Archive for August, 2010

Gameday: Phillies (73-58) at Dodgers (68-64)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, August 31, 2010 08:36 PM Comments: 402

Philadelphia Phillies (73-58) at Los Angeles Dodgers (68-64)

Kyle Kendrick, RHP (8-7, 4.64 ERA) vs. Carlos Monasterios, RHP (3-4, 3.54 ERA)

Time: 10:10 p.m at Dodger Stadium
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 67
Twitter: @philliesnation

Not all is lost after that ugly one-hitter was tossed by Hiroki Kiroda last night. The Phillies are still 3-1 on the road trip and they’ll have an opportunity to beat up on a pitcher that has never faced the team as a starter. That, and they also still hold on to a 1 1/2 game advantage in the Wild Card.

By the way, Monasterios is a former Phillies farm hand; he pitched in three levels of the minor league system over four seasons before leaving after last season. He finished up with Double-A Reading in ’09 before heading west.

Good lucks go to Kyle Kendrick tonight. He’ll likely have no offense backing him, per usual, and he likes to give up about four runs over six innings.  That means a win at this juncture will be hard to come by.  Here’s hoping the Phils somehow, someway, score five runs. Show us something boys, you’re making us just a little nervous.

Lagunitas Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red AleYour Gameday Beer – Lagunitas Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red Ale
For whatever reason, I like to think of red ales as fall beers. This offering from Lagunitas comes in a 22-ounce bottle and certainly fits into that autumn category. Its rich amber flavor is thickened by apples and syrup while also containing a strong hops body. It has a traditional dry finish – common in IPAs. Have it with some pork chops and applesauce. – By Brian



Why the Phillies WILL Make the Playoffs Again

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, August 31, 2010 04:04 PM Comments: 19

Today, I got the opportunity to write a guest post over on Yahoo! Sports’ great baseball blog, Big League Stew. ‘Duk and the gang let me post a follow-up to yesterday’s post by Alex Remington that the Braves would make the postseason. I felt the need to back up our fair team, even though last night may not have been the perfect time (or maybe it was, who knows).

Here’s a tidbit of what I wrote:

Been There, Done That: In 2007, the Phillies fought tooth and nail until the final day of the season and made the playoffs. In 2008, they rode past the Mets in the latter stages of the season and blew through the playoffs for their first World Series title in 28 years. In 2009, another National League Championship banner was raised.

This club understands what it takes to reach the postseason and what it takes to become a winner when the check comes due. With their backs against the wall, this crew consisting of Howard, Utley, Rollins, and Werth seem to play their best baseball. September is on the doorstep, a month in which the Phils have done some damage.

In each of the past three seasons, the Phils have won 17 games in September. Offensively, there is hope.Ryan Howard is a career .314 hitter in the final month, mashing a total of 52 home runs with 141 RBI in 162 games. Halladay follows suit to end the year; his career ERA is 3.32, but in September that drops nearly a full run to 2.36.

Click here to read the rest of the “Why the Phillies will make the playoffs” on Big League Stew.


Phils Make Like Machine Left in Rain, Get Kuroda’d

Posted by Michael Baumann, Tue, August 31, 2010 01:46 AM Comments: 81

Roy Halladay came within five outs of making history with a no-hitter again tonight. Just not the good kind. Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda had a no-hitter broken up with one out in the eighth inning of a game Los Angeles went on to win, 3-0. If Kuroda had finished his no-hit bid, Halladay would have become the first pitcher since Juan Marichal in 1963 to throw a no-hitter and have a no-hitter thrown against him in the same season. The Phillies’ ace developed a crippling case of Cole Hamels’ Disease in Chavez Ravine, being undone by a series of soft bloop hits and a lack of run support.

For Kuroda’s part, he was outstanding, throwing a dizzying array of off-speed pitches to an impatient Phillies lineup. Despite hitting Jayson Werth in the second inning Kuroda faced the minimum through five. He later walked Carlos Ruiz in the sixth and Werth in the eighth before Shane Victorino got the only hit of the night.

The Phillies only threat came in the eighth, when Werth’s leadoff walk, followed by a Raul Ibanez fielder’s choice and Victorino’s hit brought the tying run to the plate. Kuroda struck out Carlos Ruiz, then Hong-Chih Kuo retired Mike Sweeney, who was pinch-hitting for Dom Brown, who, in turn, was pinch-hitting for Halladay. Kuo pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save on the year.

