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Archive for the ‘Phillies’ Category

Phillies’ bats on a tear headed into tonight’s duel of aces

Posted by Dany Sloan On June - 9 - 2010

Last night’s 10-8 win at home against the Florida Marlins was promising for a few reasons. After falling behind 4-0, the bats lit up in the bottom of the third.

Ryan Howard stepped up to the dish with one on and sent the ball off into the massive sea of red and later in the the inning, Raul Ibanez knocked in another run to put the team behind. Ibanez would finish the night with four hits and giving fans enough reason to bring back the “RAUUULLL!!” chants.

Even better, the production came from more than just a couple of guys. Ben Francisco, who has in the lineup for Jayson Werth, went 2-for-4. His two RBI single in the bottom of the eighth put the team ahead for good. Maybe all this (not so young) kid needs to do is get inserted in the lineup more often. Let’s hope Cholly was taking notes.

Adding to all of this, Shane Victorino homered, making this the first game since mid-May that the Phils have hit more than one home run. Offensive contributions also came from Chase Utley and Wilson Valdez, the latter of which was responsible for two RBIs.

Brad Lidge came in to get the save in the ninth, and while it wasn’t as smooth as his last two, he was able to work his way out of a bases loaded jam. With all of the recent upheavals in the bullpen, it’s nice to see the Lidge from ’08 – we can only hope he sticks around for the balance of the season.

On the flipside, Kyle Kendrick got shelled, giving up 6 runs, 5 of them earned, over the course of 5 innings. While he has had more good starts than bad, his off nights can be particularly ugly. At least he’s mature enough to admit when he’s bad, as he came right out and said that he “pitched like shit” last night. Jose Contreras also got battered, allowing a triple to none other than Wes Helms, who knocked in highly-touted rookie Mike Stanton.

Tonight’s matchup will likely tell a much different story offensively as both team’s aces will be taking the hill. The last time Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson faced one another, the Phils won 1-0 as Halladay pitched only the second perfect game in team history. There likely won’t be an encore of that performance, but expect runs to come at a premium tonight.

With last night’s outburst, the Phils could be on their way to getting out of their offensive funk. Only time will tell, but if they can put up some numbers against a pitcher like Josh Johnson, then fans have one less thing to worry about.

Phillies hope bowling is the key to ending their slump

Posted by Kieran Kelly On June - 4 - 2010

The Phillies are slumping. Everyone knows it. The players, manager, fans and even the rest of baseball knows it.

During their recent 2-8 run, the Atlanta Braves have gone 9-1 to take over first place and drop the Phillies 3 games back. While it’s still only the first week of June, being 3 games back is unfamiliar territory around here the past 2 seasons.

Yesterday, Jimmy Rollins returned from his rehab in Florida to host his annual bowling tournament to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Typically, it’s just a fun thing to do on an off day to raise some money for charity. Let’s hope it does more than that this year. Getting an off day in the middle of a slump could be a great thing. Gives the players a chance to get their minds off of what’s going on and just be themselves.

Charlie Manuel recently said the team was too relaxed before games recently, but I think that is what suits this team. They are relaxed and having fun before the game, but once the game starts, they usually know when to flip the switch. That switch hasn’t been flipped on the past couple of weeks. They need to figure out how to do that again.

Ryan Howard has been downright terrible since singing that huge contract. He usually goes through slumps, but he’s just been bad recently. Chase Utley is right there with him. He can’t seem to get anything in order right now. Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino & the rest of the regulars are all struggling as well. Don’t even get started on the bench. That’s a whole other mess.

Slumps happen in baseball, it’s part of the game. It’s just rare to see a team of the Phillies’ caliber all struggling at the same time. They’d be able to overcome it if it was just a player or two, but the whole lineup needs to wake up. There have been suggestions on bringing up Domonic Brown to shock the players out of it, but I think that’s a bit premature. The team will come around, it’s just a matter of when.

What’s interesting is how bad the Phillies have been when Rollins is out of the lineup. Is he really that much of a catalyst for the rest of the team? We all know he’s an important part of the lineup, but this important? Without him, the offense can barely muster a run or two a game.

