Cliff Lee, Pitching and Hitting to Win #3…..(updated)

Cliff Lee takes his 3rd straight win as the Ace in the Phillies rotation and
lee1-vs-cubs.jpgdrives the Phillies to a sweep of the
Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. After suffering the embarrassment of being swept at home last weekend the Phillies issued there own 3 game sweep on the road.

Lee pitched outstanding for 8 innings, like me, most thought Madson would come on in relief at the start of the 8th inning, but he didn’t, Lee came out for the 8th and got through it like an Ace. Lee ended his day after throwing 122 pitches with over 67% of them for strikes, he gave up 1 run on 6 hits and walked 3 batters. It wasn’t till the 4th inning that the Phillies offense gave Lee the lead, he managed to get himself out of a couple of jams during the first 4 innings, it wasn’t till the 5th inning that the Cubs managed tlee2-vs-cubs.jpgo drive in a run and that was the only time a Cubs player would cross the plate. He held the Cubs to a 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position, obviously the Phillies defense played a role in this too. Lee seems to like this playing in the NL where he gets to show case his bat swinging abilities, he hit his 2nd double, but was eventually stranded on 3rd at the end of the inning. With the Phillies, Lee is now 3-0 with an ERA of 1.13 through 24 innings as a pitcher, as a hitter he is 3 for 9 (.333) with 2 doubles.

Ryan Madson came on in relief of Lee to start the 9th, he pitched a scoreless inning giving up just 1 walk with 2 strike outs.

The Phillies offense came off of 10 hits and 3 walks, the big offensivehoward-vs-cubs.jpg inning was the 4th, when Ryan Howard hit a 3 run home run to the opposite field, this was Ryan’s 1st home run in August, ironic really, I had said at the end of July, that it seems when 

Raul Ibanez goes deep then Ryan goes deep and visa versa, and in Wednesday’s game Raul went deep and so Thursday Ryan went deep. In the same inning Pedro Feliz took Dempster deep too, giving the Phillies a 4 run lead. Utley picked up an RBI in the 6th and Feliz picked up another in the 7th giving the Phillies a 6-1 lead that they never relinquished.

The Phillies headed to Atlanta last night to start a 3 game series against the Braves today, before heading home for the only day off between now and the end of August. Joe Blanton is scheduled to start tonight against the Braves, Saturday is an afternoon game and although it’s Hamels rotation spot, it is currently being listed as TBA, have they not announced it yet or are they holding back to the last minute because of a possible problem? I am sure we will find out soon.(update: Hamels is now listed as the starting pitcher for Saturday). It does though, seem to be freaky days of late in Philadelphia sports, everybody has heard by now that Vick signed a 2 year deal with the Eagles, what were they thinking? I am sure they will let us know soon enough.

Still with freaky things, the ‘Idiot Cubs Fan’ turned himself in to Chicago police yesterday, probably wants another 15 minutes of fame, or a beer commercial contract.


Why do the Umpires Hate the Phillies…

What can anyone say about a game that your team gets demolished 12-3 to complete a sweep, in your own ball park, by a team that just got swept by the Washington Nationals. Just about the same as has been said for the last couple of weeks, offense, defense and pitching, without these you don’t have a ball club. A little unfair to Jamie Moyer, since he put in a good performance, held the Marlins at bay, between a couple of bad located pitches and some bad located fielders, the Marlins edged a small lead and Moyer was replaced by the bullpen. Not so bad 2 runs down the Phillies have come back from worse. So with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd and a runner on 1st, who else but Ryan Howard could come to the Phillies rescue, he’s been the hottest hitter the last couple of days, so now the Phillies have a chance, one big hit and it’s back in the lead, or he could walk then we would have bases loaded for Ibanez, almost as good, you would think….

