Attitude at Altitude…

– PhilliesOutside –

Sunday was a day that companies had the opportunity to commercialize and reap the
financial benefits from all those feeling guilty about not having given enough
attention to their Mothers during the year, a time when that expensive,
worthless, tradition of sending or giving a piece of stiff paper with some words
created by someone paid not nearly enough to dream up such drivel, just so that
those doing the giving can feel good about themselves for having at least on
this day given some attention to the person that gave them life. Yes folks it
was ‘Mother’s Day’ here in America, this past Sunday. For those that don’t care,
it was not Mother’s Day in England, that was back in March and it’s true calling
is ‘Mothering Sunday’, which is actually different than Mother’s Day, as with
most things that are commercialized propaganda, it’s different because it’s
something to do with religion. I personally didn’t receive any cards or well
wishes, even though throughout the year I have heard the word Mother used
in conjunction with other words when referencing me or calling to me.

The Phillies celebrated Mother’s by giving away Phillies
scarves or is it scarf’s, does it matter, since those that got the
scarves/scarf’s wore them with pride, unless they were an Atlanta Braves
fan of course, then they probably kept them to remember the day they went to Citizens
Bank Park
to see Atlanta get beat.

Even though the Phillies offense had the Braves pitcher on the ropes
early  with hits and home runs by the start of the 4th inning the Phillies
were up 4 – 0, because guys like this….

….decided to show up and play ball, Polanco hit a homer in the
2nd with a pink bat, not that it matters too much the color of the bat, it’s
still a home run, no extra points for the bat being pink, probably extra cash
when it gets auctioned off for the charity.

The Braves pitcher, Kawakami, held his own
from the 4th and stayed in putting up respectable numbers through 6.2 innings,
even though he took the loss. The Phillies had Cole Hamels on
the mound, who during the first 4 innings looked as though he was going to be
cruising his way to a shut out and show Jamie Moyer he could do it too.
Alas it wasn’t to be, even after a major conflab on the mound…..

….somewhere the old ‘K’ Cole got lost and
confused about where to throw the ball….

….he managed to give up 3 runs in the 5th inning, that was
enough for Manuel who let the bull pen finish the game, led by Chad Durbin who
threw 2 scoreless, the bull pen was un-hittable, literally, they struck out 5
over the 4 innings of work and never allowed a base runner, even Lidge pitched
the 9th without giving anyone a mild seizure.

As with any day when the Phillies play at CBP, there is always at
least one creature that gets onto the field, no tasers needed on Sunday it was
just the…..

….doing his duties, or should I say trying too. Yes, he’s been
reportedly hailed as the best mascot in sports and I understand you either love
him or hate him, but it has become clearer that most hate him because of the
team he’s associated with, not for what he does, because lets face it, no matter
who you are, if he was your teams mascot you’d think he was the coolest mascot
ever, or at least your kids or grand kids or great grand kids would think he was
pretty cool….

So the celebration of Mother’s is over and the Phillies
headed to Colorado where the air is thin and they use some kind of machine
to make the balls stay in the park, or so they say.

There was something in the air, maybe it was moisture of some
sort, but Charlie was trying to figure it out….

….as the Rockies made some accusations of
someone spying on the game from the Phillies bullpen, not sure
what it was all about and I’m not sure Charlie was to sure either, but it
prompted Victorino to use the bullpen phone and tell them to stop clowning
around.

It certainly wasn’t the bull pen the Rockies
needed to watch, it was the Phillies catcher, Carlos Ruiz….

….who went 4 for 5, one of them a homer, and it wasn’t a fluke
or the thin air or altitude or something they put in the bottled water in Colorado,
he’s actually been hitting that good of late, with a.354 avg, he’s got himself a
little ‘on base’ streak going, I think he’s actually been on base in all but 1
of the games he’s played this season, he’s picking up more walks and now he’s in
the number 7 hitting slot, he’s getting more hits, lets hope he can sustain this
for the year or majority of it anyway.

The Phillies defense were showing off some quality
glove work…

….but that still didn’t stop Colorado, with Hawpe
back off the DL and going 2 for 4 on the night, the Rockies managed
to get it all tied at 5 going into the 9th inning. In fashion of the last couple
of years the Phillies put up a 4 spot in the top of the 9th and
the Rockies where unable to find a way to answer, with Contreras pitching
the 9th, who seems to be solidifying himself as a late inning guy that Manuel
can depend on, the Rockies went down on just 1 hit in the 9th, giving the
Phillies game 1 of this series.

