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Archive for May, 2010

Reading Phillies Report

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, May 22, 2010 01:52 PM Comments: 0

Here is a report on the Reading Phillies from David Hoppman.

The Reading Phillies won game one of their series with Richmond winning game one by a score of 7-3.

Vance Worley pitched well getting his third win of the season. He surrendered three runs in the first, but nothing else during the remainder of his outing. He would go on to pitch seven strong innings giving up six hits, striking out four, walking three. Four of the six hits he gave up came in the first inning.

Matt German and Michael Schwimer pitched an inning each of scoreless relief to end the game.

The Reading Phillies started their scoring getting two runs in the second inning on RBI singles by Ozzie Chavez and Freddy Galvis. After holding Richmond scoreless in their top of the third, the offense went back to work exploding for four runs. Domonic Brown, Matt Rizzotti, Kevin Nelson all had RBI hits in the inning.

The other run scored on an error on a fielder’s choice grounder by Ozzie Chavez. Chavez also supplied the final run of the night with an RBI single in the eighth to cap the scoring for the night.

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Phils Pull Off Wicked Awesome Win

Posted by Michael Baumann, Sat, May 22, 2010 12:06 AM Comments: 17

It was like 2008 all over again. Behind strong pitching by Cole Hamels and a decent offensive display, the Phillies imposed their will on an AL East team. Hamels went seven strong innings, mixing in his fastball with a devastating change to hold the Red Sox to a single run, on a first inning solo homer by catcher Victor Martinez. Hamels struck out eight and allowed only four baserunners in his second consecutive solid outing.

Jayson Werth also had a strong night, contributing a double and a fifth-inning home run (and a nifty running catch in right field to end the eighth inning). Ryan Howard also had a big night, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run. John Lackey, Boston’s big-money offseason acquisition, continued to look, well, lacklustah, allowing four runs and throwing 107 pitches in only five innings. All of this sounds pretty pissa, right? Well, there are a couple caveats.

After the Juan Castro and Exxon Wilson Valdez experiment, it was good to see the Phillies’ informal captain back in the lineup at short this past week, but Jimmy Rollins’ stay in the starting lineup might turn out to be short-lived. J-Roll (1-for-3 with a walk tonight) tweaked his calf again running out a grounder in the bottom of the sixth and was relieved by Castro. Rollins insisted that it was not as bad as the first time, when he spent a month on the DL after a bizarre incident just before the home opener, and insists that the injury has already started to feel better.

“You never wanna get injured twice when it’s the same area, but it happens. You deal with it,” Rollins said after the game. He seems to be relatively optimistic and is listed as day-to-day.

Second, Hamels looked strong, but with all the brouhaha over Roy Halladay throwing 132 pitches in Tuesday night’s loss to the Pirates, it should be noted that Hamels, who does not share Halladay’s workhorse reputation, tossed 116 balls in tonight’s game.

Finally, that ninth inning near-miss needs to be mentioned. Danys Baez came out for the ninth with a four-run lead, and while he got a quick first out, it turned into a save situation in a big hurry. J.C. Romero came on, retired J.D. Drew, hit Adrian Beltre to load the bases, and got pinch-hitter David Ortiz on a fly ball to the warning track in center with the bases loaded and two out to end the game. Baez continues to be untrustworthy, as I’m sure many of you have noticed.

Here’s some food for thought. David Appelman of FanGraphs came up with statistics called Shutdowns and Meltdowns, based on WPA. For those of you who are interested about the specifics, you can read about it here. For those of you who aren’t, shutdowns and meltdowns are supposed to improve on saves and blown saves by incorporating the closeness of the game and more accurately valuing middle relief appearances. Want to guess who tied for the major league lead in meltdowns last year? That’s right–Danys Baez. The post-Contreras bullpen situation bears monitoring.

Action resumes tomorrow evening at 7:10 , as Kyle Kendrick faces Daisuke Matsuzaka. If the Phillies win this series, coupled with the Flyers’ comeback over the Bruins, the national media has got to reconsider which Northeastern city with a rich political history, an inferiority complex, and mouthy fans it frames as a rival to New York. Move over, Boston–here we come.

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Gameday: Boston Red Sox (22-20) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (25-15)

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Fri, May 21, 2010 05:00 PM Comments: 293

Boston Red Sox (22-20) at Philadelphia Phillies (25-15)

John Lackey, RHP (4-2, 4.86 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels, LHP (1-2, 4.29 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park

Weather: Mostly Sunny, 60

TV:Comcast SportsNet

Twitter: @philliesnation

It’s that time of year again. Where the continuity of autonomous league scheduling is altered for an alleged attendance boost in the pursuit of capital revenue gains.

