Archive for April, 2009

Another Day, Another Comeback As Phils Win, 6-4

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 25, 2009 11:21 PM Comments: 10

Number nine … number nine …

The Phillies defeated the Marlins, 6-4, thanks to a second-straight ninth-inning comeback and subsequent scoring rush in the 10th frame. The winning runs were provided by a Chase Utley laser single and a Jayson Werth one-bagger. Brad Lidge pitched a nailbiting 10th to collect his fifth save of the season.

Chan Ho Park started the game and pitched his best baseball of 2009. He gave up four runs on five hits in seven innings, falling victim to home runs twice but making up for that with his bat. The pitcher lifted a home run in the third inning to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. Ryan Howard added a shot to make it 2-0. Then the Marlins came back.

The Phils probably should’ve won by a greater margin, but they left numerous men on base, especially in the first inning and sixth inning, when they only managed one run with the bases loaded and nobody out.

Ryan Madon’s scoreless ninth handed him the win. The Phillies are back at .500 and can sweep the Marlins tomorrow.


Gamenight: Phillies (7-8) At Marlins (11-5)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 25, 2009 05:30 PM Comments: 143

Philadelphia Phillies (7-8) at Florida Marlins (11-5)
Chan Ho Park (0-0, 8.68 ERA) vs. Chris Volstad (2-0, 2.76 ERA)

Time: 7:10 p.m. at Dolphin Stadium, Miami.
Weather: Windy, 76
TV: MyPhl 17, MLB Network
Twitter: Phillies Nation

Seriously, who saw that coming?

After the Phillies practically flatlined against the Brewers Thursday, they repeated that effort Friday. Then in the ninth, one run became another run, and that became a grand slam by Shane Victorino to hand the Phils an improbable 7-3 win over the Marlins. They are now 3.5 games out of first place.

Now the Phils face Chris Volstad, another good young starter with strong numbers in 2009. He hasn’t faced Phillie hitters too much, but of the experience, Chase Utley is striking at a .400 clip with a home run, and Lou Marson is actually 3-for-8 against him, all in the minors.

Chan Ho Park gets the ball for the Phils. He’s coming off a better second start, but still must perform better after winning the fifth-starter role. Florida hitters have struck him well, in limited action. Hanley Ramirez has a home run against Park.

Your gamenight beer: Who wants Sierra Nevada? I do. And I want an Extra Special Ale from the SN crew. This floral concoction is best for March and April, when the trees are sprouting with green and the sun is peeking out of the clouds. Today is a true spring-summer day, but welcome in the beautiful weather with this drink. Eat some wings with this.


Can This Trend Produce Another Title?

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 25, 2009 02:32 PM Comments: 16

Yesterday the Phils were down, again, very early. And once again it was from the longball — one powerful, Herculean shot by “His Name Is” Dan Uggla.

And once again the Phillies had to come back — this time in the latest possible moment: A two-out grand slam by Shane Victorino.

The Phillies have once scored first in a game.

A starter has yet to go a game without giving up a home run.

This begs the question: Can the Phillies repeat this way? Is there any way this brand of baseball can produce a first-place finish and second-consecutive world championship?

At some point this formula will cease and the Phils will, hopefully, lead a second game first. But talk amongst yourselves; It has been a scary trend.


Minor Leagues: Stutes On Fire In Reading

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 25, 2009 08:57 AM Comments: 26

Last year I wrote that we might need until May to determine the strength of prospect Mike Stutes. Well, May just can’t come quickly enough.

Stutes is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA, 18 K and 5 BB through 17 innings with the Reading Phillies. This after throwing a 1.48 ERA in 42.2 innings in Lakewood and completely jumping A+ Clearwater.

At 22, Stutes seems almost ready to make the jump to the big leagues.


Grand Finale! Slam Caps Incredible Comeback

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 24, 2009 10:45 PM Comments: 26

It had all the trappings of Thursday’s horrific offensive performance. Instead, the boys woke up. And just in the Vic of time.

Shane Victorino nailed a two-out grand slam in the ninth inning to lead the Phillies to a 7-3 win over the first-place Marlins. The salami came after an RBI single by Matt Stairs and bases-loaded walk by Jimmy Rollins. Chase Utley added a solo shot after Victorino to cap the scoring. And what a way to end it.

The Phils were listless before that ninth, garnering only three hits and two walks off Marlins starter Josh Johnson in his seven innings. On the other side, Brett Myers surrendered a three-run home run against Dan Uggla (the Phils are now at 15 games with an opposing home run). He locked in after that despite 14 baserunners in six innings.

Clay Condrey grabbed the win with two hitless frames. Ryan Madson pitched a tense but winning ninth.


Gamenight: Phillies (6-8) At Marlins (11-4)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 24, 2009 05:30 PM Comments: 135

Philadelphia Phillies (6-8) at Florida Marlins (11-4)
Brett Myers (1-1, 5.03 ERA vs. Josh Johnson (2-0, 2.91 ERA)

Time: 7:10 p.m. at Dolphin Stadium, Miami.
Weather: Windy, 76
TV: The Comcast Network
Twitter: Phillies Nation

Sitting at the top of the National League East? Those Florida Marlins, with a strong 11-4 record. They were just swept by the Pirates, so that seems even more impressive that they’re still seven games over .500. They’re doing it every way possible, but mostly with pitching and speed. The former will be displayed tonight in the form of Josh Johnson, who’s carrying a 2.91 ERA through three starts.

