Today’s entry is going to be a short one, because right now I’m developing a wicked headache. I’m not sure if I’m getting a cold, or my allergies are acting up, but all I know is that my sinuses are doing something which is resulting in post nasal drip, which is causing me to sneeze and cough. The coughing is now unfortunately giving me a headache.
Anyway, a few quick thoughts from the holiday weekend.
Phils Take 2 of 3 From Yankees
Brett Myers pitched well on Friday to lead the Phillies to a 7-3 win, which I recounted in my last entry.
On Saturday, J.A. Happ went 6 innings and would have been in line to get the win, as the Phillies were up 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. Then Brad Lidge entered the game and all hell broke loose. Johnny Damon walked to lead off the inning, and then with one out, A-Rod homered to tie it up. Robinson Cano then singled and subsequently stole second, so that Melky Cabrera’s bloop into short center allowed him to score the winning run. Yanks win, 5-4.
The way the Yankees reacted, you’d have thought they just won the World Series. Heck, even a come-from-behind-in-the-ninth win should be old news for them, as they lead the majors with 17 come-from-behind wins, with nine of those coming in the final at-bat.
Sunday, Cole Hamels allowed two runs in six innings of work. The Phillies had a slim 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, and once again, Brad Lidge blew the save. This time the game went into extra innings, with Carlos Ruiz knocking in the game-winning run in the top of the 11th, giving the Phillies a 4-3 victory.
John Mayberry, Jr. Makes His Debut
Mayberry made his major-league debut in Saturday’s game, and made a splash by hitting a 3-run homer for his first big-league hit. He also added a double, to go 2-for-3 on the day.
Why, just last Tuesday I saw John taking some big cuts at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs game:
What Is Up With Lidge?
Brad Lidge blew two consecutive save opportunities this weekend. Is his knee more of a factor than he and the Phillies are letting on? Is the pressure of living up to the expectations that resulted from last season’s perfection getting into his head? Is it something else entirely? Whether the issue is physical or mental, I hope the Phillies and Lidge soon figure out what is wrong, and please, please, please take steps to remedy the problem. We need a healthy and effective Lidge!
Monday of the Marlins
Other than Ryan Howard, the Phillies offense was lackluster yesterday in a 5-3 loss to the Marlins. Howard provided all the offense, with a two-run homer in the first, and a solo shot in the sixth. Jamie Moyer allowed 4 runs, with three of them coming on a home run by Wes Helms in the fourth, after Moyer walked the first two batters of the inning. Helms went 3-for-4 on the day with 4 RBIs.
Hey Wes, how come you never had games like that when you were a Phillie?
The Phillies and Marlins meet again tonight, with Joe Blanton facing off against Andrew Miller. Come on, guys, let’s get back on the winning track!
(photo by me)
The Phillies somehow managed to sweep the Nationals in four games over the weekend, despite more shaky starting pitching.
On Friday, Joe Blanton gave up 4 earned runs in 5 innings, and did not get a decision. However, the Phillies won, 10-6, in extra innings, thanks to a four-run top of the 12th.
In the first game of Saturday’s day-night double-header, Brett Myers turned in the only quality start of the weekend, giving up 2 earned runs in 7 innings to get the win. Incidentally, both runs were the result of solo home runs – only one other hit was recorded off Myers. The bullpen gave up 3 runs in the 8th to make the game a little closer, but Brad Lidge finally had a solid outing to nail down the 8-5 victory.
In the rain-shortened second game, Andrew Carpenter made his major-league debut and proceeded to give up 5 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, but amazingly earned the win anyway. Carpenter was the lucky beneficiary of a relatively new and little-known rule which allows the win to go to a pitcher who has pitched less than 5 innings if the game itself is shortened to 5. He was also the beneficiary of a two-run Ryan Howard homer and a three-run Raul Ibanez blast, propelling the Phillies to a 7-5 win.
And lastly, Chan Ho Park gave up 5 earned runs in a mere 1 1/3 innings on Sunday. Thanks to the bullpen, the Phillies were able to record a 8-6 victory.
So How About Those Starters?
