When a team has got a lead going into the final inning of a baseball game it’s the closers job to come in and shut down the opposition so that your team gets the win. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the 9th, 10th or even more, and it doesn’t matter if your at home or on the road, it is without a doubt the primary responsibility of the closer to secure that win.
Yesterday in Atlanta the Phillies did exactly that, Cole Hamels pitched good, for him this season, through 6 innings, giving up just 2 runs on 3 hits, okay he walked 4, but still considering how he has performed this year, when it came to crunch time and the Phillies needed a good outing he gave us one.
The bullpen came in to relieve Hamels in the 7th inning and gave another good performance, shutting the Braves down in the 7th and 8th innings. So now its up to the closer, Brad Lidge, to enter the game and not give anything away. We have all seen him this year, but Charlie Manuel and his coaches still have confidence in Lidge to come out and do his job. Maybe its time to re-think Charlie, Lidge is not cutting it at the moment. Yes the error by Utley didn’t help, but then loading the bases, because your afraid of the strike zone doesn’t help either.
Trying to blow magic on your hand, like a magician, isn’t going to work Lidge, you shouldn’t have loaded the bases in the first place.
If this wasn’t a message to Charlie Manuel then I don’t know what would be, and if Lidge can’t do it, if he has some inner- self that’s giving him a hang-up, then he should be a man and tell Charlie, and save us all the continued embarrassment of sending a closer out there that nobody is afraid to face.
I could offer up some suggestions, I am sure many a blogger will, I am also sure many fans that don’t blog here will be commenting at the ZoZone about what should be done and how to do it, but the bottom line is you get paid to make those decisions Charlie and it’s time you made one regarding Lidge. You had no trouble telling us “it’s for the best interest of the team”, when you sent Moyer to the pen, so how about that same attitude regarding the closers spot.
Today JA Happ goes to the mound, I just hope if this is a tight game and the Phillies have the lead at the end, we use an alternative to Lidge…
Joe Blanton was
…he’s been described as a ‘hulk’….he’s
The Braves had a 1-0 lead going
…from the movie ‘Major
…I am not sure if he was
It wasn’t for long though,
The 5th and 6th innings the
….it would stay at a 2-2
So the Phillies were
Well the Phillies
Cliff Lee takes his 3rd straight win as the Ace in the Phillies rotation and
drives 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 to 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 offensive 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.
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.
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…
Cliff Lee made his debut as a Philadelphia Philly last night in San Francisco, he was acquired this week by the Phillies as a top addition to the Phillies starting rotation, this was his first start for a National League team having spent his major league career with the Cleveland Indians.
This was a chance for the fans and the Philly players to see what Ruben Amaro Jr. had acquired for the team, before the game Dubee and Manuel had said ‘they would sit back and watch, mostly, so they could see what he could do’.
Now before everyone gets overly excited and thinks that he is being put on a pedestal with expectations way above what he could possibly deliver, we all must understand it’s his first game and this cannot be expected every time he goes to the mound… you can hope… but don’t expect it. With that said Cliff Lee came out last night and looked like a natural born NL starting pitcher, the Phillies wanted a pitcher and they got one.
He showed poise and confidence….
He showed he could field his position…
and the Kung-Fu Panda was no match…
and this was just the 1st inning…
What we didn’t know was, could he swing a bat?…
he showed us…
not just once but twice…
he hit a single and a double, with a short sharp swing, you’d almost think he had been through an intense Utley hitting course.
and he was enjoying it…
but how would he fit in with the other Philly players?….
How couldn’t you fit in with the guys in the dugout….
Cliff Lee is officially a Philly….
Yes there was other players on the field, and they all played their parts with the normal characteristics that the Philly players have, this may have only been a 5-1 win for the Phils, but if they had really hit with RISP, it could have been double digits for the Phil’s.
Ben Francisco had another start in place of the injured Victorino, who by the way, probably wont be back till Tuesday is my guess, had another good game with hard hits at each at bat, he picked up a hit and an RBI.
Well done!! the front office for the new players, initial showings make them an excellent fit for the reigning World Series Champions.
Joe Blanton the Phillies work horse, goes today against Lincecum, Phillies have had a tendancy to come alive when facing the Ace of the opposition, lets hope this happens tonight…
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…
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…
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….
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…..
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…..
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 break 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
crushed 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.
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,
loading 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…..