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)
Since the Phillies lost on Wednesday night to the Nationals in rather uninspiring fashion, I didn’t really feel moved to write about it yesterday. Yesterday was also an off day, so I had plenty of free time to let my mind wander.
Today’s blog is a culmination of that wandering.
Some of you out there may watch “Desperate Housewives.” As I watched the most recent episode this past Sunday, I was struck by the similarities in hairstyle between the character Orson Hodge (played by Kyle McLachlan) and our own Phillie, Cole Hamels. See for yourself:
They’re even dressed similarly, with sport coat and open collared shirt! Are they both reading the same men’s fashion magazines? Do they share a stylist? Just something to mull over…
Recalling a mention of oddly shaped heads in one of Jane’s recent She-Fan entries, my mind next wandered to the pairing of Placido Polanco and Phil Collins:
I can’t decide which produce item they more closely resemble. Is it:
or the pumpkin?
For what it’s worth, the first two are members of the melon family, while the pumpkin is a gourd.
Also for what it’s worth, the title of today’s entry is also the title of a really bad Styx song from the 1981 album “Paradise Theatre”, which I hesitate to admit I actually owned way back in high school. My taste in music was really bad then.
Tonight, the Phillies take on the Mets at Citizen’s Bank Park. C’mon guys, let’s kick some Met butt! Make me a happy girl!
What is going on here? I’m beginning to think someone is using one of these on Cole Hamels:
Either that, or it’s the *gasp!* SI cover curse.
First it was the sore elbow in Spring Training, then he was hit by a liner off the bat of Prince Fielder last week, forcing him from the game. Last night, he turned his ankle while fielding a bunt by Washington pitcher John Lannan, and again had to leave the game. Just when he was starting to look like the Hamels of last October, too – pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings with 4 hits and 4 strikeouts. His velocity and control were back last night, as well.
Fortunately, x-rays were negative and the injury was deemed a “mild sprain.” With tomorrow’s off day, there will be an additional day between starts, so the team is optimistic that he will not have to miss a start.
The Phillies won the game, 7-1, with Chase Utley hitting two home runs, and Pedro Feliz and Raul Ibanez each adding a homer as well.
Back to that voodoo doll. If some evil person out there (probably a Mets fan) is using one on Cole, they obviously have a better doll than I do. For example, if I wanted to give, say, Johan Santana a sore elbow before his start today, all I’d succeed in giving him would be this:
If I wanted to sully the image of Grady Sizemore or Jacoby Ellsbury, to the consternation of many of the female bloggers, I could try to give them hairy ears, but end up giving them this:
Or if I wanted to attack Manny’s manhood, I’d have somewhat the opposite effect:
For the record, I bought this doll many years ago in the BK days, while strolling through the French Market in New Orleans. If you’ve never been there, the French Market is a sort of open-air farmer’s market/flea market. Of course, I decided I needed a voodoo doll (doesn’t everyone who visits New Orleans buy one?) but obviously didn’t look at it too carefully. It wasn’t until later that I noticed it was filled with typographical errors. I guess there was not a lot of proofreading or quality control going on where this was made.
As I promised in yesterday’s comments, here is the other “fishy” picture of the Marlins, taken mere moments before Cody Ross gazed lovingly at his hands.
Note how the other players are dutifully stretching, while Dan Uggla is doing Lord-knows-what to Ross’s butt. Something needed adjusting? Was there a little TP hanging out? I’m just going to stop right now.
(all photos (except SI cover, obviously) by me)
…who won’t be inducing the indigestion I’ve been experiencing lately while watching the Phillies. I think I’m going to be buying these:
by the caseload, if things continue this way.
Last night, Cole Hamels looked pretty good against the Padres through the first four innings, giving up one run on a solo homer to Luis Rodriguez in the third. At the end of four, the Phillies held a 7-1 lead.
