Archive for August, 2008

Gamenight: Dodgers (65-64) At Phillies (70-59)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, August 24, 2008 06:12 PM Comments: 403

The Phillies’ bats remained hot with a 9-2 victory yesterday. Pat Burrell tied a career high with 5 RBI. Tonight the Phils face Hiroki Kuroda, who blinded the Phils with a 7 K, 1 ER performance a week and a half ago. He had three consecutive dominant starts, but was tripped up Tuesday by the Rockies. Joe Blanton, who struggled Tuesday against the Nationals, goes for the Phils. It’s an ESPN game — lately the Worldwide Leader has been kind to the Phils.

Ham Company: With Cole Hamels’ win yesterday, the Phillies became the third National League team with three 11-game winners (Kyle Kendrick, Jamie Moyer the others; Cubs, Cardinals the teams).

The Bat’s Feat: Pat Burrell’s home run yesterday gives him 30 for the fourth time. His career high is 37 (2002).

Great Pitching: The Phillies have a 2.51 ERA in their last nine games.

Phillies: Joe Blanton (6-12) 4.87 ERA
Dodgers: Hiroki Kuroda (7-9) 3.97 ERA

Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 79, sunny

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: For some reason Pete’s Wicked Strawberry Blonde gets hammered by beer critics, but I don’t really mind it. It’s your standard strawberry ale, but not that strong with the fruit and pretty drinkable overall. I’d easily prefer this than any garden variety “lime” beer, though it’s not on par with regular old Blue Moon and such. Your food pairing: a chicken Caesar salad.

Go Phillies!


9! Offense Surges, Eases Past Dodgers

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, August 24, 2008 09:02 AM Comments: 21

They did it again, this time with less longball and more situational ball, en route to a 9-2 win over the Dodgers.

Pat Burrell had five RBI. He launched his 30th home run in the first inning, a three-run shot that put him into the 30-home run club with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. It’s the third time in franchise history the Phils have had three 30-HR hitters (it happened last year, too). Burrell added an RBI when Matt Kemp lost the ball in the sun, and capped it off with a single scoring Cole Hamels in the seventh.

Ryan Howard drove in a pair with a double in the fifth, following Kemp’s miscue. Shane Victorino drove in two with a hit in the sixth. And just as important, Jimmy Rollins got on base twice, scoring twice. In all, the Phils had 10 hits and made most of them count.

Hamels reaped the benefits, getting his 11th win with a fine seven-inning performance. He struck out five and let up just five hits, letting two score. The Dodgers had just six baserunners in the game, but with the Phils offense backing him up, Hamels didn’t need to be that perfect. The nine runs were the most he has received in a quality start all season.

Associated Press photo


Breaking News: Jenkins To DL With Hip Strain

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, August 23, 2008 04:12 PM Comments: 11

The Phillies placed outfielder Geoff Jenkins on the 15-day disabled list with a right hip flexor strain.

They purchased the contract of infielder Andy Tracy, who was hitting .288 with 21 HR and 84 RBI for AAA Lehigh Valley.


Gameday: Dodgers (65-63) At Phillies (69-59)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, August 23, 2008 03:00 PM Comments: 33

After a nice win backed by a strong offensive output, the Phillies will turn to ace Cole Hamels to try and at least gain a split in this four-gamer. Hamels goes up against Dodger youngster Clayton Kershaw, who got a no decision (3 ER, 6 IP) against the Phillies two weeks back.

Kershaw County: Kershaw has gone at least six innings in his last five starts, lowering his ERA from 5.18 to 3.59.

Cole Streak: Hamels pitched seven starts until his 10th win, the most he’s gone without one in his career. In those seven starts he gave up just 18 earned runs in 45 innnings.

Career Chris: With four RBI last night, Chris Coste tied his season high (32), which he accomplished in 2006.

Phillies: Cole Hamels (10-8) 3.22 ERA
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (2-3) 3.59 ERA

Gametime: 3:55 p.m. EST
Weather: 82, partly cloudy
Lineup: Rollins/Utley/Burrell/Howard/Victorino/Werth/Feliz/Coste/Hamels

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gameday beer: This one’s from Geoff, who recommends Stoudt’s Fat Dog, an offering from the great brewery west of Philadelphia. It’s an oatmeal stout, which is darker, sometimes heavier, laced with oatmeal flavor and high in malty content. I’m a fan of oatmeal stouts, especially when good, strong food is paired with it. Maybe some honey-glazed ham and sweet potatoes today. I will be cooking out — barbecue chicken is on the menu.

