A week in any other year you would be happy to have come out of with an even
record splitting both the Pirates and the Cubs series evenly, but not this year,
the Phillies should have swept both teams, but it wasn’t to be, now we head into
the inter-league weekend and the Phillies host the
Red Sox, so I thought it was
time I went back onto the interview circuit, which allowed me to meet up with Ryan
Howard, this is how it went…
The Phillies hosted the Pirates in the first of 2 games during this weeks mish mash of
games, this year the Phillies are lucky, previously they have been on the road
for these stupid series that are only 2 games, this year they get to play host
all in the same week.
There was no great revelations last night, Kyle Kendrick, did well
pitching a good game, but then can you really judge how good or bad a pitcher is
against the Pirates, okay you can judge how bad a guy pitches. Now I have
no intention of knocking the Pirates and their abilities too much this
year, because I would like them to do well, yes I would like them to end the
season above .500 this year. This however doesn’t change the fact that a pitcher
who when performing slightly above average or better should be able to beat the Pirates,
providing the teams offense play along.
So far this season some teams, like every year are struggling, and media,
bloggers and fans in general start to call for the coach to be ousted, I read
recently that teams such as the Cubs, ChiSox,
Royals and even the New
York Mets have fallen into this category, however I believe all to
quickly the pressure is applied to the manager. There is evidence to suggest
that in some cases this is true, as is the case with the Washington
Nationals, see then now and with the old coach, this may not be the
best litmus test but it proves the manager can have some bearing on the matter.
I also believe other coaches play a
role, and for me the biggest role of the other coaches is the pitching coach, 2
guys I believe should be ousted and be replaced while the season is young enough
to salvage would be Joe Kerrigan of the Pirates and Rick
Peterson of the Brewers, I don’t think I
have made it a secret that I detest Kerrigan as a pitching coach, I never
liked him even when he was an analyst on Comcast and then when he wormed
his way into a job with Bowa at the Phillies I liked him even less
and rumor has it that he wasn’t much liked by any of the pitchers at Philadelphia
either. Just last night is a clear example, I know there arguments for this and
against, but a lot of coaches seem to do it when they don’t need too. Everyone
knows Taschner was with the Phillies
and at times he had a love/hate relationship with them, so why would you punish
him and send him to the mound at time when your down 8-2 and lets face it a
situational leftie isn’t going to make any difference, and what happens, yep,
the same as always the guy loads the bases and gives up a slam to the one guy
who has difficulty hitting lefties. So I say this to the Pirates get rid
of Kerrigan before he does so much damage to you pitching staff you have
to completely rebuild your pitching capabilties.
Brewers, I think know they have a problem,
but are probably having issues on how to fix it, which is replace Peterson. I
mentioned Peterson in yesterdays post, because it seemed like the catcher
Zaun, has issues with him, I don’t know if he does or doesn’t, but there
is just something strange about the guy and it didn’t look as though he had much
respect in the dugout during any of the games against the Phillies.
The fact that he was with the A’s and the Mets
with Macha and Randolph respectively tells me he is there because
these guys employed the management 101 rule of surrounding yourself with those
you know and that are going to have your back in a time of crisis, cause i don’t
think this guy would get a pitcher coaching job on an open market with just his
resume from the A’s and Mets.
I say the same to the Brewers, dump this guy
before you have to dump your pitching staff for a new one.
There were something’s that came out of last nights game for the Phillies,
with Jimmy Rollins returning so his energy returned to the club as well,
the guys were energized before, but this was like adding the energizer bunny,
the running game started again, hitting in the 3, 4 and 5 spots. Chase Utley
came up missing, he developed flu-like symptoms and went home, hopefully he’ll
be back today or tomorrow. Carlos Ruiz returned to the line-up behind the
plate, it doesn’t matter how good the back-up catcher maybe, there is something
about having your regular guy behind the plate, you get used to the things he
does and the timing of when he does things. Wilson Valdez, was designated
for assignment, after doing a great job filling in for Juan Castro and
ultimately J-Roll, his services were no longer required so he drew the
short straw as they say.