After that, things went to h*ll in a handbasket pretty darn quick. Hamels gave up a two-run shot to Scott Hairston in the fifth, and another two-run shot to Nick Hundley in the sixth. But he still left the game with a 7-5 lead. Not great, but a lead nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the Padres’ bullpen held the Phillies scoreless after they’d scored 7 off of starter Chris Young. On the other side, normally reliable Ryan Madson gave up 3 runs to give the Padres a 8-7 lead. The Phils, unable to rally in the bottom of the ninth, took the loss after blowing a 6 run lead.
Their record now stands at 4-5. Last year, their record after nine games was also 4-5, and things didn’t turn out so bad.
However – in those nine games last year, the Phillies scored 39 runs, and gave up 48. This year through nine games, they’ve scored more runs, 49, but they’ve given up 62!
The Phillies have a chance to redeem themselves tonight, as Brett Myers faces Shawn Hill. I’m hoping that this afternoon’s memorial service for Harry Kalas, being held at the ballpark, does not prove too much of an emotional distraction.
C’mon, win another one for Harry!
After finishing my latest ballpark quest entry on Wrigley Field, I decided I’d better get off my butt and get a little exercise. Since it’s a pretty nice day here (though still all depressing and brown), I went for a walk.
I must have looked pretty conflicted – I was wearing my Phillies World Series sweatjacket over a Detroit Tigers t-shirt, topped off with a Corpus Christi Hooks cap (it’s a bad hair day).
Anyway, upon my return, I saw an update on Cole Hamels’ elbow. Up till now, I have been avoiding mentioning it in my blog, employing my best “don’t think about it and maybe it will go away” tactics.
The bottom line is that there is no structural damage. There is, however, inflammation, for which Hamels received an injection. He will also not throw for two days. Whether or not he will pitch Opening Day on April 5 is up in the air at this point.
I’d rather see him miss Opening Day but be healthy for the rest of the season. Opening Day is just one game. He will have plenty of other chances to be the Opening Day starter in his career.
Take care of that elbow, Cole!
(Hamels photo mine)
Aah, Wrigley Field, one of the most hallowed of major-league ballparks. After our extra-inning night in Milwaukee, we attended a day game in the Friendly Confines on August 22, 1997.
And what a day – beautiful, sunny, comfortable, a great view from the front of the upper deck:
What’s not to like? The outfield ivy was in full greenery. The hand-operated scoreboard in center field showed that this was the only day game going on at the moment:
We saw Harry Carey doing his traditional rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch:
Little did we know that we were lucky to be there in 1997, as sadly, Harry would pass away during the off-season, on February 18, 1998. There is now a statue honoring him outside the ballpark:
Oh, yeah, there was a ballgame going on that day. The Cubs were playing the Montreal Expos. Dustin Hermanson was on the mound for the Expos, and pitching for the Cubs that day was the Human Rain Delay, Steve Trachsel. Oddly enough, this game clocked in at a relatively brisk 2:31.
Sammy Sosa hit a two-run homer for the Cubbies in the seventh. Doug Strange hit a solo shot for the Expos in the eighth. [Strange – ha! Another name that could provide ample opportunity for merciless teasing during childhood.] The Cubs would tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and hold on to win 3-1.
Also playing for the Cubs that day was Doug Glanville, who would later become a Phillie. Doug is shown here waiting on deck with Shawon Dunston:
In actuality, this should have been our second visit to Wrigley, rather than our first. In 1994, we were visiting friends in Chicago and had tickets to see the Cubs play the Phillies on September 10. How perfect! Except a little thing called the players strike, which began August 12, got in the way of my plans. Here we are in front of Wrigley holding our useless tickets, instead of seeing a game:
Oddly, my husband looks happy about this. One of the ticket windows was open, so at least we were able to get our money back that day.
We have been back to Wrigley since, to see three games (out of a four game series) between the Phillies and the Cubs in August 2006. We decided to try out three different seating areas of the ballpark.