The Phillies, bizarrely, have had serious trouble with Japanese starting pitchers this season. They’ve faced 4 Japanese-born starting pitchers once each this season. They beat the Braves on May 9. Shane Victorino hit a solo home run off Kenshin Kawakami in the seventh inning of that game. That was the last run the Phillies have scored of a Japanese starter. Since then, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hisanori Takahashi, and Kuroda have combined to throw 22 consecutive scoreless innings. What’s more, Matsuzaka and Kuroda both took no-hitters into the eighth inning of their starts.

Game two of the series starts at 10:10 tomorrow night.


Gameday: Phillies (73-57) at Dodgers (67-64)

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Mon, August 30, 2010 09:10 PM Comments: 261

Philadelphia Phillies (73-57) at Los Angeles Dodgers (67-64)

Roy Halladay (16-10, 2.22 ERA) vs. 
Hiroki Kuroda (9-11, 3.56)

Time: 10:10 p.m at Dodger Stadium
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 67
Twitter: @philliesnation

This is what sets 2010 apart for the Phillies.

Faced with a similar position the past two seasons – heading into a big road series in need of wins, the Phillies would have had one hot starting pitcher (Cole Hamels in 2008, Cliff Lee in 2009) and a grab bag (Brett Myers and Joe Blanton ’08, Hamels and Pedro Martinez in ’09) for the rest of the series.

But not this year. This is why they got Roy Halladay and then added Roy Oswalt. Not to slight Kyle Kendrick, a serviceable fifth starter, but with the ability to hand the ball to Halladay and Oswalt heading into a key series – whether it’s at Dodger Stadium or Yankee Stadium – you have to like the Phillies’ chances.

Tonight it’s Halladay’s turn, and if anyone can maintain the staff’s momentum after an overpowering series against the first-place Padres, it’s Halladay. He’s been so dominant since his Sunday night clunker against at Wrigley Field in mid-July, until last week it seemed he might not lose the rest of the season. But then a bloop single and the Phillies’ inability to score in the Astros series ended that bid (Amazing bonus stat: Halladay has failed to pitched at least seven innings only four times this season).

But no matter how well Halladay pitches, the offense has to score runs. And before their five-run “explosion” yesterday, the Phillies hadn’t scored that many runs in a week. The struggles of Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino from the left side of the plate – and from Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in general – are a major threat to the Phillies’ playoff hopes with each day they continue.

Your Gameday Beer – Philadelphia Original Lager

Philadelphia Original LagerBrewed by Red Bell Brewery out of the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia, this beer is a classic microbrew lager. It’s a bit heavier than Yuengling, with more of a roasted malt flavor and some sweet coffee and caramel hints. Its supreme drinkability coupled with a pour that looks like iced tea means you can sneakily house several of these bad boys. Have your favorite pasta with some marinara sauce and a few Philly Lagers. – By Brian



Enigma? You Betcha

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, August 30, 2010 10:06 AM Comments: 136

My hope is that you’ve stopped trying to figure out this Phillies team. It’s impossible to do, so refrain from wasting what precious time we have on this earth wondering why the Phils can downright suck against a bottom-feeding Houston team, then, travel 3,000 miles to the Southern California coast, and beat up on a playoff team. It doesn’t make sense now and it hasn’t throughout this entire 2010 season.

What does make sense, and what we have figured out, is that this Phillies club wants to take us on some kind of journey. It’s a trip through the unknown.

In 2007, the writing was on the wall for the Phillies to be a playoff caliber team. Remember how exciting it was to watch Brett Myers flip his glove into the air on the final day to win the NL East, capping an amazing run to overtake the Mets from seven games down with 17 to go? That comeback was improbable, yet, explainable. New York fell apart while the Phillies got hot at the right time.

In 2008, it was time to take a step forward, so they went ahead and won the whole thing. Building on the ’07 campaign was easy as this town rallied behind the club for their first title since 1980.

In 2009, we understood this team was still special, still the cream of the NL crop. Many knew they were good enough to win the National League once again, and again they did. The season itself was pretty much a breeze – everyone stayed relatively healthy and the Phillies won the east by six games. It was easy to comprehend.

This year, not so much. How can one team look nearly unbeatable for the first two weeks, lead the division by a healthy five games on May 17, then fall flat on it’s face for nearly two whole months without explanation? How could it happen that the Phillies then follow a seven-game stretch in mid-July when they appeared to be sinking by winning 13 out of 15 to sit one back in the division behind the steady Braves?

After their pitiful showing against the Astros at home, Jimmy Rollins hinted that (and I’m paraphrasing) maybe it was a good idea to get away from Philly and kick start things on the road. Who knew he wasn’t kidding.  The latest series in San Diego was anything but inspired baseball, however, they did enough to sweep a postseason-bound team that hadn’t lost three straight all year. Until now, of course.