Welcome to Inter-league Play 2010.

Red Sox Nation® (and the Delaware Valley’s bandwagon fans, circa 2004) will be on hand for the final series of this seven game home stand. The Phils have a total of four wins against the Red Sox spanning the last four years. But, this isn’t your ‘Bloody Sock’ or ‘Cowboy Up’ teams from the past. Boston has been plagued by injuries, inconsistency on offense and a lot of bad starting pitching performances.

A model of pitching consistency takes the mound tonight in John Lackey. He won’t over power you, but the veteran has been apt at forcing batted outs away from the strike zone. Lackey is a winner in two of his last three starts despite getting shellacked around in the early innings by Detroit and Toronto. He has been terrific all season and there is no reason to believe he won’t continue to keep the Red Sox in this game tonight.

For the Phillies, Colbert Hamels is looking to build on three stellar outings and continue the clubs successes in May . Pitching more to contact and limiting base runners, the club has been victorious in his last four outings (Hamels 2-0 in that span). Hamels is coming off a 6.2 inning performance in Milwaukee where he scattered two runs on six hits. Hamels pitching to contact has negatively affected him in the later innings in Milwaukee. With the lineup rolled over, a tired Hamels left pitches up resulting in homeruns by Casey McGhee and Corey Hart. While inconsistant throughout the season thus far, the duo of Youkilis and Martinez are riding offense hot streaks coming into this series. They will not miss any mistake Hamels throws at them.

The history of the Phils-Red Sox series has been completely one sided. The Phils need two wins to guarantee a winning home stand while not being able to take two from the Sox since 2003. A sweep?  Not out of the question with this version of the Red Sox; the team hasn’t sweep the Sox since 2000. In that series at Veterans Stadium, two walk off doubles by Alex Arias and Kevin Jordan in extra innings sealed those contests.

Ah, memories…

Red Sox Nation is a ® of the ESPN hype machine.

Today’s Lineup: Rollins, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibañez, Victorino, Ruiz, Hamels.

Hop ExplosionYour Gameday Beer – Green Monsta

A feature of the Wachusett Brewing Compnay, Green Monsta is a strong Ale (6.4 % abv) with medium body and a variety of flavor. It pours a copper color getting darker as it settles from bottle to glass. It’s malty, medium-hoppy taste and silky texture make this beer a slow drinker. With its hints of background citris, it is a perfect beer for a perfect night for baseball. Order a cheesesteak stromboli and pour yourself a glass. – By RC

GO PHILLIES!

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Reading Phillies Report

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, May 21, 2010 11:28 AM Comments: 2

Here is a report on the Reading Phillies from David Hoppman.

The Reading Phillies were swept by Harrisburg after losing yesterday by a score of 3-2. Drew Naylor pitched great, going seven innings in which he gave up five hits with four of them coming in the first inning. He allowed two runs in that first inning but later set down 17 straight Senators, striking out five and walking none.

Matt Rizzotti tied the game in the eighth with a RBI single, but then Sergio Escalona quickly gave it up surrendering the game-winning run. Freddy Galvis committed an error in the second inning – only his second error of the season in 169 chances. Ozzie Chavez hit his first home run, a solo shot.

Tonight starts a seven game home stand starting with a series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels and ending with the Portland Seadogs. The starter for tonight is not known at this time.

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Odds and Ends: Lidge, Contreras, Lineup

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, May 21, 2010 09:37 AM Comments: 40

-Brad Lidge will throw from flat ground today before the Phillies take on the Boston Red Sox; another step in his recovery since hitting the DL last week.  The Phillies closer has a cortisone injection (his fifth in a year; not a good sign) but said he should be ready to go once he comes off the DL next week.

Manuel and Dubee are going to have to take it slow with him before ramping him up into high-pressure and 9th inning situations. With Contreras doing a fantastic job in his new role, and the bullpen as a whole staying fresh, it should be easy for the coaching staff to ease Lidge back into his familiar setting.  They cannot risk another set back.

-Speaking of Contreras, the guy has been awesome. One thought about that shaky ninth inning he had yesterday: that’s the sort of inning that makes a pitcher believe he can accomplish anything out on the mound. Contreras had a big smile after the game as his buddy Danys Baez translated for him, and why not?  He’s flourishing in a role unfamiliar to him.