The slump will end soon. It has to right? With Roy Halladay pitching for the first time since his perfect game, tonight would be a good time to start the turnaround.

Thinking back, maybe Mick Billmeyer’s binoculars were more important than we all thought…

Halladay tosses Phillies’ 2nd Perfect Game in 19,252 games

Posted by Kieran Kelly On May - 29 - 2010

HalladayPerfectGame.jpgWe all knew Doc was good, but perfect game good? Damn.

Roy Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in major league history in beating the Florida Marlins 1-0.

Doc had been victimized by poor offensive outputs from the Phillies’ anemic offense his last few times out, and this time was no different. The Phils could only muster one unearned run in the third inning, but that was more than enough for Halladay.

Halladay had actually come within one out of a no-hitter before, but he finished this one out, and without a baserunner to boot. Not normally a big strikeout pitcher, Halladay had 11 in this game, including one of pinch hitter Wes Helms for the 2nd out in the 9th inning.

Roy Halladay joins Jim Bunning as the only Phillies’ pitchers to throw a perfect game, Halladay’s coming 46 years after Bunning’s Father’s Day masterpiece.

For all of the losing that the Philadelphia Phillies’ franchise has endured, they are only the 5th team in baseball history to have 2 perfect games.

Even thought the offense is still struggling big time, having a shutdown pitcher like Halladay is huge right now. Jamie Moyer has owned the Marlins in his career, so hopefully this little win streak can continue tomorrow.

For the record, Cliff Lee has never thrown a perfect game. Just sayin`.

Five Phillies lead the All-Star voting after early results

Posted by Kieran Kelly On May - 25 - 2010

After the first round of results was announced for the 2010 MLB All-Star game, five Phillies were leading the way and would be starters in the Summer Classic if voting ended today.

Chase Utley leads all 2nd baseman, as well as all vote getters. Utley has been one of, if not the, best 2nd baseman in the majors over the past few years, so this comes as no surprise.

Placido Polanco is leading at 3rd base, which is kind of surprising considering he just came over to the NL and switched positions. Good to see Polly’s work being recognized by the fans early on.

Jimmy Rollins is leading all shortstops in what is clearly the biggest sign that this is all a popularity contest. J-Roll missed a ton of time and hasn’t really done much to garner an All-Star bid at this point.

Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino are 2nd and 3rd in outfielder voting, so they’d both get the not to start as well. Werth is having a monster year for doubles, and Victorino filled in very nicely in the leadoff spot while J-Roll was on the DL.

A couple of other Phillies are very close to getting a starting not. Ryan Howard trails the machine that is Albert Pujols at 1st base, while Carlos Ruiz trails Yadier Molina in the catcher’s race. It will be hard for Howard to beat out the player that is generally recognized as the best in the game, but it’s possible. One hot week from RyHo and the votes should start pouring in. Good to see Chooch getting some recognition after all of the work he’s done for the top team in the NL.

Raul Ibanez is sitting 8th among outfielders, so he’s got some ground to make up if he wants to make the team. Granted, he’s not having a great start to the season, so I don’t see that happening.

Charlie Manuel will be the manager of the NL squad, so he’ll have a ig say in the naming of the reserves. You can be sure he’ll bring as many Phillies as he can.

Voting ends July 1st, so be sure to get your votes in. You can vote on Phillies.com.

Also, don’t forget to vote former Phillie Pat the Bat into the ASG as the American League DH. He deserves it.

Red Sox blank the Phillies as Dice-K throws a one-hitter

Posted by Kieran Kelly On May - 22 - 2010

KendrickVSRedSox.jpgThe Phillies have had a lot of trouble with the Red Sox in interleague play, and after getting a win last night, those troubles came back today.

Daisuke Matsuzaka took the mound against the Phillies, facing off against Kyle Kendrick. In only his fifth start of the season, Dice-K took a no hitter into the 8th inning before Juan Castro blooped a single over shortstop Marco Scutaro’s head to get the Phillies’ only hit of the night.

