Results tagged ‘ Cole Hamels ’
No, taking two out of three from both the Mets and the Braves ain’t bad at all; in fact, I’d say it’s very good.
(and darn it, now there’s another song stuck in my head! Last week, it was AC/DC, now it’s Meat Loaf)
In both series, the Phillies dropped the first game when one of the four aces wasn’t very ace-like. Cole Hamels stunk it up against the Mets last Tuesday (Note to Cole: Giving up two hits to the opposing pitcher in the same inning is never a good idea) as the Phillies lost 7-1. Cliff Lee obviously did not have his best stuff in a 6-3 loss to the Braves.
Cole was able to redeem himself yesterday, going seven strong innings against the Braves as the Phillies won, 3-0.
In the second game against the Mets, Joe Blanton very nearly managed to lose the game after blowing a seven-run lead (Note to Joe: Please don’t do that again. Ever.). Joe was saved from a loss by four scoreless innings from the bullpen, and some timely hitting from the offense for a 10-7 win.
Both series also featured the stress-relieving blowout, courtesy of the Roys. Well, stress-relieving for me, not fans of the opposition. Roy Halladay pitched the Phils to a 11-0 rout of the Mets, and Roy Oswalt got his first-ever regular season win over Atlanta in a 10-2 butt-whuppin’.
Let’s hope the Phils can maintain that momentum, as they head to Washington following today’s off-day.
Funny Photo of the Week
Brad Emaus looks like he’s trying to do a little dance last Thursday (Note to Brad: don’t try out for Riverdance anytime soon).
Don’t know if he made a little love and got down that night.
Aack! More 70′s music is getting stuck in my head! Must…make it…stop!
The Phils kicked off Spring Training 2011 today with a news conference to show off their much-ballyhooed-before-they’ve-even-thrown-a-pitch-together rotation. I’m not sure what the whole point was, really, as no new ground was covered. The questions were predictable, as were the responses.
All five starters were present.
Yes, five. Of course, the way the media have been hyping the “Four Aces”, one could be forgiven for forgetting that there is, in fact, a fifth starter. You know, the Other Guy, Joe Blanton.
At one point, one of the media members led off a question to Cole Hamels by stating that he was the “only one with a ring”. Uh, hellooo? Joe Blanton was on the ’08 staff too. Said reporter quickly corrected himself. I guess he’s been listening to all that hype a bit too much.
The pitchers themselves seem to be trying to downplay the whole “Four Aces” thing. When asked which of the nicknames for the rotation they liked best, Cliff Lee asked what they were. Someone out of range of the microphone rattled off a few. Kudos to Cliff for pointing out that all he heard in those nicknames were references to four guys, but there were five guys up on the podium.
Even after the conference had ended, Comcast’s Michael Barkann referred to the “Mount Rushmore” of rotations in his wrap-up.
Hmm, not a bad image. But look! There’s a bit of space there to squeeze in a fifth head.
OK, so it’s a wee bit smaller than the others. Let’s just hope that the starting five can live up to the “monumental” expectations already being thrown their way.
After the Giants beat the Braves last night, the Phillies now know who their opponent will be in the NLCS, which doesn’t start until Saturday. Granted, the Phillies made quick work of the Reds, sweeping them in three games; the Giants needed four games to dispatch the Braves. Even if both series had gone a full five games, the divisional series would have ended on Wednesday. Why do we possibly need two full days off between series???
Initially, I thought I wanted the Braves to advance, because I felt the Phillies had a better chance against their pitching. On the other hand, those two teams had already met 18 times during the regular season (with the Phils winning 10), so there was a certain amount of familiarity. The Giants and Phillies have only played each other 6 times, which I’m sure has it’s own set of pros and cons.
At least now I won’t have to hear that annoying (and some would say politically incorrect) Braves chant during the games, and as far as I know, the Giants don’t have any sort of mass chanting from their fans.
Flip side is, I’ll have to watch Tim Lincecum and his girlie hair.
