Last night’s NLCS Game 4 was just a little too stressful for my tastes. After jumping out to an early lead in the first inning via a Ryan Howard long ball (which I missed, by the way, while helping my young procrastinator finish a school project which was due today), the Phils’ bats went silent as Randy Wolf found his groove for the next several innings.
Joe Blanton, on the other hand, started out strong, but then began to falter the second time through the Dodgers’ lineup. The Dodgers took a 4-2 lead, and I began to resemble this:
Yep, I was giving some serious hairy eyeballs to the Dodgers, particularly when ManChild, oops I mean ManRam, was for once not “being Manny” in the outfield, as he ran in to make a shoestring catch on an Ibanez liner to end a Phillies scoring threat.
The Phils did manage to cut the margin to 4-3, but the Dodgers still held a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. But now it was payback time. Last Friday, it was the Phillies who blew the one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth to lose, 2-1, when their pitching began to unravel.
Jonathon Broxton, last night was your turn.
Broxton retired Ibanez for out number one. Matt Stairs came in to pinch hit, and worked a walk; Eric Bruntlett came in to pinch run. After Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch to put two men on base, Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit and was retired on a humpback liner to third.
Two outs, I’m starting to imagine how bad my mood will be today.
Up to the plate comes Jimmy Rollins, who was only hitting .167 so far in the NLCS (not good, Jimmy). Miraculously, Jimmy smoked a liner to the gap in right to score both Bruntlett and Ruiz. Happiness ensued! I felt like doing this:
but unfortunately I don’t live near a beach (must change that situation!).
In the postgame interview, Rollins looked like he was doing his best Etta James impersonation:
Love the look, Jimmy – I hope we see it again this season!
The Joy of the NLCS Schedule (she says sarcastically)
So why is it that during the regular season, teams can play eight, nine, even ten games in a row, but come the postseason, they can’t seem to play more than two days in a row?? Why exactly do we need an off-day in the middle of the three games being played in Philadelphia? I’m sure it has something to do with TV and advertising revenues, but I don’t like it.
The Joy of Technology
It seems that StubHub experienced an “email glitch”, and accidentally sent messages to fans of the Mets that said,
“Be there alongside your New York Mets as they chase baseball immortality. Go to StubHub, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of tickets to every playoff game — so you experience the championship chase live and in person.”
Hee hee! I wonder if there were any dimbulb Mets fans who got confused and actually tried to order tickets?
Apparently fans of a few other non-playoff teams also got erroneous messages (see full story here), but I always take secret glee in the travails of Mets fans. Sorry, but I can’t help it :-).
Last night, the Phillies apparently put Friday’s painful Game 2 loss out of their minds, and set about administering a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin’ to the Dodgers, winning 11-0. Game 2 saw the Phils’ bats stymied by former Phillie Vicente Padilla (gotta admit I didn’t expect that), as they mustered only one run on Ryan Howard’s solo homer. In Game 3, they exploded for 11 runs!
And I wasn’t even wearing the lucky shirt! Mind you, it had been washed since Game 2, hopefully removing any bad luck remnants. But prior to the game, I’d been so busy helping my son with a school project, that I didn’t even think about changing shirts. So I sat down to watch the game still wearing my Penn State sweatshirt, and my Eagles not-so-lucky garment that didn’t do any good at all for them yesterday. And still the Phils won! So maybe I can just wear whatever I want for the rest of the series.
Random thoughts on Games 2 and 3:
– Talk about temperature extremes! Friday’s game was played under bright blue skies with temps in the 90’s; last night’s game had mid-40’s temps with windy conditions. Given my choice, I’d much rather the conditions in L.A., and besides, everything is better with palm trees!
– Cliff Lee once again pitched a gem for the Phillies, going eight shutout innings. So far this postseason, he is 2-0 with a miniscule 0.74 ERA.
– Pedro Martinez also pitched a gem on Friday, going seven shutout innings, but ended up with no decision in the 2-1 loss.
– Ryan Howard hit a two-run triple in the first inning last night. Now there’s something you don’t see every day, as Howard is obviously not known for his speed. Howard has now driven in at least one run in seven straight playoff games, setting a new record for a single postseason. Way to go, Ryan!
– Carlos Ruiz is quietly having a great postseason so far, hitting .429 with 7 RBIs. He doesn’t get the same amount of attention as the rest of the lineup (except possibly Pedro Feliz), but he’s been very productive batting in the number 8 spot.
