Archive for May, 2008

Gameday: Phillies (27-24) At Astros (29-22)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, May 25, 2008 01:19 PM Comments: 13

Another bad loss for the Phils against Houston — Brett Myers was ineffective and the offense couldn’t do any more than what Ryan Howard gave them. The offense hasn’t quite worked for two straight games. Is today the day they turn it around for two straight?

Cole Hamels goes for the Phils. Hamels has thrown 19 consecutive scoreless innings. The Astros will throw Chris Sampson out there. Righties are hitting an astounding .350 off him. The barometer will hit 90 degrees in Houston at gametime. Hamels has a 3.46 ERA in his two daytime starts this season.

Phillies: Cole Hamels (5-3) 2.61 ERA
Astros: Brian Moehler (2-3) 5.91 ERA

Gametime: 2:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 90 degrees, mostly sunny
Lineup: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Burrell, Jenkins, Feliz, Ruiz, Hamels

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gameday beer: On this warm Memorial Day weekend, good beer is a must. I’ve always like Hoeegarden, which can be enjoyed in small sips with good food. It flows smooth and tastes like citrus. Have some barbecue chicken with it.

Go Phillies!


Myers, Offense Can’t Beat Astros

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, May 25, 2008 11:56 AM Comments: 1

Brett Myers didn’t get the job done, and the offense — sans Ryan Howard — looked brutal in yet another tough loss, this one a 4-3 result to the Astros.

Myers went six innings and surrendered four runs, including the decisive final run in that sixth, an RBI single by pinch hitter Mark Loretta (of all people). Myers sprayed eight hits and four walks in his 112-pitch effort, raising his ERA to 5.79. And now we have to be at a place of great concern — Myers hasn’t shown any indication of improvement in the past few weeks. It seems the impatient teams aren’t beating Myers, but most teams, taking pitches, waiting for the turnpike strikes, are striking him well.

Watching Myers, he just looks atrocious. Pitches are sailing up and out, the curve is the most hittable curve I’ve ever seen, the fastballs aren’t tenacious anymore. It’s very possible Myers is feeling the effects of a career of heavy, hard-throwing work. Maybe, just maybe, Myers doesn’t have it anymore. What to do with him? Who knows.

Howard made sure he supplied some lumber, going 2-for-4 with an early RBI double and two-run home run, his 14th of the season. His average is now at .209. But the rest of the offense looked bad — mainly, Shane Victorino continues to lay down in clutch situations. He filed out to end the game — though you could say Pedro Feliz shouldn’t have been on third (he was thrown out on the tag to end the game). Check this out:

Victorino with two outs, RISP: 2/20 (.100), RBI, BB
Victorino late & close: 5/27 (.185), 2 BB

Appropriately, his average gets better if the wider the score gap. With nobody on base he’s hitting a cool .303. Other situations? Ugh. Here’s the sad truth: Victorino is shaping up to be a fourth outfielder, not an everyday guy. Either that, or he has to be moved down in the batting order — his defense does justify him to start, but he cannot hit with the game on the line.

That ninth inning was especially grating. Feliz’ leadoff single and Chris Coste’s one-bagger set up a big inning off battling reliever Doug Brocail, with Jose Valverde nursing his face after a scare Friday night. Greg Dobbs should’ve never attempted a bunt — he’s in there to drive in runs. Once Brocail made a stupid throw to second and the runners moved up, Dobbs got trigger happy and flied one too shallow. Everything else was set up nicely for the ‘Stros — Rollins is walked for Victorino, who of course, ended the game on one swing.

The Phils need to salvage a split in Houston. If only to spare us our sanity.

Associated Press photo


Gamenight: Phillies (27-23) At Astros (28-22)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, May 24, 2008 07:26 PM Comments: 28

Brett Myers will try and build off a constructive start as he faces the Astros in game three of a four-game set at Minute Maid Park. The Astros throw Brian Moehler out there.

Phillies: Brett Myers (2-5) 5.76 ERA
Astros: Brian Moehler (1-1) 4.76 ERA

Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EST
Weather: 87 degrees, partly cloudy
Lineup: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Burrell, Jenkins, Feliz, Coste, Myers

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: Grab a Bass. A traditional English ale, it’s pretty good and basic. No frills, all taste. To eat, have a greek salad. It’s a warm weekend — live it up.

Go Phillies!


Bats Go Silent Against Backe, Phils Lose

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, May 24, 2008 11:00 AM Comments: 8

“Combine Backe’s track record with Eaton and the Phils offensive boon and there’s a real possibility of a high-scoring affair. Then again …”

I shouldn’t write predictions.