For the first game, August 21, we gave the left-field bleachers a try. The bleachers in Wrigley are totally separated from the rest of the seating areas, and there is even a separate entrance:
The view from the bleachers is pretty nice. This photo was taken in the top of the first – it seems that there were a lot of late arriving fans that night:
This game featured home runs by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley for the Phils, and Jacque Jones for the Cubs. This is also the game when Aaron Rowand broke his ankle after colliding with Chase Utley on a fly ball to shallow center field.
The Phils held on to win 6-5. Jon Lieber got the win, and Arthur Rhodes the save. Rich Hill took the loss for the Cubs.
The next night, August 22, we had seats in the lower level behind home plate. This is probably the only area I wouldn’t want to sit in again – the seats are really tight together, there are those annoying support beams that all old ballparks are blessed (cursed) with, and on a hot, humid night the air under there is very stagnant.
Jamie Moyer was making his first start for the Phillies – here is a shot of his first pitch:
No home runs this night, though Jimmy Rollins did hit a triple. The Phils would win 6-3, with Moyer getting the win and Ryan Madson the save. Ryan O’Malley took the loss for the Cubs.
The next night, August 23, we were again in the upper level to see Brett Myers take the mound for the Phils, and Angel Guzman for the Cubs. Here is a photo of Myers that night. He has a weird habit of not looking towards the plate as he releases the pitch:
Homers were hit by Ryan Howard for the Phils, and Matt Murton for the Cubs. The Phils would win again, this time by a score of 2-1. Myers got the win, and Geoff Geary got the save this night. Three saves, three different pitchers. Bob Howry would end up with the loss.
We would leave Chicago the next day, and thankfully not see Cole Hamels give up nine (!) runs in only two innings of work, though only five were earned. 😉 It would later be revealed that Hamels had cut the index finger on his left (pitching) hand with a Swiss Army knife while trying to cut a plastic zip tie in the days prior to the game, and he was unable to properly grip his change-up.
Note to Cole: stay away from cutting implements! Let Heidi do all the cutting!
Coming up next, Turner Field.
(all photos mine)
Philadelphia’s current favorite World Series MVP, Cole Hamels, graces the cover of this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated (Mike Schmidt, we still love you too, but, hey, it’s been awhile, you know). Here’s a link to the article.
Last night’s local news broadcast mentioned that in the article, Cole and his wife Heidi reveal that they are planning on adopting an orphan from Ethiopia whose parents died of AIDS. I admit my initial reaction was one of “oh, they’re pulling a Brangelina”.
In my mind (which I’ve tried to keep corralled since yesterday, by the way), I started trying to make a nifty combo name for Cole and Heidi, too, but it just doesn’t work very well. Coldi? Hole? Nope, Courtney Love
already used that for her rock band.
I tried using Cole’s full given name, Colbert.
Maybe I’ll give up and just stick to Cole and Heidi.
My husband muttered something about Cole seeming a bit too metrosexual (too well-dressed, not a “manly man”) but after a few moments of thought, decided that as long as he keeps winning games, he doesn’t care.
In fact, after reading the article, it’s interesting to see how much of Cole’s public persona has actually been crafted and honed by Heidi, her theory being that if he’s going to be the team’s ace, he needs to look and act the part of an ace. So, cargo shorts out, suits in.
So far, I’d have to say, success doesn’t seem to have gone to his head. By all accounts, he is humble and polite, often going above and beyond the minimum required for an athlete of his stature. The photographer doing the photo shoot for the SI cover stated that Cole was only the third athlete ever (out of 300 or so) to actually show up early for his shoot.
There is also an anecdote in the SI article that takes place at an event where Cole was signing limited edition prints, and a woman with a video camera asked him to record a message for her daughter’s bat mitzvah. After asking what a bat mitzvah is (he was only familiar with the bar mitzvah), he agreed. He could have easily said no, or something to the effect that he was only there to sign the prints, but he didn’t.
So here’s hoping that the SI cover jinx stays away! Cole, stay the way you are, and get out there and win some games! Only 45 days until Opening Day!