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Hamels Gets Rocked, Phils Fall To D-Backs 7-4

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Sat, April 24, 2010 09:14 AM Comments: 14

Cole Hamels looked impressive in his last outing. Through the first three innings of last night’s contest, he cruised.

This of course was before he suffered an acute case of whiplash in the fourth.

The Phillies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, on Shane Victorino’s R.B.I. triple in the top of third, scoring Hamels who had doubled in the previous at-bat. The Phillies would add another run on Jayson Werth’s controversial fly-ball to center, which was dropped by center-fielder, Chris Young, transitioning the ball from his glove to his bare hand. Werth, demonstrated heads-up base running as he continued to run all the way home. The result was a four base error on Chris Young.

In the bottom half of the fourth, with one out, things fell apart for Hamels. With one on, Mark Reynolds took Hamels deep, to tie the ballgame. The next batter, Adam LaRoche, homered giving the D-Backs the lead. However, Arizona wasn’t quite finished as Chris Snyder stepped to the plate with one on and took Hamels yard, again, giving the Diamond Backs a 5-2 lead. Hamels would surrender one more long-ball and give Arizona starter, Anna Benson’s husband Kris, all of the support he would need.

Benson went six strong, allowing just two runs, while scattering eight hits. Hamels, despite his fourth-inning meltdown, pitched pretty well, striking out seven while walking only one batter.

The Phillies would make a feeble attempt to climb back into the ballgame, however a lack of timely hitting kept the Phils at bay as they were only able to manage two more runs.

The Phillies return to action to face Arizona tonight.


Gameday: Marlins (6-4) at Phillies (7-2)

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Fri, April 16, 2010 05:30 PM Comments: 131

MarlinsFlorida Marlins (6-4) at Philadelphia Phillies (7-2)

Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 6.00) vs. Roy Halladay (2-0, 0.56)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park

Weather: Scattered Thunderstorms, 68 degrees

TV: CSN Philly

Twitter: @philliesnation and below

Having a five game winning streak snapped yesterday, the Phillies look to start another as they take on division foe, the Marlins. In what will likely be the Phillies first true test of their team this season, the Phillies potent offense will see where they stand against decent pitching.

Oh, and a guy named Roy Halladay makes his Citizens Bank Park debut.

The moment we have been waiting for since December is finally here. Halladay comes home to Philly with a 2-0 record and a minuscule 0.56 ERA. In his first two starts, he has dominated hitters and notched a complete game against Houston. Although he is 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA against the Marlins in his career, there is no reason to think that Halladay won’t dazzle the hometown crowd.

Anibal Sanchez enters the game 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA. In his last start against the Dodgers, he pitched well despite getting tagged for four runs in the fourth inning. For his career, Sanchez has not fared well against the Phils, going 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA.

The Phillies bats struggled against lefty Scott Olsen in yesterday’s game, so seeing the right-handed Sanchez will be a nice break. Shane Victorino and chase Utley both have homers in consecutive games and the offense continues to click despite Raul Ibanez’s struggles.

HopefishYour Gameday Beer: Flying Fish Brewery’s Hopfish India Pale Ale

A citrusy pale ale, with a combination of American, German, and English malts, this bitter brew is balanced with a malty sweetness. Hopfish comes from local brewers, Flying Fish Brewing Company, located across the river from Philadelphia, in Cherry Hill, NJ. Try pairing it with fish, like a tilapia or Chilean sea-bass, I guess.  – By Jason



Gameday: Nationals (3-5) at Phillies (7-1)

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Thu, April 15, 2010 01:00 PM Comments: 104

Washington Nationals (3-5) at Philadelphia Phillies (7-1)washington-nationals-logo

Scott Olsen LHP (0-0,-.–) vs. J.A. Happ LHP (1-0,0.00)

Time: 3:05, Citizens Bank Park
Sunny, 72 Degrees
CSN Philly
Follow Twitter here or below

After yet another offensive explosion, the Phillies will look for their second straight series sweep as they take on the Nationals in the last of a three game set. Oh, and the reigning NL Champs will receive a lovely piece of hardware prior to the start of tomorrows game. The ring ceremony kicks off at 2:40.

Taking the hill for the Phillies will be left-hander J.A. Happ who was impressive in his first start, throwing five innings of scoreless ball in his start against the Astros.

For the Nationals, lefty Scott Olsen makes his season debut after making his first start in Triple-A, recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. In his only start in the minors, Olsen surrendered four runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work.

The bullpen for the Phillies has been spectacular and gave up only one run in last nights 14-7 offensive melee.

