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.
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.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog entry, my sister and I rooted for opposing teams during our formative years. I was, of course, phaithful to the Phillies, while she rooted for the Mets only because she had a crush on Lee Mazzilli. As sisters so often do, we made fun of each other’s choices – the best way for me to get on her nerves was to refer to the Mets as “Mutts.”
Well, judging from this photographic evidence, maybe I wasn’t so far off. Here’s last night’s starting pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, with a little tongue action going on:
Not wanting to miss out on the fun, David Wright joins in on the tongue-wagging:
Kind of like pound puppies, hoping to find a loving home. Well, keep looking, you’re not welcome in my house!
Anyway, the Phillies once again did not heed my advice and administer a butt-whippin’ to the Mets. They were swept in a short two-game set.
In the first game, Chan Ho Park took the mound for the Phillies, looking for a decent start after being pretty dismal so far this year. As Johan Santana was pitching for the Mets that night, all logic seemed to indicate that this game was a lost cause.
Miraculously, Park matched Santana through six innings, before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in a scoreless game. Six innings, one hit, 2 walks, and 5 stikeouts! Way to go, Chan Ho! Who’d of thunk it? Unfortunately for Park, his ERA is still a less than stellar 6.67.
The Mets plated an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh, as Carlos Delgado was able to score all the way from first, on a bad throw by Pedro Feliz that sailed past Ryan Howard and into the outfield. Jayson Werth may have had a play at the plate, but he hesitated before throwing.
Need I remind these guys what happens when you hesitate?
That lone run would be enough, as the Mets won, 1-0.
In the second game, Jamie Moyer pitched like you would expect from a
relic 46-year-old, giving up 7 runs in 2 1/3 innings. Props go again to the bullpen, for pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings and giving the Phils a chance to stay in the game.
And they did try their darndest to come back once again. Ryan Howard launched a bomb to the deepest part of the field; too bad there was no one on base. Jayson Werth hit a 2-run shot to left. After being down 7-1, the Phils managed to get as close as 7-5, but there would be no miracle.
The Phillies are back home now for a weekend set against the Braves. Despite the two losses, they still hold a slim 1/2 game lead over both the Mets and Marlins. Let’s not let it slip away!
(both photos Julie Jacobsen/AP)
Should Chan Ho Get The Heave-ho?
On Friday morning, I asked the Phillies to go out and kick some Met butt that night. Apparently none of them read my blog, and therefore did not get the message.
Chan Ho Park had a crappy start (the wrap-up on phillies.com generously called it “mediocre”), giving up 7 runs on 8 hits and 6 walks, with only one strikeout, all in the span of 4 2/3 innings.
So far this season, in four starts, his record is 0-1 with an 8.57 ERA. The only reason his won-lost record isn’t worse is because the Phillies came from behind to actually win in his previous three starts. But you can’t count on that happening every time.
Kudos to the bullpen for pitching scoreless baseball the remainder of the game.
I know he pitched great in spring training, beating out J.A. Happ for the fifth starters spot, but when will we see some quality pitching from Park when it counts? On Wednesday, Park is scheduled to pitch against the Mets again, this time at Citi Field.
So far, there have been no discussions on removing Park from the rotation. According to Rich Dubee, quoted in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer:
“He’s getting the ball,” Dubee said. “We’re confident.”
Well, Mr. Dubee, I’m glad you are, because I’m certainly not. Then again, you’re the pitching coach, and I’m certainly not.
A “Walk”-off Win
OK, Saturday was a new day, and another chance for the Phillies to kick some Met butt. But instead of the Mets getting their butts kicked, I saw the Mets getting their butts slapped:
Ramon Castro is congratulated by third-base coach Razor Shines on a solo home run. [Why the butt-slap? Would it be so hard to give a congratulatory hand-slap, back-slap, or shoulder-slap?]
This is not what I meant, guys!
Yes, the Phillies did get the win, eventually. They jumped out to an early lead against Oliver Perez, who gave up 4 runs in just 2 1/3 innings. It’s so nice to see other teams get crappy starts from their pitchers, too. Jamie Moyer pitched well for the first five innings, but then things came unraveled in the sixth, allowing the Mets to tie the game at 5 runs apiece.
The score remained tied through nine, but in the bottom of the tenth the Phillies loaded the bases. Shane Victorino then drew a walk from reliever Sean Green to “drive” in the winning run, for a 6-5 Phillies victory.
Not exactly a butt-whipping, but I’ll take it.
Here Comes The Rain Again
The deciding game of this three-game set ended up being postponed due to rain on Sunday. Blech! No date has been announced yet.
It’s Monday morning now, and it’s still raining. As the heading for this section is also the title of a Eurythmics song, here are a few of my other favorite rain-themed songs:
“Rain” – The Cult
“Purple Rain” – Prince
“Fool In The Rain” – Led Zeppelin
“It’s Raining Men” – The Weather Girls
“Mary Sunshine Rain” – Dada
Hope at least some of you are having a sunny day today.
The Phillies are in St. Louis tonight, taking on the Cardinals. Please, no rain!
(first two photos by Tom Mihalek/AP; CBP photo from AP)
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)