Going almost 8 innings without giving up a hit against this Phillies offense is a significant achievement and Dice-K deserves major props for doing that. The defense behind him made some nice plays to preserve the no-hitter, and Dice-K himself snagged a Jayson Werth line drive up the middle to steal a sure double. Hell, Matsuzaka himself had has many hits as he gave up, grabbing his first career hit in the second inning.

Once again, the Phillies offense goes through phases of scoring a ton of runs and then going silent for a stretch. When the bats are working, the Phillies are almost unbeatable. They score runs in bunches and have one of the deepest lineups in all of baseball. There is no reason that this team should be no-hit, or even come close to it.

Splitting the first two games against the Sox sets up the Phillies to win the series with Roy Halladay going against Tim Wakefield in the rubber match on Sunday. Grabbing the series win against Boston would get the Phillies off to a great start in interleague play.

Phillies kick off interleague play with 3 game set against Boston

Posted by Kieran Kelly On May - 21 - 2010

A few years ago, Citizens Bank Park became Fenway South for the games in which the Red Sox were playing the Phillies. Last year, Phillies’ fans had a better showing. This year, expect fewer Massholes.

Now that interleague play is back, you can expect Red Sox Nation to show up at the Bank this weekend. They travel well and it’s usually easier to get a ticket down here than it is in Fenway. Hopefully Phillies’ fans won’t look to make a quick buck and sell their tickets on StubHub. With a string of 62 straight sellouts, Phillies fans are leaving little room for Sox fans.

With the Red Sox struggling this year, currently sitting at 4th place in the AL East, maybe the Phillies can finally get off to a good start in IL play. The Phillies are woeful in games against the Junior Circuit, going 96-121 since 1997. They’re 15-22 against Boston. While these games haven’t hurt the Phillies too much the past 3 years, winning some more of them wouldn’t hurt.

Coming off of a disappointing 4 game split against the Pirates and Cubs, the Phillies should be looking to increase their lead in the division, but only if they can find their offense. The bats went quiet during this week and they struggled as a result. Solid outings by Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer were wasted as the Phillies could only manage one run each in their starts.

The Fightins should have their hands full this weekend, as they face John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Tim Wakefield in the 3 game set. Wakefield takes the place of the injured Josh Beckett. The Phillies counter with Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, and Halladay.

The Red Sox don’t figure to be a .500 team all season, so getting this series in now, while they’re struggling, should be good for the Phillies. A lot of experts had these two teams meeting in the World Series this year, so the Sox will have to pick it up if they want that to happen.

Until then, it’s only 3 games in May against an American League team, but it’s still a solid measuring stick for the Phillies.

WerthPirates.jpgWhat else is there to say?

The Phillies managed to get 9 innings out of Roy Halladay only giving up 2 runs but they couldn’t crack the “ace” pitching staff of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Games like these are ones that the Phillies should win. They are better than the Pirates in every way. Getting a split of the 2 game series is not good enough when a pitcher of Roy Halladay’s caliber is on the rubber.

The Fightins could only mange 1 run in the game, when Juan Castro, playing in place of a sick Chase Utley, singled with the bases loaded to score Ryan Howard, but Jayson Werth was thrown out at the plate without even a slide to end the threat.

The loss to the Pirates was Halladay’s first loss at Citizens Bank Park this season and it also snaps the Phillies’ 4 game win streak, but their lead in the NL East still stands at 4.

When it all comes down to it, this is a game in mid-May against the NL Central basement dwellers, but it’s a game the Phillies should have won. They’ll win games like this much more often than they’ll lose, but it’s still disappointing.

HowardBatting.jpgBig uplift for the Phillies today, as not only did Chooch return behind the plate, but Jimmy Rollins finally made his return off of the DL from his calf injury. Kind of surprising to see him back with only one rehab start in Clearwater, but he seemed to be more than fine during the game.

Lot’s of contributions from up and down the roster as the Phillies put a whooping on the Bucs, winning 12-2.

In J-Roll’s first game at CBP this season, he went 2-4 with 2 runs scored and knocked in a run to top it off. He seemed to be running at full speed after he hit his double early in the game, so it seems as if his calf is fully healed. Great to have J-Roll back, not just from an offensive standpoint, but his defense is a strong point as well, and he showed that on a few plays during the game.