Random NLDS Musings
Since my last post, following Roy Halladay’s no-no, the Phils took the next two from the Reds, though in rather opposite ways. In Game 2, the other Roy wasn’t quite so sharp, and in fact, Oswalt later admitted that he had felt a bit rusty. The Reds took advantage and jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 4 1/2 innings. But then the Phillies started to chip away at the lead, and the Reds let the game slip through their fingers. Literally. The Reds committed four errors in this game, and their pitchers hit three batters (more on that in a bit). Bottom line, Phillies won 7-4, though only two of the runs were earned.
Game 3 was a much more polished affair, as Cole Hamels went the distance for a complete-game shutout as the Phils won, 2-0. For the Phillies Phaithful, it was only fitting that the final out was a Scott Rolen strikeout.
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Which leads me to Rolen, or as one local sports talk-radio guy calls him, “Lemon Face”. [the following photo is actually not from the NLDS, but earlier in the season]
(photo by Ed Wulfstein/Icon SMI)
Lemon Face had an atrocious series, going 1 for 11 with eight strikeouts! He also committed two errors! Hee hee! You may recall Rolen’s demands to be traded near the end of his tenure with the Phils, saying that the Phillies management and ownership weren’t committed to winning. Looks like the Phils have been doing pretty good lately, doesn’t it, Scott?
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Chase Utley, for his starring role last Friday in “Chase’s Excellent Adventure Around the Bases”. First, Utley was (maybe) hit on the hand by Aroldis Chapman; next, he (maybe) was safe on a close play at second; and finally, he (maybe) touched the base while rounding third. He was definitely safe at home.
I had to laugh at this Utley quote regarding the hit-by-pitch: “I felt like I thought it hit me, so I put my head down and I ran to first.” O-kaaay, Chase, whatever you say.
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John Mayberry, Jr. may have been surprised to learn that he was also hit by a pitch in that game, because he is not on the postseason roster!
I’ve often wondered if the sportswriters actually watch the games. It would seem the answer is no, because if they did they would know that it was Ben Francisco who was nearly decapitated when the ball went off the brim of his helmet.
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Listening to the TBS announcing duo of Brian Anderson and Joe Simpson was enough to make me catatonic, given that they collectively seem to have as much personality as my pinky toe. And they clearly need some lessons in enunciation - one of them (I’m not sure which, they’re both equally dull) kept saying “Utley” in a way that made it sound like “Ugly”.
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The funniest moment of the series had to be in Game 3, when Rich Dubee was being interviewed during the game about the renaissance of Cole Hamels. With Dubee unaware of what was going on behind him, Roy Oswalt was ducking from the dugout into the clubhouse. He apparently couldn’t resist the temptation to grin at the camera on his way past:
Hubby, son and I were in hysterics. This team is definitely loose and having fun!
Let’s go, Phillies!
…as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Braves last night! The Phils now have a six-game lead over the second-place Braves, and their magic number to clinch the division now stands at 4.
Hubby and I were fortunate enough to be at Monday night’s game, thanks to our friends Carrie and Ed, who had two extra tickets available. We met up with them by the third-base gate and headed into the ballpark. Upon entering, were greeted by the sight of 20 statues of the Phanatic, painted in various themes by local artists, and currently being auctioned off for charity.
Carrie and I posed with one painted to look like the Liberty Bell.
Just in time for Halloween, it’s “Phrankenstein’s Mascot”! This one is among the four currently up for bids. Bidding ends later today, and apparently there are a lot of people with way more money than they know what to do with! The current high bid for this one is just under $10,000, and another is over $15,000 (!).
Millerrrrr Light, anyone? This friendly (?) beer vendorrr was working the stands prior to the start of the game. Aaargh!
Poor rookies! Pitcher Vance Worley makes his way to the bullpen with his Fancy Nancy backpack.
My daughter would have had a field day in the Braves’ bullpen, with all these beauties to choose from!
Cole Hamels was in fine form, giving up just one run over eight innings of work.
Though he hit homers on Sunday and Tuesday, the “dirty hawt” Jayson Werth did not hit one this night.
