Tagged: Cole Hamels

Two Out of Three (x 2) Ain’t Bad

No, taking two out of three from both the Mets and the Braves ain’t bad at all; in fact, I’d say it’s very good.

(and darn it, now there’s another song stuck in my head! Last week, it was AC/DC, now it’s Meat Loaf)

In both series, the Phillies dropped the first game when one of the four aces wasn’t very ace-like. Cole Hamels stunk it up against the Mets last Tuesday (Note to Cole: Giving up two hits to the opposing pitcher in the same inning is never a good idea) as the Phillies lost 7-1. Cliff Lee obviously did not have his best stuff in a 6-3 loss to the Braves.

Cole was able to redeem himself yesterday, going seven strong innings against the Braves as the Phillies won, 3-0.

In the second game against the Mets, Joe Blanton very nearly managed to lose the game after blowing a seven-run lead (Note to Joe: Please don’t do that again. Ever.). Joe was saved from a loss by four scoreless innings from the bullpen, and some timely hitting from the offense for a 10-7 win.

Both series also featured the stress-relieving blowout, courtesy of the Roys. Well, stress-relieving for me, not fans of the opposition. Roy Halladay pitched the Phils to a 11-0 rout of the Mets, and Roy Oswalt got his first-ever regular season win over Atlanta in a 10-2 butt-whuppin’.

Let’s hope the Phils can maintain that momentum, as they head to Washington following today’s off-day.

Funny Photo of the Week

Brad Emaus looks like he’s trying to do a little dance last Thursday (Note to Brad: don’t try out for Riverdance anytime soon).

do a little dance copy.jpg

(photo credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Don’t know if he made a little love and got down that night.

Aack! More 70’s music is getting stuck in my head! Must…make it…stop!

Spring (Training) Has Sprung

The Phils kicked off Spring Training 2011 today with a news conference to show off their much-ballyhooed-before-they’ve-even-thrown-a-pitch-together rotation. I’m not sure what the whole point was, really, as no new ground was covered. The questions were predictable, as were the responses.

All five starters were present.

Yes, five. Of course, the way the media have been hyping the “Four Aces”, one could be forgiven for forgetting that there is, in fact, a fifth starter. You know, the Other Guy, Joe Blanton.

At one point, one of the media members led off a question to Cole Hamels by stating that he was the “only one with a ring”. Uh, hellooo? Joe Blanton was on the ’08 staff too. Said reporter quickly corrected himself. I guess he’s been listening to all that hype a bit too much.

The pitchers themselves seem to be trying to downplay the whole “Four Aces” thing. When asked which of the nicknames for the rotation they liked best, Cliff Lee asked what they were. Someone out of range of the microphone rattled off a few. Kudos to Cliff for pointing out that all he heard in those nicknames were references to four guys, but there were five guys up on the podium.

Even after the conference had ended, Comcast’s Michael Barkann referred to the “Mount Rushmore” of rotations in his wrap-up.

Mount_Rushmore.jpgYo, Michael! Mount Rushmore only has four heads!

Mount_Rushmore copy.jpgHmm, not a bad image. But look! There’s a bit of space there to squeeze in a fifth head.

Mount_Rushmore_5.jpgOK, so it’s a wee bit smaller than the others. Let’s just hope that the starting five can live up to the “monumental” expectations already being thrown their way.

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

After the Giants beat the Braves last night, the Phillies now know who their opponent will be in the NLCS, which doesn’t start until Saturday. Granted, the Phillies made quick work of the Reds, sweeping them in three games; the Giants needed four games to dispatch the Braves. Even if both series had gone a full five games, the divisional series would have ended on Wednesday. Why do we possibly need two full days off between series???

Initially, I thought I wanted the Braves to advance, because I felt the Phillies had a better chance against their pitching. On the other hand, those two teams had already met 18 times during the regular season (with the Phils winning 10), so there was a certain amount of familiarity. The Giants and Phillies have only played each other 6 times, which I’m sure has it’s own set of pros and cons.

At least now I won’t have to hear that annoying (and some would say politically incorrect) Braves chant during the games, and as far as I know, the Giants don’t have any sort of mass chanting from their fans.

Flip side is, I’ll have to watch Tim Lincecum and his girlie hair.

Random NLDS Musings

Since my last post, following Roy Halladay’s no-no, the Phils took the next two from the Reds, though in rather opposite ways. In Game 2, the other Roy wasn’t quite so sharp, and in fact, Oswalt later admitted that he had felt a bit rusty. The Reds took advantage and jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 4 1/2 innings. But then the Phillies started to chip away at the lead, and the Reds let the game slip through their fingers. Literally. The Reds committed four errors in this game, and their pitchers hit three batters (more on that in a bit). Bottom line, Phillies won 7-4, though only two of the runs were earned.

Game 3 was a much more polished affair, as Cole Hamels went the distance for a complete-game shutout as the Phils won, 2-0. For the Phillies Phaithful, it was only fitting that the final out was a Scott Rolen strikeout.

