Archive for August, 2010

Gameday: Phillies (70-57) at Padres (76-50)

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, August 27, 2010 08:03 PM Comments: 605

Philadelphia Phillies (70-57) at San Diego Padres (76-50)washington-nationals-logo

Roy Oswalt, RHP (9-13, 3.22 ERA) vs. Matt Latos, RHP (13-5, 2.33 ERA)

Time: 10:05 EDT, Petco Park
Partly Sunny, 77
TV: Comcast SportsNet
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The Phillies come into tonight’s game after a long and dour plane ride across country. They will be greeted by one of the National League’s premiere pitchers and the rest of the Western Division leaders.

But Uncle Cholly’s bringing his newest toy to this fight. The Phillies will be powered by Roy Oswalt, who last saw action in right field during Tuesday night’s marathon game. In his appearance before that, he held the Nationals scoreless through seven innings. Since coming to the Phils he is 3-1 with a 3.42 ERA in five starts. His opposite number, 22-year-old lefty Mat Latos, has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, ranking fourth among NL starters in ERA, first in WHIP (an absurd 0.98), and first in batting average against. He has faced the Phillies once before, allowing three earned runs in five innings on June 4, taking one of his five losses on the season.

Considering the Phillies’ recent offensive struggles, Latos’ phenomenal track record in his first full season, Oswalt’s hot hand, the Padres’ general offensive impotence this season, the presence of the best bullpen in the majors this year, and the fact that Petco Park has an outfield the size of Montgomery County, I wouldn’t expect much scoring tonight.

For those of you scoreboard-watching this evening, La furia roja are 3 games behind Atlanta, who are home to Florida tonight. The Phils also stand half a game back of the Giants (who host Arizona) and a game and a half ahead of the Cardinals (away at Washington) in the wild card race.

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

Your Gameday Beer – Goose Island’s Green Line Pale Ale

Coors  OriginalI’ve always enjoyed a solid pale ale, and though I’ve never tasted this Chicago home-brew, the logo reminded me of home.  The Green Line logo looks exactly like a Septa Line here in Philly, therefore, we are going with this one. You can rarely go wrong with an Ale, provided it has a a nice aroma and doesn’t leave too bitter an aftertaste. According to their website, Green Line Pale Ale is the beer at the heart of Goose Island’s environmental sustainability initiative, the “Green Line Project”. Pretty cool – you’re getting drunk and helping the environment. Score! If you can find this bad-boy, you’re in luck for tonight.  If not, grab it when you’re out in Chi-town for the Phillies series later in the season. -By Pat



Texas Beleaguered

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, August 26, 2010 04:04 PM Comments: 113

It was more of the same for the Phillies this afternoon, as La Furia Roja fell behind early and couldn’t get up. Kyle Kendrick gave up one run in each of his first four innings of work, and the Phillies’ bats continued their month-long vacation to Boca Raton, losing their fourth straight to Houston, 5-1.

The Astros were paced by former Phillies farmhand Michael Bourn, who went 3-for-5 and wrought havoc on the bases, reaching twice on infield hits, stealing two bases, including one where he appeared to be picked off of first base, and scoring from second on a grounder to third. Carlos Lee also had a good game, going 2-for-4 with a homer. Wandy Rodriguez was excellent through seven innings, allowing only a run and five hits on 111 pitches.

For the Phillies’ part, Ryan Howard continued his run of remarkable incompetence, striking out twice in four hitless at-bats. Apart from Raul Ibanez, who went 3-for-3 with a walk, the Phillies managed only four hits to the Astros’ 13.

The loss drops the Phillies to three games behind the idle Atlanta Braves. There is no rest for the weary, as the Phillies will hop on a plane and fly cross-country to face the team with the best record in the NL, and their young ace, Mat Latos.


Gameday Chat: Astros (57-69) at Phillies (70-56)

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, August 26, 2010 12:13 PM Comments: 137

Houston Astros (57-69) at Philadelphia Phillies (70-56)washington-nationals-logo

Wandy Rodriguez, LHP (9-12, 4.00 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick, RHP (8-6, 4.58 ERA)

Time: 1:05, Citizens Bank Park
Partly Sunny, 83
TV: Comcast SportsNet/MLB Network
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Join us below for a live chat starting at 12:45. You can post some questions or thoughts early, don’t be shy! Most of the Phillies Nation crew will be stopping by throughout the game to hang out.