Center-fielder Shane Victorino will again bat in the lead-off spot for Jimmy Rollins who was placed on the 15-day DL. Also expect right-fielder Jayson Werth to return to the line-up after leaving Monday’s game with a sore hip.

Your Gameday Beer: Miller High Life

I know, I know, Miller High Life is far from the fancy brews that generally grace the gameday beer slot. However, there is a celebration going on as the reigning NL Champs recieve their championship rings tomorrow. In the locker-room after clinching the pennant, the Phils celebrated with champagne. Tomorrow, we celebrate with the “champagne of beers.”



Happ Effective, Offense Continues to Roll

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Sat, April 10, 2010 12:02 AM Comments: 37

For Chris Wheeler’s 64 and 2/3  birthday, the broadcast team provided the cake. The baseball team provided the fireworks.

The Phillies jumped on the Astros early, tagging the  starter, Bud Norris, for three runs in the first. Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco set the table and Ryan Howard doubled in Rollins to get the party started. Two batters later, Raul Ibanez knocked in two more and the Phillies cruised from there.

Starter J.A. Happ was solid in his debut, going five innings, with five K’s, holding the Astros scoreless. The Phillies bullpen was equally steady, pitching four shut-out frames, including two scoreless from rule-5 draft pick David Herndon.

The Astros pitching did not fare quite as well. Starter Norris was chased in the third, after throwing 82 pitches. Although he only surrendered the three in the first, Norris flirted with danger in both the second and third innings, jamming the bases full. Command was a struggle for Norris as he allowed four free passes in 2 2/3 innings of work. The bullpen fared even worse, allowing five more runs on ten hits.

There were no shortage of offensive studs for the Phils as they brought eight runs across the plate.

Ibanez, who struggled in the first series of the season, broke out of his funk, going 3-4 with two doubles, a walk, and three RBI’s. Howard also doubled twice, as the Phillies pounded out seven extra-base hits, including Chase Utley’s first bomb of the season.

Rollins, often criticized for his atypical approach to batting lead-off has shown through four games that he can fit the mold of that role. He drew two walks in tonights contest and scored twice. So far Rollins has six walks on the season, a total that he did not reach until mid-May of last season. He also gathered two hits, including a double. Polanco is also proving his value, going 4-5, with two ribbies and two runs scored.

Victorino was the only position player held hit-less despite three hard hit balls for outs, including a spectacular catch from former Phillie Michael Bourn.

The Phillies lineup has collected ten or more hits in their first four games, the first time they’ve accomplished the feat since 1926. That club, led by Art Fletcher went on to a 58-93 season. I have a feeling these Phillies will fare much better.


Saturday Morning Phodder: The Life and Times of Lenny Dykstra

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Sat, March 27, 2010 08:00 AM Comments: 13

In 1981, the New York Mets drafted a young man from Garden Grove, Ca. in the 13th round of baseballs amateur draft. When one is selected that late, they often toil in the minor leagues for their career. Yet, sometimes a player can surprise the experts and scouts and have a cup of coffee in the show. For Leonard Kyle Dykstra, that cup of coffee became a helluva career. Perhaps it was the toughness and grit that he brought to the ball-yard everyday that allowed him to excel. He certainly had natural ability, but determination was ultimately the key to Dykstra’s success. It was this toughness and determination that earned him the moniker,”Nails.” 

For those of us that were privileged enough to see him don Phillies pinstripes, “Nails” put on quite a show. Who can forget the clutch moments he provided in the 1993 NLCS and World Series? Dykstra was revered by Mets fans after batting .300 in the 1986 postseason. Lenny was the catalyst that helped New York win their first World Series since 1969. In 1993, Dykstra batted near .350 in the fall classic, bringing the Phillies to the brink of tying the series against Toronto with a clutch, late-inning bomb. He finished with six homers in the ’93 playoffs.

Dykstra’s hard-nosed, balls to the wall mentality may have also been his kryptonite. In his eight seasons with the Phillies, he played full seasons only twice, including 1993. Injuries plagued the “Dude” throughout his tenure in Philly. Some injuries were the result of playing hard, some, like the drunk-driving accident that cost him two months of baseball in 1991, were the result of living hard. However, for better or for worse, that was Lenny K. Dykstra. Is it a surprise that he carried his tough as nails mindset into the professional world, upon retiring?

Dykstra struck gold in 1993, but not in the baseball world. This was the year that Lenny opened up his first car-wash. The success of this venture led him to an empire in the realm of car-washes. It just so happened that the dirt-mongrel Dykstra also liked to get things squeaky clean. Through his car-washes, Dykstra began to build a financial empire that extended far beyond cleaning cars. Using his hard-nosed mentality, Dykstra started to invest in stocks, real-estate, cars, and new personal business ventures. His success(a self-proclaimed 98%) in trading stocks, earned him a friendship and great acclaim from stock “guru”, Jim Cramer, of CNBC’s Mad Money.