Go Phillies!


8! Phillies Bash Maddux, Cruise To Win

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, August 23, 2008 09:26 AM Comments: 30

Yes, eight. The Phillies scored eight runs, the most they’ve scored in August, thrashing the Dodgers 8-1 Friday night. Home runs did the trick — Ryan Howard smashed an opposite-field shot, Chris Coste pounded a three-run drive, and Chase Utley swatted one into the center field shrubbery.

The Phils got six of their eight runs on home runs — still not promising for an offense that needs to produce runs every which way, but to their credit, they did that a little. Coste singled home a run in the fifth, and Jayson Werth had a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Werth came in for Geoff Jenkins, who suffered either a right hip flexor or high quad strain while sliding into second base in the third inning. He’ll have an MRI today.

In all the Phils left just seven men on base; when you score more runs than LOBs you did a nice job converting.

The onslaught backed Kyle Kendrick, who grabbed a win with a soldier’s 5.2 innings. He pitched well, giving up just one run on three hits and two walks, but the Dodgers made him throw. He threw 99 pitches to the patient but unproductive Dodgers. Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson (getting a needed call after his poor effort Thursday) and Scott Eyre closed it out without a dent.

The win kept the Phils 2.5 games in back of the Mets, who won again.

Associated Press photo


Gamenight: Dodgers (65-62) At Phillies (68-59)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, August 22, 2008 06:21 PM Comments: 78

The Phillies couldn’t sweep the Nationals, but no worries, they’ll have a chance to get revenge from the four-game sweep they were handed by the Dodgers. The Blue is in for a four at Citizens Bank Park, which means a whole lot of Manny. Greg Maddux and Kyle Kendrick are the starters.

Greg? From San Diego?: Greg Maddux’s last start was against the Phillies, but as a member of the San Diego Padres. In that start he went seven innings and gave up just one run, but lost.

Ken-Not-Do: Kyle Kendrick has given up 13 runs in his last 7 innings (with one of those against the Dodgers). He’s been told to attack the plate more. Hope that works.

Not Great …: The Dodgers are 7-9 since acquiring Manny Ramirez … against everyone who is not the Phillies.

A Little Different: Finally Charlie Manuel breaks up Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Pat Burrell is hitting third tonight.

Phillies: Kyle Kendrick (10-7) 5.01 ERA
Dodgers: Greg Maddux (6-9) 3.99 ERA

Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 80, partly sunny
Lineup: Rollins/Utley/Burrell/Howard/Victorino/Dobbs/Jenkins/Coste/Kendrick

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: It’s Friday night. This offense has been bad. Time to just break it open and forget everythingelese. Tonight, go with Olde English 800. Just do it. Pour it wide and take it in. Eat … whatever, French fries, potato skins, garbage plates. Who cares.

Go Phillies!


Smallwood: Big Bats Must Produce

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, August 22, 2008 11:04 AM Comments: 71

In the Daily News today, John Smallwood writes the Phillies will only make the playoffs if Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell start hitting now and don’t let up until the end of the season. He writes:

Starting tonight, the Phillies have a stretch of 10 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mets and Chicago Cubs.

Unless they are counting on another late-September choke by the Mets, this is as close as they can get to “put up or shut up” time as it gets. It absolutely cannot happen unless Rollins, Utley, Howard and Burrell step up to the plate and start leading this club the way they are supposed to.

He’s absolutely right. I can write all I want about how the bottom of the order could be key to the team’s success, but they’ll only do so much. As Smallwood writes, you can’t keep relying on Shane Victorino to get on base and some combination of Greg Dobbs groundout/Carlos Ruiz single/Pedro Feliz hit by pitch or whatever to get him home.

We can say “move Vic up in the lineup,” but what good does that do when 3-4-5 ground out, strike out and ground out?

To be short, these guys need to produce. Rollins had a couple weeks of production back in May. Utley had two months of solid production earlier this season. Howard has produced in short spurts. Burrell has been somewhat consistent, but nothing dangerous since May.

If there’s no way these four can find some magic potion, or get conked over the head, or somehow stumble into their late-season 2007 selves, this team is not going to the postseason.