That’s when the home plate umpire, Ed Rapuano decided the Marlins needed some assistance, so he called Howard out on strikes, wrong call, okay I am biased, so you decide…

The home plate umpire had been having issues with his strike zone depending who was on the mound and who was in the batters box, but that wasn’t it, this was a critical call and he got it wrong (in my opinion), the interesting thing was before Howard came up to the plate, you could hear the audible of Ed saying to Howard “it’s hot out here big fellow” I’m sorry but out of context that sound bite could be very damaging for Ed

You’d think that would be the end of it, ‘in Philadelphia’ I hear you saying, okay so the crowd probably won’t let him forget it, but they didn’t get the chance. With the Marlins now batting and Helms at the plate and Lopez on the mound the sequence of balls and strikes went something like this…

You guessed it the crowd went absolutely crazy, as you can imagine the Phillies players weren’t that impressed either…

Rollins shows his displeasure…

Look closely in the back ground behind Feliz you can see Victorino, who also shows his displeasure…

And then… it can only be described as all hell breaking loose, I may have only been watching baseball for 24-25 years, but I have never seen an outfielder be ejected for raising his arms, and needless to say it upset Victorino…

 

He came racing in from the outfield, almost threw Bako to the ground to get at the umpire, fortunately for Victorino, Howard is bigger and stronger and man-handled Victorino to the dugout, otherwise he would have surely ended up with a suspension.

That sort of put a damper on things, the Marlins went on to score 6 runs in that inning, and yes you guessed it, the crowd let Ed know of their displeasure at every opportunity. The Phillies managed to scrap back just 2 runs and the Marlins went on to add another 3 runs in the 9th.

So to finish a brief message to Ed Rapuano, stay out of Philadelphia, the fans have long memories, and if the league have any sense they will not assign him a game with the Phillies for sometime or this poster could become the norm around the City of Brotherly Love.

 

 The Phillies go on the road to Chicago, they have a day off Monday, which if they are wise, it will be used to find their missing offense and defense. Then on Tuesday we will find out if the fact that, “Jesus hates the Cubs”  according to the book of Psalms, or was that RSBS, I sometimes find it hard to distinguish between them, they are on occasion both full of useless, but humorous information. The point being we will find out if the umpires take pity on them for the curse cast upon them by this #2 blogger, yes it’s true and fortunately for everyone here, we would never live it down if there wasn’t a she fan with a confession to keep the combined efforts of a lonely Tigers fan and a (insert your own word here) Cardinal fan in their place.

 


Phillies Struggles Continue…

Game 2 against the Marlins in this 3 game series was again an eratic performance, this time they managed to give up a lead and throw the game in a 6-4 loss.

Cole Hamels pitched in manner consistant with his seasonhamelsalter-ego.jpg performance, very up and down, one minute he looks like no one could touch him, the next they are hitting everything he throws. So it turned out to be another shortened outing for him where he gave up 4 runs, then the bullpen started off with excellent command, and yet they also manged to give up 2 runs with 2 outs.

The defense and offense again was spuradic to say the least, offensivly, Howard who seamed to be the only one with anything to offer, helped by Feliz and Ibanez, but not all at the same time.

Defense, they weren’t bad, they had some good plays, but I have reviewed the games since these issues have arisen, which I believe to be during the recent west coast trip, it all started in Arizona. Victorino got injured, which wasn’t really a problem, since it came at the time Francisco joined the team, but when Victorino returned to play he didn’t quite seem right, he played more shallow than normal and that seemed to put all the outfielders in positions where they were not able to catch up to long fly balls as often as they had in the past. The infield also didn’t seem to be in the right spots either, or they were juggling balls they would normally play cleanly.

Are the coaches adjusting the fielders locations correctly, according to who is hitting, and who is pitching, and in what manner they are pitching? This does not seem to be the case, so for this I do not entirely blame the players, but will lay blame for at least 40% of the missed fly balls, or miss infield hits, squarely on the shoulders of the coaches, instead of sucking up to Charlie, or having fun in the dug out, WATCH THE GAME, and adjust the outfielders accordingly, just because were the current World Series Champions, it doesn’t mean we don’t play by the basic’s….

