Phillies Bullpen Donates in Atlanta…

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They say charity begins at home, but last night it was a charitable event at Turner
Field
, the recipients were the Atlanta Braves and the donators, by
default were the Philadelphia Phillies. I say by default because they
were less than willing participants, it was forced upon them by the baseball
teams equivalent of the chain-letter/email that says if you don’t do this or
this then something bad will happen, when you know doing those things will
result in something bad anyway, yet some still falls prey to the doing.

Last night it was a disease that spread through Phillies
bullpen, nothing could be done, there was no blaming it on Lidge, it was
a case of the……

…..there is no explanation for the collapse of a game, after a
extraordinary 8 innings of work from your starter, the temporary closer comes in
gives up back to back homers to make it a tied game, then in the 10th another
bullpen pitcher comes out to hold the game at a 3-3 tie and gives up a homer….
3 homers lose the game.


A Time of Confusion…

 

The last few weeks have been a confusing
time for a lot of people, with talks of players going here and there, we
now have to make sense of the moves that have happened and look to see
if teams will continue to confuse with more moves before
spring training places are set.

Its not just baseball that has had confusion,
lets face it if your not already tired of hearing about Tiger Woods then
you should be, it’s so much what happened as the number of women that
have come out of there hiding places to claim notoriety. Woods has been
crucified more than Clinton, so it seems that we hold sports
personalities to a higher standard than any of our politicians. The
media give no consideration to the truth of anything, if a woman that
can place herself in close proximity to Woods at anytime over the last
few years, lays claim to an affair with him or a one night stand then
she must be telling the truth. Lets face it, nothing is 100%, even voice
messages and text messages are no guarantee, anyone with any ounce of
knowledge can fake any type of electronic transmission as easily as some
of these women are sure to have faked orgasms and stories.

I am sure there would be more women
coming forward if only Google was more positive with the search
responses, because what we haven’t heard of, is those women who googled
Tiger only to find there pending claim to fame would be a character from
a cereal maker.

Yes they’re the women who are confused
why the others who actually came forward would want this character on
their resume of conquests.

There’s confusion in the NFL,
Bill Belichick sent players home for arriving late to practice, yep
that’ll teach ’em, give ’em the day off. The Browns
actually beat the Steelers, how is that not confusing, and if that
wasn’t enough for sports fans in Cleveland, the powers to be decided to
replace the Indians manager with someone no better, in comes Manny Acta,
now there is something very confusing about Manny, allegedly,
according to Roger anyway.

 

 

The Phillies, however haven’t confused me
too much, they seem to have gone through the winter meetings with the
kind of laid back approach we are used to seeing over the last few
years. Its almost a mirror of the way Charlie Manuel has led the ball
club to it’s current high standards and it looks as though Ruben Amaro
Jr, is moving in the right direction to get the Phillies back to the
World Series for the 3rd year in a row.

Yes I know it’s only December and spring
training is some way off, and yes, we have to endure the rants and raves
of the NFL before we even see arrivals at spring training camp, but I
have no doubts at this point that the Phillies will be in a position to
make a run at the ultimate goal again in 2010.

So far they have managed to secure an
excellent player for 3rd base at the expense of the Tigers,

(Detroit Tigers not Tiger Woods or
Tony the Tiger)
the
welcoming back into the Phillies club house of Placido Polanco was a definite
step up, although Pedro Feliz was a good solid 3rd baseman, I believe
Polanco will be better and will definitely produce more offense.

With bench players Ben Francisco and
Gregg Dobbs already proven to be great assets for the Phillies, the
additions of Brian Schneider, Juan Castro and Ross Gload have given the
Phillies a group of bench players that can be called upon when needed
with confidence.

The only confusion would be the lack of
moves to build a bullpen suited to support the strong lineup of
players that are now assembled. Yes, there is still plenty of time, but
players are beginning to become unavailable. I had thought a favorite of
mine may be in a position to return to the Phillies, but it seems the
Brewers have already made a deal to prevent that from happening by
signing Randy Wolf, whom I think would have been worthwhile back
in a Phillies uniform.

The Roy
Halladay
saga continues, with pundits still placing the Phillies
near the top of the list of possibles, personally I still think Halladay is too
pricey and will still be on the trading block come July.

It
looks as though Chan Ho Park will move on to another team, since
talks seem to have stalled with the Phillies and Scott Eyre is doubtful.
The Phillies still have issues with Lidge, Moyer and Romero to resolve
with regard to injuries and performance so they need some assistance in
the bullpen that is not already there.

Some
suggestions for the front office to consider…

Joe
Beimel, Kiko Calero, Josh Fogg, Jon Garland, John Smoltz,
Russ Springer and Luis Vizcaino, all of which have their own issues, but
any of them could be of assistance to the Phillies bullpen which was
badly beaten up at times in 2009. Although non of them jump out at you I
think Beimel is a good lefty and can be used in situations left open by
Eyre and Romero.

