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Howard Provides the Difference

Posted by Amanda Orr, Wed, August 26, 2009 11:11 PM | Comments: 92
2009 Recaps, Posts

For some reason, Ryan Howard can’t hit at PNC Park.  Entering tonight’s game, the slugger batted .167 there.  His average may not have raised much, but he provided the biggest, and most important hit of the night.

Chase Utley’s solo home run in the first inning immediately put the Phillies on the board.  The Phillies have homered in the first inning in four consecutive games.  It was awhile before another run would cross the plate.

Cole Hamels finally put together a solid outing.  He pitched eight shutout innings, but did allow many base runners.  He allowed seven hits, walked two, and hit a batter.  He managed to escaped the jams without problems.  Paul Maholm pitched just as well.  In seven innings, he gave up one run on five hits.  He walked two, struck out four, and was able to get the Phillies to ground out eleven times.

With a 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth, the Phillies would have liked to add on.  With runners on second and third and nobody out, the Pirates wiggled out of a potential big inning.  Joel Hanrahan struck out Ben Francisco and Pedro Feliz.  He intentionally walked pinch hitter Raul Ibanez to get to a slumping Matt Stairs.  Stairs was ahead 3-0, but Hanrahan fought back, getting Stairs to ground out.

Brad Lidge received the day off since he pitched in four straight games.  Ryan Madson took over, and struck out Steve Pearce to start the inning, topping at 99 mph.  A sign of relief?  Not so much.  The next batter, Brandon Moss, homered to center field, tying the game at one.  For the second day in a row, the Phillies blew a save to the Pirates.

Unlike Lidge, Madson was able to keep the game tied and give the bats, which were silent all night, a chance in the tenth.

Jimmy Rollins walked and Shane Victorino singled.  With Rollins at third, Utley hit a fly ball to center, deep enough for Rollins to score.  Holding up at third, Rollins didn’t take a chance. On the very first pitch to Ryan Howard, Rollins trotted home.  Howard hit a towering drive to right field; a three-run go-ahead home run.

Madson came back out for the bottom of the tenth.  He allowed a lead-off single, but Chase Utley ended the game by turning a fantastic double play on a ball that deflected off the mound.

The game moved along quickly as Maholm and Hamels took part in a pitchers’ duel.  But it was Ryan Howard who provided the difference in the Phillies 4-1 win over the Pirates.

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Amanda Orr has written 713 articles on Phillies Nation.

Amanda has been writing for Phillies Nation since 2009.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    Don, I completely agree with you about Wheeler. I can barely follow gamenight on here anymore what with all the Wheels bashing, it seems to go on endlessly. If you actually listen to him instead of trying to find ways to tear him down, you’ll find that he really DOES know alot about the game, he’s been around for a long time now, has a great memory and relates some very interesting tales from years back. I just don’t get all the hate people have for him, it’s over the top, imo.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Wheels is ok… he just needs to learn to shut up sometimes.

    I’ve always listened to games on the radio… I kind of preferred it because HK was the man. He would let you hear the game and dissect what was going on. He would set the scene and give you the call as he saw it. You felt like you were there… Wheels is soo focused on giving you stats and reasoning that it takes away from the beauty of the game.

    With that being said… our team is phenomenal.

    They were comparing Fransky calling Bruntlett’s triple play to the national media guys… it was very funny. The national guys had no idea what was going on; “Line drive up the middle… ahh emm… tags him (pauses)… triple play!” Fransky nailed it… “Line drive, Bruntlett catches it steps on the bag, turns and places the tag on the runner. IT’S A TRIPLE PLAY AND THE BALLGAME IS OVER!

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Wheels is very knowledgeable about baseball, he is just a bit of a goober/goofball. I like Sarge as a booth guy better jsut because he gets along better with T-Mac because they play pranks on each other constantly. Theyll even go far out of their way to do so.

     
  • Posts: 0 DAVE

    Other Dave, I remember him saying that, too. And I remember thinking well thanks Cole, I’m glad to hear you realize that you’re terrible but I’d rather hear what you’re doing to fix it.

    Also, just to be clear, I like Cole overall, and in general, I think he does tend to have a good head on his shoulders. And I don’t think that he deserves to necessarily get KILLED for the poor attitude that seems to be coming through in some of his comments, I just think that if you’re sucking, you shouldn’t say anything. Just give the old “Yeah, we’re working hard trying to win one game at a time, and I’m not getting the job done.” And I think that it is a red flag that he maybe he isn’t quite the elite type of guy that we think. Really good? Definitely. Potential ace that I want on my team? No question. Legendary-type all-time great pitcher? Not now and not with this attitude moving forward.