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


Phillies can’t back Halladay, continue three game skid

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Thu, August 26, 2010 01:52 AM Comments: 50

For the second time in this series, the Phillies were beaten by a former teammate. Tonight came in the form of JA Happ (4-2, 3.45). Happ was sent to Houston in a trade in which Philadelphia acquired left fielder and part time pitcher, or err you know, Roy Oswalt.

Happ did receive a nice ovation from the home crowd when he left the game after throwing 6 1/3 innings allowing five hits and two runs. Happ had not allowed a run until Jayson Werth hit his 17th home run of the season over the left field wall. Four relievers cleaned up the rest on way to a 3-2 victory for Houston.

The Phillies sent Roy Halladay (16-9, 2.22) to the mound who was looking to add to his recent hot streak. He came in winning his last six decisions and having not allowed a run in 15 innings. The scoreless streak ended at 18 when Hunter Pence hit a home run in the fourth inning for the first run of the game. Halladay finished with seven innings allowing three runs on six hits.

Doc is still in the running for the pitching triple crown (leader in wins, ERA, strikeouts) leading the NL in strikeouts and second in wins and ERA.

The Phils have only managed six runs this entire series, the exact amount they used to finish off Washington in the series finale Sunday. The bats need to come back tomorrow before Philadelphia heads out west for three game series against the Padres and Dodgers. They also stop in Colorado for a make-up game before coming home.


Gameday: Astros (56-69) at Phillies (70-55)

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, August 25, 2010 05:36 PM Comments: 291

Houston Astros (55-69) at Philadelphia Phillies (70-54)washington-nationals-logo

J.A. Happ, LHP (3-2, 3.54 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay, RHP (16-8, 2.16 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Cloudy, 78
TV: Comcast SportsNet
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The only way to describe last night’s 16-inning Stanley Kubrick film of a baseball game is “absurd.” Absurd is one of those words (“awesome” is another), that’s lost its original meaning. Last night’s game was absurd in the original sense–in the tradition of mid-20th-century French existentialist literature. Sartre’s No Exit comes to mind. If hell isn’t other people, it may be Scott Barry and Ryan Howard.

Tonight, the Phillies attempt to beat Houston for the first time all week behind the right arm of Roy Halladay, blessed be his name, but we don’t get the reunion of the opening day lineup for the first time since…well…a week after opening day. Ryan Howard, after unleashing a truly impressive string of obscenities at Barry in the 14th inning of last night’s game, is being given the night off. He’ll sit in the corner and think about the consequences of cussing out a replacement umpire when you’re hitting cleanup and your manager’s out of position players. Neither will Raul Ibanez, though he’s probably only sitting because there’s a lefty on the mound, plus he played 16 innings last night and he’s old as hell.

Of course, even if Halladay pitches a gem (both Cole Hamels last night and Joe Blanton the night before went seven impressive innings in eventual losses), it’s no guarantee that a Phillies offense that’s scored only four runs in 25 innings this series can provide enough offensive support to win.

Tonight’s game also marks the return of J.A. Happ to Philadelphia in an opposing uniform. He’s pitched competently, if not spectacularly, in four starts since joining Houston. If you’re going to the game, be sure to give him a warm welcome back.

Today’s lineup: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Werth RF, Sweeney 1B, Francisco LF, Ruiz C, Halladay P

Your gamenight beer: Piedboeuf Brewery Jupiler

Today is August 25, the anniversary of the Belgian Revolution. On this day 180 years ago, a group of French-speaking Belgians saw a performance of La Muette de Portici, a patriotic opera, at the Royal Opera House in Brussels. After the show, they spilled out onto the streets and started killing Dutch soldiers. A year later, Leopold I was installed as King of the Belgians and the rest, as they say, is history.

In honor of that event, we give you Jupiler, Belgium’s most popular beer. It tastes like Bud Light, only better, which makes sense because they’re both owned by InBev. So enjoy the game, and eendracht maakt macht.