There is no rhyme or reason. Injuries have taken their toll, but not ravaged the team enough to shut down the year entirely. The bullpen has been relatively average throughout, yet, has shown flashed of brilliance within their darkest days. A lineup that mashed home runs for years (651 the previous three seasons, to be exact) now places in the middle of the pack on the National League. Instead, they’ve used some small ball and brilliant starting pitching to hide their power deficiencies. Still, where’d all the long-balls go?

It may not be the team you’re used too, but if you enjoy opening a new door everyday, not knowing what you’ll find when you open it, this is the team for you. It may also be frustrating to try and understand what this Phillies team has given all season, but it’s impossible to do. If you prefer a healthy lifestyle, I’d suggest leaving well enough alone. Because in the end, this team may surprise you once more. That, or give you a heart attack.


Phillies Sweep the Padres

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sun, August 29, 2010 08:14 PM Comments: 48

One series can make a big difference.  It was just a few days ago when the lowly Houston Astros swept the Phillies in four games.  Three games later, the Phillies completed a sweep of their own against the first-place San Diego Padres.  This series came down to the pitching, but the Phillies managed to score five runs for Cole Hamels in today’s 5-0 victory.

The Padres entered today’s game as one of the best fielding teams in baseball.  After today’s game, that is hard to believe.  The Friars committed four fielding errors.  The Phillies took advantage of the mistakes, and tacked on five runs.

The first run came on an RBI single from Jimmy Rollins, but the big blow came off the bat of Mike Sweeney.  Sweeney played in replace of Ryan Howard, who had a scheduled off day.  In the seventh inning, Sweeney ripped a liner over the right field wall for a two-run shot.  It was Sweeney’s first home run as a Phillie, and his first in three months. Later on, Jayson Werth added an insurance run, smashing a home run of his own.

One run was all Cole Hamels needed.  Receiving run support was a new thing for him, as he picked up the victory.  Hamels shut down the Padres over eight innings, surrendering only four hits.  It was surprising that Hamels finished the day without walking a batter, because he had a high pitch count and often fell deep into counts.  Hamels struck out six.

If the Phillies ever needed a sweep, it was this one.  With the Braves rallying for a win, this game became more and more important.  This sweep could add new life to the Phillies, especially after that horrific series with Houston.


Gameday: Phillies (72-57) at Padres (76-52)

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sun, August 29, 2010 03:15 PM Comments: 187

Philadelphia Phillies (72-57) at San Diego Padres (76-52)washington-nationals-logo

Cole Hamels (7-10, 3.47 ERA) vs. Clayton Richard (12-5, 3.55 ERA)

Time:4:05 EDT, Petco Park
Partly Cloudy, 65
Follow Phillies Nation on Twitter

The Phillies have rebounded quickly after being swept by the lowly Houston Astros.  Now, the Phillies are on the verge of sweeping the first place San Diego Padres.  This series has been about pitching, as both teams haven’t gathered too many runs.  That’s usually how PETCO plays out anyway.

Cole Hamels, a San Diego native, always has success when facing the Friars.  Hamels has a 3.18 ERA against the Padres in his career, but a more impressive 2.18 ERA at PETCO Park.  Hamels keeps improving as the season progresses, however the problem seems to be run support.  The lack of run support for Hamels is getting extremely tiring.  Hopefully that changes today.

Overall, Clayton Richard has solid numbers for the season.  His repitoire includes a two-seam fastball, a slurve, and a changeup.  He typically keeps the ball down, forcing many ground balls.

Your gameday beer: For the slumber party, try a Coronado Golden, a blonde ale from the Coronado Brewing Co. of San Diego. It’s an average beer, but blonde ales tend to range wildly in the expert line. Pair this with a late-night order of pizza. Do it. – By Tim



Blanton, Victorino lead Phils past the Friars 3-1

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, August 29, 2010 09:01 AM Comments: 28

It wasn’t the huge outpour of offense Philly fans have grown accustomed to in the past couple years. But last night for the Phillies; it worked. Locking up three runs on three hits was all Joe Blanton (6-6, 5.15) needed to get just his fourth decision in his last 12 starts. He is 3-1 in those decisions.

Shane Victorino had two of the three hits for the Phillies. Jayson Werth was the beneficiary of Victorino’s two hits scoring each time. Not to be out done, Shane also scored a run on a Mike Sweeney ground ball and saved another throwing out Nick Hundley trying to score in the fifth.