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Which leads me to Rolen, or as one local sports talk-radio guy calls him, “Lemon Face”. [the following photo is actually not from the NLDS, but earlier in the season]

scott-rolen-lemon-face.jpg

(photo by Ed Wulfstein/Icon SMI)

Lemon Face had an atrocious series, going 1 for 11 with eight strikeouts! He also committed two errors! Hee hee! You may recall Rolen’s demands to be traded near the end of his tenure with the Phils, saying that the Phillies management and ownership weren’t committed to winning. Looks like the Phils have been doing pretty good lately, doesn’t it, Scott?

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oscars.png

Chase Utley, for his starring role last Friday in “Chase’s Excellent Adventure Around the Bases”. First, Utley was (maybe) hit on the hand by Aroldis Chapman; next, he (maybe) was safe on a close play at second; and finally, he (maybe) touched the base while rounding third. He was definitely safe at home.

I had to laugh at this Utley quote regarding the hit-by-pitch: “I felt like I thought it hit me, so I put my head down and I ran to first.”  O-kaaay, Chase, whatever you say. πŸ˜‰

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John Mayberry, Jr. may have been surprised to learn that he was also hit by a pitch in that game, because he is not on the postseason roster!

mayberry hit by pitch.jpgI’ve often wondered if the sportswriters actually watch the games. It would seem the answer is no, because if they did they would know that it was Ben Francisco who was nearly decapitated when the ball went off the brim of his helmet.

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Listening to the TBS announcing duo of Brian Anderson and Joe Simpson was enough to make me catatonic, given that they collectively seem to have as much personality as my pinky toe. And they clearly need some lessons in enunciation – one of them (I’m not sure which, they’re both equally dull) kept saying “Utley” in a way that made it sound like “Ugly”.

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The funniest moment of the series had to be in Game 3, when Rich Dubee was being interviewed during the game about the renaissance of Cole Hamels. With Dubee unaware of what was going on behind him, Roy Oswalt was ducking from the dugout into the clubhouse. He apparently couldn’t resist the temptation to grin at the camera on his way past:

oswalt dubee.jpgHubby, son and I were in hysterics. This team is definitely loose and having fun!

Let’s go, Phillies!

Break Out Your Brooms…

…as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Braves last night! The Phils now have a six-game lead over the second-place Braves, and their magic number to clinch the division now stands at 4. πŸ™‚

Happiness abounds!

Hubby and I were fortunate enough to be at Monday night’s game, thanks to our friends Carrie and Ed, who had two extra tickets available. We met up with them by the third-base gate and headed into the ballpark. Upon entering, were greeted by the sight of 20 statues of the Phanatic, painted in various themes by local artists, and currently being auctioned off for charity.

 

bell phanatic.jpgCarrie and I posed with one painted to look like the Liberty Bell.

 

phrankenstein.JPGJust in time for Halloween, it’s “Phrankenstein’s Mascot”! This one is among the four currently up for bids. Bidding ends later today, and apparently there are a lot of people with way more money than they know what to do with! The current high bid for this one is just under $10,000, and another is over $15,000 (!).

 

beer vendorrrr.JPGMillerrrrr Light, anyone? This friendly (?) beer vendorrr was working the stands prior to the start of the game. Aaargh!

 

worley backpack.JPGPoor rookies! Pitcher Vance Worley makes his way to the bullpen with his Fancy Nancy backpack.

 

braves backpacks.jpgMy daughter would have had a field day in the Braves’ bullpen, with all these beauties to choose from!

 

 
hamels 20Sep.JPGCole Hamels was in fine form, giving up just one run over eight innings of work.

 

werth1 20Sep.JPGThough he hit homers on Sunday and Tuesday, the “dirty hawt” Jayson Werth did not hit one this night.

 

werth2 20Sep.JPGContrary to certain people’s opinions (I’m talkin’ to you, Patti), this is just not at attractive look.

 

victorino1 20Sep.JPGBrandon Beachy, making his first major league start for the Braves, made several throws to first in an attempt to hold Shane Victorino close to the bag.

 

victorino2 20Sep.JPGAll was for naught, however, as Shane successfully stole second, and evaded the tag with this slide.

 

valdez 20Sep.JPGWilson Valdez has been more than capable defensively while filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins – he has a gun for an arm, and helped turn two double-plays for the Phillies. The Phils had a total of three DPs this night in support of Hamels.

 

ruiz 20Sep.JPGCarlos Ruiz has been having a fine offensive year for the Phils, contributing an RBI double in this game.

Brad Lidge came on in the ninth to get the save. The rally towels were waving so furiously, all the little white lint particles flying around looked like snowflakes! Well, sort of. Anyway, Brad had a 1-2-3 inning, and the Phils won 3-1!

I was waving my towel with gusto as well, hence no photos of Brad. 😦

After three tight games (3-1, 5-3, 1-0), the Phillies are off tonight with a much-deserved break. They’d best be resting up for the Mets, who come into town Friday for the last regular-season home games. Let’s go Phillies!

