the magic crystal ball, so before anyone knocks Happ he deserves the benifit of the doubt, he deserves to be looked at as possibly a good long term Philly pitcher and not be judged on those that came before him. One more thing with Happ that seems to be overlooked he can swing the bat, no his batting average isn’t up there, but he makes contact, he puts the ball in play and that is a major plus with an NL pitcher.

Summary:

Get Halladay with prospects, keep Happ, Hamels is coming around you end up with a good rotation

Halladay, Hamels, Happ, Moyer, Blanton

 


Phillies Offence WIN this one in extra’s……….

Utley had a very good night from the start, others warmed up as the game went on, with J-Roll leading off in the first with a base hit, Utley went deep to give the Phils a 2 run lead, which they needed.

Hamels started off slow, gave you the impression that this was going to be one of those short games for him, after the first inning he settled in, it wasn’t a stellar performance, you just didn’t expect it to be a rain delay that knocked him out of the game. He went 5 innings giving up a solo homer in the first, along with 3 other hits and a walk in his 5 innings of work. We will definately need more from Cole as we get closer to post season play, the shame of it is, he works really hard and deserves better.

Werth started off the night as he had finished the day before, strugling to get comfortable at the plate, that changed as he warmed up, as if it wasn’t hot enough last night in Florida, picking up a couple of clutch hits, both drove in runs and more importantly the opne turned out to be the key insurance run the Phillies needed to win in the 12th inning.

Rollins has more than settled down now, on base a couple of times last night and each time he crossed the plate to score runs.

Howard and Ibanez were both continuing their, you throw it, we’ll hit it, campaign as they both picked up a couple of hits and scored a run each.

RAIN DELAY – During the 1hour 18 minute rain delay,
bigbenrain.jpg I decided to click around the other games on MLBTV, watched some of the Tampa Bay game, which the Rays looked as though they could come back, but weren’t quite doing it (they did in the end), had to have a look in at the Braves trashing the Muts (Mets), that was just funny, and since I am blacked out for the Tribe, I couldn’t see any of that game, but was dissapointed to see Huff didn’t get a win last night.

Rain delay over, no Hamels (understandably), so we went to the bullpen, which was back to full strength, unfortunately the continued strain that is being put on them showed last night, they allowed the Marlins to claw their way back into this game sending it to extra innings. Lidge came away with a save, but it was touch and go, as seems to be the norm recently.

Phillies Offence really gave us the win, back at it tonight, a little tougher game with the 8-2 Johnson on the mound for the Fish, but never fear ’cause Blanton is here, the Phillies work horse should keep it close and hopefully allow the Phillies get their 8th straight win….

 


Pitchers Duel goes to Philadelphia…

It was nothing more than pure speed on the mound tonight, as both Blanton and Duke were quick through each inning, Blanton pitched 7 1/3 innings giving up a solo homer in the first, he allowed just 3 other hits keeping the Pirates bats quiet.

Duke pitched an outstanding game for the Pirates giving up just 3 runs, in 8 innings, all the Phillies runs came in the 3rd inning, the only Phillies batter that seemed to be consistent against Duke was All Star, Victorino who tapped him for 3 hits. Both Utley and Werth got a hit each off Duke during the three run 3rd.

Romero came in to relieve Blanton and got the 3 batters he faced, setting it up for Lidge to get the final 2 outs in the top of the ninth.

Lidge again made the fans sweat and their hearts race, needing just 1 out in the top of the ninth, he gave up a solo homer to Moss, then a single to Wilson and somehow still managed to get the PH to swing through and get himself out, it took Lidge 20 pitches to save the game and a lot of stress and worry for the fans, who went from cheering to crossing their fingers.

I don’t normally single a player out as a player of the game, but today I think I have to give this one to the Pirates pitcher Duke, that was a tough one for him to lose. Imagine what his stats would be like behind the offence the Phillies can produce….. just a thought, while we’re looking for starters…..


BLANTASTIC, Phillies SWEEP Mets

Blanton surpassed all the hopes and expectations of the Philly fans just dreaming of a sweep, he pitched a good seven and a third shut-out innings, having good command of his fast ball and change-up, he kept the Mets of balance and guessing wrong, he gave up just 4 hits and walked 3 and set the phillies bullpen up nicely to clinch the win and the sweep.

The bullpen was again outstanding, not body likes to see a player get hurt and nobody wants to see an extra guy on base, but admit it, when Romero hit Cora I am sure there were a few fans thinking, ‘wish I could have done that’, so that set up Park to come in and get a double play, which just left the ninth. The commenators seemed confused as to if Lidge would pitch or not, then it was confirmed he was stretching in the pen, just 14 pitches today to go 1, 2, 3 in the ninth, was definately scenes from Lidge of ’08.

Rollins has surely quietened down the sceptics just a little, a lead off homer gave the Phillies an early lead, having another multi hit game Rollins is either back or just really likes to stick it to the Mets.

Utley, Mr. Second-Base God, hits another long ball to give Phillies a two zip lead and that’s all they would need, the defense was outstanding, turning double-plays when they were needed, Howard showed his fielding skills and that all the extra pre-season in-field training has paid-off.

With a home stand start like this I find myself looking forward to the next game, in anticipation of what extraordinary feats the team will show off next, bring on the Reds.

Congratulations go to Utley and Ibanez for making the All Star starting line-up and congrats to Howard for making the All Star team.

I realise it is fan based voting, but why wasn’t it a closer race between Feliz and Wright, Feliz is a better defensive third-baseman than Wright and has been above average with offence this year, just a thought.

Don’t forget send Victorino to the All Star Game as the 33rd man voting is open so get to it he deserves to be there: VOTE NOW