Archive for September, 2010

Photos from this Weekend's Series

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, September 27, 2010 02:44 PM Comments: 0

Here are some photos I took from the games on Saturday and Sunday in Philly (they look best in Full Screen mode). If the weather cooperates tonight, I’ll have some more from the potential clincher. Go Phils!


Phillies Fail to Clinch at Home, Lose to Mets, 7-3

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, September 26, 2010 06:06 PM Comments: 0

—Citizens Bank Park

It’s not the way they wanted things to end at home, but the Phillies did get some help in the standings. Even though the Phils lost to the Mets 7-3 in the series finale, the Atlanta Braves lost to the Washington Nationals, 4-2.

With a six game lead with six to play, any win by the Phillies, or any loss by the Braves, means the Phillies will clinch the National League East.

On the mound, Cole Hamels was working with very little from the early stages of the game. He allowed a second inning home run to David Wright, which put the Mets on top 1-0. Hamels was visibly frustrated with the strike zone of home plate umpire Mike Winters all afternoon, and for good reason. Winters was not consistent, but let’s not place all of the blame on the umpire. Hamels wasn’t sharp and he made several mistakes, including another long one to Carlos Beltran in the fifth inning.

Hamels would last only four innings – plus one batter in the fifth, which was Beltran – allowing five runs on nine hits to go with three walks and two strikeouts. The five earned runs allowed were the most for Hamels since —. His two K’s on the day were a season low for a game that was not rain shortened.

“It was just one of those days where I couldn’t locate and I wasn’t being consistent,” said Hamels after his second-shortest outing of the season. “I just threw…too many pitches out of the zone, then when I was throwing strikes I left them up.”

Sound like you can chalk it up to a great pitcher just having a bad day. Unfortunately, it came in a spot where a win would have sent the Phillies off on the road with another NL East crown. That will have to wait until at least Monday.

Chase Utley accounted for all of the Phillies offense with one swing of the stick in the fifth inning. He lined one into the first row in right field for a three-run home run, his 16th of the season. Other than his contribution, little was provided elsewhere. The Phillies did manage nine hits on the afternoon, however, they again struggled with runners in scoring position going 1-for-13.

“You can’t hit every day, that’s life,” quipped Charlie Manuel following his teams first series loss since the Houston Astros swept them in late August.

Jimmy Rollins made his return to the lineup a quick and rather uninspiring one. Rollins pinch hit for Wilson Valdez in the eighth inning, his first at bat since September 8. He swung at the first pitch and rolled it over to second base. Not exactly how he wanted to come back, but at least he’s been deemed healthy enough to play from here on out.

The home schedule didn’t end on a high note, but there were reasons to celebrate the season on Fan Appreciation Day. Over 3.6 million fans pushed through the turnstiles, an average attendance of 45,028 per game, both franchise records.

They’ll now head to the Nation’s Capital for a three game set with the Nats, who did their part to aid the Phillies this weekend. Rain is forecasted for both Monday and Tuesday, which sets up an interesting situation should any game be rained out.


Gameday: Mets (75-79) at Phillies (93-62)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, September 26, 2010 11:55 AM Comments: 0

New York Mets (75-79) at Philadelphia Phillies (93-62)

Atlanta BravesPat Misch, LHP (0-4, 4.44 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (12-10, 2.93 ERA)

Time: 1:35, Citizens Bank Park
Cloudy, 68
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It comes down to this. Can they finish off the Braves in the NL East with a win at home, coupled with an Atlanta loss? The Braves play at 1:35 as well, in Washington, so as we’ve said all weekend, GO NATS!

Cole Hamels is in charge of taking this game for the Phillies and recently he’s been outstanding. He’ll need to be once again if the home crowd wants to witness history. If/when the Phils clinch, it will be the first time ever that they’ve won four straight division titles. Philadelphia haven’t seen a winner like this since the late 70′s and into the early 80′s, and what a treat it is

Everyone will be doing some scoreboard watching, all while football plays in the background on a Sunday afternoon. But keep it locked to Phillies baseball, this is an important one!