In my last entry, I took a look at the ERAs of the starting pitchers. So how did the four-game sweep of the Nationals affect their stats? Incredibly, two of the three regular starters made their ERAs worse!
Only Brett Myers improved, lowering his ERA from 4.81 to 4.50. Joe Blanton’s went up ever so slightly, from 6.82 to 6.86. And Chan Ho Park, after two recent good outings, again stunk it up, with the resulting jump in ERA from 6.00 to 7.08.
Even Andrew Carpenter’s performance, despite getting the win, gave him a less-than-stellar 10.38.
Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer did not pitch in this series, so their ERAs remain unchanged (5.04 and 8.15, respectively).
Again, infer what you want from this information.
Jackie Robinson, Rain Maker?
The Phillies and Nationals were originally scheduled to honor Jackie Robinson on April 15, along with the rest of MLB. But that game was rained out.
So as part of the rescheduled game, the players all donned the number 42 for Saturday’s second game. Guess what happened?
At least they were able to get five innings in before the skies opened, making for an official, though rain-shortened, game.
Tomorrow, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs have an unusually early day game, scheduled to start at 10:35 in the morning. The weather forecast is calling for a very pleasant day, and since the kids will be in school, my husband is playing hooky from work and the two of us will be enjoying a day at the ballpark.
Although, even though we will be without our own kids, we will likely be surrounded by other people’s kids, as it is Education Day at Lehigh Valley, hence the unusual start time. I’m guessing the park will be full of school groups, though I’m not sure how taking kids to a baseball game instead of school is educational. Maybe there will be statistics lessons between innings?
The Phillies are off today. They open a six-game road trip tomorrow night in Cincinnati, and then travel to New York for three interleague games against the Yankees.
In last night’s 13-11 victory over the Nationals, the Phillies hit not one, but two – count ’em – two grand slams. It’s only the fourth time in team history that two Phillies have hit slams in the same game.
Ryan Howard deposited the first one in the ivy in center field in the fifth inning, to tie the score at 6-6. Each team scored once in the seventh, but in the top of the eighth, Scott Eyre came in and absolutely stunk it up. Eyre gave up four runs without recording a single out – his ERA is now a dismal 10.80. Nats are now up, 11-7.
But did the Phillies give up? No! They recorded 6 runs of their own, capped off by Raul Ibanez’s own slam to put the Phillies up 13-11. Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless ninth to get the save.
– If nothing else, we’ve learned never to count the Phillies out, even when they’re down late in the game. Other than Sunday’s comfortable win, all their victories have been of the come-from-behind variety.
– Jimmy Rollins is on record in this morning’s paper as stating that “I’m ready to hit .400 for the next month.” Is that a prediction, Jimmy? His powers of prognostication seem pretty good, having accurately called the Phils the team to beat in the NL East in 2007, and calling for 100 wins in 2008 (103 including the postseason). The Inquirer also managed to unearth one from 2005, when Jimmy stated he would hit .400 for the month of September, and then went out and hit .402 for the month with a 36-game hitting streak. Hmm. Maybe I should have Jimmy pick a few lottery numbers for me. 🙂
Not so happy stuff
– Brad Lidge is experiencing swelling in his right knee, and was unavailable last night. Is this why Lidge has looked a bit shaky so far this season? Let’s hope it clears up soon, and Lidge returns to his 2008 form.
– Pity the poor Nationals. They hit five home runs last night, scored 11 runs, and still lost the game.
In case you were wondering
The other three grand slam combos in Phillies history are:
1921 – Ralph Miller and Lee Meadows (never heard of either of them)
1997 – Billy McMillon and Mike Lieberthal (Lieby! I remember him)
2003 – Tomas Perez and Jason Michaels (Tomas’ only career grand slam!)
Photo fun: something fishy going on
Yesterday’s photo of Cody Ross examining/admiring his hands is only part of the unusual tableau I captured during pre-game warmups a few years ago at Shea Stadium. Here it is in its full glory:
Do we really want to know exactly what’s going on here? I’m sure there’s a funny caption lurking here, too. Share your best efforts in the comments!