The beginning of Dykstra’s end came when his magazine, “The Players Club” started to flounder. Many articles have been written, chronicling the many guffaws committed by Dykstra. Eventually all of his missteps in the financial world came to a head when Dykstra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. During this time Dykstra faced a litany of law-suits, a divorce, and a foreclosure on a home purchased from hockey great, Wayne Gretzky. Despite the bankruptcy filing, Dykstra readily admits that his net worth exceeds 100 million dollars.

In the latest round of Dykstra news, it was learned that Lenny was being sued, again, by a former employee who claims she was sexually harassed by Dykstra. With-in a week of this story’s release, Dykstra announced that he would be filing suit against JP Morgan, whom issued Dykstra his 18 million dollar mortgage on Gretzky’s house, for 100 million dollars for predatory lending.

The man who once had the Midas touch has fallen hard from grace, but grace was one thing the Dude never had. Multiple encounters with Dykstra portray him as rude, brash, sexist, racist, and a whole slew of other -ists. Dykstra was quoted as saying “Nobody can call me a racist, I put three”darkies” and a bitch, on my first four covers.”(referring to his Players Club publication.) For the record, those covers included Derek Jeter, Chris Paul, Tiger Woods, and Danica Patrick. He went on to describe the three gentlemen as “spearchuckers.”

It was this rhetoric that likely got Dykstra’s publication banned from locker rooms across professional sports, thus leading to the downfall of The Players Club. Perhaps it was his abrasive personality that led to his divorce and alienation from his mother and brother. One thing is certain, Dykstra finds himself in a very lonely place in this world.


Hamels Struggles Getting the Best of Him

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Sun, November 01, 2009 10:32 AM Comments: 103

CBSSports.com is reporting that Cole Hamels “can’t wait for it to end.”

One can only assume the season, and although he probably isn’t pushing for a quick conclusion to the current series, Hamel’s frustrations certainly came to a crescendo on Saturday night. As he exited the game, Phillies faithful let Hamels know just how much they appreciated his latest postseason outing, one in which he struggled through 4.1 innings, while giving up five earned runs, via the “boooo.” 

Don’t fret, as poorly as Hamels has performed this season and more specifically this post season, the end has already arrived. It is doubtful that Hamels will make another start in this series.


Hamels, Bullpen Hammered; Yanks Take Series Lead

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Sun, November 01, 2009 12:43 AM Comments: 63

There are a few different players one can point to when placing blame regarding the Phillies 8-5 loss to New York. One however, sticks out like a very sore thumb.

Cole Hamels has struggled all season. Earlier in the year, after a less than stellar performance against the Marlins, mid-season, Hamels’  proclaimed, and I paraphrase, I will start to turn it on once the games become more important. So far this postseason, he has remained mediocre at his best and just plain bad at his worst. Perhaps the lights of the NLDS and the NLCS just weren’t bright enough for “Hollywood” to shine.

In Hamels biggest, most important game yet, Hamels again failed to dazzle. Lasting just 4.1 innings, Hamels allowed five runs on five hits. Hamels started the game looking good, allowing just one base-runner in the first three innings. Early on it appeared as if Cole had finally found a stage big enough to perform, however, after a walk to Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez took Hamels deep to right field, homering off the camera in a bomb that required instant replay to determine.

The Phillies offense got to Andy Pettitte early, scoring three in the second. Jayson Werth started the scoring with a solo shot to left. It was the third straight game in which the Phillies scored first. A Pedro Feliz double, a Carlos Ruiz walk, and a Cole Hamels bunt single and the Phillies had bases loaded with one out. Jimmy Rollins drew the walk to score Feliz and Victorino sacrificed to score Ruiz. After two innings, things looked bright as the Phillies were up three.

Aside from another solo blast from Werth and a late blast by Ruiz, the Phillies line-up lay dormant for the rest of the evening. More importantly, the Phillies 3-4 and 6 hitters (all lefties) went 0 for 12 with seven strike outs. Ryan Howard was the biggest culprit with three total. He is now batting .154 in the World Series after a torrid postseason.

Let’s not forget the bullpen which failed to keep the game within reach after Hamels left. Allowing dingers to both Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui, they coughed up three runs in 4.2 innings of work.

In all, it was a collectively bad effort with little exception. It will gave the Phillies just their second loss at home in the playoffs over the past two seasons.