Today Jamie Moyer is on the mound, he has in the past dominated the Marlins, however, the defense and offense must show up to play and support his efforts, since he is a fly ball pitcher, they have to get their positioning right to prevent the extra base hits…


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!!


The WILD WEST Trip…

It was a night that saw the Phillies produce 3 errors and give up 4 unearned runs in a 7-2 loss to the Giants.

The Phillies weren’t the only ones to commit errors last night,
it seems the 2nd base umpire needed something to help him see clearer….

How do you get this…

 
umpsafe.jpg

from this….

outtag.jpg

I am sure there is a special lesson at umpire school that tells them how to determine if a player is out, because the ball beat them to the bag, or if there safe when they are tagged before they reached the bag, probably some reverse logic to keep them in the highlight reels.

Now instead of nobody on with 1 out, there’s a runner in scoring position with no outs, then Velez, hits the ball deep to right field, okay a regular fly ball, Werth has this so we should be okay…. wrong…. it slides in and out of Werths glove then rolls to the base of the wall, Werth struggled to pick it up and throw it back in, so now instead of 2 out nobody on we have Torres scoring and Velez on third with nobody out…Cliff Lee hanging over the rail in the dug out must be thinking……I am in a nightmare is this the Indians in Phillies uniforms…….Okay so maybe he wasn’t thinking that, but it was looking like it… the Giants hit a sack fly to put 2 on the board in the bottom of the 1st and take a 2-1 lead from there they never looked back..

The WILD WEST show didn’t stop there after Sandoval hit a bomb into the bay in the 3rd inning to put the Giants up 3-1, the phillies continued on with the show, maybe to make Lee feel at home, who knows….

We somehow manage to get to the bottom of the 4th inning and with 1 out and 1 on, Feliz goes for the double play,

Utley didn’t agree…

error.jpg the ball flips off Utleys glove into the outfield, now you have 2 on at 2nd and 3rd and only one out, more timely hitting by the Giants and instead of being out of the inning they now have a 7-1 lead.

For the most part Lopez pitched okay, except for the extra pitches he had to throw due to the errors, but he only gave up 3 earned runs, the bull pen went to work in the 5th inning and shut the Giants down. The WILD WEST show didn’t end there though, top of the 6th Chase Utley at the plate, now to me Utley has given up and error been involved the error with Feliz, so all in all he’s kind of helped the Giants, what happens in the 6th…..

the WILD PITCH show….

utleyduck.jpg

Sanchez got wild with his pitches, this one was headed straight for Utleys head, normally very composed and used to being hit with balls, Utley was a little shaken, turn and glared at Sanchez, took the next pitch, then stepped out of the box as he was about to deliver the next one, Sanchez tossed a slow roller to the plate, the tension was mounting and you could tell there was a little animosity had developed between Utley and Sanchez in just 3 pitches…. well Sanchez obviously wanted to show he was boss and threw an 88mph and 89mph fast balls for strikes,
then a 90mph fast ball,

that Utley sends deep…..
utleyswing.jpg
home run… Chase Utley

That was almost the end of the WILD WEST show, although no more runs were scored, the bottom of the 7th inning with 2 outs and Garko at the plate Walker dings Garko on the shoulder, in what was clearly a payback pitch for the incident at Utley’s head, both teams get warned.

The question is will both team move on from this or will it generate more tension and create an interesting weekend….

Cliff Lee goes tonight, his first start for the Phillies here’s hoping the bats come to life and the errors dissapear…..

 

 


Phillies Take D-Backs to School….

Philadelphia, Phillies showed the D-Backs how to play professional baseball last night in Arizona.

Yes, this may seem harsh, but the Phillies took a clear advantage of the D-Backs errors, errors which would have been hard to find in a triple ‘A’ game, and there was Jamie Moyer, who pitched himself into trouble twice in the first 3 innings,
moyer.jpgloading the bases at one point, with nobody out, his experience, his self control and excellent defence, from his infield that knows no limits and definately knows how to support their team mate in times of trouble got him through the struggles.