Other News:

Brad Lidge has a sore elbow, waaaaaaaaaa!!! go back on
the DL then don’t tie up a roster spot if your going to keep whining all year so
you have an excuse when you blow your first and subsequent saves this year.

Dallas Braden, who became news worthy earlier this month
when he accused A-Rod of being a ‘dick’, which by the way Braden,
we all knew this before you accused him, just threw a perfect game. So congrats
to him, but you did sour your win somewhat by both you and your Gran-Ma
referencing A-Rod when talking of your perfect game. As much as A-Rod
will take credit for anything good and nothing bad, this I am sure he played no
part in, so let A-Rod go back to denying PED use and not have to
deny knowing unwritten rules of baseball. He’s a Yankee player,
those unwritten rules don’t apply, that’s another unwritten rule.

Milton Bradley is still a bigger ‘dick’ than A-Rod.

Cliff Lee goes for his first win of the season tonight,
the question is if he gets it, will it count, since it’s against Baltimore.

Roy Halladay goes home for first ever start in Colorado,
hard to believe that a guy like Halladay never pitched in Colorado.
This homecoming should be sweet for Halladay and not so sweet for Rockies
fans as Halladay goes for win number 7 and the Phillies try
and clinch the series tonight.

 

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Phillies Swat Nats…

This was a game of games, it was a battle of the pitchers, the first 2 innings was 1 game, a pitchers duel, not the way you’d expect a pitchers duel, instead of strike out and non hitting batters, it was a duel on who would stay in the longest, who would give up the most hitskend-fig.jpg and runs and who would throw the most pitches. It turns out both starting pitchers got to take early showers, for Stamman of the Nats managed just 53 pitches through 1.1 innings, giving up 7 runs on 7 hits and Kendrick of the Phillies managed 52 pitches through just 1.2 innings giving up 6 runs on 6 hits.
The game was also a game of offensive plays with hits, runs and walks being in good supply, the Phillies relief pitcher Figueroa, got in on that part of the game, with 2 at bats he picked up 2 hits and a run, on the mound he threw 3.1 innings and gave up 1 run on 2 hits. Chad Durbin also pitching in relief and threw 2 shut down innings on 24 pitches. For the Nats, English came out of the pen and
victo-dugout.jpgshut the Phillies down for 2.2 innings, but after that the Phillies bats came alive, with both Victorino and Utley going deep, it was Utley’s 2nd homer of the game, Victorino also managed a bases clearing triple after the bases were loaded in the 7th, just a double short of a cycle in this the first game he was in the lead off spot with J-Roll on the DL, Wilson Valdez was added to the roster to replace J-Roll.
By the 9th inning the Phillies had 14 hits, 14 runs and 5 walks, while holding the Nats to 10 hits and 7 runs. The Phillies are on a roll to start this season, some are comparing it to the 93 season when the team went start to finishpoly-lefties.jpg on top of the division, personally without putting a damper on things remember who we’ve played, the Nats and the Astros, lets wait till then end of the month when we will have played at least a couple of other teams before awarding ourselves something we haven’t won.
The game had it’s other moments with Polanco picking up another 2 hits to maintain a .486 batting average, yep it’s still early, but if he keeps this up I’ll be screaming MVP, the Phillies bench also saw the 3 lefties deep in conversation, actually more like Moyer conversing, Hamels smiling and Happ just staring into space, but still could be a caption picture later on in the season, depending on how these 3 progress.

In summary the Phillies add another 14 hits and 14 runs to the already inflated numbers they have, it’s tough this time of year to do the customary comparisons because with the limited games played and the fact that some teams have played 2 or 3 games more than others it can be very deceiving. So lets just say the Phillies have a lot of offensive numbers and it’s “Ripley’s Time“, because believe it or not they are ranked last in MLB for strike outs.

 


September/October… the Final Countdown…

What’s in store for the Phillies
as we enter the final month of baseball, okay so the regular season runs
into October this year, but it’s only 4 days.