Carlos Ruiz made his return after a short stint away and he seemed to help Kyle Kendrick go 8 strong innings. Kendrick gave up 5 hits and 2 runs in a solid start. Nice to see KK come up with a strong outing out of what is basically the five hole in the rotation. J.A. Happ won’t be back for at least another month, so Kendrick will be counted on to keep the rotation going.

Ryan Howard let loose with a grand slam in the 9th inning to get 4 of his 6 RBIs with one swing. He went 3-5 in the game with 1 strikeout. Always a good thing when Howard is swinging the bat like he is now. He beat the shift on an infield single as well. Howard as gotten faster as the years go by, and I know I wouldn’t get in his way once he gets going.

Jayson Werth also knocked in 4 RBIs before being replaced by formerly MIA Ben Francisco. Good to see the reserve getting some time. Definitely something that needs to happen more often. As good as the starting 8 have been, they could all use a break at some point.

WIth short series against the Pirates and Cubs this week before heading into interleague play against the Red Sox this weekend, it’s good to see the Phillies on a hot streak. With the largest division lead and a 4 game win streak, the Phillies seem to be hitting their annual late summer hot streak a bit early this year.

(Photo Credit: AP)

Hey look, Brad Lidge to the DL again. Contreras to close

Posted by Kieran Kelly On May - 16 - 2010

Contreras.jpgIn what is starting to become a common occurrence in Philadelphia, closer Brad Lidge has once again been sent to the 15 day disabled list for a sore elbow.

MRIs showed no structural damage, but the Phillies decided to shelve Lidge for a few weeks after watching him throw.

WIth the move, the closer’s spot falls to Jose Contreras, someone who had never closed out a game until this past week. Contreras could be looked at as the 3rd option to close, after Lidge and Ryan Madson, who’s on the DL after breaking his toe kicking a chair.

Even without their closer, the Phillies have the best record in the National League at 22-13 and they have a 3 game lead over the Washington Nationals (yes, those Washington Nationals) in the NL East. WIth Jimmy Rollins expected back shortly, the team will receive a nice little offensive boost.

The problems with the bullpen are starting to mount however, and getting Lidge back healthy would be a tremendous addition to the bullpen. The Phillies have weathered the storm so far, but it’s only May. A lot of things can happen between now and October.

First hinted at yesterday by Meech over at The Fightins, the June 25-27 series between the Phillies and Blue Jays has been shifted from Toronto to Philadelphia due to security and congestion issues around the Jays’ home field at the Rogers Center.

Confirmed today by MLB, Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki has the deets.

Toronto will be the “home” team and will bat last in the 3 games. The DH will also be used as this game will be played under American League rules. It will be pretty cool to see the Phillies leading off a game at Citizens Bank Park and use the DH at home. I’m very curious to see if the Phillies will be wearing their road uniforms or if they just keep it normal and wear the pinstripes. The Jays have a road trip immediately following these 3 games, so they will most likely just bring their road uniforms and keep it simple.

Of course, in the eyes of the rest of the National League, this will be seen as an unfair advantage for the Phillies, as they get to play another 3 games in CBP. Nothing the Phillies could do about this though, so they’ll have to live with it. I would have liked to have seen a doubleheader at Rogers Centre on one of the other days, or even play in Montreal for the series. I heard that Olympic Stadium had been renovated after the Expos left though, so it wouldn’t be easy to play there for just 3 games. Either way, I’m sure MLB would rather take another 3 sellouts at CBP than play at a neutral site. Same goes for the Blue Jays, who will most likely get a significant portion of the gate receipts since these are technically home games for them. They’ll end up much better than they have been at nearly empty Rogers Centre.

Sad to see that Roy Halladay won’t get to make a return trip to Toronto, but the Blue Jays have requested that the Phillies make a trip north of the border in 2011 so they can honor Halladay in his former park. This is something that doesn’t happen very often, so I’m going to try and get down to CBP for this series. We’ll most likely never see the DH used at Citizens Bank Park again.

Hopefully we won’t have to see a Blue Jays walk-off in our own stadium. We all know what happened the last time the Jays beat the Phillies on a walk-off.

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