(Getty
images)

Smoltz is obviously a good
addition to any pitching staff and I think will have a good 2010 given
the chance, he also has the mentality to start or close given the
chance, he is over his injury and showed good stuff for the Cards at the
end of 2009, the others you could almost just pick a name out of a hat
and get something similar from, although some may be a little more
durable than others.

It’s 2 weeks to Christmas and this
time of year that brings back memories and creates new ones for
everyone, some good and some bad obviously, but I hope everyone can
focus on the good ones. For me one there is always one song that makes
me realize Christmas is actual here, it first hit the UK charts in 1973
and is probably the greatest Christmas single in the UK, has been
re-released every decade since then and covered by a number of different
artists over the years. For those who weren’t even thought of back in
1973 here is a glimpse of the number one music show in the UK in ’73
with what were the two most popular radio DJ’s as presenters. Freaky how
times change, but I still love the song.

Now it feels like Christmas
is getting close….


the J.A. Happ show…

Well I had all intentions of giving a run down on Tuesday nights game against the Rockies and Wednesday nights game against the Rockies, but on Tuesday Jamie Moyer and the bullpen gave up 8 runs, while the Phillies offense could only muster 3 runs as a response, it meant the Phillies lost the first of a 3 game series, in a somewhat pain full experience for the fans at CBP. So a re-cap of Tuesday went something like this…

Moyer seemed concerned…

Rollins safe, Umps had trouble seeing…

Ruiz got an eye full, Umps still couldn’t see…

That about sums up the Tuesday night loss to the Rockies, from a certain point of view…

Wednesday night was a little different, and so began the J.A. Happ Show!!

So I don’t get to far a head of myself J-Roll, Werth, Feliz each hit home runs, on a different night that would have been the story, but the way Happ played the game tonight just one of those homers would have been enough…

Happ pitched all 9 innings without an expression change…

Even when he was swinging the bat…

Until…

bottom 8th, over 100 pitches thrown, he knows he has one more inning to pitch to get his 2nd career shut out, his first at CBP, in front of the home crowd, he comes to the plate for his final at bat, the crowd goes wild, the pitch…the swing…the balls fly’s deep to centerfield…Happ starts running…ball goes over centerfielders head and drops at the base of the centerfield fence…crowd is going crazy…Happ pulls up at 2nd base for a stand-up double…and suddenly his expression changes…was he in pain…did he pull something running the bases…

Noooooo…he was just Happ-y…

J.A. Happ went into the top of the 9th and pitched the final inning of the game, he finished the game having thrown 127 pitches, gave up 4 hits and 2 walks, but he picked up a career high 10 strike outs. Well done Happ!! you just earned your right to remain in the starting rotation.

Thursday sees Cliff Lee’s first appearance at CBP, this will be different for him I am sure, he’ll be wearing the Phillies modern throw back uniform, as the Phillies always do on a day game at home, this should be an interesting match-up, for those that think Lee will cruise to another win, be careful, he’s going up against Rockies ace Aaron Cook, RHP with a 10-3 record on the season and showing a 3.88 ERA on the season, however if there is a glimmer of hope during July he posted a 4.17 ERA with only 2 wins, the rest were no decisions.

Good Luck Lee we hope your first Phillies home game is a good one and a winning one!!


Baffled by the Bay, A Different View…

 Yes, they travelled through time zones, but it wasn’t that far really…
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They weren’t at a high elevation…

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There were no shadows on the field…

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It should have been money in the bank…

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Hamels pitching for 4 2/3 innings was music to my ears…

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But then, for no apparent reason, with 2 outs and nobody on base in the 5th inning, did Cole lose something…

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We started the 6th inning, had Cole found what he lost in the 5th, the answer was NO, the inevitable happened a call to the bullpen…

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The guys from the pen closed the game out, without giving up any more runs, Hamels had allowed 7 runs to score, which was too much to recover from, the Phillies lost the game 7-3 and the series by 3-1 in San Francisco, but they were heading back to what we hope are the comforts of home…

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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…


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….

 


Phillies make Reds History

You must have been on another planet or at best somewhere remote outside of the baseball world if you haven’t already heard of the 22-1 win the Phillies posted against The Reds last night. History in the making, the Phillies gave The Reds the largest deficit loss in their club history, it wasn’t just that they sent their ace starter to the dug out in two thirds of an inning, nor was it the fact that the Phillies were well on their way to batting around twice in the first, it is the things that in a different game would have been the headlines.

Cole Hamels went seven innings giving up 3 hits and 1 run throwing just 92 pitches with 61 of them for strikes. He must of been feeling good, at the plate he had a double, a single, 2 RBI’s and scored 2 runs, a week ago Jimmy Rollins would have killed for those in game stats. – Well Done Cole.