    Also, for argument’s sake, when this work ethic/complacency issue was at the forefront, early in the season, Cole was our ace. Now, he’s like our 4th best starter.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Georgie, et al. I think Wheels is maligned for the following reasons:

    1. First and foremost, he is a Phils lackey. He came up employed by the Phils organization with Dave Montgomery and is perceived by many, including me, as the teams “boy”;

    2. Yes, he has knowledge of the game. That he read about in a book. He seems to battle with fits of overanalysis (McCarveritis);

    3. His constant use of the same phrases over and over again are irritating. Its gets to the point where if I’m in a bar, when I assess a prospective mate for the evening, I will not comment on her looks or personality, but instead will blather mindlessly to friends that “she’s looking for something middle in” or “she’s in a no doubles defense”. All this from too much Wheeler.

    4. He’s a nerd devoid of any personality whatsoever.

    Other than that I think he’s great.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Dave… who commented on Hamels ..

    Look at the statistics of pitchers who have gone over 200 innings for the first time in their careers .. the year following that they have a drop-off 9.9-out-of-10 times

    It was either Jon Heyman, or Tom Verducci … one of the Sport’s Illustrated guys picked Hamels to have a down year before the season began, and gave arm fatigue as the reason..

    he went SO FAR BEYOND what his arm had ever done before.. you knew it was going to be an awkward response this season..

    Hamels is still the second best starter on the team, and expect him to be the #2 come playoff time

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    HK “would let you hear the game” … is probably what I liked least about Harry … way, way, way too much dead-air, or quiet-time when he was on

    Wheels is the color-guy, not the play-by-play .. so its his job to interject often.. I think he does a great job

    I like Tmac, when he’s not with Sarge, because they act like a couple of high school kids in the booth.. when Wheels is in there, Tmac acts like a professional, and does a solid job

     
  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    Well, Dips, when I’m scoping out guys at the bar, I’m most definitely staying away from the dude with “It’s Cadillac Time!” written all over him.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    With all due respect to Harry…..he wasn’t that good of a play-by-play guy if you think about the way play-by-play should be done….especially on the radio where it’s the job of the announcers to “paint a picture” of what’s going on. Harry was Harry and we all loved him for many reasons. Scott Franske is way better as a play-by-play guy and L.A. is awesome.

    Wheels is goofy but what’s wrong with that?? His analysis is right on and that’s what counts.

    TMac is good, too. Sarge is ok. His post game interviews are horrendous, though

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I actually like hearing that the Corner’s and OFs are “in a no doubles-defense” because without him saying that, you wouldn’t know… and so right off the bat, you have a better idea of what might drop.. or what might get in the gap etc..

    he paints the picture that they don’t always show on the TV screen… OFTEN, they will switch the TV cameras to show whatever it is that he describes..

    Wheels has been around since 1977 .. x 162 games = 3,564 + playoffs … plus Spring Training..

    So Wheels (who im sure played baseball growing up).. has witnessed over 5,000 baseball games in person … but I guess that reading about it in a book helps too

    Wheels is quick to point out when it IS, or ISN’T a good time, count/situation to steal .. and he is often correct in guessing when a runner will go

    …not that im the biggest Wheels fan in the world.. but he is the best of the Phillies crew

    I really like listening to Franzke and LA, but I watch the TV way more than I listen on radio

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    I guess that it’s a matter of perception… I tend to like less talk during games and agree with Dipsy (esp #4). Did you ever see the highlight of Wheels/HK in the booth celebrating after the final pitch (classic; linked below). I count 14 single fist pumps and 8 double fist pumps but the real magic happens at 11 seconds, when Wheeler fills out his lineup card.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4IHefE3xgY

    With most commentators, it seems like every time a player gets a hit, it’s because the pitcher “missed his spot.” No sh… don’t tell me something unless it’s meaningful.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Good example with the no-doubles-defense. That’s not something that the average person at home in front of his/her TV is going to automatically notice.

    I also think that Wheels has been maligned over the years because he and Harry didn’t get along and that has been something that has gone against most people’s grain.

    Franske’s triple play call has to be one of the best play-by-play calls done in a long time. He was on one of the radio shows yesterday or Tuesday maybe and he said that his biggest concern with that was whether he actually called all three outs…..it happened so fast.