Contrary to certain people’s opinions (I’m talkin’ to you, Patti), this is just not at attractive look.
Brandon Beachy, making his first major league start for the Braves, made several throws to first in an attempt to hold Shane Victorino close to the bag.
All was for naught, however, as Shane successfully stole second, and evaded the tag with this slide.
Wilson Valdez has been more than capable defensively while filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins – he has a gun for an arm, and helped turn two double-plays for the Phillies. The Phils had a total of three DPs this night in support of Hamels.
Carlos Ruiz has been having a fine offensive year for the Phils, contributing an RBI double in this game.
Brad Lidge came on in the ninth to get the save. The rally towels were waving so furiously, all the little white lint particles flying around looked like snowflakes! Well, sort of. Anyway, Brad had a 1-2-3 inning, and the Phils won 3-1!
I was waving my towel with gusto as well, hence no photos of Brad.
After three tight games (3-1, 5-3, 1-0), the Phillies are off tonight with a much-deserved break. They’d best be resting up for the Mets, who come into town Friday for the last regular-season home games. Let’s go Phillies!
(all photos by me) (well, not exactly, my husband took the one with me in it)
Last night, I knew I should be up at the computer, doing some Actual Work. But I really wanted to watch just a little more of the Phillies-Marlins game. The Phillies were actually giving Cole Hamels some run support!
Maybe they saw my little note to them in my last entry.
When the score got to 7-0 in favor of the Phillies, I felt that it was safe to go to work. Cole was pitching really well, and the offense was putting up some crooked numbers. By the time he left the game, after seven shutout innings, the Phils were up 10-0.
Then Nate Robertson entered the game. The same Nate Robertson who had been released by the Marlins earlier this season after posting a 6-8 record in 19 games, with a 5.47 ERA.
Robertson managed to record only two outs before getting lifted, and gave up 6 runs! Yikes! Then again, what should I expect from a pitcher with a career 55-77 record and an ERA hovering around 5, who was apparently better known in Detroit for his gum-chewing than his pitching?
In 2006, the year of “Gum Time”, the Tigers made it to the World Series after quite a few years of ineptitude. Since the Phillies have their sights set on making it to the Series for the third year in a row, maybe they should use Robertson not as a pitcher, but as a “designated chewer”.
I’m sure he’s being paid enough to cover the ensuing dental bills.
(scan from Detroit Tigers Magazine – 2006 Season, Issue No. 3)
***Post-blog update! Robertson will not be near the mound anymore this season. As of yesterday afternoon, he had been designated for assignment. I am not upset about this.***
Before I get into the random photos portion of this blog entry, I must note that today is the first day of school for my offspring. I’m ecstatic; they’re not. I need to pause to celebrate.
<gets up and does a little dance>
I’ll actually be able to compose this entry without being interrupted umpteen times.
In no particular order, then, here are some of my favorite summer baseball photos:
Baseball and hot dogs – a classic, timeless combination. An army of Diggitys stands ready for battle in the Lehigh Valley IronPigs clubhouse store.
Speaking of clubhouse stores, one of the oddest items I’ve seen was at the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ store. The Blue Rocks have two popular mascots, Rocky Bluewinkle and Mr. Celery:
I’m not sure what celery has to do with baseball, but nonetheless a large stalk of celery runs onto the field to celebrate after every run scored by the Blue Rocks. This, however, is apparently what would be created should these two ever be able to mate:
My daughter had to buy it, and she calls it “Rocky Celwinkle”. Since both Rocky and Mr. Celery are ostensibly male, I’m not sure how this would actually occur.
In Reading Phillies game action, this Trenton Thunder baserunner is out at first by a step, as R-Phils first-baseman Matt Rizzotti makes the play. Rizzotti finished up the season at triple-A Lehigh Valley.
“My ball is bigger than yours!” Members of the Wilmington Blue Rocks bullpen seem to be comparing sizes. This photo just screams out for some sort of suggestive caption. Send me your best – if it makes me laugh I’ll put it in my next entry.