(all photos by me)   (well, not exactly, my husband took the one with me in it)

Please Keep Nate Robertson Away From The Mound!

Last night, I knew I should be up at the computer, doing some Actual Work. But I really wanted to watch just a little more of the Phillies-Marlins game. The Phillies were actually giving Cole Hamels some run support!

Maybe they saw my little note to them in my last entry. πŸ™‚

When the score got to 7-0 in favor of the Phillies, I felt that it was safe to go to work. Cole was pitching really well, and the offense was putting up some crooked numbers. By the time he left the game, after seven shutout innings, the Phils were up 10-0.

Then Nate Robertson entered the game. The same Nate Robertson who had been released by the Marlins earlier this season after posting a 6-8 record in 19 games, with a 5.47 ERA.

Robertson managed to record only two outs before getting lifted, and gave up 6 runs! Yikes! Then again, what should I expect from a pitcher with a career 55-77 record and an ERA hovering around 5, who was apparently better known in Detroit for his gum-chewing than his pitching?

robertson gum.jpg

In 2006, the year of “Gum Time”, the Tigers made it to the World Series after quite a few years of ineptitude. Since the Phillies have their sights set on making it to the Series for the third year in a row, maybe they should use Robertson not as a pitcher, but as a “designated chewer”.

I’m sure he’s being paid enough to cover the ensuing dental bills.

(scan from Detroit Tigers Magazine – 2006 Season, Issue No. 3)

 

***Post-blog update! Robertson will not be near the mound anymore this season. As of yesterday afternoon, he had been designated for assignment. I am not upset about this.***

Summer Recap 2: Random Photos

Before I get into the random photos portion of this blog entry, I must note that today is the first day of school for my offspring. I’m ecstatic; they’re not. I need to pause to celebrate.

<gets up and does a little dance>

I’ll actually be able to compose this entry without being interrupted umpteen times. πŸ™‚

In no particular order, then, here are some of my favorite summer baseball photos:

 

diggity army.jpg
Baseball and hot dogs – a classic, timeless combination. An army of Diggitys stands ready for battle in the Lehigh Valley IronPigs clubhouse store.

 

Speaking of clubhouse stores, one of the oddest items I’ve seen was at the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ store. The Blue Rocks have two popular mascots, Rocky Bluewinkle and Mr. Celery:

bluewinkle celery cross.jpg
I’m not sure what celery has to do with baseball, but nonetheless a large stalk of celery runs onto the field to celebrate after every run scored by the Blue Rocks. This, however, is apparently what would be created should these two ever be able to mate:

celwinkle.jpg
My daughter had to buy it, and she calls it “Rocky Celwinkle”. Since both Rocky and Mr. Celery are ostensibly male, I’m not sure how this would actually occur.

 

 

out at first.jpg
In Reading Phillies game action, this Trenton Thunder baserunner is out at first by a step, as R-Phils first-baseman Matt Rizzotti makes the play. Rizzotti finished up the season at triple-A Lehigh Valley.

 

ball comparison.jpg
“My ball is bigger than yours!” Members of the Wilmington Blue Rocks bullpen seem to be comparing sizes. This photo just screams out for some sort of suggestive caption. Send me your best – if it makes me laugh I’ll put it in my next entry.

 

july hamels.jpg
Cole Hamels has been pitching really well lately, though you wouldn’t know it from his 9-10 record. In July, I took my daughter to the last game before the All-Star break, and saw Cole get a 1-0 victory over the Reds.

**Note to Phillies offense: Please give Cole some run support!**

 

phanatic attack.jpg
Attack of the 50-foot Phanatic!!

 

brush that plate.jpg
Rocky Bluewinkle makes sure that home plate is sparkling white, though I’m not sure if it’s minty fresh.

 

fix those pants.jpg
After a head-first slide into third with a triple, Blue Rocks infielder Rey Navarro needs to make a few, um, adjustments.

 

summer baseball.jpg
Most of my summer baseball viewing was spent not on the Phillies or any other professional team, but on my son’s team. This was the first year he tried out for a summer team, and let’s just say it’s quite a time commitment. After a brief respite during August, it’s back to baseball as he has decided to play fall ball and forego football this year.

Which is OK with me.

(all photos by me)

Thanks, Sports Illustrated

…she says sarcastically.

Popped over to the Zo Zone earlier today, and saw that Sports Illustrated has seen fit to curse honor Roy Halladay on the cover of the Baseball Preview issue.

halladay SI cover.jpg

Need I remind you all of Cole Hamels’ season last year, after his cover appearance in February 2009?

I know, I know, there’s no such thing as curses. Despite Hamels’ subpar 2009, the Phils did still make it to the WS. Nonetheless, couldn’t they have put, oh, Hanley Ramirez on the cover, or Johan Santana, or the Atlanta Braves team? I’d rather play it safe with this curse thing, you know?