The Phillies couldn’t get the job done against Houston starter Brandon Backe, leaving 16 men on base in a 4-3 loss to the Astros. The game seemed oddly close to the April 15 win against the Astros, where the Phils staged a huge comeback off Houston closer Jose Valverde to win 4-3. This time, however, Valverde held off the Phils.

In that ninth, Pat Burrell (who homered already) doubled and scored on a Pedro Feliz single. A Carlos Ruiz single set the stage for a Jimmy Rollins two-out double. Eric Bruntlett, who pinch ran for Ruiz, couldn’t score on the well-played ball by right fielder Hunter Pence. But Shane Victorino flied out to end the game — it was the second time in recent memory Victorino flied out to end a game where a ground ball through a hole would’ve won it.

The loss made Adam Eaton 0-3, and this time it was undeserved. He went seven innings, giving up three runs and scattering eight hits. Still, he stayed in an inning too long, or at least an out too long. While the Pence leadoff homer hurt, it was the Michael Bourn single that should’ve never happened. Houston then extended their lead — the difference in the game — with a triple and sac fly off Ryan Madson. Who else? Madson has been horrible most of the season, and in a two-run game should’ve never been the man on the hill in that situation.

Just when you credit Charlie Manuel for his managing skills, he screws up his pitching timing and rotation. And just when you laud Ryan Howard he goes 0-for-4. But we won’t bash him. Chase Utley went 0-for-3 and Geoff Jenkins went 0-for-4. Bad stuff in a game that, really, should’ve never been a loss. These are the ones I hate most.

Associated Press photo


Werth Placed On 15-Day DL

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, May 24, 2008 10:45 AM Comments: 0

Jayson Werth has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right oblique strain. He suffered this injury in the last game against Washington Wednesday night. Werth was hitting .260 with 9 HR and 26 RBI. Just last week he recorded his career-best game, a three homer, eight RBI performance against the Blue Jays.

Outfielder TJ Bohn has been called up to replace Werth. Once a callup, Bohn, 28, went 1-for-3 with a 2-RBI double in his seven games with the Phils. A member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs this year, Bohn has been hitting .162 with 2 HR and 4 RBI.

Bohn is, in a way, Werth-lite. He’s a little quick, has a nice glove and is pretty athletic with his 6’5″ frame. He won’t hit for power like Werth, but he’ll give you a late-innings glove and feet, just like So Taguchi. Really, they don’t need another So Taguchi.

Now why Bohn, you ask? He was the only outfielder left on the 40-man roster. It’s a convenience move; instead of having to drop Bohn off the 40-man and, consequently, release him, they just bring up the guy who’s hitting .162 with the AAA IronPigs. Reading’s roster has a couple candidates, including Javon Moran (.285, 11 SB), Jeremy Slayden (.275, 4 HR, 32 RBI) and Greg Golson (.320, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 15 SB). Heck, even the IronPigs have a better option in Brandon Watson (.301, .340 OBP). It’s a scared promotion by the front office, one that hates making extra moves and dropping guys who really wouldn’t have a Major League future anyway.

Werth’s loss will be felt in spades, especially against left-handed hitters. Geoff Jenkins, as we all know, can’t hit lefties. So he’s not an option. What about Taguchi? He’s hitting .103 against lefties. Basically, the Phils would have to start Bohn against lefties — the Phils now have a huge hole in their batting corps.


Gamenight: Phillies (27-22) At Astros (27-22)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, May 23, 2008 06:33 PM Comments: 12

For a second-straight night the Phillies offense poured on the power, striking down the Astros thanks to Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell. Back at a season-high five-games over .500, the Phils will try to claim a new mark when they face Brandon Backe and the ‘Stros at Minute Maid in game two.

Backe had his worst start of the season against the Phils on April 17. He gave up five earned runs (six in all) on 10 hits in just three innings. He’ll face Adam Eaton, who despite struggling most of the season, pitched well against the Astros this year. In his start he went six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while walking two.

Pedro Feliz has seven hits in his last 13 at bats. Ryan Howard has six hits and six RBI in his last 10. Jayson Werth is out of the lineup, day-to-day with an oblique strain.

Combine Backe’s track record with Eaton and the Phils offensive boon and there’s a real possibility of a high-scoring affair. Then again …

Phillies: Adam Eaton (0-2) 5.59 ERA
Astros: Brandon Backe (3-5) 4.58 ERA

Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 87 degrees, sunny
Lineup: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Burrell, Jenkins, Feliz, Ruiz, Eaton

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: “School’s out and there’s sort of a buzz, but back then I didn’t really know what it was.” Summertime is upon us, which makes Goose Island’s Summertime a good beer for the moment. It’s a very standard, summer beer, one that’ll do the job after a couple. Tonight eat some clam fritters, a nice summer treat. “Yeah I got on sneaks, but I need a new pair, cause basketball courts in the summer got girls there.”