Cole Hamels has been pitching really well lately, though you wouldn’t know it from his 9-10 record. In July, I took my daughter to the last game before the All-Star break, and saw Cole get a 1-0 victory over the Reds.
**Note to Phillies offense: Please give Cole some run support!**
Attack of the 50-foot Phanatic!!
Rocky Bluewinkle makes sure that home plate is sparkling white, though I’m not sure if it’s minty fresh.
After a head-first slide into third with a triple, Blue Rocks infielder Rey Navarro needs to make a few, um, adjustments.
Most of my summer baseball viewing was spent not on the Phillies or any other professional team, but on my son’s team. This was the first year he tried out for a summer team, and let’s just say it’s quite a time commitment. After a brief respite during August, it’s back to baseball as he has decided to play fall ball and forego football this year.
Which is OK with me.
(all photos by me)
…she says sarcastically.
Popped over to the Zo Zone earlier today, and saw that Sports Illustrated has seen fit to
curse honor Roy Halladay on the cover of the Baseball Preview issue.
Need I remind you all of Cole Hamels’ season last year, after his cover appearance in February 2009?
I know, I know, there’s no such thing as curses. Despite Hamels’ subpar 2009, the Phils did still make it to the WS. Nonetheless, couldn’t they have put, oh, Hanley Ramirez on the cover, or Johan Santana, or the Atlanta Braves team? I’d rather play it safe with this curse thing, you know?
Before I get into my coverage of our final two games, you may recall me mentioning in my last entry that I thought Ed Smith Stadium looks like a motel. Well, I dug through my old photo albums, and found a photo from our visit in March 2000. At the time, it was the spring home of the Reds. Since then, the Reds have relocated to Arizona for Spring Training, and Ed Smith is now home to the Orioles. Here it is:
Unless it’s been refurbished in the past 10 years, this is what the exterior of the part behind home plate looks like. All those railings and doors look just like a motel to me.
March 16 – Day 6
After yet another mouth-watering breakfast at the Inn at the Bay, we made our way to Bright House Field for today’s Phillies-Tigers game. If I haven’t already mentioned it, the Inn at the Bay serves the most awesome breakfasts. We’ve stayed there five times, and we’ve almost never had the same breakfast twice. They are so filling, most days we don’t even need lunch!
Once again, we arrived when the gates opened. New Tiger Johnny Damon signed some autographs (for Phillies fans!) during batting practice. I’m still not too happy with Johnny over that stolen-base-thing last October:
Cole Hamels was on the mound for the Phillies, going five innings with 2 hits, 1 run, and 4 stikeouts. He was looking pretty good this day:
Detroit’s Justin Verlander didn’t have such a great day, giving up home runs to Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard. Overall, he went 3 1/3 innings, with 4 runs on 3 hits:
Speaking of Howard’s homer (his first of the spring), it came on the swing immediately following this shot:
During a pitching change, Johnny Damon, Adam Everett, and Brandon Inge discuss the fly ball that got lost in the sun and just dropped into the Bermuda Triangle of turf between all three of them for a hit. They all appear to have sunglasses – guys, weren’t you using them?
Phil Coke came on in relief of Verlander, and proceeded to give up Domonic Brown’s second homer of the day, a two-run shot. Phil’s pants look like they have enough extra fabric at the bottom for a whole ‘nuther pair:
Domonic Brown had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two homers and an RBI single. As thanks, he got reassigned to the minor league camp after the game:
New Phillie Danys Baez came on to pitch a scoreless inning in relief:
Greg Dobbs, playing third in place of the injured Placido Polanco, makes contact. Dobbs went 1-for-3 and scored a run:
Jimmy Rollins stops to sign some autographs on his way to the clubhouse. This may have been a mistake, as he was stuck there for the next 10 minutes while fans continued to flock down the aisle. Jimmy is actually one of the most fan-friendly Phillies, so he didn’t seem to mind:
Something I hadn’t seen before was a post-game batting practice. After the final out, the cage was wheeled back on the field, and Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz, and Shane Victorino took additional BP. Shane seemed to be working on his bunting. Afterwards, Raul Ibanez and his son walk to the clubhouse with Charlie Manuel:
On the way out, we stopped for a photo of me in front of the entrance to the ballpark. Since I’m always the one taking the pictures, we need visual proof I was actually on this vacation:
March 17 – Day 7
St. Patrick’s Day dawned rather gray and dreary. On our way to the ballpark, it even rained a little bit. This had me concerned, because our “seats” for today were on the berm, the grassy area beyond the outfield fence. I wasn’t looking forward to sitting on soggy sod.
