Hamels ‘A’ce Game Returns…

With the trade deadline approaching, and more people are asking is Hamels the Ace we all wanted or was he a flash in the pan. Last night he showed everyone why he has been the Ace of the Phillies pitching staff. On a night more than any other this year he needed his ‘A’ game and he delivered.

The Haren vs Hamels game had been headlined as a make or harenhit.jpgbreak for Cole, days before, the Philly fans are looking to see if management delivers another Ace to the starting rotation, the fans were also looking to see if Cole could deliver them a sign that he is the Ace.

The first inning Hamels gave up, what became a complimentary homerun to Roberts, from then on he pounded the strike zone through 8 innings, he threw a total of 112 pitches, 79 of them for strikes. He gave up a hit to his counterpart, Haren, who singled in the 3rd inning. Since Cole out pitched Haren he certainly didn’t want to be out done by him at the plate, so in the 5th inning Hamels returned the favor, only instead of a single Hamels
hamelshit.jpgcrushed a double to left center, splitting the gap in the outfield, Hamels cruised into 2nd standing,eventually Hamels crossed the plate to break the tie and put the Phillies in front, and from there they never looked back.

Victorino, had tied the ball game with a solo homerun in the 3rd inning keeping his hot streak alive and well.

The D-Back errors didn’t start until the 5th inning last night, it was like boredom set in so the players just lost concentration. Rollins hit a ball hard, causing a miss play by the D-Backs, Utley’s smart base running to 1st base caused an error on a throw to home plate, mix in some other miss plays and the D-Backs had another game of errors turns into opposition runs.

You had to feel bad for Haren, he pitched very well, with almost any other defense behind him he would have probably won that game, there was more than once you could tell from the look on his face, he wished he were somewhere else. The Phillies offense really did well last night working the count and getting Haren to throw as many pitches as they could, he ended up throwing 117 pitches in 5 innings of work.

The only real shadow of doubt for the Phillies last night was the 9th inning, Lidge with a save opportunity came in to close out the game and ended up giving up 2 runs, before finally finishing off the D-Backs, I for one am glad it was NOT a 1 run game.

It all happens again tonight with Happ going against Petit, if he hasn’t been traded by then of course, if Happ is on the mound, here’s hoping Happ has recovered from his first loss and puts on another dynamic display of pitching.


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…..


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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


Phillies Slam Cards, Tie Series 1-1…

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

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

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

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

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

There were moments in this game when, personally I thought Ankiel
 
ankiel.jpgwas going to single handedly prevent the Phillies from winning this game, he made 2 tremendous catches, 1 tight against the outfield wall and the other where he saved a home run off the bat of Werth. Following the last series between with Cards and Phils, we all know how hard he plays.

As usual both Holliday and Lugo hit the Phillies well, if the Phils hadn’t recieved some of the same luck the Cardinals experienced Friday, they could have very easily lost this one.

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

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


Phillies Sweep Fish in Florida…..

The Phillies are starting to take a firm hold of the eastern division, with the series in Florida shortened by 1 game the Phillies completed another series sweep with a 5-0 win today. Philadelphia has won the last 4 series, 3 by sweeps, 2 of those sweeps are eastern division rivals, with a tough home stand starting tomorrow the Phillies have now won 12 of the last 13 games, which includes 8 straight.

After Friday’s delay and yesterday’s postponement due to rain, the anticipation of getting through a game in Florida without rain intervention was almost as much as could Happ pitch more scoreless innings. With the threat of rain and a few sprinkles early in the game Happ won out the day, going 7 scoreless innings, giving up just 5 hits and 1 walk. Happ has given up just 1 run in his last 14 innings.

The Phillies offence went straight to work in the 1st inning, when it seemed like they were going to make it very hard for Florida to contemplate a win even before they came to bat, some how, the Phillies managed to get themselves out and leave the bases loaded. The 2nd inning, Florida were not so lucky, as the Phillies jumped on Miller for 3 runs and added a 4th in the 3rd inning, this sent Miller scurrying to the dugout and the Phillies facing the Marlins bullpen.

The Marlins bullpen played very well holding the Phillies hitless and scoreless till the 9th inning, when they gave up the 5th and final run.

Rollins was a homerun away from the cycle during another outstanding performancethat gave him 3 hits, 1 run and 1 RBI, Ibanez continued to do what the fans have come to expect, deliver when we need it, 1 hit, 2 RBI’s and 2 BB’s.


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….

 


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


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.

 


Phillies beat up on Mets

You all knew at some point the guys were going to have a game like this at home, and it just happened to be the Mets on the recieving end, couldn’t have happened at a nicer time or against a better opponent. With the traumatic road trip and the recent sweeps against the Phils, this was what the fans needed, no time for the boobirds to anounce themselves, straight out of the gate players were swinging and hitting an opposing starter. The free for all ended when the Mets bullpen took over, but even so some nice encouraging things were seen.

Rollins was swinging good aswell as being patient about what pitches he chose to swing at, okay 2 games of hits doesn’t always mean the slump is over, but he looked comfortable at the plate for the first time in a long time, it was like his season was just begining.

Lopez, under what must have been a stress filled day of returning to the majors, gave an excellent performance, while pitching strikes and keeping the hitters of balance, the type of game you hope you are going to get from all your starting rotation, now if he can produce that performance again and again, then maybe we have found a fill-in for Myers.

It was good to see Madson have a relaxed 9th inning, hopefully it will help towards getting his confidence back and giving us the same type of performances we enjoyed last year.

As much as I would like to think it was a dominant Phils team that put the Mets and their fans into a silent stuper, I have to admit that they themselves did everything they could to help the Phillies and the Philly Fans enjoy a long awaited win at home, so for that we should thank the Mets and hope they continue to be supportive in todays game.

The only thing I am still waiting for is Howard to start hitting long balls again, maybe he needs a clubhouse vacation like J-Roll got recently. So today we hope and prey that Jamie Moyer has another good start and goes deep into the game, keeping the Mets off balance and swinging through his off-speed pitches and completely missing his slow/fast ball.

Lets make this a happy 4th of July with another win against the Mets and then maybe we can dream of a sweep of our own.


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…..