Archive for April, 2008

Gamenight: Phillies (10-10) At Rockies (9-10)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, April 22, 2008 07:13 PM Comments: 90

And on the fourth day, they try to get above .500. Again.

It’s the fifth time the Phillies will try and get above the mediocre mark; if our team’s trend says anything, it’s that they’ll lose tonight — but hey, that ain’t happening. Brett Myers is coming off his second-straight solid start while Colorado starter Jeff Francis has had one good start this season, and that was at Petco Park. Francis beat the Phils in game one of the 2007 NLDS.

The offense got going yesterday with some clutch hits; tonight they’ll try and rip off a few more en route to a two-game sweep in Denver. Phillies Nation is at the game.

Phillies: Brett Myers (2-1), 3.96 ERA
Rockies: Jeff Francis (0-2), 5.89 ERA

Gametime: 8:35 p.m.
Weather: 59 degrees, mostly sunny
Lineup: Taguchi/Werth/Utley/Howard/Burrell/Feliz/Ruiz/Bruntlett/Myers

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: So our great public relations director, Rob Cowie, wanted me to recommend Miller Lite tonight. I’m happy to oblige. Here’s Rob’s recommendation: “Quite simply I hate Coors and its products. Even though Miller Lite isn’t a top-flight beer … it’s great for binge drinking and beer pong tournaments. It would also go great with a cheesesteak from either Frusco’s or Chink’s, Northeast Philly style.” What, Rob, no Steve’s Prince of Steaks?

Go Phillies!


Down Early, Phils Power Past Rockies

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, April 22, 2008 12:10 AM Comments: 15

It started downright ugly, with the defense flubbing plays and Kyle Kendrick not on his game again. But somehow, the Phils remained in the game and seized the opportunity, turning a typical loss into a runaway 9-5 win over the Rockies.

The offense looked sharp, and in critical situations. Jayson Werth hit his first career inside-the-park home run with a drive to the deepest part of Coors Field, and Chase Utley followed that up with his ninth homer of the year, his sixth in five games (he’s hit one in each of his last five, tying a franchise record). Down one, the Phils manufactured a two-out rally to load the bases off local product Taylor Buchholz. And with the bases loaded — a spot in which the Phils have struggled this year — Carlos Ruiz came up huge with a two-run double to grab the lead.

Werth and TJ Bohn added to the damage in the ninth, gaining insurance for the Phils for the easy close. Werth had two hits, Utley had two hits, Ryan Howard had two hits, and Pat Burrell had three hits, including his seventh home run of the season.

Kudos to the bullpen, who came up large. Clay Condrey battled out of a scoreless sixth inning; Rudy Seanez worked a scoreless seventh for the win; Tom Gordon had a fine eighth inning for the hold; Brad Lidge closed the door on the Rockies. Food for thought: Coming into the game the bullpen had a 3.03 ERA. They are now under 3.00.

Kendrick struggled to get five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks.

Associated Press photo

Here are some photos from the game:


Gamenight: Phillies (9-10) At Rockies (9-9)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, April 21, 2008 07:00 PM Comments: 78

A little bit of offense went a long way for the Phillies yesterday, as they beat the Mets, 5-4. The bullpen held their ground, winning a battle where Chase Utley hit two home runs and Pedro Feliz knocked the game-winner.

Now the Phillies head to Denver, where they meet the team that eliminated them from their first playoff berth since 1993. They’ll face lefty Mark Redman; against lefties, the Phillies are hitting just .231. Kyle Kendrick, off his best start of the season, goes for the good guys.

Phillies: Kyle Kendrick (1-2), 4.40 ERA
Rockies: Mark Redman (2-1), 4.60 ERA

Gametime: 8:35 p.m.
Weather: 56 degrees, partly cloudy
Lineup: Taguchi/Werth/Utley/Howard/Burrell/Feliz/Ruiz/Bruntlett/Kendrick

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: I’m not recommending Coors, no, that would be cruel. Instead, we’re going with Hazed & Infused by the Boulder Beer Co., a nice pale ale with some citrus taste hidden inside. Drink it with some salmon, caught from the lakes of Colorado, if you should.

Go Phillies!


Stats Show Phils’ Offense A Bunch Of Hacks

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, April 21, 2008 03:21 PM Comments: 9

  • Through 19 games, the Phillies have scored 85 runs. 44 of those runs (or 51.7 percent) came from home runs.
  • Of the 30 home runs hit by the Phillies, 18 have been solo shots; moreover, just two (Dobbs’ blast Friday and Utley’s yesterday) were three-run homers, and they’ve yet to knock a grand slam.
  • With the bases loaded, the Phillies are hitting a paltry .130 (25 chances). With men on second and third, they’re hitting .091 (18 chances). And with men on first and second, they’re hitting .250 (55 chances).