-by Michael



16-Inning Marathon Ends in 4-2 Phils Defeat

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, August 25, 2010 01:11 AM Comments: 118

Citizens Bank Park –

It can only be described as one word: long. It took 16 innings to play a baseball game and in the end, the team you root for, lost. Ryan Howard was ejected in the 14th, so too was Ross Gload (from the bench, not to mention the DL; both guys were tossed after a questionable check-swing call). Roy Oswalt played left field. Raul Ibanez played first base. It was one of those Friday the 13th-type evenings at Citizens Bank Park. In the end, the Phillies were unable to overcome an inept offense (and umpiring crew) and dropped the epic battle to Houston, 4-2.

In the 16th, the Astros got two runs off of a winded, but game, David Herndon to take the lead and send the faithful home well after midnight. You’ll get an in-depth breakdown of the crazy particulars behind the 5 hour, 20 minute game from the one and only Jayson Stark, so this recap is much shorter and not as pretty.

To summarize this beautiful mess of a game, the Phillies offense couldn’t figure out an entire group of below-average pitchers. Jimmy Rollins did supply some heroics in the 9th inning with a game-tying home run, however, seven innings later, the Phillies were unable to muster another run. The wildness continued until the very end, hell, even Roy Oswalt made a putout in left field.  They used all of their relief pitchers, all of their position players, and a lot of energy.

In the clubhouse following the game, Ibanez, Werth, and Herndon all looked absolutely spent. Raul said over and over he’s never been part of a game like this that he can remember.

Way back when, Cole Hamels started against Bud Norris.

Hamels went seven innings, making one lone mistake to Carlos Lee in the fourth inning, which he ripped for a home run. Other than that, it was the same solid Cole we’ve become accustomed to this year. Only problem, backing him was the same old offense we’ve become familiar with during his starts. Hamels struck out eight in those seven frames, allowing just five hits and a walk – yet, it still wasn’t enough for a win. Instead, he’ll have to wait some more. What’s another five days – Hamels has already patiently hung on since July 11 without a win.

What’s going on in Hamels head as his offense continues to fail him time and again? He won’t divulge his inner-most secrets pertaining to this criminally offensive showing (get it?), but it has to be weighing on him.

The mental mistakes also continue to add up with this team. Over the past few seasons, the Phillies have been sound defensively and on the basepaths, but this year is a completely different story. In the seventh inning, with Jimmy Rollins at second base and Placido Polanco at first following back-to-back walks, a double-steal was called for. J-Roll was subsequently gunned down at third base, putting two outs on the board during Chase Utley’s at-bat with lefty Tim Byrdak. Utley’s fly out to right field ended the quick threat.

Bud Norris wasn’t as efficient and effective as Cole Hamels. but he was able to keep Houston in it. Norris, who came into the game with an ERA above five, gave up an RBI-double to Raul Ibanez, and that was it. He gave the Phillies opportunities to strike (five hits, three walks over six innings), but minimized the damage.

A couple of cool things about tonight. It was by far the longest game I’ve ever attended. But, also, seeing at least half of the fans stay until the final out was incredible. Citizens Bank Park was louder than Turner Field at first pitch on any give night. And this was 12:30 am.

As mad as Ryan Howard was, the frustration was absolutely warranted. Let’s hope he’s not suspended for his actions.

Here are some interesting notes for your pleasure. I can’t write another word (and sorry for the mistakes).

-Phillies are 10-6 in extra inning games this year.

-Their run in the 6th snapped a 25 inning streak without a run for Cole Hamels. The last time they scored for Cole was August 1st against Washington.

-Hamels has gone 7 or more innings in 15 of his 26 starts.

-Howard was ejected for only the 2nd time in his career. The other came 5/2/08 against SF.

-Oswalt appeared in LF. It was the first time since August 6, 1971 that a Phillies pitcher appeared at another position. Billy Wilson played 3rd base that day against PIT.


Gameday: Astros (55-69) at Phillies (70-54)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, August 24, 2010 05:56 PM Comments: 566

Houston Astros (55-69) at Philadelphia Phillies (70-54)washington-nationals-logo

Bud Norris, RHP (6-7, 5.23 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels, LHP (7-10, 3.51 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Cloudy/Rain, 65
TV: MyPHL 17
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The Band is back, as @Jwerthsbeard put it on twitter. The full lineup that started the year, that was supposed to stay healthy and tear the NL a new one, is finally in order. Only eight times this season has this lineup card seen the light of day.