The Reds pitching staff threw more pitches in the first 3 inning than Hamels threw for seven, in total The Reds pitching staff threw over 200 pitches combined, with only about 60% of them for strikes. You know a pitching staff is having a tough night when they throw **** into pitch the 8th inning.

Jayson Werth hit a grand slam, okay so it was off the SS pitching, but even so it’s still a stat and would have been a headline in any other game.

Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4 with 2 walks, with Jimmy’s first half slump, I think worthy of a headline.

Ryan Howard homerless again, it’s nice that he is in the Home Run Derby, but I would much prefer him to hit homers in games that count, maybe the possible return of Raul Ibanez this week will inspire Ryan to go long.

Phillies BullPen threw 2 scorless innings to close out the game, again with their performance over recent weeks this would have been a headline in a diferent game.

With all this in the first of 4 games against The Reds you have wonder if they can keep it up, I am sure The Reds are wondering what they can do tonight, they face the 5-0 Happ with a 2.96 ERA, I am not sure there is light at the end of the tunnel for The Reds at CBP.

For a diferent point of view I have decided to watch tonights game with The Reds commentary, just to see how they feel about a Phillies team that really showed no mercy last night. Lets hope the Phillies didn’t blow a weeks worth of offense in one night.

Almost Finally, in case you hadn’t noticed I added the word Phillies to my Blog name just so those who haven’t read it know it’s about the Phillies.

And Finally VOTE VICTORINO


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


Phillies Swept by Braves in Atlanta, First Since 2005

Another night where it started Happ-y and ended with Maddog Madness, there was not much that the Phillies could hold there heads up for last night. Happ had another good start, J-Roll broke his O-fer, Dobbs and Utley were good at the plate. So Madson blew another posible win, Madson’s fault, maybe, a couple of pitches that missed their mark were hit well, one was even crushed. Should he have been put in, well he is the set-up man, but he has been off his game lately, who’s fault, Charlie for putting him or Dubee for agreeing, who knows what discussion went on in the dug-out before they decided, hinde sight is 20-20 so we all know it was a bad choice, but with Romero having a tough time finding the strike zone of late and the complete nervous appearance of any of the bullpen it’s tough to decide who could have come out and given us what we wanted. It’s done now nothing we can do but learn from it, Yes it seems we are slow learners this year.

What are the current positives – Yes we are tied for first, but we have 4 games in hand so concievably we could be 43-37, that’s the positive look. The negative side is we could be 39-41, maybe it’s good we have those games in hand, we stand a chance of getting out of the slump before we play those games in hand.

Let’s hope J-Roll stays out of his slump, at least with him being aggressive on the bases we have more chances to score. Current concerns obviously the bullpen, but also Howards lack of homers during this road trip and the the uncentainty of when we’ll get Ibanez back. I am sure some of Howards problem is Ibanez missing, lets face it pitchers were prepared to pitch good pitches to Howard so they didn’t have to face Ibanez.

We had a bad road trip, lets hope that will turn around the home stand. A series win or sweep of the Mets, is that to much to wish for, I think not, anything is possible the way Phillies are playing, they have to break out at home and start to dominate everyone who comes to the park.

I still think we will go into the All Star break on top of the division, may not be by as many games as everyone would like, but still we will be on top.

So now we get ready to see if we can crush the Mets this weekend and start the home stand on a positive…..


Phillies have extras in Atlanta

What a night of swings and roundabouts, ups and downs, highs and lows, whatever you call it, it was good baseball.

Rollins is back in the line-up and batting at the top of the order, regardless of what others may think, it’s good to see him in the line-up, even if he did get an O’fer at the plate, the team just appears to be well adjusted with him there, so welcome back Jimmy.

There was a lot of things that happened tonight,

Victorino went back to back on the Braves pitchers, tough luck Shane, any other night they would have been back to back hits up the middle.

Utley became the first left hander to homer off Lowe this year, way to go Chase, that’s why he is probably the best second-baseman in the majors.

Howards ground-rule double scored Victorino, but had Utley tryin to get the umps to give him home, guess they didn’t hear the umps reviewed one the other night, still he was around third when it went out…. not sure the umps here had a sense of humor with them, Chase obviously did.

Thats when the evening started to have ups and downs, Phillies lead Braves tie, again in the 5th, then the Braves lead into the 6th.

Feliz, I think the best 3rd baseman in the NL, even better than Wright for the Mets, saved a run in the 6th with an unbelieveable play, and then went onto hit a homer as part of back to back homers with Mayberry Jr.

Before the back to back homers, it seemed like some of the hitters were in panic mode, down one, first pitch swinging again, I guess it’s good when the ball fly’s like Pedro’s did.

The bullpen played well tonight, despite the Phillies loosing it in the bottom of the 10th, it was good baseball from both teams, just unfortunate that the 2 Braves players that hurt us, weren’t really regulars, and as they say THAT’S BASEBALL…

Another shot tomorrow, the 9 straight streak at Turner Field ended so its time to start a new one.. GO PHILLIES…..