As I mentioned earlier Taschner gave up a slammy to Philadelphia‘s
…his 9th slam in the bigs, it’s almost to the point where
managers will start to walk in a run than pitch to him with the bases loaded,
regardless of his performance against lefties or righties on the mound, this all
goes out the window when the bases are loaded. He also showed he can play small
ball last night too, I just wish people would stop talking about how much
influence Barry Bonds has had on his hitting, because quite frankly,
after the Bonds assist Howard went into a slump, so leave Bonds
out of any accomplishments that Howard has this year.
All zero’s for the start of tonight’s game and if Halladay has
anything to do with it the Pirates will still be on all zeros at the end,
okay now I probably jinxed him, damn…..
The Phillies left Milwaukee
after sucking the life out of the Brewers,
the sweep was a back to back the Brewers
suffered at the hands of the National League East. It was a little cooler
last night in Brewer Town or were the Milwaukee
Brewers just trying to change their luck at home by closing the roof,
either way it made for a pleasant atmosphere, gave the pitchers a comfortable
environment, but it didn’t change the Brewers
luck as the Phillies completed a 3 game
sweep in a 4-2 win.
The game aired live on ESPN, who as usual showed their lack of up to
date knowledge of teams and players, other than the advanced scouting reports,
which at times are grossly out of date or inaccurate at best, given to them so
they could show some elements of knowledge about the 2 teams that were playing.
They pounded the commercial breaks with the information on the upcoming FIFA
World Cup, which is great for me, but I just hope they really do their
homework on the countries and the players, and don’t just go at it with the
minimum information on the players and the countries abilities and
accomplishments. It’s a little more insulting when you get information about a
country wrong than a home grown city or town.
So last night Cole Hamels got win number 4 and put him at 4-2 on the
year, coincidence that matches last nights score, it means about as much as Mick
Billmeyer using binoculars in the bull pen in Colorado, absolutely
nothing. It was a relatively okay performance by Hamels, nothing earth
shattering, he managed to get a RBI hit, but then left the bases loaded twice,
still ESPN felt he did enough to warrant being player of the game, personally I
don’t think he did, I am not sure anyone player jumped out at me, everyone
seemed to do their thing and no one really screwed anything up, except maybe Weeks,
should have had the out, on the Victorino base stealing, but let the ball
fly into centerfield instead, and he just didn’t seem focused, and
as good a game as Zaun called for the Brewers,
I was a little concerned at how when he went to the mound with the pitching
coach, he just stood there gazing into the air, paying absolutely no attention
to what was going on, does he not like, Rick Peterson, the pitching
coach, because he had that same attitude each time he came to the mound during
all 3 games.
The Phillies are utilizing back-ups for back-ups, with Ruiz out
and 3rd string catcher Hoover working everyday, Ruiz should be
back Monday, maybe. Valdez filling in at shortstop while JRoll
rehabs, Valdez is also filling in for Castro who is also out of
action, Rollins should be back on Monday, then we have Madson out,
Happ out the good news is that Lidge is also back on the DL, the
list goes on a bit, but really the Phillies
have managed just fine and when these guys return it should only be an
improvement, except for Lidge of course.
Last year we saw the images of Lidge where each time he came into a
game you had
to hope that for just this game he was able to hold it together long enough to
close the game. Unfortunately that didn’t happen to often, it was like a Holiday
Inn commercial, where Lidge is on the mound and Dubee comes out
cause Lidge is struggling and you know the conversation, Dubbe to Lidge
“Lidge you good, your our closer, right, you can do this” then Lidge
would reply “Yeah sure, I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night, no
problem”. We all know how that worked out.
This year I think we should stay with the Holiday
Inn commercials, you must have seen the new ones, where people are sometimes
doing dumb things, like being total idiots, yep that’s it, we’re going to work
with that this year for Lidge.
The Phillies return home to face 2
against the Pirates, and 2 against the sCrUbs,
then it’ll be on to that stupid thing they call inter-league play. I think we
should get one of those hidden dog fences to keep American League teams out of
the National League games, I am still not sure why there pitchers are such prima-
donnas that they can’t pick up a bat. The
Philles get to host the Boston Red Sox as
the first of what will no doubt be long drawn out inter-league play.