I know many of you are still pissed off about last night, and rightfully so. Things could have gone differently. However, the Phillies need to put that in their rear view and win these next three games. Anything less than 3-out-of-4 here would be a loss. Will the tides change?

They need to hope they do change, because Cole Hamels is on the mound tonight. We all know what that means – the offense doesn’t score for him. In fact, it’s been three whole games since they’ve given Cole a run in a start. My prediction: they unload on Bud Norris tonight for at least 9 runs. Anything less would be uncivilized!

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

Your gamenight beer: Shiner Bock

The Phils need to give the Stros a shiner tonight after last night’s wicked defeat. Shiner Bock is a Texas-brewed beverage made by the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. It wasn’t until a few decades ago that Shiner began producing Bock year-round. Bock was considered a lent beer, and therefore was only made around that season. Taste it tonight. It’s OK.  -By Pat

- By Pat



Blanton/Myers Duel Comes Down to Close Call at 1st Base

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, August 23, 2010 10:38 PM Comments: 80

This is why instant replay may be expanded in the near future. Unfortunately for the Phillies, they’re the ones who have to suffer because of what looked like a blown call.

In the top of the eighth inning, and with a pinch hitter Jason Michaels on first, Michael Bourn laid a bunt down that trickled to Ryan Howard at first base. Howard dove at Bourn, appearing to graze his jersey, but Bourn was called safe by first base umpire Greg Gibson. It also appeared that Bourn was very close to running out of the baseline to reach first base, which would have resulted in an automatic out. Neither part of the play was called, thus allowing the inning to proceed with runners at first and second with no outs.

Charlie Manuel came out to argue but to no avail. Manuel was tossed for the fifth time this season and afterward he spoke about a similar discrepancy with Gibson during a game against the Indians in Philadelphia.

Ryan Howard was adamant that he indeed brushed Bourn with his glove. “I know I did…he knows I did too, said Howard. “I know that he knows that I tagged him…we’ll just say that.”

Three batters later, Carlos Lee brought both home with a broken-bat flare to left field, giving Houston a 3-2 lead.

Maybe Gibson truly believed his call was correct. Maybe it was the proper safe ruling. The problem with the call was that Gibson HAD to make sure it was 100% correct, and he did not do that. With home plate umpire Scott Barry walking out to first base, Gibson had the opportunity to at least make sure all was right. He did not, and it may have cost the Phillies a victory.

I’m not for instant replay, and this postgame is not meant to be a commentary on it, however, this is why more people are calling for Major League Baseball to implement a broader stance on how it is used.

Still, some of the blame has to be put on Madson, who allowed the runners to reach base and for allowing a two-out hit to Lee to flip the game on its head. Madson has been very good lately (13 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings prior to tonight), and this blemish on his record came at an inopportune time.

Before all of the hoopla of the eighth inning, there was a pitchers duel between Joe Blanton and former Phillie Brett Myers.

Blanton pitched a hell of a ballgame, striking out a season-high nine Astros over seven innings and 100 pitches (68 strikes). The opening inning was again an issue for Blanton, as he allowed the only Astros run to score to open things up. As usual, he settled in by retiring 11 of the next 12 batters, en route to his finest performance of the season. Over his past six starts, Blanton has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of them. The concern is the 22-first inning runs he has allowed, which tied for fourth among major league starters, despite him missing time to begin the year.

Old pal Brett Myers was a tough customer in his seven innings of work as well. Myers, too, fanned nine batters and tied an impressive franchise record. Tonight marked the 26th straight six-inning performance for Brett, tying him with Larry Dierker for the most in Astros history. It was also the 28th career victory for Myers at CBP, placing him second all-time behind Cole Hamels (31).

Myers’ mistakes were made in the third inning as Carlos Ruiz led off the frame with a home run to left field to tie the game at one. Four batters later, Chase Utley singled home Jimmy Rollins to make it a 2-1 game.