33 Games in 33 Days…

So the end of season
schedule is not being kind to a team trying to go back to back World
Series Champions, they have a full month and beyond. During September
they will play 30 games, in fact lets go from here to the regular season
end, 33 days to go, 33 games to play and somewhere they will get 2 days
off and play 2 double headers. Being 7 1/2 games up in the NL East is
certainly an advantage, but with this schedule it will definitely make
it a challenge to maintain. Finishing off the season is going to make
them tired even before post season play begins, at best you can hope for
a strong showing in the first half of September, so they can rest some
of the key players leading up to post season.

Offense and Defense…

 

The same guys that have
been producing the offense, (some days it may not have been much
offense
), are producing stellar defense. These guys are playing
every game like it is October baseball, they are making plays like it is
the last out, they are truly supporting every pitcher that takes the
mound.

The pitching staff seem to
be turning things around, yes your going to have the occasional game
where the opposition hit you around, those days make you more intense
the next time out. 

Starting Pitching…

 

 

Cliff Lee, took
his first loss in a Phillies uniform, which was okay, this way there are
no added strains on him to go perfect to season end. He can now pitch
his game and do what he does best.

Cole Hamels, last
2 games have been more like the Hamels we know from last year, hopefully
he has his game back and we can move forward. His confidence was such
that his game against the Giants this week saw him stealing a base, the
first of his career and he also went a solid 9 shut out innings giving
up just 2 hits in that game.

JA Happ, has
been the rookie with a veteran look, he has been excellent all year,
even when the chips are down, he stays focused and pitches his game. He
is without a doubt prime candidate for ‘Rookie of the Year‘ this
year.

Joe Blanton, the
Hulk‘, the ‘Work Horse‘, when you see him pitch it is
obvious he enjoys what he does and he stays in command and doesn’t get
phased by anything, he’s had good numbers this year and his second half
is as usual, very good.

Pedro Martinez,
the newest member of the starting rotation, who has not yet produced
what you would call a quality start. Facing 2 rain games that lasted 2
and 3 innings for him and 2 other games where he was seemed to be still
trying to find his way back in the majors. We will have to see how he
does this week against the Giants, a team the Phillies don’t produce
much offense against, will Martinez be able to keep it close, we will
see this week.

Jamie Moyer, Although
Moyer is now in the pen, I have included him here, simply because he has
taken the 2 rain delay games from Martinez and been outstanding, he has
also pitched reasonably well all year as a starter, still holding the
most wins as a Phillies starting pitcher this year. With the 2 double
headers the Phillies will be facing I think his role will be very
important, especially as one is against the Marlins, a team he has
dominated.

The Bull Pen seems
to have had some rest of late, although there are some deep issues still
to be resolved, I haven’t included a breakdown for them here, because I
think we need a little more time into September to see if the looming
post season is going to spur them on or if we will continue to see the erratic
side of the pen. I will mention thus far the only two I am comfortable
with are Eyre and Park, but we will continue to watch and see how Lidge
and Madson perform during the next week, along with some notables like
Durbin, Walker and Taschner, now he’s back up.

With the ability to load up
the team with new faces in September, the Phillies have chosen to be a
little more conservative, holding room for some of the DL players to
make an impact in the post season, assuming the Phillies maintain the
current state of play and make the post season of course.

More to come over the
weekend, with a look at bench players and the expected return of DL
players…

 


Charity Begins at Home…

Over the weekend the Phillies at home were very charitable to the Florida Marlins, the Phillies, we hope, have moved on from that, now someone else should take a turn to be charitable at home.

On the road this week, with the road trip opener at Wrigley Field it was hopeful that the Cubs would be the one’s to be charitable at home, as luck would have it they obliged, at first it didn’t look as if they wanted to be nice and play the charity game, the Phillies had to show then the way to encourage them.

J.A. Happ started the ball rolling by giving the Cubs a taste of the charity bug…

happ.jpg

through 6 innings he gave the Cubs, 11 base runners and 2 runs…

During those 6 innings where Happ was trying to encourage the Cubs with his charity work, you would have thought that…

Harden was more interested in pitching a perfect game…


cubsharden.jpg
I think he must have started to feel guilty about all the fine charity work Happ had been doing for the Cubs, and realised that charity begins at home, 1 out in the 6th inning he very charitably gave us, (the Phillies), our first base runner. Yes, I have to admit it came out of the blue and was not expected, hoped for, but not expected, I am sure he felt bad that our guys couldn’t hit his pitches.