Not to fear though. By gametime, the skies had cleared and it turned into a sunny, pleasant afternoon for our final day in Florida.
During Phillies BP, Charlie Manuel had a chance to check out the mini-sized Charlie Manuel bat that will be given out to kids on July 6:
Randy Winn and Brian Schneider are loitering behind the batting cage. Something has made Winn grin, though Schneider looks like he just ate a bug:
This trio of trouble is yukking it up at the expense of their fellow fielder, who just muffed a grounder during pre-game warmups:
Mark Texiera and Alex Rodriguez wait their turns in the batting cage. Just what is that huge wad hiding in A-Rod’s cheek? Gum? Sunflower seeds? Some chew? His ego?
Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler was on hand to sign copies of his book, “View From The Booth.” Yes, I bought one. There are some who don’t really like Wheels as a broadcaster, but I’ll be interested to read his take on things:
Just before the game started, I met up with Confession of a She-Fan‘s Jane Heller and got interviewed by her on the She-Fan Cam. Click here to read Jane’s coverage of the game, and see the video clip.
In between BP and game time, the Phillies changed from their usual red and white uniforms to their bright green St. Patty’s day jerseys. Joe Blanton took to the mound for the Phillies. Blanton had a Blanton-like outing, going 5 innings, scattering 7 hits and giving up 2 runs:
The last time my husband and I came to Spring Training, in 2007, we saw the Phillies host the Yankees on St. Patrick’s Day, and Andy Pettitte started for the Yankees. Three years later, we are seeing the Phillies host the Yankees on St. Patrick’s Day, and Andy Pettitte is starting for the Yankees. Deja vu!
Randy Winn scores for the Yankees, as the throw to Carlos Ruiz is late:
Ryan Howard tosses the ball to first to get the out:
The Flyin’ Hawaiian can’t fly quite far enough, as this ball got past Shane Victorino for an extra-base hit:
The Phillie O’Phanatic get a bit, um, friendly with the third-base umpire. The mind shudders to imagine the offspring that would result from such an unholy union:
The luck of the Irish was with Jayson Werth as he lauched a three-run homer, which sealed the outcome of the game in favor of the Phillies:
Final score: Phillies 6, Yankees 2
Later that evening, we met up for dinner with Jane and her husband Michael, as it turned out that they were staying just three blocks away from us in St. Petersburg. We all enjoyed a delicious meal, and great conversation. The time flew by, and since we all had flights home the next day, finally had to bid each other good night.
Our flight home was much better than the first – no turbulence, and my husband and I actually got to sit next to each other this time.
(all photos by me, except the one of me, which was taken by my husband)
The lucky shirt’s power continues. I almost forgot to put it on – we turned on the TV just as the game was beginning, and there it was lying nicely folded on my bed, next to all the other laundry currently being folded. I quickly changed and all was (eventually) right with the world.
The game was a nail-biter (metaphorically speaking, thankfully that is not one of my bad habits), but we did not have to resort to actually turning the TV off at any point.
I’m not going to recap the whole game – that info is out there elsewhere if you want it – but I will share some of my random thoughts from the game.
- Here we are in the entertainment capital of the world, and the best they can do for the National Anthem is Billy Ray Cyrus!?!? The guy best known at the moment as Hannah Montana’s, um, I mean Miley Cyrus’s dad? Why not at least have them do a duet? It’s not like he’s even a native of SoCal – wait, is anyone actually a native of SoCal? Hopefully this Kentucky native’s heart wasn’t too achy-breaky after the Dodgers dropped Game 1.