Speaking of mistakes, how about Jayson Werth’s bonehead blunder in the sixth inning? During an intentional walk of Carlos Ruiz, Astros catcher Humberto Quintero caught Werth napping off of second base. A completely inexcusable play that Manuel said “speaks for itself.” In my opinion, Werth should have been lifted, however Manuel said he didn’t think about taking him out of the game.

In the end, it comes down to the offense’s inability to capitalize on a 10-hit night and the bullpens inability to come up big with their backs against the wall in the late innings.


Gameday: Astros (54-69) at Phillies (70-53)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, August 23, 2010 05:46 PM Comments: 271

Houston Astros (54-69) at Philadelphia Phillies (69-53)washington-nationals-logo

Brett Myers (8-7, 3.11 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (5-6, 5.54 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Cloudy/Rain, 68
TV: Comcast SportsNet
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Brett Myers makes his return to Philadelphia where he spent his first eight years. He won 73 games and a World Series ring as part of the Phillies during his tenure here, although it was a rather tumultuous one. Boo or cheer Myers tonight? That’s the question.

Some late injury news, Placido Polanco is out the lineup with what Charlie Manuel called a sore elbow. He also said it was no big deal in his pregame chat with reporters. That means the Phillies full starting-8 still won’t be together. They have been together only a 8 times this season.

Tonight, Joe Blanton will look to buck an ugly trend of sub-par first innings. His ERA to begin games is 8.55 (19 ER in 20 IP). As bad as he’s been in the first inning, it’s been even worse later in Blanton’s starts. Between the seventh and eighth innings, Big Joe has tossed just 9 2/3 innings, however, he’s allowed 16 earned runs in that short period. In between, he hasn’t been so bad, but tonight he really needs to prove he can start well and end well during a performance, something seldom seen this year.

What’s slightly odd is, even though Blanton for the most part has struggled, the Phillies are 7-0 in his last seven starts at CBP.

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

Your gamenight beer: Colt 45

In honor of the old Houston Colt 45′s, taste greatness in some Colt 45 malt liquor. Just kidding, this stuff is garbage, but I’m sure some of us have had it at some point.  It tastes like a mix between urine and vinegar, in my humble opinion. Stay away from it, except for tonight when it’s acceptable to go trashing and have a 40 of this nonsense. Enjoy the hell out of it! – By Pat



Oswalt Stifles Nats for Series Victory

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, August 22, 2010 08:43 PM Comments: 39

Some still miss the thought of J.A. Happ in a Phillies uniform, growing and blossoming as integral part of the rotation. Hell, I’ll admit I enjoyed watching Happ perform soundly as a rookie, and then, moving gracefully between the bullpen and rotation as it became necessary. However, this is why the Phillies nabbed themselves Roy Oswalt. He’s a big game pitcher who has thrived in big situations, and is beginning to do so once again.

As the Braves continue to win as the Phillies do/lose as the Phillies do, it’s important to stay within reach. Today’s 6-0, rain-soaked win over Washington allowed them to do so as Atlanta crushed the Cubs 16-5 to take two-of-three. Oswalt’s seven inning, five-hit performance spoke volumes as to why this might be the best top-of-the-rotation in baseball. The Phillies third ace struck out eight and walked one – he even tossed in a few fist pumps as the 103rd sellout crowd egged him on.

He’s now 9-13 on the season, but moved to 3-1 as a member of the Phils. His ERA in that time has dropped from 3.53 after his first start with the team, to 3.22.

Thankfully, this was not another 1-0 game. As Oswalt shut down the Nationals, the offense gave him room to maneuver. Placido Polanco got the fun started with a sac fly in the first to score Jimmy Rollins, who doubled and then moved to third on a ground out by Raul Ibanez. Polanco struck again in the third inning, bringing home Oswalt, both of whom ended up 2-for-3 on the afternoon.

Wilson Valdez finally came through, after yet another double play today, bringing home two runs on a single in the sixth. After the 1 hour, 44 minute rain delay, Ibanez smashed a home run to right, his 12th of the year. Small ball, long ball – the Phils runs came in different ways. The lineup is showing more and more that it’s not as one-dimensional as in previous seasons.

In the standings, it’s still 2 1/2 games out in the East and the Wild Card lead remains at two for the Phillies over both St. Louis and San Francisco.

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