     
  • Posts: 0 DAVE

    I’m sorry that this is getting lost in my other points here so I’ll let it stand alone.

    I KNOW that Hamels is suffering from arm fatigue.

    I THINK there’s more to it than that.

    I WANT him to have a better attitude, or more appropriately (since I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that deep down he really does have a good attitude) stop saying things to indicate he has a bad attitude.
    _______________________________________________________________

    I LIKE him as a pitcher.

    I STRONGLY DISLIKE him as a commercial actor.
    _______________________________________________________________

    Also, Wheels is fine but he is definitely annoying. I’ve never heard anyone so concerned with “turning the lineup over.”

    And they should just put under Tom McCarthy’s name “Walking Phillies Propaganda” instead of “Announcer” I’ve never heard a critical word about the Phillies from T-Mac.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Dave.. my bad.. I started posting my response, before I read the rest of your post.

    Turning the lineup over is HUGE in the National League…

     
  • Posts: 0 Dhall

    I agree with Dave that we shouldnt’ read into Hamels comments too much. I just don’t think he interviews well…many people don’t. For example, when Charlie interviews he sounds like someone with an IQ of 7:-)

     
  • Posts: 0 Mark B

    Mets 3, Marlins 1 – top 3rd.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    I guess that we have to root for the Mets, eh?

     
  • Posts: 0 Mark B

    Original Chuck P – yes, I think we should, although it feels strange.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    I know I will get killed for saying this. I think Harry had one of the greatest voices for Sports. Pat S was also great with Madden. I did not like listening to Harry. I always shut the sound down. You always heard him breathing. To much dead air. His calls on homers were brilliant. I love Tom and Wheels. They are great together. Wheels is brilliant with detailing the game.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    8-3 Muts…

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    METS 8 – 3

     
  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    Chris Wheeler says: Lidge throws noting but Trolly Track balls. My infamous “No Doubles Defense” doesn’t work on home runs. Why is that Sarge? Well, again… Cadillac Time!

    There’s two new sports radio talk shows coming out in a few weeks.

    Talk’in Repeat with Repeat! and The Dipsy is Tipsy! I’m a Flinstone kid.. A million strong! And growing…..

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    10-3 filanl, Muts.

    Hofman claimed off waives so that speculation can end in 48 hours.
    Let’s go J.A!

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Myers should be our closer. Lidge is pathetic. He has shown he cannot close out games anymore. Lets face facts. Defense helped him out big time last year. Like Jimmies amazing play to clinch the division.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Chris Wheeler, the colorless color commentator, delivers his analysis in a snarky, mr. knowitall manner that I can’t stand. He’s got NO personality and NO sense of humor. So where’s the color? And who ever gave a damn about a “no doubles defense” until Wheeler pointed out one day that such a thing actually exists. “This game is just plain goofy, sometimes”, “this guy’s just gooood”, “looking for something middle in”, “turning the lineup over”……its the same soory schtick over and over and over again….like a broken effin record. I know they’re coming before he even says them. STOP!

    Back in the good old days, when H and W were in the booth, “Wheels” was an irritant that we, and they, had to put up with when he interrupted the two maestros. One day, the brass just stuck him in there for no good reason. They had Whitey, Richie, and Andy. And then one day Dave Montgomery walks in the booth, holding young Chris’ hand, Chris, replete in seer sucker shorts, a cap with a propeller on it, and a big lollipop in his hand, and said, “Hey guys, this is Chris Wheeler, he’ll be your new broadcast partner. Went over like a fart in church, I’ll bet. Anfd then he went on for 20 years being like Leo Getz of the broadcast team.

    He’s terrible, in every way, and he’s been on way too long and he’ll probably die in that booth, much to our misfortune. My eardrums are now conditioned to mediocrity. Thanks Wheels.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Chris Wheeler, the colorless color commentator, delivers his analysis in a snarky, mr. knowitall manner that I can’t stand. He’s got NO personality and NO sense of humor. So where’s the color? And who ever gave a damn about a “no doubles defense” until Wheeler pointed out one day that such a thing actually exists. “This game is just plain goofy, sometimes”, “this guy’s just gooood”, “looking for something middle in”, “turning the lineup over”……its the same soory schtick over and over and over again….like a broken effin record. I know they’re coming before he even says them. STOP!