They call him “Big Truck” – well at least Charlie does now, because of the big vehicle he drives – and he’s been coming up big in the absence of the aforementioned Lidge. With 1st and 3rd and no one out, Jose got three straight outs.  The dude already has a boatload of confidence right now, as his ERA sits below one.  Wiggling out of that jam is something that sticks in your head for a long while.  Who knew Jose Contreras would be as valuable as he’s been thus far.  Don’t forget, the guy still has some starter in him; meaning if the time is right, he can go more than just three outs.

-The lineup is certainly a hot issue these days with Jimmy Rollins returning and everyone finally healthy together.  My question to you was – as stated in the Phillies Nation Phancast Video yesterday – where do you put Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins now?

Give us your best eight man batting order below.

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Ibanez’s Timely Hit Pushes Phils Past Cubs

Posted by Paul Boye, Thu, May 20, 2010 05:08 PM Comments: 21

Raul Ibanez singled home Chase Utley in the bottom of the eighth, and Jose Contreras battled out of a jam to record his second save as the Phillies defeated the Cubs, 5-4.

Propelled by an efficient start from Joe Blanton, the Phils jumped out to a 4-1 after six, behind homers from Utley and Jimmy Rollins. From there, however, things got shaky. Chicago responded with two runs in the top of the seventh, then tied the game in the eighth when Kosuke Fukudome led off the frame with a home run to right. It was only the second hit reliever Antonio Bastardo had allowed to a lefty hitter all season.

Danys Baez immediately relieved Bastardo and retired the side in order. It was Baez’s team-leading 19th appearance out of the ‘pen, and he would pick up the win for his efforts. Why? Because in the bottom of the eighth, Utley and Rollins walked to place runners on first and second with two out for Ibanez, who poked a single to right field that scored Utley, the game’s deciding run.

Contreras would make things interesting in the ninth before closing the door. After plunking Alfonso Soriano on the 11th pitch of his at-bat, Mike Fontenot singled to put Soriano at third with none out. From there, Contreras took over, striking out Starlin Castro and pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez and inducing a weak, foul pop-out from Geovany Soto to end the game.

Their pair of two-game series complete, the Phillies now turn their attention to the Boston Red Sox, who come to town to kick off interleague play. John Lackey will oppose Cole Hamels in the opener.

Here’s a postgame video from Pat Gallen at Citizens Bank Park:

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Gameday: Cubs (19-22) at Phillies (24-15)

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Thu, May 20, 2010 12:10 PM Comments: 60

Chicago Cubs (19-22) at Philadelphia Phillies (24-15)

Tom Gorzelanny, RHP (2-4, 3.49 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton, RHP (1-2, 5.49 ERA)

Time: 1:05, Citizens Bank Park

Weather: Sunny, 76

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Twitter: @philliesnation

In their matinee matchup with the Chicago Cubs, the Phillies have a couple of things going for them. One is that today’s starter for the Cubs, Ryan Dempster, pitches with the appendage on the right side of his torso, not the left. After being held to one run combined the past two nights by Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny, the last thing the Phillies want to see is another lefty.

Dempster is having a strange season. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his eight starts and his ERA is a respectable 3.49, but he’s just 2-4 to show for it. In fact, he’s gone seven innings in each of his last four starts – and lost all of them. The problem is a lack of run support; the Cubs scored a total of 10 runs in those four games, dropping three of them by one run.

During his career, Dempster has been smacked around by the Phillies. He hasn’t beaten them as a starter since 2001, with a 1.62 WHIP, 4.99 ERA and .272 BAA. The only area where his numbers are OK is wins and losses (4-4).

After all the talk of the Phillies finally getting their lineup fully back with the return of Jimmy Rollins on Monday, it hasn’t resulted in much success – mainly because the lineup still wasn’t really together until Wednesday (Chase Utley sat out Monday and Tuesday with flulike symptoms). And today Werth and Ruiz will get a rest. So the wait for the varsity Phillies lineup to put it all together will have to wait for the Red Sox series this weekend.