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

Your gameday beer: Harpoon Glacier Harvest Wet Hop

Victory LagerThe 20th installment of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series has been brewed to celebrate the annual hop harvest. Harpoon Glacier Harvest Wet Hop beer is a pale ale made with fresh hops picked just hours before being tossed into the brew. Harpoon is a Boston area beer that has brewed since 1986. In that relatively short time, it’s become a fairly-well known beer in the Northeastern part of the U.S. Enjoy the beer, enjoy the win!



Phils give up big inning, lose 5-2

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, September 26, 2010 01:11 AM Comments: 0

What could have been a champagne drenched locker room turned into just another post game interview spot.  The Phillies woke up Saturday morning with hopes of wrapping up the NL East division for a fourth straight year.  The Braves blanked the Nationals 5-0 in a day game canceling all hopes of clinching tonight against the Mets.  And then the seventh inning happened to the Phillies.  Magic number is still at two after losing tonight 5-2.

So let’s recap.  The win steak is over.  The playoff push is on pause; for now.  The Phillies could not figure out Mets’ rookie Dillon Gee, managing only five hits and two runs.  Hitting his 31st home run of the season, Ryan Howard is responsible for all the Phillies’ scoring for the night.  With two hits in the first inning, the Phils looked to continue their September slugfest against the Mets.

However, after the second inning, the offense went to sleep collecting only three more hits and none after the seventh.  Kyle Kendrick kept the offense in the game through six innings allowing only three hits and no runs.  But after allowing a run in the seventh and loading the bases, Kendrick was pulled for Chad Durbin.  Durbin allowed a three run double to Lucas Duda and another RBI double to Joaquin Arias.

The Phillies went into the seventh inning winning 2-0 and left trailing 5-2.

The Phillies can still clinch the division tomorrow with a win paired with a Braves loss.  If not, they will have to do it on the road in Washington or Atlanta.

Keep the champagne on ice and plastic rolled up.  But don’t put it away.  The Phillies will still need it.  Cole Hamels goes tomorrow for the Phils against Pat Misch.


Gameday: Mets (74-79) at Phillies (93-61)

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sat, September 25, 2010 05:37 PM Comments: 0

New York Mets (74-79) at Philadelphia Phillies (93-61)

Atlanta BravesDillon Gee, RHP (1-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick, RHP (10-9, 4.78 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Clear, 80
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It doesn’t seem that long ago when beat writers and reporters were using words like ‘must-win’ and ‘crucial’ when describing upcoming Phillies games.  Now while the crown is still up for grabs, the Phillies are on fire.  Their magic number to clinch the NL East is two and they are showing no signs of slowing down.

It was hard to even think the Phillies would have a magic number back in July when they were seven games back behind the Atlanta Braves in the division.  However, the Phillies have completed flipped those numbers going 45-15 since July 22 and have built a 6.5 game lead heading into the last week of the season.

The Phillies can come one game closer to clinching by knocking off the Mets in the second game of this three game series tonight.  They will be looking to Kyle Kendrick (10-9, 4.78) to get the job done.  Kendrick could be making his last start of the season, depending how Charlie Manuel sets up his rotation for a likely playoff berth.

Kendrick has been your typical 5th starter all year long.  Inconsistency has troubled the young right hander in his last couple of outings.  He only has three wins in his last seven starts going an average of 5+ innings and giving up a little over three runs a game.  The offense will once again be asked to pick up the slack.  Something they have had no problem doing over this current 11 game winning streak.

Shane Victorino is hitting .385 against the Mets in 13 games collecting 12 hits and three homeruns.  However, those stats won’t mean anything going into tonight.  The Phillies will be facing Mets’ rookie pitcher Dillon Gee (1-1. 1.80).  Gee is making just his fourth start of his career and faces probably his toughest opponent yet.

The Phillies have the best record in all of baseball and have won 20 of their last 23 games.  They are streaking to a fourth consecutive NL East title and looking to represent the National League in the World Series for a third straight year.