The Phillies will look to even the series tomorrow when they square off in Game Four. Game time is set for 8:20 pm and Joe Blanton will take the mound for the Phillies. A loss and the Phillies will find themselves with their backs placed squarely against the wall. C.C. Sabathia goes for the Yankees.


Burnett Burns Phils, Yankees Even Series

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Thu, October 29, 2009 11:41 PM Comments: 171

They say sports make for great theatre. There’s drama and nail-biting action. Perhaps the element that makes baseball the most entertaining are the story-lines that highlight each game. When Charlie Manuel announced that Pedro Martinez would get the nod in New York, the script was written, it was just waiting to be performed.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, Yankees starter, A.J. Burnett wanted the lead role and seized the spotlight from the flashy Phillies veteran.

In a game that featured a pitchers duel of duels, Burnett and the Yankees finished on top, beating the Phillies 3-1, evening the series at one.

Despite surrendering three earned runs, Martinez pitched a solid game, keeping the Yankees off balance most of the night by sneakily mixing in his change-up. Ironically it was that same change-up that got him into trouble in the fourth when Mark Teixeira took one deep into the short right-field porch, tying the game at one.

The Phillies jumped out to the early lead, thanks to an opposite field double from Raul Ibanez, followed by an opposite field, R.B.I. single from Matt Stairs, in the second inning. The Phillies looked to have had Burnett figured out, but the righty settled in nicely, smothering the Phillies line-up, thanks in large part to the generous outside corner of the plate. He finished with nine K’s in seven innings, while walking only two.

Pedro Martinez finished the game with a quality line, six-plus innings pitched, eight strikeouts, two walks and three earned-runs. New York broke the dead-lock in the sixth off the bat of Hideki Matsui, a solo-shot to right. They would add and insurance run in the seventh off of reliever Chan Ho Park, credited to Martinez.

Yankees turned the ball over to Mariano Rivera in the eighth. The Phillies threatened in the inning, with two on with one out, but Chase Utley grounded into the twin-killing, ending the prospect of a rally off of baseball’s all-time best closer.

All of the hype surrounding Martinez’s return to New York and “Who’s Your Daddy,” and what not, Pedro came out unfazed. He made two mistakes that were rightly hammered for long-balls. However, everywhere Martinez goes, a show is sure to follow. For six innings, Phillies fans got exactly that.

Both teams will enjoy an off day before resuming action Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.


Phillies/Yankees World Series Predictions

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Wed, October 28, 2009 03:00 PM Comments: 41

Here are the predictions from the Phillies Nation crew:

Jason Bintliff:
My prediction is more of a feeling than it is scientific…

When the season started, I felt that the Phillies would make an earnest run at a title defense. I predicted early on, to my closest baseball confidant and best friend, that the Phillies would play the Yankees in the World Series, as we froze in section 303 during the on-deck series against the Rays. That was April 4th.

I also had a number in my head at the time and boldly proclaimed to him that the Phillies would repeat as champions. As we sat in the upper reaches of right-field, I said to him that the Phillies would again win it in five games.

Call it a premonition, call it bravado caused by winning a title the previous season, but those were my words. Perhaps it’s more than a coincidence that when our postseason ticket order form arrived, the game that we received for the World Series was game five.

Pat Gallen:
Many believe this series is one that is destined for seven games; one that will take its place amongst the finest in history. I think it goes one less.

I’m taking the Phillies in six. Last season, I privately believed the Phillies would lose to the Dodgers, and then again to the Rays. I was wrong, and it will be a long time before I count this team out in any way, shape, or form. This team has a winning mentality that is unmatched in the history of this city. That says a lot.

The Yankees are no slouch, that much we know. However, they’ve done the repeating thing before and everyone in this town can feel it’s the Phillies time. It’s just their time. Celebrate safely together on Wednesday evening, November 4. See you at the Parade on Friday, November 6. Broad Street, here we come again.

Amanda Orr:
In 2007, I predicted that the Phillies would beat the Rockies in the NLDS. I haven’t made a playoff prediction since. It worked out in 2008, and so far in 2009, so why change that? Cliche? Superstition? You bet – but also take it as a favor. That’s what a fan does: stick with what is working. With that being said, I’ll be sitting in the same seat. I will make one exception: the series goes six games.

Nick “Beerman” Staskin:
I’m going with the Phillies in 6 games. The Phillies had New York’s number at the Bronx during Memorial Day weekend and should have swept had it not been for a falty backend of the bullpen that seems to have corked its leaks. Tie that in with the Phillies post-All Star Break home record and their 11-1 home record at The Bank during the last two postseasons and I see the Phillies stealing two in New York to take the series.