There’s also a second strange photo from this same game, which I’ll include tomorrow. Gotta keep ya coming back, after all!
(photo by me)
Woo hoo! What a weekend for the Phillies in South Florida!
After coming from behind with a ninth-inning rally on Friday night, the Phils pulled it off again on Saturday, tying the game in the ninth and then going ahead in the top of the tenth by a score of 6-4. Brad Lidge came on in the bottom of the tenth, and while somewhat shaky, held on for the save. I had to listen to all this on the radio while driving, as we had been visiting with out-of-state friends who were in the area for the weekend. The combination of Lidge loading the bases with two outs, and concentrating on the road at the same time, is a bit more stress than I need! Thankfully disaster was averted – the Phils won, and we arrived home in one piece. 🙂
In contrast, yesterday’s victory was a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin’ which the Phillies won in dominating style. Jamie Moyer continued his mastery of the Marlins, getting his third win of the season. Lifetime against the Fish, Moyer is 12-1!
Things weren’t too far out of hand for the Marlins through the first six innings, with the Phils up 4-1. But then Marlins relievers Hayden Penn and Kiko Calero gave up 7 and 2 runs, respectively, to put the Phils up 13-1.
With the game out of reach, the Marlins decided to save their pitchers, and brought in outfielder Cody Ross to pitch the top of the ninth. To his credit, he retired the side without giving up any runs, giving up only an infield hit to Jayson Werth. The Marlins scored once in the bottom of the ninth, to make the final score 13-2. Phils win!
OK guys, enough of the come-from-behind nailbiters. Let’s have a few more blowout games like that, please!
The Marlins have now been swept in successive series by the Pirates and the Phillies, and dropped to an 11-7 record. The Phillies improve to 9-8, and are now in second place, 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins.
Is Cody admiring the new-found talent in his hands, or just thinking that he needs a good manicure? Enquiring minds want to know!
Up next for the Phillies is a three game set with the Natinals/Nationals. My husband is going to the game tonight, as he and his partner were invited by a client. I, on the other hand, will be watching on TV as I try to put up with this unseasonable heat for just a little longer (I admit to just a wee bit of jealousy). Things are supposed to cool off by Wednesday, and I can’t rationalize turning on the AC for just two more days, in April, no less! So after the kids are in bed, I will retreat to the subterranean coolness of my basement (finished), with a refreshing gin and tonic in hand.
(photo by me)
After looking totally lifeless in Sunday night’s opener, I had hoped that the Phillies’ bats might perk up a little bit. But no, they looked just as lifeless last night, too. Granted, I usually miss an inning or two in the middle of the game to get my kids to go to bed, so maybe I missed a little hint of action, but from what I did see I am currently underwhelmed.
I was also glad to be watching from home last night, as the temperature hovered around 40 degrees, with a stiff wind blowing. Has Mother Nature not gotten the memo that Spring is here?
Following last season’s M.O., when they did manage to get some baserunners, they were left stranded. 11 of them last night, and not a single one scored. Atlanta won the game 4-0.
Atlanta starters have not given up any runs these first two games, while the Phillies’ starters have given up 8.
Alright, I know, it’s only the second game.
In an effort to not be totally negative today (I’ll leave that to the Philly sportswriters), I’ll mention a few positives. Few being the operative word.
– Raul Ibanez made a great throw from left and Carlos Ruiz made a great play at the plate in the top of the fourth to nail Casey Kotchman to end the inning.
– Ryan Howard made solid contact on two hits, and was robbed of a hit up the middle by the darn overshift defenses always employ against him.
– in four innings of relief, Chan Ho Park, Jack Taschner, and Clay Condrey held the Braves hitless. Taschner, Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin, and Brad Lidge also combined for three hitless innings on Sunday. Maybe we should let the bullpen start the games! 🙂 Ha, just kidding.
The Phillies will get their World Series rings in a ceremony before today’s game. Joe Blanton goes up against Javier Vazquez at 3:05 pm. Please guys, one for the “W” column?
(no photos today, I had to make this a quick entry as I have actual work to do)