If you want to find the biggest hole in the team’s play, look no further than these numbers. They’re swinging for the fences far too much — probably trying to take advantage of the homer-happy parks they’ve seen so far (Citizens, Great American in Cincinnati). Of course, the personnel doesn’t call for a lot of clutch line drive hitting (Geoff Jenkins, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard).

I can live with a bunch of home runs, but many of them are without substance. It’s especially troubling to see the team’s problems with multiple runners on base. Where a single or sac fly could do wonders is usually cancelled by a home run swing.

Associated Press photo


Phillies Nation In Denver: Tailgate Tonight

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, April 21, 2008 01:44 PM Comments: 0

By the way, Phillies Nation is in Denver.

Brian Michael and Rob Cowie are out in the Rockies with members of our Nation to see the Phils take on the Rox today and tomorrow. Anyone in Denver — head over to Pat’s before the game for tailgating with the Phillies Nation crew.

Pat’s is at 1624 Market St. in Denver.


Philadelphia Fans Scrutinized Again

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, April 21, 2008 11:45 AM Comments: 47

Another big, national spotlight; another big stain they’re trying to put on us.

Supposedly the fans at Friday night’s Phils-Mets game were cheering Jose Reyes’ injury, then booing when he was found to be OK.

So Billy Wagner — of course — had this to say about the fans:

“It’s really sad when humanity comes to the point where somebody getting hurt, it’s fun to watch. It’s sad when that happens. Nobody wants anybody to get hurt. I don’t want Jimmy Rollins getting hurt. I don’t want Pat Burrell to get hurt. I don’t want none of these guys. I want to compete against these guys because they’re the best, and you want to beat the best. You don’t want excuses. When you see Reyes laying there — it’s a tough shot, a clean play — and the fans cheering that he’s hurt, that just goes and shows you volumes about where our society is headed.”

“… This is about the only place I’ve ever seen somebody get cheered when they get hurt. Shit, they boo Santa Claus. What’s it tell you? They’ve taken it to a whole new level when you’re cheering for somebody to be hurt.”

I was at Friday’s game, and yes, there were some cheers when Reyes hit into Utley and remained down. That’s stupid, I agree; however, it happens most everywhere. If Rollins showed to be legitimately hurt against the Mets 10 days ago at Shea Stadium, some fans would’ve cheered wildly, I don’t doubt that for a second.

Now, the boos weren’t for Reyes being OK, it was for the amount of time wasted by the Mets. Many fans thought Reyes was merely faking the injury to ice Cole Hamels. Now that may not be the case, but before pelting us with verbal snowballs, think about the whole equation.

And let’s own up here; fans in Detroit a few years ago caused a player/fan riot, yet Philadelphia fans get attention for screaming “boo.” Come on, let’s move the hell on.

And Billy Wagner has to shut the hell up. It’s not his place. Tell him we’re sick of the Santa Claus bit — it got old in 1975.


Feliz’s Homer Beats Mets To Salvage Series

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, April 21, 2008 12:24 AM Comments: 4

It was opposite night in Philadelphia, as Pedro Feliz, Eric Bruntlett and Ryan Howard proved crucial late in the Phillies’ 5-4 win against the Mets. Though the Mets took the series, 2-1, the Phils finish their homestand on a high note and can breathe a bit easier tonight.

Feliz, pinch hitting for Greg Dobbs, smacked the game-winning home run off Pedro Feliciano in the seventh inning. Bruntlett made a fantastic diving stop on the grounder that ended the game, saving it for Brad Lidge. Howard made more than a couple fine defensive plays despite two RBI opportunities that ended in outs.

Chase Utley came up big again, nailing a first-inning homer and blasting another in the fifth for four RBI. He has hit five homers in the last four games and has eight on the year, tops in the Majors. Early MVP favorite, for sure.

Adam Eaton was almost flawless through five, but couldn’t get an out in the sixth as the Mets figured out his technique. Four runs scored on his time. Chad Durbin gave up an inherited run on a Ryan Church single, but got out of the sixth without further damage. JC Romero pitched two strong innings for the hold.

It was gut-check time for the Phils, and they delivered this time around. The defense was much improved, with Bruntlett and Howard coming up big. Though they didn’t quite get the job done with runners in scoring position, Utley was enough to carry the load. Charlie Manuel made a great move bringing in Feliz against Feliciano — against a lefty, the homer-happy Mr. Happy did exactly what was asked. Give kudos to the bullpen again for holding down the fort — Romero latched it down and escaped a potentially terrible situation with So Taguchi blundering a diving grab; Lidge settled down after a walk and infield single.