Moyer, moved on from his struggles and pitched with control and poise through another 3 2/3 innings, shutting the door on the D-Backs. In total Moyer pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up 6 hits, 4 walks and striking out 5, giving him his 256th career win and closing out July with a 3.30 ERA his best month this year.

Side Bar: During this ‘will he, won’t he’ couple of weeks on Halladay, it has been noted that a number of people have been commenting on blogs, calling for Moyer to retire, last night was just another reason why he shouldn’t, right now he’s pitching very well, and he’s got 10 wins on the year, giving him 13 seasons with double digit wins, I know wins dont mean anything in a pitchers stats, but as I’ve said before, it’s wins that get you to the post season. (end side bar).

D-Backs defense for 8 innings looked like a group of guys on a Sunday morning throwing a ball around not really caring where it went, or if someone could catch what was thrown at them. With Feliz on 1st, (now you have to understand Feliz has 0 (zero) stollen bases this year), the pitcher, Garland, is acting like it’s J-Roll or Victorino over there, so he ends up throwing the ball past the 1st baseman which ultimately puts it up the right field line, Feliz, who seemed like a diferent person on the bases last night, ended up going from 1st to 3rd. Another one was, Utley on 1st a base hit fumbled in the shift off of Howards bat, allowed Utley to get to 3rd, after beating the 3rd baseman in a foot race to 3rd base, that should have been a double play or at least got Howard at 1st. There were other simple plays in the infield that should have resulted in outs that didn’t and although the Phillies played hard last night, those infield mistakes are the main reason for 4 extra runs the Phillies scored. Of course the ‘Howard Homer’, a 2 run shot in the 4th was all Howard.

So having seen all that go on imagine the surprise when in the top of the 9th a bloop hit, which had it been earlier in the game would have scored 2 runs, is caught by Roberts with a spectacular dive to end the inning.

The Phils bull pen went to work in the 7th inning Park came into the game in releif of Moyer and got the 1 guy he faced, 8th inning Madson came in, experienced some struggles, gave up a couple of runs on 3 hits, and struck out 2. Lidge was set to come in for the 9th, a non-save situation, so there was obviously a few nerves, but Madson had struggled so maybe Lidge would be okay, well he was, 3 up, 3 down, with a strike out thrown in there. Phillies end up taking the first of three from a struggling Arizona, 6-2.

Room for thought:  Why did Charlie use Bruntlett in the 9th and not Dobbs, that confused me, tonight we do it all again Hamels vs Haren, now I know Haren has a pretty good contract with the D-Backs, but could it be possible when the Phillies go to San Francisco that Haren goes with them…..


Back To Winning Ways, Phils take Padres 9-4

This was the make-up game that was PPD because of rain back on April 20th, before we get into the game itself, I think we need to give a thought to the San Diego Padres, who when this game was PPD was a winning team and playing very well, busoverloaded.jpgso the benefit with this has gone to Philadelphia, who’d have thought back then. In addition to that the Padres are in Washington this weekend, so the Padres bosses thought it would be beneficial to help their team out by flying into Washington late, then getting the bus to Philadelphia to play this game, then getting the bus back to Washington, and if anyone has ever travelled between Washington and Philly then you’ll know it’s not the best of times even in a vehicle you can kick back and relax in. We can at this point only assume that the Padres arrived at the ball park not very well relaxed and ready to play ball, however, I will say this the players played like they wanted to win, the problem was they were playing a team who is not only hot at the moment, but wanted to prove that yesterday’s afternoon game against the Cubs was an error on their part.

The Philadelphia Phillies of yesterday, literally, the team of Sloppy Joe’s (no offence to Joe)
EXPIREDsloppygiftcard.jpgwas nothing more than a day game following a night game where all the players were just sluggish and what seemed hung over.

A different story today, not just because they won, not because they won with authority, but because they played like they wanted to win and acted like they wanted to be there playing baseball. They just looked different, they had a spring in there step, even Utley who against the Cubs yesterday, looked as though he may be suffering, from some sort of injury, acted like he’d just come off a weeks rest, without any sign of an injury. The team was swinging the bat better, running the bases better, and more importantly today they were pitching better.