The Nose Knows
Speaking of Pedro Feliz, not sure what was up with his nose last night, though I’m assuming this was a Band-aid, and not his attempt to impersonate Rudolph:
I would’ve assumed that there were products available for people with darker complexions, but surprisingly I can’t find any such thing on the internet. But there are lots of fun products out there for more interesting situations.
Celebrate a birthday:
Let the other team know you’re watching them:
Let the other team know you think they’re toast:
And since Halloween will only bring Game 3 (yes, this year’s postseason definitely goes too late into the fall) of the World Series:
Shocking TV Scheduling!
In a real surprise, the Yankees/Angels game is on at 4 pm here on the East Coast, and the Phillies/Dodgers game gets the prime time spot. What gives? Has the world tilted on its axis? Has hell frozen over? Steinbrenner wants to watch the Yankees and can’t stay up that late anymore?
Whatever the reason, I’ll be watching Game 4 tonight from the cozy comforts of home. If anyone has tickets they don’t want to use, I’d be more than happy to brave the elements! 😉
(Feliz photo by Mary Schwalm/MLB.com)
The lucky shirt’s power continues. I almost forgot to put it on – we turned on the TV just as the game was beginning, and there it was lying nicely folded on my bed, next to all the other laundry currently being folded. I quickly changed and all was (eventually) right with the world.
The game was a nail-biter (metaphorically speaking, thankfully that is not one of my bad habits), but we did not have to resort to actually turning the TV off at any point.
I’m not going to recap the whole game – that info is out there elsewhere if you want it – but I will share some of my random thoughts from the game.
– Here we are in the entertainment capital of the world, and the best they can do for the National Anthem is Billy Ray Cyrus!?!? The guy best known at the moment as Hannah Montana’s, um, I mean Miley Cyrus’s dad? Why not at least have them do a duet? It’s not like he’s even a native of SoCal – wait, is anyone actually a native of SoCal? Hopefully this Kentucky native’s heart wasn’t too achy-breaky after the Dodgers dropped Game 1.
– At one point during the game, Russell Martin slipped while putting on the brakes after rounding third, and the announcer (not sure which one) mentioned that it had rained the day before. Rain in SoCal – hmm, I guess Albert Hammond lied to us when he sang that “It Never Rains In Southern California”. Well, he is from London, so I guess he can be forgiven for not really knowing.
– Cole Hamels once again lost his composure on the mound, thowing his hands in the air after Rollins and Utley failed to turn an inning-ending double play. This allowed Manny Ramirez to come to the plate and deliver a two-run bomb. Come on Cole, get your head on straight!
– Speaking of Manny’s bomb, is it ever a good idea to throw three straight change-ups, as Cole did to Manny in this at-bat? Isn’t the whole point of a change-up that it is a different speed from the previous pitches? If you throw three in a row there is nothing for it to “change-up” from.
– I would love to sneak up behind ManRam with a big pair of scissors. Like the Biblical Samson, would he lose all his power if I cut off his hair?
– Is it just me, or does Chan Ho Park truly look like a “deer in the headlights” on the mound while looking in for the signs? Nonetheless, he looked great for having not pitched in almost a month. Way to go, Chan Ho! I’m sorry I doubted you earlier in the season.
– Choooooch! Rauuuuul! Are there two more fun names to say after a pair of three-run jacks? I think not.
– Lastly, we are still tortured with the announcers on TBS. Thankfully it is not the same crew as the NLDS (they were about as exciting as watching paint dry), but now I must listen to Buck Martinez, who inexplicably reminds me of the (fictional) announcer Jimmy Shorts from my son’s MLB Slugfest 2003 game.
Game 2 starts in less than four hours, with Pedro Martinez taking the mound for the Phils against former Phil Vicente Padilla. Should be interesting, to say the least. The lucky shirt is ready.
If not for Ben Francisco’s leadoff homer in the top of the 12th, I would have been doing this today
as I sat writing about Brad Lidge’s seventh blown save of the season.
The Nose Knows
Things had looked bleak back in the sixth, with the Phils down 2-0. I was already envisioning doing the head-banging thing, as Rich Harden had been perfect through 5 1/3. But then Carlos Ruiz walked with one out. J.A. Happ then made a pathetic attempt at a sacrifice bunt, popping out to Derrek Lee and failing to advance Ruiz. So with two outs, Jimmy Rollins comes to the plate, and my husband announced he could “smell” a two-run homer.