Today’s Lineup: Victorino (CF), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Rollins (SS), Ibanez (LF), Gload (RF), Hoover (C), Blanton (P)

Hop ExplosionYour Gameday Beer – Hop Explosion

The Phils are in dire need of an offensive explosion, so let’s drink to that. Brewed in Bethlehem, Hop Explosion is not too widely available outside of the Lehigh Valley but as the name hints, it’s an IPA. There are some citrus flavors but they’re completely overpowered by the intensely bitter hops. This beer is certainly an acquired taste, but so is curried goat, so have the two together and pray for better meals and games ahead. – By Brian

GO PHILLIES!

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This Week in Schadenfreude: Hanley, John Wall, JSN, and Barajas

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, May 20, 2010 10:46 AM Comments: 11

Welcome to This Week in Schadenfreude, a new feature here at Phillies Nation where we explore why, no matter what kind of week the Phillies are having, it’s better to root for them than to support the other four teams in the National League East.

Florida Marlins

It might seem like piling on, but the Marlins’ winningest manager of all time is Fredi Gonzalez. Gonzalez seems like a tactically astute manager who has gotten a lot from a young team these past three seasons and change. But Gonzalez seems intent on running shortstop Hanley Ramirez out of town, first by making him cut his dreads, and now by benching him for not running down a ball he booted. Instead of having his best player in the lineup, Fredo would rather trot out an injured Brian Barden for eight innings. Yes, it’s important to keep your players, even your stars, hungry and disciplined. Now Han-Ram in the process of quitting on his manager, who has made it quite clear that he’s willing to put his players’ health at risk to institute Marine Corps discipline.

Just know, Marlins fans, that Miami is not big enough for the two of them. Han-Ram is the best player in the game not named Pujols, and if this pissing contest with Fredo continues, I bet only one of them is around for the long term. Now batting for the 2013 New York Yankees….

Washington Nationals

We Philly fans know what it’s like when your teams are constantly upstaging each other. The Phillies trade for Roy Halladay during Eagles season, then the Eagles trade Donovan McNabb the night before Opening Day for the Phils. The Nats are having a good (if not sustainable) season, hovering around .500 and in third place, with the shadows of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper looming on the horizon. Now that the Caps are out of the playoffs, they might get some attention.

Then, Tuesday night, the Wizards won the draft lottery, entitling them to select John Wall, Tamer of Horses and Destroyer of Worlds, with the first pick in the NBA draft. Suddenly, the Nats are once again the fourth-most important team in the town, and by the time anyone remembers they exist, they’ll be back in the cellar. Poor guys.

Atlanta Braves

If a tree climbs out of last place in the division, and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? It sucks to be a Braves fan because this team, of whom many (including me) expected much this offseason, is so far doing its best to make sure Bobby Cox leaves and never wants to come back. Or at least, it would suck if there were any Braves fans. The Atlanta Braves are like a public service, a way to kill time until UGA football starts up again, something to listen to on the radio while The Bull at 94.9 is on commercial and Jean Shorts Nation is heading to the store for Natty Light and dip.

New York Mets

(cracks knuckles) Where to begin? Well, at least they’ve gotten their precipitous fall from first place out of the way early this year. After the Phillies regained top spot in the division, the Mets have been in a tailspin and have dropped nine of their last 11 games, all but one of which was against a division opponent.

But right now, the Mets are doing less with more than perhaps any other team in baseball. They’re paying more than twice as much per win as the Nats and nearly three times as much per win as the Rays. The worst part is that the team is run by a manager, Jerry Manuel, and a GM, Omar Minaya, who seem to neither have the inclination to turn matters around nor the ability to do so if they wanted to. No one’s mismanaged this much money this badly since the Greek government under George Papandreou, amirite?

Oh, and Rod Barajas is leading the team in home runs. I wonder if LeBron can play second base….

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Reading Report

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, May 20, 2010 10:20 AM Comments: 0

Here is another report on the Reading Phillies from David Hoppman.

The Reading Phillies lost last night to Harrisburg 2-1. Starter Yohan Flande pitched 6 and 2/3 innings striking out three and walking two while allowing five hits. Michael Schwimer took the loss in the ninth after allowing four hits. Reading plays Harrisburg again this morning – the game starts at 10:30am.

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Happy Birthday Jayson Werth

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, May 20, 2010 08:41 AM Comments: 16

Today is our hard-hitting right fielder’s birthday – he’s now 31 years old. He’s gone from this precocious kid (bottom left) to a man with a cult following because of a beard (bottom right). His transformation from free-agent pick up to one of the most feared hitters in the National League has been stunning. Phillies Nation salutes you, Jayson Werth.

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