Mr Harden very kindly gave up a walk to our very own 8th hole hitter and #1 catcher…

Carlos Ruiz…


ruiz.jpg
and of course he graciously accepted the free pass to 1st base


with Ruiz on first and 1 out, Happ who having seen the charitable donation by Harden bunted the ball into the air, high enough to allow 1st baseman, Lee, to make a spectacular diving catch to give them 2 outs, 1 on in the 6th. Now is when you would find out if Harden was truely playing the charity begins at home game. With Rollins at the plate, having swung at the very first pitch of the game making a lame infield out, on one pitch, was now looking to Harden to be charitable, so as not to make himself (J-Roll) look so foolish again.

Rollins being a recovered struggling lead-off man had become greedy…


rollins.jpg
he wasn’t content with a line drive hit, he had to go the whole 9 yards, or in this case 350+ feet into the bleechers for a home run.


Now with the game tied at 2 each we were in the 7th and Harden had gotten the charity bug really bad, with a hit and a walk and a fly ball he managed to have a couple on 2nd and 3rd base, Piniella, wanted to do his part, but wasn’t sure what that was,


so he wandered out to the mound to ask his players


cubsmound.jpg


they weren’t exactly sure what his charitable role should be,


so he asked the homeplate umpire, who I am guessing told him staying in his dug out was more than anyone could hope for, so with his, out of this world, I’m on something look about him, he aimlessly wandered back to the dugout as if he forgot why he went out to the mound in the first place. so the Phillies, feeling sorry for Piniella did the charitable thing and got themselves out of the inning.


The 8th inning came around and the Cubs felt Harden had done enough giving, so they sent Marmol to the mound to keep up the charity work, Marmol turned out to be in a very giving mood,


his charitable donations started with a walk to Ruiz


cubsmarmol.jpg


Dobbs came in as a pinch hitter and gave himself up with a lazy fly ball, Rollins tried to take advantage of Marmol’s kindness, but the inbound wind prevented another charitable donation of a ball into the bleechers. Marmol wasn’t very happy with his donations so far, he decided to give some more, so he hit Victorino with a pitch, who by the way was on his best behaviour, he didn’t charge at anyone today, then Marmol walked Utley to load the bases, then his generosity got the better of him, he walked Howard to push Ruiz across the plate for the go ahead run.


What could be more exciting than this, 1 run lead bottom of the 9th, time for the Phillies closer, who last year was putting the fear of god into every hitter he faced, this year however he’s putting the fear of god into the fans for every hitter he faces.


Don’t worry though this was a giving game so the Cubs would give themselves up for Lidge…


lidge.jpg


Someone should have explained the rules of charity begins at home to Lidge.


He thought he was the one supposed to be doing the giving, cause he gave them a walk , a hit and a run to even the score 3-3.


Each side played the charity thing as best they could into the 12th inning, then the Cubs didn’t realise that Francisco is new to the National League and doesn’t fully understand,


with Francisco at the plate…


francisco.jpg


Gregg tossed a donation to him…


Francisco, not really understanding everything in the NL, sent the ball on a line drive to left field and instead of it hitting the wall it dropped nicely into the basket on top of the left field wall. Once again the Phillies get the go ahead run. This time the make sure everyone is aware that it’s the home team giving the charitable donations,


fresh off the DL, Chad Durbin comes into to halt the donations…


durbin.jpg


and halt them he did, Durbin picked up his 2nd save on the season,


giving up a charitable walk, and a strike out he gave the Phillies the win in the opener of a 3 game set in Chicago.


With this game in the bag, I thought I would just flip over and see if the Rays could do the same to the Angels,


I was just in time to see…


RAYScrawford.jpg


Crawford let a ball go to the fence and give the Halo’s 3 more runs…


this was not what I hoped for, the Angels bea the Rays 6-0, but it was somewhat ironic in a way since these 2 games had something in common, just different outcomes.


The Cubs and Angels each had 10 hits, the Rays and Phillies each had 3 hits, but the outcome was the Angels had 6 runs and the Rays 0, while the Phillies ended with 4 runs and the Cubs 3 runs.