Sure enough, Jimmy came through to tie the game!
The Phils went up 3-2 in the eighth, when Ryan Howard walked with the bases loaded. Thank you Ryan, for not striking out!
But darn it, Brad Lidge came on in the bottom of the ninth. Unlike last year, he has been anything but “lights out” this year. As mentioned earlier, he allowed the Cubs to tie the score, for his seventh blown save. Ready…to…tear…hair…out! Guess it’s a good thing Charlie doesn’t have too much of his own hair left, because if he felt like I did, he’d have been yanking it out by the handful.
Fast forward to the top of the 12th, and Francisco’s homer puts the Phils ahead. Heading into the bottom of the 12th, I commented that thankfully Lidge couldn’t come in again to blow another save. Chad Durbin entered the game and did what Lidge could not, preserve a one-run lead to get the save.
Give Me An ‘O’!
Today’s Inquirer had a good write-up about prospect Domonic Brown, who was recently promoted to AA-Reading. According to the story, Brown remains a shy prospect despite the recent attention cast on him by various trade-deadline rumors, and only recently informed the Phillies that they have been spelling his name wrong ever since he was drafted.
So I looked in the 2009 Media Guide, and sure enough it was spelled “Dominic”. I also noted that he had been drafted in 2006! A mere three years ago. Better late than never, I guess.
This Sunday we’ll be heading to Reading for the game, so I hope to get a good look at (and some good photos of) Brown in action.
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)
Bombs Away in the Bronx
I was a bit apprehensive about the Phillies’ visit to the new Yankee Stadium, given the way balls have been flying out of it, coupled with the propensity of Phillies pitchers to give up those gopher balls. True to expectations, seven balls left the yard tonight.
Jimmy Rollins set the tone for the night by going deep on the very first pitch of the game. There was no looking back after that, as the Phillies never trailed during this game. How many times has that happened so far this season? Don’t know off the top of my head, but I don’t think it’s a very big number.
Carlos Ruiz, Jayson Werth, and Raul Ibanez joined Rollins in the hit parade, with Ibanez hitting his league-leading 16th long ball. This chick is starting to dig it!
Brett Myers pitched masterfully, going eight strong innings while giving up three runs. All three came on the Yanks’ share of the dingers tonight, but thankfully all three were of the solo variety, by Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Mark Teixeira.
Phils win, 7-3. Yay!
Flushed Away in Flushing
You may have already heard about this, but I can’t resist bringing it up. Since it involves a Mets fan and a toilet, I’m surprised the Philadelphia columnists didn’t have a field day with it. Nonetheless, I learned about it on Thursday in a totally non-baseball blog called Lost in Suburbia, written by Tracy Beckerman, published author and fellow Penn Stater. Click HERE to read her take on it.
Seems that at a game last week at Citi Field, a female Mets fan lost a gold tooth in the toilet. For reasons known only to her, she tried to retrieve it, getting her arm stuck in the toilet in the process. According to other coverage, the toilet continued flushing over her arm the whole time, which appears to have been rather lengthy, as EMTs were unable to pry her loose and workers from the company that installed the toilets had to be called in to help. She was eventually freed, but the tooth was not recovered.
OK, how does this happen? If you feel a tooth about to fall out, would you lean over the toilet? And even if it is gold, it’s a toilet, for crying out loud! A public toilet in a ballpark, no less. Unlike your home toilet, Lord knows what’s been in there. Just let it go, and make an appointment with your dentist the next day!
I Need Your Opinion
While lamenting my inability to make the Latest Leader’s List in a comment on the community blog, I noticed a comment from another blogger that thought there were too many blogs with the word “rant” in the title.
I’m familiar with, and often visit, Julia’s Rants and the Rockpile Rant, but how many more are there? Just a quick look uncovered Rainiers Rants, Wrigley Rants, Phillies Cheers/Rants, Random Reds Rants, and the daily rant (who I guess doesn’t feel the need for capitalization). And how many more might there be?
So the question I’m now contemplating is whether or not I should change the title of my blog. Maybe all these different rants are confusing to the blog readers. Do I need something clever to catch the eye? Let me know what you think.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
I will be incommunicado this weekend, traveling with the family to the Jersey Shore (or as they say in Philly, going “down the shore”) for a visit with relatives. Here’s wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend!
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)