Brian Michael:
I’m going with Phillies in 5 – just like last year.  They proved already this season they can win in Yankee Stadium and will take 1 of 2 up there – probably Game 1 against C.C. Then the Phils will sweep the Yanks at home in Philly where they’ve been nasty in the playoffs over the past two seasons.  All the games will be close but high scoring, except when Lee pitches.  Parade’s on November 4th.


Which City Has the Edge?

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Tue, October 27, 2009 08:00 AM Comments: 86

When it comes to comparing Philadelphia with New York, Philadelphia often gets the short end of the stick. However, when it comes to the important things in life, Philadelphia does more than holds it own when pitted up to the self-proclaimed “Capital of the Free World.”  We are, after all, the nation’s first capital.

Historical Landmarks: Liberty Bell vs. Statue of Liberty

Between the two cities, there are no shortages of famous landmarks. There are two that come to mind almost instantly.

New York has the Statue of Liberty. First dedicated by France to symbolize the friendship forged during the Revolutionary War, Lady Liberty still proudly stands in New York Harbor. Standing a whopping 305 ft. tall, this jolly green giant is visited by over 3 million people per year. It loses points for its geographical location, which is technically New Jersey (much like their football teams).

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of freedom in this country. Located in the heart of Center City, it is the heart of Philadelphia. One could also claim it to be the Heart of Independence. Its most famous ringing came on July 8th, 1776 as a signal to Philadelphians and Americans that independence had been declared. Weighing in at a hefty 2,055 lbs. this heavy-weight is also visited by over 3 million persons per year. It gains points for seniority in American history. New York loses a few more points for being a colony full of loyalists who until the very last moment succumbed to the pressure of the other colonies.

Edge: Philadelphia

Food: Cheesesteaks vs. Pizza

You can find Philadelphia’s signature dish in many places across the country, but seldom is this delicatesy good outside of the tri-state area (PA, NJ, Northern DE). Cheese Wiz, wit or witout juicy beef grilled to heavenly perfection, a true Philadelphian knows, it’s the roll that makes the sandwich. (My personal preference is Amoroso’s roll with provolone cheese) Perhaps it’s the limited accessibility to good bread that limits other spots across the U.S. from producing a cheesesteak worthy of a Philadelphian tongue.

Everyone knows that New York is known for their Manhattan or Neapolitan style pizza. Sure, it’s good, I cannot lie, however, is it better than say Chicago-style deep-dish? Are the pizzas you find in New York leaps and bounds better than that of what you find at your favorite Ma and Pop pizza joint in your neighborhood? Better maybe, but only slightly. Add in the accessibility of good pizza across the nation and New York-Style Pizza just doesn’t stand out from the pack like a good cheesesteak does.

Edge: Philadelphia

Traffic: Cross- Bronx vs. The Schuylkill

I have been stuck in traffic numerous times on both roadways. Each time I subject myself to the punishment doled out by either gauntlet, I feel as if I lose two years off my life. It doesn’t matter if it’s midnight, on Christmas, in a blizzard, the day after nuclear annihilation, you are sure to find a jam up, no matter which highway you find yourself on. Both Philadelphians and New Yorkers can lament when struggling to deal with these two behemoths.

Edge: Push

Fans: Yankees vs. Phillies

In Philadelphia, if you’re a fan, you are a PHAN. Your reputation proceeds you. You are feared by the nation yet revered by your brethren. Forget Santa, you have thrown snowballs at Cowboys head-coach Jimmy Johnson and ruffled his finely coiffed hairdo. You have ruined the careers of both Matt Garza and Eva, er Evan Longoria because you refused to let them get comfortable on the biggest stage of their careers. You are not passive about your sports teams, you are passionate. Whether or not you have a good day depends on how well your team performed the night before. Baseball for you is not an institution, it’s life. To root for a winner is easy, but to root for a team that has  over ten-thousand losses takes a special person – a loyal person. You are that person.

To be a Yankees fan is trying. Geez, your team hasn’t won since the turn of the century(2000). Fuhgedaboutit, Yankee fans don’t hold a candle to a Phillies fan because you don’t have the experience of pain and loss of Joe Carter and 1964. I won’t be the one to call you front-runners because you really have no other choice (well you could be a Mets fan… I know, I’m laughing too). You may well be passionate, but you have no clue as to what devotion is because you never had to suffer through bad, and I mean really bad times. (Except losing that Boston series, yeah, that was pretty rough.)

Edge: Philadelphia

So there you have it, Philadelphia is clearly better than New York both inside and outside the baseball stadium.

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