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

Your gameday beer: Yards Love Stout
Victory LagerAnything from Yards is a friend of mine. They just make damn good beers. My favorite is Yards ESA, but this Love Stout is intriguing. Right now, it’s cask conditioned at Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philadelphia, another enticing factor. Since I’v never tried the Love Stout, I can’t say first hand how it looks or tastes. But by all accounts, it’s a very dark beer with a dark head that has a chocolate and coffee aroma. For you java lovers, this could be gold. If your in Philly, get down to the Grey Lodge and order a burger med-well with one of these and enjoy the game. -Pat Gallen



Mets Cry Foul? Gimme a Break

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, September 25, 2010 03:11 PM Comments: 0

Chase Utley is a hard nosed player and a guy who plays the game the right way (I know some of you hate that cliche, so I brought it out just for you). He has no track record of dirty play in his past, which is what makes this strange. David Wright has a problem with the way Utley slid into second base to break up a potential double play ball. Wright, the unofficial leader of the Mets, said it was unwarranted and borderline. Disagree? Me too.

I’ll preface this argument by saying I respect the hell out of Wright – more than most other MLB players, too. He’s one of those guys you wish you had, even though he resides in a city you may loathe during baseball season. This is seemingly out of character for him. If Wright hadn’t been so outspoken about the hard slide, it would have gone down as just another play. Yes, the Phillies announcers took note of it, but in my opinion, it looked like a good hard slide. Utley was well within the basepath and slid just as he got to the base, a more than legal play.

The Mets seem to want to “handle” this situation tonight, whatever that means. They’ll likely hit Utley, which has happened several times before. But it makes little sense.

Ruben Tejada, the Mets second baseman that took the brunt of the hit, seemed OK with it after last night’s game, which should tell you something. Perhaps Wright is teeming from his teams inability to win games. Frustration may have boiled over, which is understandable. But to call out Utley on a play that is well within the rules of the game is absurd.

I will ask this: if you were on the other side, would it have looked clean to you? Try to approach it as a Mets fan or player. Would you stand for that if it was the other way around? Tough call, but in the end no one was injured, so chalk it up as a gritty play by a guy that just want to win, and will at any cost.

So, as he usually does, Chase Utley will take first base after being hit by a pitch. He’ll run up the first base line and if the situation occurs again, you’d better believe he’ll take out the second baseman just as he was taught to.


Phils Drop Mets, Inch Closer to 4th Straight Playoff Berth

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, September 24, 2010 10:18 PM Comments: 0

—Citizens Bank Park

Sensing the playoffs are within arms length, the Phillies did what they could to reserve a spot with a 3-2 win over the Mets. They solved the puzzle that is R.A. Dickey and got a solid performance out of Joe Blanton, capturing their 11th consecutive victory in the process. The 11 wins in a row is the most since they ran off 13 straight in 1991.

Blanton came up with seven solid innings, following the lead of the Big 3 before him. Big Joe fanned six and had made one mistake, which ended up deep in the right field seats off the bat of Angel Pagan. Blanton normally makes one or two mistakes per game that hurt him, but lately he’s been able to minimize any possible damage. He’ll come in handy in the playoffs as the likely long relief guy for the NLDS. Manuel may have looked ahead just for a minute here, saving Joe’s arm by leaving him in for only 74 pitches.

The Phillies fourth starter isn’t worried about what his role will be in the postseason, he just wants more jewelry. “I’m here to win. I’m not here to, ‘ahh, I want to start’,” said Blanton. ” I’m here to try and win another ring, you know, that’s more important to me than anything.”

R. A. Dickey has killed the Phillies at times this year, but today he was the hunted. In six innings of work he allowed three runs – two earned – over eight hits, with two walks and four strikeouts.

Dickey was pounced on early as Victorino went yard to open up the evening, allowing the crowd to get started early. In the second inning, Victorino struck again, plating Wilson Valdez with a double to left field. Two innings later, Carlos Ruiz continued his steady season with an RBI single, scoring Raul Ibanez who had singled early and moved to second on a passed ball.