Cole Hamels came out throwing strikes, he had command of all his pitches and was showing all the elements he had as the 2008 ACE that we saw during the speed-bump.jpgWorld Series, he hit a minor speed bump in the top of the 4th inning where he gave up 3
runs on 3 hits. Hamels ended the day with a solid 7 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks with 6 strike outs. Carpenter who had just been re-introduced to the big’s today came in, in relief of Hamels to start the 8th inning managed to get a batter out on a fly ball, then gave up a couple of hits, with a run and a walk, Manuel not wanting to let this slip away, nipped this in the bud early and went to the pen again for Chan Ho Park who has been nothing but exceptional from the pen. It didn’t even seem to phase him, 1 pitch and he was out of the 8th inning, it did take a very unusual double play by Feliz and Utley, a  5-4-5 double play. I am not sure what the base runner was thinking, but it certainly put a smile on the face of Utley and Feliz as they ran to the dug out, even as late in the game as this was, it was just another sign that the Phillies were here to play, they were having fun out there. Park came out in the top of the 9th to finish the game off, he did it as calm as he started with 3 outs, he ended up pitching 1.2 shut out innings.

The Offence went to work in the bottom of the 2nd inning and never looked back, by the end of the 4th inning everybody, except Ruiz and Hamels had had a hit and there were 8 runs on the board, they continnued to threaten with more but never quite got across the plate until the 7th inning when Ruiz, not to be left out hit a solo home run to left field. Feliz and Werth each went 3 for 5 with an RBI each and Werth also scored a couple of runs, excellent work from the 6 and 7 spot of the batting order, both managed to raise there averages to respectable levels.

As I said at the begining, excellent show by the Phillies, but spare a thought for the Padres who had to endure that bus ride to Philadelphia after getting off a plane ride…. Okay thought over, I know the Padres are struggling, but I don’t feel that sorry for them.

The only damper on the game, was again the Phillies commentators, unfortunately I watch via MLBTV and since I am in BFE, OH. I can not get the radio station for the Phillies so have to put up with the TV commentary, and after reading a blog post today at How ‘Bout Them Phils  it just emphasized how they comment on the most obvious things, and seem to talk and joke about things that unless you have been with them all day would have no idea and not get the humor of it, enough of that, read the entry “Phillies Need a New TV Team” from the above blog and you’ll hopefully get it.

The weekend is on us, almost and we have the St. Louis Cardinals in town, so since I showed sign of pity for the Padres do I show signs of pity for the Cards, you see today they flew in to Washington from Texas, have a night game with the Nats, which has overloadedtrain.jpgalready had a rain delay and I think at this time they are in another rain delay and it’s only the top of the 7th inning, you know, I know you have to be fair to all but the Cards are going to catch the
train from Washington to Philly, not sure if the plan is tonight or tomorrow, well the way the game is going there now it will be tomorrow regardless, but surely it’s not going to affect the Nats and the Cards have a 4-1 lead, you’d think they’d call the game and give it to the Cards. Back to the question should I have pity on the Cards for these  unfortunate occurances that could be detrimentle to their stay in Philly, well I thought about this for all of a minute, I know to long, shouldn’t hesitate, but I don’t think so.

I am sure the Cards fans wouldn’t have any sympathy for the Phillies if the tables were turned, we even did them a favor by issuing 2 loses to the Cubs, what more could they want. Nope sorry no sympathy, enjoy your stay in Philadelphia, you know the ‘City of Brotherly Love’,

UPDATE:

Since I wrote this at around 11:30 pm last night the Cards and Nats game was called early, around 1 am this morning I think, so the ump’s did the Cards a favor, so they could get the train to Philly. We are bound to see their newly acquired Lugo in Philly this weekend, I am sure some Cards fans are thrilled with this and others not so happy, we’ll see if it makes a difference in Philly this weekend.