Go Phillies!


Werth Leaves Game With Oblique Strain

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, May 23, 2008 11:50 AM Comments: 2

UPDATE (11:49 a.m. May 23): Werth is currently listed as day-to-day but is undergoing a re-evaluation. We can’t take day-to-day as the final decision, of course, as Jimmy Rollins was day-to-day for weeks before landing on the 15-day DL with an ankle injury.


Jayson Werth, who pinch hit for the Phillies against the Astros tonight in Houston, left the game with a right oblique strain. No word on how long he might be out, or the seriousness of the injury, but we’ll have the update when it comes.


Utley’s Bat Is The Thing

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, May 23, 2008 11:45 AM Comments: 0

Chase Utley broke his trusty batting practice bat May 9 in San Francisco. Equpiment manager Dan O’Rourke was able to repair the bat with some nails, and Utley has it back for use.

“It gives me that same feel every day,” Utley told Todd Zolecki.

Utley is 11-for-50 since breaking the bat. Of course, before that he had a three-game hitless stretch, but can’t we say it’s the bat’s fault?


Ryno Beginning To Bust Out; Phils Win

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, May 23, 2008 12:34 AM Comments: 33

Ryan Howard had another big game, driving in two with three hits in the Phillies’ 7-5 win over the Astros. Among those hits were an opposite-field double and opposite-field home run that bounced somewhere off the large train bridge wall at Minute Maid Park. We can see the improvement — he’s standing in the middle of the box, not the back, and seeing the pitch all the way through. Both big hits were on balls tailing outside, and Howard waited on them until he could strike them to the left. The double was a pure laser; the home run was an absolute bomb.

Howard led a Phillies offense that kept chugging along; Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino set the pace, getting on base four times with hits. Pedro Feliz had two hits, and now has seven in his last 13 at bats. Chase Utley added an RBI single, which padded the lead, grabbed by a pinch-hit, eighth inning home run by Pat Burrell. Charlie Manuel had given Burrell a bench ride, as he was struggling horribly at the plate. So of course, Burrell tattooed a 3-2 pitch to break out of his slump on a pinch. If there’s one thing Manuel does incredibly right, it’s playing his bench.

After Burrell’s homer and Utley’s single, Tom Gordon held the lead in the eighth and Brad Lidge, pitching in Minute Maid Park for the first time as an opponent, seized the save by making best friend Lance Berkman pop out. It was Lidge’s 12th save in 12 chances, and he lowered his ERA to a staggering 0.43.

Kyle Kendrick had a tough start, going only five innings and earning all five Astro runs. The last came with JC Romero on the mound, who blew his fourth save of the season. Sometimes it’s hit-or-miss with Romero and inherited runners. But Kendrick was mediocre, wiggling out of trouble throughout the game until the Astros figured him out in the sixth. Ty Wigginton’s double, which brought the Astros within one and took Kendrick out of the game, came on a hanging changeup. Kendrick still can’t fool anyone with that pitch.

But with this offense most nights, starting pitching doesn’t have to be spectacular. Burrell’s homer was a tremendous lift, as yet again the Phils took advantage of a bad bullpen. And once a game becomes a battle of bullpens, it seems the Phils will almost always win.

Jayson Werth left the game after an inning of defense. He has a right oblique strain — more on him coming.

Associated Press photo


Gamenight: Phillies (26-22) At Astros (27-21)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, May 22, 2008 06:20 PM Comments: 17

Ryan Howard and the Phillies’ offense got the bats going last night, so there’s definitely hope things continue in the positive direction. Still, the Phils will now have to face Roy Oswalt. The Astros’ righty is 6-1 with a 2.79 ERA against the Phils for his career.

Kyle Kendrick goes for the Phils. He has been quality most of the season, but nothing spectacular. I predict a tough, grinding game where the Phils will have to limit a potent Astros offense. Lance Berkman is one of the Majors’ top run producers, and he leads baseball with 16 homers and has an NL-leading 44 RBI.

Maybe the big storyline of this game: Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett come back to Minute Maid Park for the first time since being traded in the offseason. It’s uncertain the kind of reception Lidge would get, but I’d think it would be positive.

Phillies: Kyle Kendrick (3-2) 4.76 ERA
Astros: Roy Oswalt (4-4) 5.43 ERA

Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 82 degrees, mostly sunny
Lineup: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Feliz, Jenkins, Dobbs, Ruiz, Kendrick

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: The Phillies visit Texas for the first time this season, so it’s high time to get hot. Check out Rogue Brewery’s Chipotle Ale, a spicy concoction of jalapeno flavors and just good beer. Eat some buffalo wings with it, partner.

Go Phillies!

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