Ryan Madson locked down the eighth inning by throwing gas and retiring the side in order on just 15 pitches. Brad Lidge came in and got a quick out, before getting into some trouble.

Ike Davis doubled to left, his third hit of the game, and was pushed to third on a fly out to deep center by Pagan. With two outs and a runner on third, Lidge walked Josh Thole before the most interesting play of the night occured.

As Lidge came home on his 0-1 pitch to Jesus Feliciano, time was called by third base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Apparently, the Mets were attempting to pinch run one pitch into the at-bat, something that seldom occurs. Feliciano had grounded the ball back to Lidge, who thought the game was over. It was not.

“It was a little ridiculous I think,’ said Lidge. “It’s kind of a weird play…but either way I guess I just have to stay focused and hope that’s not something I have to do every time.”

Luckily, after some arguing that went nowhere from Charlie Manuel, Lidge struck Feliciano out to end the ballgame on an odd note. Nonetheless, the Phillies sealed the deal and took a step toward their fourth straight division crown.

With the Phillies win and the Braves 8-3 loss to Washington tonight, the magic number in the division is now two. A win tomorrow, coupled with another Braves loss, and the division will be sealed. The champagne could be flowing tomorrow night.


Gameday: Mets (74-78) at Phillies (92-61)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, September 24, 2010 06:14 PM Comments: 0

New York Mets (74-78) at Philadelphia Phillies (92-61)

Atlanta BravesR.A. Dickey, RHP (11-7, 2.92 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (7-6, 5.04 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Partly Cloudy, 80
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The interesting news from Charlie Manuel’s pre-game chat was that Jimmy Rollins could be ready to return on Sunday. It’s something we’ve heard before during this hamstring healing process, however, Manuel said he may even be ready to pinch hit before that. Rollins took part in a simulated game yesterday and by all accounts looked great. Let’s hope.

Today, I was interview by Mets Gazette Editor Frank Gray who asked me a few questions about the upcoming series. Here’s the interview in full.

Mets Gazette: How deep do you see the Phillies going in the playoffs? Why?

Pat -If the present is any indicator of the future for the Phillies, then they have an outstanding chance of winning the World Series for the second time in three years. However, I don’t want to jinx the team by looking too far ahead. Every single day, manager Charlie Manuel says we’re worried about today’s game, not tomorrow, not yesterday. It’s that mantra that has helped them succeed throughout a tumultuous season, even though it’s cliche as hell.

But since you’re asking me to look ahead (and assuming the Phils are in with a magic number of 4) I will say that at this point, they may very well have the best team in baseball. They are certainly the most dangerous. So with that said, I see them making it back to the World Series and I don’t think there are many people out there who would disagree.

Mets Gazette: Your team strengths and weaknesses?

Pat- For about two months in the middle of the summer, we were shown the Phillies weaknesses. They fell into a slump of epic proportions, something we haven’t seen around here in a few years. Amazingly, they’ve turned it around with a complete 180 and now it seems they have no weaknesses, only strengths. Here are a few of both.

Strengths: -Obviously, the rotation beginning with Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt. As I outlined a few days ago, this triumvirate has a chance to become one of the greatest of all time with a solid October. This strength might be the biggest strength of any team in the hunt for the playoffs. And as we all know, pitching wins you titles, and the Phils have three of the absolute best in the game. Lucky them.

-Another strength is their “been there/done that” attitude. Most of these players have witnessed postseason baseball firsthand over the last few season, so they know what to expect. They understand the grind and how a new season changes things completely. All season, through thick and thin, this Phillies team has been as even keeled in the clubhouse as you’ll see out of a team, and that serves to help them once the playoffs begin.

-I’ll choose one more, even though they have a bevy of strong points. This one may come as a shock, but the back of the bullpen has been a real source of stability for quite some time now. Ryan Madson missed two months after kicking a chair in the clubhouse. He’s now back and pitching some of the best baseball of his life. He also has a relatively fresh arm, although since coming off the DL in early July, Manuel has used him the most out of any other reliever in baseball. Post All-Star break, he’s pitched in 40 games but has been ridiculously good, sporting a 1.14 ERA over 39 1/3 innings. Brad Lidge, who many left for dead after a lost 2009 campaign, has been nearly as beneficial to this team after the break. His ERA stands at 2.23 since the midsummer classic, and he’s saves 20 games in his last 22 appearances. What was once a beleaguered part of the Phillies has been a boon for a team that needs some stability in an otherwise up-and-down pen.