Padres’ starter Jon Garland (13-9, 3.29) pitched well going into the seventh inning allowing three runs, hits, and walks. His offense just couldn’t get anything together for him. Their lone run came on an RBI single by Garland.

The Phillies will look for the sweep later today sending the San Diego native Cole Hamels to the hill in a matchup of lefties. Clayton Richard will throw for the Padres. The Phillies are still two games back in the NL East but lead the Giants by a game and a half for the Wild Card.


Gameday: Phillies (71-57) at Padres (76-51)

Posted by Michael Baumann, Sat, August 28, 2010 03:02 PM Comments: 174

Philadelphia Phillies (71-57) at San Diego Padres (76-51)washington-nationals-logo

Joe Blanton, RHP (5-6, 5.32 ERA) vs. Jon Garland, RHP (13-8, 3.25 ERA)

Time: 4:10 EDT, Petco Park
Cloudy, 64
TV: Fox
Follow Phillies Nation on Twitter

When Jimmy Rollins slid past Yorvit Torrealba in the 12th inning last night, the Phillies achieved something historic. On August 10, the Braves beat Houston 4-2, while the Phillies went down 15-9 to Los Angeles in a wild game that ended with pinch-hitter Cole Hamels popping out to left. Until last night, that was the last time the Braves and Phillies had both played on the same night with different results. Now, the Phillies stand only two games back of Atlanta, ready to take another crack at the NL-leading Padres.

It’s truly remarkable that the Phillies won last night, considering that the Padres have far and away the best bullpen in baseball. No other bullpen has a lower ERA, more strikeouts, or a lower opponent batting average. You all know all-star closer Heath Bell, but four Padres relievers (of which Bell is not one) have a WHIP under 1.000. Bell is one of four relievers to post an ERA under 2.00 in more than 20 appearances. And for you Chase Utley/Ryan Howard/Raul Ibanez/Dom Brown fans, San Diego LOOGY Joe Thatcher’s WHIP is 0.671. That’s right, he allows roughly half as many baserunners per inning as starter Jon Garland. Better hope the Phillies get to Garland early.

Today’s lineup: Rollins SS, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B,Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Victorino CF, Schneider C, Blanton P

Your Gameday Beer – Brasserie de Rochefort 10

Coors  OriginalThe ultimate beer produced by one of the seven Trappist breweries in Europe. Rochefort 10 is a dark, superlatively smooth ale best enjoyed warm. At 11.3% ABV, it’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s not super-high-grav for super-high-grav’s sake: Beeradvocate ranks it as the sixth-best beer on Earth, making it the highest-quality beer I’ve ever tasted personally. -By Michael



Lidge balked at save, Phillies win in extras 3-2

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sat, August 28, 2010 08:06 AM Comments: 58

During the 2008 season it seemed Brad Lidge was unstoppable. And he pretty much was. He converted all 41 save opportunities during the regular season as well as seven more in the postseason. Lidge always found ways to get the job done. Now a days he is content on finding ways to blow the save.

Lidge entered the game in the ninth after Roy Oswalt (9-13, 3.12) pitched an incredible game going eight innings and only allowing one run. Oswalt was in line for the win and having only thrown 101 pitches many thought he could have finished off the game. Instead Charlie Manuel brought in his closer. Lidge allowed a lead off single to former Phillie Matt Stairs. He then intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez before hitting Ryan Ludwick with an 0-2 pitch to load the bases. A balk would allow the runner to score from third and send the game into extras. It was Lidge’s fifth blown save in 22 chances.

The way the Phillies have been hitting lately, they were even lucky to have Lidge in a save situation. Coming into last night’s game the Phils had only scored seven runs in their last four games getting swept by the Astros at home. San Diego’s Mat Latos (13-5. 2.29) did a great job keeping the cold streak alive. Latos went seven innings allowing only one run on five hits.

The Phillies eventually would pick up their closer in the 12th inning when Jimmy Rollins scored the winning run on a Placido Polanco single. The box score will say Rollins scored on Polly’s single. What it won’t say is that Padres centerfielder Luis Durango made a perfect throw and Rollins had to adjust his slide going wide to avoid the tag. It was a slide that provoked adjectives like ‘fantastic’ and ‘unbelievable’.

Well whatever you thought it was, it was the game winner for a team that desperately needed a win. This win puts the Phillies only two games back in the NL East and tops in the Wild Card a half game ahead of the Giants.

Worth noting: Rollins was one of the few bright spots with three hits at the top of the lineup. Ryan Howard continues to struggle going 1 for 5 with four strikeouts.

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