- At one point during the game, Russell Martin slipped while putting on the brakes after rounding third, and the announcer (not sure which one) mentioned that it had rained the day before. Rain in SoCal – hmm, I guess Albert Hammond lied to us when he sang that “It Never Rains In Southern California”. Well, he is from London, so I guess he can be forgiven for not really knowing.
- Cole Hamels once again lost his composure on the mound, thowing his hands in the air after Rollins and Utley failed to turn an inning-ending double play. This allowed Manny Ramirez to come to the plate and deliver a two-run bomb. Come on Cole, get your head on straight!
- Speaking of Manny’s bomb, is it ever a good idea to throw three straight change-ups, as Cole did to Manny in this at-bat? Isn’t the whole point of a change-up that it is a different speed from the previous pitches? If you throw three in a row there is nothing for it to “change-up” from.
- I would love to sneak up behind ManRam with a big pair of scissors. Like the Biblical Samson, would he lose all his power if I cut off his hair?
- Is it just me, or does Chan Ho Park truly look like a “deer in the headlights” on the mound while looking in for the signs? Nonetheless, he looked great for having not pitched in almost a month. Way to go, Chan Ho! I’m sorry I doubted you earlier in the season.
- Choooooch! Rauuuuul! Are there two more fun names to say after a pair of three-run jacks? I think not.
- Lastly, we are still tortured with the announcers on TBS. Thankfully it is not the same crew as the NLDS (they were about as exciting as watching paint dry), but now I must listen to Buck Martinez, who inexplicably reminds me of the (fictional) announcer Jimmy Shorts from my son’s MLB Slugfest 2003 game.
Game 2 starts in less than four hours, with Pedro Martinez taking the mound for the Phils against former Phil Vicente Padilla. Should be interesting, to say the least. The lucky shirt is ready.
They say that “hitting is timing”.
According to Warren Spahn, “pitching is upsetting timing”.
Thanks to Cole and Heidi Hamels, we now can surmise that “timing of wife going into labor is upsetting pitching”. Cole was not sharp in yesterday’s 5-4 loss to the Rockies, giving up four runs in five innings.
Ah yes, timing. Cole Hamels, who seems to already have his whole career planned out, was certainly not thinking ahead when he and Heidi decided to engage in some baby-making, presumable back in January. Would it have been that hard to realize that January plus nine months equals new baby smack in the middle of playoffs? Maybe he was assuming the Phillies wouldn’t make it to the postseason?
(alright, yes that last paragraph was typed with tongue planted in cheek, but still…)
As for Baby Hamels, I haven’t been able to find any confirmation this morning that the baby actually arrived. Nonetheless, congrats to the new parents.
Which leads me to wonder why Charlie even decided to have Cole start this game, if labor was that imminent. Sure, we can say that professional athletes should be able to set their personal lives aside while on the field, but who knows how much that might have affected his concentration?
And then there’s Cole’s abysmal record in day games this season: 0-6 with a 5.44 ERA. What’s up with that? His performance in night games is markedly better, at 10-5 with a 3.95 ERA. No wonder he was whining to the press earlier this week about the ridiculous start times of Games 1 and 2.
So why not start Happ or Blanton? Okay, Happ had pitched two innings in the final regular season game on October 4th, but Blanton had last pitched on October 2nd. As it turned out, both Happ and Blanton were used out of the bullpen, so now the Phils have burned through three starters in one game.
That would seem to leave Pedro Martinez as the Game 3 starter, though Charlie has not yet made his decision, saying Blanton is still in the mix, according to phillies.com. Happ says he would be ready too, even though he took a liner off the leg yesterday from the first batter he faced.
Now the series moves to Denver, where the forecast for Game 3 includes temperatures in the 30′s and snow showers (!). That’s football weather, not baseball. At least I’ll be watching from the cozy comfort of my home.