Read the rest here, at MetsGazette.com

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

Your gameday beer: Yards Love Stout
Victory LagerAnything from Yards is a friend of mine. They just make damn good beers. My favorite is Yards ESA, but this Love Stout is intriguing. Right now, it’s cask conditioned at Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philadelphia, another enticing factor. Since I’v never tried the Love Stout, I can’t say first hand how it looks or tastes. But by all accounts, it’s a very dark beer with a dark head that has a chocolate and coffee aroma. For you java lovers, this could be gold. If your in Philly, get down to the Grey Lodge and order a burger med-well with one of these and enjoy the game. -Pat Gallen



Radio Free America

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, September 24, 2010 12:41 PM Comments: 0

Columbus, Ohio–I’ve taken a weekend off from the drug-induced euphoria that is Phillies fandom of late to spend some time with Kate, the Long-Suffering Girlfriend, who’s in grad school at Ohio State. Though I’m currently being terrorized by a 10-week-old kitten who thinks he can eat my feet, the long, solitary drive gave me the opportunity to sample some sports talk radio from other cities. Since not everyone gets to listen to sports radio outside of WIP and WPEN, I thought I’d share some of the interesting tidbits I’ve learned:

  • Not all sports radio conversation involves Kevin Kolb, Cliff Lee, or enforcing some bizarre 1960s frat boy sense of masculinity, which, in Angelo Cataldi’s case, often involves inviting half-naked women into the studio and acting like a pig.
  • From WGN Radio in Chicago: former Cubs OF Matt Murton is hitting .350 for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. Not particularly relevant to the Phillies, but I had been wondering what had happened to him. Seems like he’s landed on his feet.
  • From WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky: Former Astros 2B/OF Chris Burke, now a U of L coach, was on Lachlan McLean’s sports talk show to discuss the NL pennant race. Because Louisville (and most of northern Kentucky) is in Reds country, much of their discussion centered on Cincinnati. I wasn’t recording the broadcast, so I’ll just give you the highlights. Most interesting is that Burke, McLean, and much of the Reds’ fan base seems resigned to losing at some point in the NL playoffs, particularly to the Phillies, who Burke says look unbeatable right now. There seems to be genuine awe of the Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt trio in Reds country, and while they are pleased with what the team (particularly Joey Votto, who, predictably, was their choice for MVP) has done this year, they don’t expect much against Philly, Atlanta, or one of the NL West teams in the playoffs. If the Reds share their fans’ “happy to be here” attitude, things could go south very rapidly in the Queen City come October.
  • Burke also touched on Cincinnati’s closer situation. Despite a 12-year track record of success, Reds closer Francisco Cordero is not the most calming presence of late, posting his highest ERA in a decade and tying his career low in WAR. Since Sept. 10, Cordero has blown two of his five save opportunities, posted an 11.81 ERA, and staked opposing hitters to a .407 batting average. Burke, as you may know, was the second baseman on that 2005 Astros team that went to the World Series, and spoke at length on what it’s like to live through a Brad Lidge meltdown. Again, I’m paraphrasing, but Burke says that when a team’s closer goes tits-up, it’s very difficult to concentrate and affects the entire team. He went on to say that the Phillies have lived through both ends of the spectrum with Brad Lidge and that this year they don’t have the most worrisome closer situation in the playoffs. None of this, I’m sure, is particularly surprising, but it’s interesting to see a former MLB player come out and own up to some of the psychological ups and downs of that game.

Enjoy Phils-Mets tonight. Someone call me and tell me who won.


Funny Mets Video

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, September 24, 2010 12:34 PM Comments: 0

Here’s a funny video for your Friday afternoon.

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