And finally, it was nice to see the Mets coming up short in big situations. David Wright’s foul pop that Howard valiantly stayed with and caught was something out of the Phils’ playbook. Opposite night at the Vault, indeed.

Associated Press photo


Gamenight: Mets (10-6) At Phillies (8-10)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, April 20, 2008 06:30 PM Comments: 35

I originally wrote this lede: “Are we jumping off bridges yet?”

That was sardonic five hours ago, now it’s painful to write. The Phils have just lost Jimmy Rollins to the DL (and Chris Snelling), and have to face the Mets in the final game of a three-game set without both.

The Mets beat the Phillies again — well, the Phillies beat the Phillies again, and the home club is now 8-10, still swimming in a shallow pool of ridiculous mediocrity. Usual suspects did usual things, and it’s becoming more apparent Charlie Manuel needs to shake things up for a moment, just to send a small message.

Tonight, though, one man can right the ship again: Adam Eaton. Of all people, it’s he who’s been a nice, solid innings eater this season. He’ll have to work his Mets magic again as he faces the New York nine. Hopefully Eaton can go six or seven and the Phils decide to play a little small ball and score some early runs. Hopefully.

But “hopefully,” with all the troubles mounting by hour, is becoming much more painful to write.

For the second consecutive day the entire country will be watching.

Phillies: Adam Eaton (0-0), 4.12 ERA
Mets: Mike Pelfrey (2-0), 1.50 ERA

Gametime: 8:05 p.m.
Weather: 60 degrees, cloudy
Lineup: Werth/Dobbs/Utley/Howard/Burrell/Jenkins/Coste/Bruntlett/Eaton

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: Leaving Citizens Bank Park yesterday I was in a daze — an angry daze. Angry that the combination of Ryan Howard, Geoff Jenkins, Jayson Werth and Pat Burrell couldn’t get it done against the Mets. Moreso, I was angry I knew it wouldn’t happen — this team is too predictable. And so I’ve been lost at sea, and for that, I hold tight my Lost Sailor India Pale Ale, made by the Berkshire Brewing Co. up in Western Mass. Delicious. I’ll have some pork with it.

Go Phillies!


Breaking News: Rollins, Snelling On 15-Day DL

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, April 20, 2008 05:36 PM Comments: 7

The Phillies today placed shortstop Jimmy Rollins on the 15-day DL. He had been nursing a sprained ankle for a week, trying to get back into starting status.

They also placed outfielder Chris Snelling on the 15-day DL with knee inflamation.

AA shortstop Brad Harman and AAA outfielder TJ Bohn have been called up as replacements. Harman was hitting .222 with a homer and three RBI for Reading. Bohn was hitting .190 for Lehigh Valley.

Absolutely atrocious news. Yesterday Phillies fans were cheering on Rollins as he pinch hit against the Mets; the cheers sad, wild hopes of a fan base struck to the face by a front office’s mistakes. As the days carried on and Rollins never cured, it became more obvious that Rollins had to go on the DL. Instead, they refused to list him, instead giving him one-shot pinch appearances to keep the fans happy. Atrocious.

Snelling’s injury is merely a kick-em-while-they’re-down piece of news. Snelling was the fifth outfielder, called up after Shane Victorino injured his calf and hit the DL. Now he’s down for 15 days, and suddenly, that heralded outfield depth is a wasteland: TJ Bohn is barely AAA-quality.

Now the 22-year-old inexperienced Harman becomes a body on the bench, stunting his growth as he gets maybe three at bats for the next two weeks. The Phils almost have to make a move to get some outfield depth, at the very least; truthfully, they’ll need a new shortstop. Eric Bruntlett cannot start for what is seemingly a contending team.

I wrote before the season that I had a weird feeling this was the year Jimmy Rollins wouldn’t play all 162 games. I also wrote the Phillies would lose their wheels and crash on the side of the road if they lost Rollins for an extended period of time. Sadly, I was completely correct on the first statement; now the Phillies will have to attempt to gain control of the bus. It’ll be extremely difficult.


John Marzano Dead At 45

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 19, 2008 11:31 PM Comments: 12

Former Phillies catcher and Comcast SportsNet personality John Marzano was found dead today. He reportedly fell down a flight of stairs in his South Philadelphia home. He was 45.

The catcher played 10 seasons in Major League Baseball, including one in the Phillies organization (he played for Scranton Wilkes-Barre in 1994). After retiring, he returned to his native Philadelphia, where he became a respected analyst for Comcast SportsNet, host for 610 WIP AM and Web sports analyst.

I’ll always connect myself to “Johnny Marz” because he was a graduate of Central High School, my alma mater. He was probably Central’s favorite baseball son. He then graduated from Temple University and has always showed his allegiance to Philadelphia. Sad day for the Phillies family and for all of sports in Philadelphia — Marzano will be sorely missed.

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