Tomorrows game at Wrigley sees the return of Martinez, in a Phillies uniform for the first time, ironic that his last game in the majors was against the Cubs. All Philly fans are looking for the win, and all are very curious as to how Martinez will fair in his first start after fan favorite Moyer was bumped from the rotation to make room for him.


Phillies go NINE straight, Cubs get cooled off…

Well the HOT Chicago Cubs found out tonight how HOT, HOT really is when the Phillies put 10 runs on the board, via 3 home runs and a couple of RBI hits.

HOT.jpgThe Phanatic was playing Batman for Jack Nicholson while Rollins and Victorino were doing there impression of the dynamic duo at the top of the line up, Victorino got an education on ‘where to’ and ‘where not to’ run when stealing a base, from the umpires.

Ibanez of course was playing superman again, with a 3 run homer in the 1st with 2 outs and 2 strikes on him. Even as cold as Ruiz has been at the plate, he felt the heat of the team as he hit a 2 run homer in the 2nd and then hit an RBI double in the 4th inning.

Rollins and Utley both  picked up RBI’s in the 4th to make this a 9 run game.

Lopez did not have his best stuff tonight, was fishing around the strike zone, giving up 3 walks, even so, he only allowed 1 run through 6 innings of work and 1 extra base hit.

Howard not to be out done by Ibanez struck a typical ‘Howards Hompiniellabatteries.jpger’ in the 8th inning to make it a 10-1 game.

Durbin came out of the pen in the bottom of the 7th to earn a save the old fashioned way, 3 innings of shut out work, even in a 10-1 game gave Durbin the save, and he earned it allowing just 1 hit in those 3 innings he gave the rest of the pen a night to rest up and have fun.

The Cubs looked like a team with a ‘For Sale’ sign hanging over them, even Lou Piniella looked as though he was in the middle of a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode, either that or someone placed a robot version of him in the Cubs dugout and forgot to read the warning label  ‘Batteries Not Included’.

 


Fox Destroys July 4th, Phillies take 2

It seems I am not the only one who has negativity about Fox, So living in Ohio, just 550 miles or so from Philly what does Fox put on my TV, NOT Phillies vs Mets thats for sure, and since it’s blacked out on MLBTV, I have no alternative but to listen to the game on WPHT via MLBTV. So this is the first time this season I have had to do this, so here’s how the highlight are from a radio listners point of view.

First Inning – Jimmy Rollins, doesnt run the play out as hard or intense as he should for a guy in a slump. So Phillies leave men on base, we can’t do that against the Mets and oh yeah, Werth hits an RBI fly ball.

Second and Third Inning – Some pitch by pitch and has Manny Ramirez added longer dredlocks, cause it looks terrible, expalnation that it was meant to look terrible in a baseball uniform and not terrible in general.

Fourth Inning – Couple more runs score, Utley and Ibanez gets congrats for making the All Star Team as starters, then more appologies, cause the selection show is not till Sunday and no one knows who’s ahead in the voting till then, you must be looking at an old list.

Fifth Inning – Moyers pitching better, gives up a run.

Sixth Inning – Victorino RBI with 2 outs, he’s playing well and Atlanta lost, more unimportant drival about Nationals players and Braves players

Seventh Inning – 87 pitches through 6 and a third for Moyer, hopefully the bullpen can save this one for him Durbin in gets a hitter out, hits a hitter, 10 pitches, in comes Romero, lets hope he can find the strike zone, the stikes the next guy out inning over. Fireworks at the Wharf were last week, so probably going to watch the downtown today.

Eigth Inning – Romero resumes gets one out gives up a hit, Madson in – gets 2 out, Lidge is warming up in the bullpen, guess he’ll be in for the ninth wonder if he’s okay hasn’t pitched since Toronto.

Ninth Inning – Lidge 1,2,3 in 13 pitches. So Philly take 2

 

Not the most enjoyable way to spend 4th July, having to listen to nothing and make out what was really happening, at least with TV you can see for yourself your not relying on others to keep you informed.

So thanks Fox for screwing up my 4th of July.

Not a single mention about Jamie’s 600th start – Congrats Jamie, keep em coming.

Dare I say SWEEP today, fingers crossed.