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 hits 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 shut 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 finish 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.
… gets harder and harder as the post
That feeling of anticipation as each game
I was not expecting to have to wait till
The ALCS between the Angels
So now we have to sit back and wait to
The pro’s and con’s of facing each team
If everyone in the stands is wearing red
This really is a no-brainer, having to
It was fun watching the Phillies
Back to the ‘Waiting Game‘
As for the World Series match-up
– it will be, who it will be
No major entry here, it’s just the first game of the series and the predicted wind was supposed to produce a long ball extraviganzer… but the only player to tame the wind was Jimmy Rollins, who managed to capture 2 fly balls that went from the outfield and almost came back into the infield.
Cliff Lee started a little shakey, but after the 2nd inning managed to send down 16 straight and hold the Rockies scoreless through 8 2/3 innings, finally gave up a run in the 9th with 2 outs, then went on to close the game for a complete game in his first post season game. Lee threw 113 pitches 79 for strikes. He also got a hit, sac bunt and stole a base.
Phillies won 5-1 with RBI’s from Ibanez (2), Ruiz, Howard and Werth.
Game time tomorrow is 2:37, Still not sure what genius came up with the game times, because they seem to be odd times for home field fans at every game.
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…
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…
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…
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…
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
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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.
|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.
Cliff Lee made his debut in Philadelphia at CBP, the anticipation of the crowd was high, all things considered, the pressure on Lee must have been huge. After his shut out in San Francisco, would the fans be expecting to much and could Lee deliver another solid game in front of what is now his home crowd.
The first inning, he seemed to show a few nerves, but that was to be expected, what wasn’t expected was for J-Roll to miss-judge a ball and let it go into the outfield. This allowed a runner to be on 3rd with 1 out, setting up a fly ball RBI in the 1st for the Rockies. Yes it was a tough play for Jimmy, but he has made that play many times before, he sets his own standards and that wasn’t quite it.
It didn’t take Jimmy Rollins long to correct his earlier miss-judgment, he was hitting and running bases straight out of the gate. He didn’t need his red/orange shades to make himself look cool, he was doing that just by his actions.
His first 3 at bats he hit a single, double and triple, yes a cycle would have been nice, but for someone who less than 8 weeks ago was hitting right around the .200 mark and was struggling to even get to first base, was now producing multi hit games, stealing bases and scoring runs and that is the driving force leading the Phillies offense.
The Phillies scored in the bottom of the 1st Utley’s sac fly, driving Rollins in, then Bako hit a home run, his first of the year, in the 5th, followed by Victorino’s RBI hit to drive in Rollins again. Rollins finished 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored.
Lee may not have been the domination machine he was in San Francisco, after all, we had that from Happ last night, but he did give the Phillies a solid 7 innings, with 112 pitches, giving up just 1 run on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 9, great job Cliff Lee and I am sure the fans in Philadelphia will soon make you a fan favorite, it seems almost everyone else on the team is anyway.
The bullpen did there thing… HOORAY!!!… Madson pitched a solid 8th inning giving up just 1 hit, Lidge came out in the 9th to close the game out and collect his 21st save of the year, and do so giving up just 1 hit.
Phillies win the series with the Rockies 2-1 and since the Marlins chose to give the Nats a 4 runs in the 8th inning and go on to lose the game in Washington, the Phillies go to a 7 game lead in the NL East, of which I might add is currently the largest divisional lead, over a 2nd place team, in the majors, that may change by nights end.
The Phillies welcome Florida to won for a weekend series, and tomorrow night the Phillies workhorse Joe Blanton takes the mound in a bid to keep the Phillies winning home stand moving onward and upward.
Around the majors, well not around, around, just in New York, this for me is an interesting month, the Yankees and the Red Sox duel it out 7 times this month, why is that so interesting for me, well I have suggested, or maybe even predicted, a repeated October World Series match up between the Phillies and the Rays, therefore the need for the Yankees and Red Sox to beat each other up and give the Rays a chance to make up ground is crucial to my prediction becoming a reality…
|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…
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!!