Little Offense, Lowly Madson Foil Phils’ Sweep

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, August 22, 2008 09:07 AM Comments: 95

With nobody out in the eighth inning, Jayson Werth stood on third base and Chase Utley led off first. Ryan Howard stepped to the plate and struck out. Then within seconds, Pat Burell erased himself and Utley from the scorecard, ending the inning.

That’s the story of the year, right there, clear as day, and the crucial misfire in a 4-3 loss to the Nationals. It snapped the Nats’ 13-game losing streak, dropped the Phillies into a 2.5-game hole in the NL East and put a really long sigh at the beginning of a really tough stretch.

Earlier in the series we grazed by the offense’s deficiencies because, hey, they were winning. This time you can’t do it. Getting only three runs off Nationals pitching via a Chase Utley single, a Greg Dobbs groundout and a Carlos Ruiz home run, they came up lame late when they really needed it. Howard is the major culprit, going 0-or-4 with three strikeouts. Jimmy Rollins also had a bad game, going 0-for-4. (In the ninth, they had Shane Victorino on second with no outs, and of course, couldn’t score him.)

Ryan Madson blew the save with a four-hit barrage in the eighth, netting two Washington runs. It seems once he pulls together a string of great performances, he falls hard with a bad one. Maybe it was foreseeable, but you can’t blame putting him into the game in the eighth.

On the good news front, Jamie Moyer continued to lower his ERA with a fine performance. He gave up just two earned runs on five hits while walking three. His ERA is now 3.54.

It’s a shame the bullpen couldn’t hold it, but you have to think the Phils can score more runs against the Nationals. Then again, it’s the story of the year – this offense really isn’t that good.

Associated Press photo


Gamenight: Nationals (44-83) At Phillies (68-58)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, August 21, 2008 06:07 PM Comments: 200

Brett Myers pitched the Phils to another win over the Nationals. His complete-game shutout performance allowed for a series win. Now the Phils will try to sweep the Nationals out of Philly. The Phils can move to one game behind the Mets with a win tonight.

The Legend Continues: With his 11 wins, Jamie Moyer is the team’s top winner. He now has 241 for his career.

The Dobbs Split: Greg Dobbs is hitting .309 with all six of his homers against right-handed pitching.

In The Redd: Tim Redding was phenomenal against the Phillies his first two times against them, but the Phils figured him out July 30, scoring seven runs off him in four innings en route to an 8-5 loss.

Petey!: Pedro Feliz is in the starting lineup, seeing his first action since an injury derailed him in late July. He is paired in the lineup with his rhyming brother, Carlos Ruiz.

Phillies: Jamie Moyer (11-7) 3.64 ERA
Nationals: Tim Redding (8-8) 4.66 ERA

Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 81, sunny
Lineup: Rollins/Werth/Utley/Howard/Burrell/Victorino/Feliz/Ruiz/Moyer

MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: A couple things I love — Belgian beer and amber beer. This is Bruegel Amber Ale, named after painter Pieter Bruegel, evidently. I’ll drink to art anyday of the week. Pair this with a shrimp salad.

Go Phillies!


Checking In On The Minor Arms

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, August 21, 2008 03:53 PM Comments: 22

Here’s a nice refresher on goings on with the multiple pitchers in the minors.

  • Adam Eaton wasn’t too good for Reading last night against the Bowie Baysox. He surrendered six runs on seven hits and two walks. Three of the hits were home runs.
  • After a few really nice starts in Lehigh Valley, Carlos Carrasco crashed down to Earth a bit in his last outing. He allowed six runs on nine hits in five innings against the Buffalo Bison Tuesday night. He did strike out seven, keeping his K/BB splits pretty strong.
  • JA Happ didn’t fare too well in his last start for the IronPigs, either. He gave up four runs on five hits and two free passes in five innings. Previously, he had been pretty unhittable for Lehigh Valley.
  • Kris Benson did pitch well against Buffalo in his last start. He went seven innings, allowing three earned runs on nine hits while K’ing four. Not amazing or anything, but he’s had five consecutive six-inning starts. Pretty good and pretty Kendrickian.
  • And just in case you really want to know, JD Durbin has not pitched well. He was demoted back to Reading after Mike Cervenak came back to Lehigh Valley. For the IronPigs, Durbin threw 36 innings and gave up 39 eraned runs. Yup. That’s an ERA over 9.00 (9.75). Good. Riddance. Real. Deal.
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