    Back in the good old days, when H and W were in the booth, “Wheels” was an irritant that we, and they, had to put up with when he interrupted the two maestros. One day, the brass just stuck him in there for no good reason. They had Whitey, Richie, and Andy. And then one day Dave Montgomery walks in the booth, holding young Chris’ hand, Chris, replete in seer sucker shorts, a cap with a propeller on it, and a big lollipop in his hand, and said, “Hey guys, this is Chris Wheeler, he’ll be your new broadcast partner. Went over like a fart in church, I’ll bet. Anfd then he went on for 20 years being the Leo Getz of the broadcast team.

    He’s terrible, in every way, and he’s been on way too long and he’ll probably die in that booth, much to our misfortune. My eardrums are now conditioned to mediocrity. Thanks Wheels.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Sorry about the double post.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Yes lets hand over the keys to closers role to Brett Myers, he’s pitched great in… And he’s been an effective reliever since… Um…. (Sarcasm intended)

    I’m betting on Myers like I’d bet on Eric Gagne right now.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    ^Also If the Phillies are the team that have claimed Hoffman it’s going to take more than an half decent couple of prospects to get the deal done.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I disagree NJ. If they Brewers pull him back, they get nothing.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Dipsy apparently about 75% of players are placed on waivers in August. If the Brewers pull him back they don’t get nothing because he’s an impending type A free agent that will be tendered and they’ve indicated a reluctance to move veterans this month.

    The Mets apparently got a pretty good prospect plus another to be named later for Wagner, the Brewers will be eying the same for Hoffman.

    Just because players have to go through waivers in August doesn’t mean their clubs will be getting nothing for them.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Are you telling me that they signed him to a one year deal and if he walks that they are entitled to a couple of picks if he was offered arbitration? Hmmm. OK.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    So, that means that some teams would prefer two picks, lets just say its two, instead of, maybe Julian Sampson and and whatever other guy from our “top 50″ prospects we would throw their way?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    ^From Ken Rosenthal yesterday- “Rangers GM Jon Daniels estimates that three quarters of MLB players hit waivers in August, so don’t fret about this news if you’re a Brewers fan”.

    Before anyone says anything, I don’t buy in to Rosenthals rumourmongering but in this case a GM is named as the source so it’s clearly not BS.

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    I wouldn’t annoint Myers the closer, but the job should he pitch well for the Phils and Lidge continues his BP pitching then you have to make the change.

    It’ll take a decent prospect to get Hoffman, but Milwakee could tell him they will resign him for 2010 and get the picks next year. It would be a win, win, win all around.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I will go out on a limb and say, that given the fact that the Phils can win now, and that their achilles heel is the closer, and that Hoffman is one of the best of all time, and is having a great season, that it wouldn’t bother me at all to give them a nice prospect (Stutes, Worley, Savery).

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Dipsy -snarky is the best description. I left philly in ’80 and returned in ’08 so the Wheels Experience is new to me….But the first time I felt really annoyed with something he said “snarky” came to mind immediately. I suppose everday for 6 months of x number of years might even test the limits of the Dali Lama’s tolerance, but I’m not quite there yet esp. since we won the year I came back and winning can take the edge off alot of things. He is more suited for print media than broadcasting but the organization is loyal to a fault so I think he will be there until the end.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    “The Wheels Experience”. Thats funny. A little short of the Jimi Hendrix Experience but it does possess its own unique qualities. Repetition. Nebishlike. Flack. These all come to mind. Here’s to hoping it ends sooner rather than later.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    I’m hesitant to expect Myers to win the role with so little time and these next few days are priceless if someone is going to dethrone Lidge for the foreseeable. Myers will be in the minors for at least the next weeks give or take a couple of days and will have to rifle off a three or four electric innings before he gets any kind of serious back of the bullpen innings.

    Forget the criticism (which I fully share) of Lidge, I want to see his next appearance with a ‘fresh’ arm to judge if the other night was him overworked or the nail in the coffin.

    The closer role is a major concern though teams have won with guys like Keith Foulke, Troy Percival, Ugueth Urbina…

     
  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Dipsy – I suppose the waviers issue could be the problem….but I’m down for that….and the Brewers seem like they are closing up shop. It’s the NL, get on the prospect train and watch your team become a fielding blooper reel…

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    They just said on CSN that in save situations Lidge is 11-13 in with a 4.45 era since coming off the DL(Utley blew the one) and the other night was on day 4. That’s not great, but it’s servicable. I’d keep giving him the ball until another option presents itself.

     
 
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