Luckily the Phils have hit Johnson well. Ryan Howard has two home runs off him and a .438 average. Chase Utley has a .385 average against Johnson. Of course, those things don’t seem to matter when the games are played – both have struggled the past few games, as the Phils were able to cull just two runs overall against the heavenly duo of Braden Looper and Dave Bush.

Brett Myers pitches for the Phils. He has struggled in the past against Florida, with professional hitter Jorge Cantu clipping him at 5-for-10 pace. All-universe hitter Hanley Ramirez is a lifetime .360 hitter against Myers.

Your gamenight beer: Bluebird Bitter is from the Coniston Brewing Co. in England. A bitter beer, it has hints of apple and caramel within its formula. This is a perfect night for an English bitter – warm but cooling late, clear and reflective. Time for the Phils to remember how to beat the Marlins and, yes, win baseball games.

Go Phillies!


Report: Hamels OK To Make Next Start

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 24, 2009 11:50 AM Comments: 9

Todd Zolecki reports Cole Hamels is on point to make his scheduled start Tuesday against the Nationals. The line drive just left a flesh wound.


Manuel’s Call For Aggression Misguided

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 24, 2009 11:33 AM Comments: 13

Charlie Manuel was upset with his offense’s lackluster performance Thursday against Dave Bush. They made the low-throwing righty look like Cy Young. Manuel’s reasoning:

“I don’t want to take anything away from him. But I didn’t like the way we hit. I didn’t like the way we swung the bat.

“We swung the bats defensively. We weren’t aggressive at the plate. We didn’t put good swings on the ball. The first ball we hit hard was the one by Stairs.”

Defensively? Defensively? You’re telling me that Jimmy Rollins swinging on the first pitch is defensive?

Listen, I’m not an expert here, but I’m told that if you’re patient, wear a pitcher down and make him throw more than he needs, you’ll give him more chances to make mistakes. Instead, here are how many pitches Bush threw yesterday, by inning:

  • First inning: 10 – Hit by pitch, strikeout, ground out double play.
  • Second inning: 6 – Foul out, pop out, ground out.
  • Third inning: 10 – Fly out, walk, sacrifice bunt, fly out.
  • Fourth inning: 21 – Walk, ground out, fly out, ground out.
  • Fifth inning: 14 – Walk, fly out, strike out, pop out.
  • Sixth inning: 18 – Strike out, ground out, strike out.
  • Seventh inning: 19 – Fly out, hit by pitch, fly out, ground out.
  • Eighth inning: 16 – Ground out, home run, fly out, single.

The Phillies only made Bush throw 26 pitches in the first three innings. In the fourth, the Phils garnered a walk, then Howard – being aggressive with his swing – tried to turn a pitch to deep center. It fell short of a home run. The Phils made Bush throw more pitches in the sixth and seventh, but hitters were either early or late on his pitches. They finally pulled through in the eighth.

The aggressive approach of the early innings allowed Bush to settle in and locate in the middle innings, so while he was throwing more pitches, he could expend himself; moreover, hitters weren’t quite familiar with his stuff, making it easier for Bush to paint corners and induce fouls, since timing wasn’t perfect.

This is why you have to be patient early. You must take pitches. You must feel a pitcher out and make him throw. You may not get good swings early, but if you tire a pitcher, you’ll get those good swings earlier, not in the eighth inning when you’re deliberately forcing anything. A six-pitch second inning against the heart of the order is just unacceptable. Defensive? Yeah, sure, Charlie.


Stairs’ Homer Salvages Sorry Performance

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, April 23, 2009 03:51 PM Comments: 42

The Phillies were about to be no-hit for the first time since 1978, but Matt Stairs came to the plate, then drew a 3-1 count. You know what happens when Stairs draws a 3-1 count.

The pudgy man’s eighth-inning pinch-hit home run broke up Dave Bush’s no-hit bid, giving the Phillies their line run in a 6-1 loss to the Brewers.

The Phillies collected one more hit in the game, a single by Shane Victorino in that same eighth inning. Otherwise, it was a anemic showing by the Phils offense, as hitters weakly grounded balls, popped out and looked downright lost. A low-ball pitcher, Bush capitalized off an offense that looked very one-dimensional – not unusual against these kinds of pitchers.

Bush’s near no-no usurped the bigger story, which was Cole Hamels being plunked in the left shoulder by a Prince Fielder line drive in the fourth inning. Though he left the game, reports are he’ll be okay. Official word will be relayed. The injury came after a more promising effort from the lefty. After striking out five of the first six outs recorded, Hamels allowed a two-run home run to Ryan Braun, who has handily beaten Phillies pitching throughout the series.

After Hamels exited, JA Happ surrendered a bases-clearing double from Fielder. He finished giving up three runs on three hits and three walks in 1.2 innings.


Hamels Exits Game With Shoulder Contusion

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, April 23, 2009 02:05 PM Comments: 7

Cole Hamels has left the game with a left shoulder contusion. He was struck by a line drive off the bat of Prince Fielder in the fourth inning, after allowing a home run by Ryan Braun. He had pitched well throughout the game, striking out six.

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