Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’

Meltdowns Can Be Fun!

When they occur to somebody else, that is.

Last night, I didn’t get a chance to sit down and watch the Phillies face the Cardinals until seven innings had been played. I knew the Phils had been trailing 1-0 earlier in the evening, and after seven they were still down, 2-1. But it turns out I was just in time for all the fun.

Fun for the Phillies. Not so fun for the Cards.

Call it what you want – meltdown, implosion, epic fail – the Cardinals’ bullpen had one of the ugliest half-innings I have ever witnessed.

It lasted almost 45 minutes.

There were two hit batsmen (one with the bases loaded); four walks (two with the bases loaded); and four RBI singles. Nine runs scored – eight of them after there were two outs.

They needed five pitchers to get through it.

Two of those pitchers did not record any outs.

Trever Miller started the inning in relief of Kyle McClellan, who had held the Phils to one run thus far. After retiring the first batter, he allowed a single and a walk to put two men on base.

Curiously, Jason Motte, a hard-throwing righty, was brought in to replace lefty Miller and face Ryan Howard. Motte proceeded to hit Howard to load the bases, then hit Placido Polanco to force in the tying run.

Brian Tallet entered next, and got Raul Ibanez to strike out. After giving up an RBI single to Ben Francisco, he was replaced by Miguel Batista. Batista apparently needed a map to find the strike zone – he promptly walked two batters to force in two more runs, and followed that by allowing an RBI single to Jimmy Rollins.

Maikel Cleto was next in the parade of pitchers. He walked Shane Victorino to reload the bases, gave up two RBI singles to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and then mercifully for the Cards, retired Wilson Valdez to finally end their inning from hell with the Phils now leading 10-2.

Lost in all this were two fine performances by the starting pitchers, Roy Halladay and Kyle McClellan, who each surrendered one run, only to be rewarded with no-decisions for their efforts.

Thank you, Cardinals bullpen, for handing us that win on a silver platter. I hope you’ll understand if the Phillies do not reciprocate tonight.

A Novel Experience

Last week, I was counting the days with anticipation until I would finally get to my first Actual Phillies game this season. We’d managed to get four tickets, so the whole family could go. The seats were really good, so I was looking forward to taking lots of amazing game action photos (well, in my mind they’re amazing; in reality, not always so much). And it was the 4 pm FOX game, so I wouldn’t have to worry about the kids getting tired and cranky.

There was just one problem.

Mother Nature did not cooperate.

On our way to the game, the skies were looking very threatening, so I decided not to take the camera after all. Rain and expensive photo equipment don’t really get along with each other very well. As a result, I have precious little visual proof of being there to share with you, other than a few shots from my cell phone.

On the other hand, this would afford me the opportunity to actually see the whole field with both eyes! I can’t remember the last time I actually did that. Usually I end up missing at least a few great plays, because I’m looking through the camera and happen to be focused on the wrong player – unfortunately, an unavoidable aspect of sports photography. If you wait to see where the play develops, you will inevitably miss the play by the time you aim your camera at it. So, many times it is pure luck that you happen to be aimed at the right player.

We settled into our seats to await the start of the game. There were quite a few rather overdressed people on the field in front of us, wielding a variety of stringed instruments. It’s not every day that you see people in formal wear on the ball field, so I took a quick picture with the aforementioned cell phone:

It turned out to be the Council Rock South high school orchestra, who were preparing to perform the national anthem.

Note the gray skies, and the tarp still visible in the background.

Said tarp was rolled up just a few minutes before the scheduled 4:10 pm starting time. The players took the field, the leadoff batter for the Cubs (Starlin Castro) was announced, and…

the clouds opened up and it started to rain. Not just rain – it poured. Big, fat, cold raindrops. We attempted to make our way as quickly as possible to the covered concourse, along with hundreds of other people who were between us and the shelter. This would have to be the only possible negative to sitting close to the field – it takes a lot longer to get out of the rain! Nonetheless, I’ll put up with getting a little wetter in order to be better able to see the action.

Once under cover, my daughter announced that she wanted to go home right now. You know that wasn’t happening. My son, the voice of doom, wanted to know why we should wait around when the game would end up getting cancelled. Hah!  Thankfully, the delay ended up being relatively short, only about half an hour.

The rest of the afternoon was dry (though my clothes were not), and I actually got to see (with both eyes!) some great defensive plays by both first basemen (Ryan Howard and Carlos Pena), a not-so-great defensive play by Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney (who dropped a soft liner off the bat of Jimmy Rollins for an error), a dominating performance from Cliff Lee, and Chase Utley’s two-run double AND two-run homer! The Phils won 7-1, in relatively stress-free fashion.

Afterwards, we browsed in the Clubhouse Store. I was slightly amused to see this DVD still on display:

After all, the Phillies fired Milt Thompson as hitting coach in the middle of last season, replacing him with Greg Gross. Presumably, he was not doing a good enough job of making hitting easy for the Phils’ offense.

I’ll get a second crack at shooting the Phillies (photographically speaking) in less than two weeks, when the hubby and I go sans kids to see the Phillies host the A’s in an interleague matchup. No rain, please!

Hey Joe

Yes, I’m talking to you, Joe Blanton.

I was kind of hoping that in your second start of the season, against the Nationals, you might bounce back a bit from that less than stellar game against the Mets last week.

Silly me.

Instead, you gave up 5 earned runs in 6 innings, and after two starts, your ERA is an unattractive 10.45. Yes, I know it’s still early in the season, so there’s plenty of time to turn it around. I suggest you start rectifying this situation during your next start, on Sunday afternoon.

I’ll be watching.

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In what is becoming a curious trend, the Phillies dropped the first game of their series against Washington, and then came back to win the next two.

This time, it was Joe Blanton who was not sharp in game one (see above). Additionally, he gave up a home run to ex-Phillie Jayson Werth, resulting in my breakfast the next morning being disturbed by the sight of Werth on the front page of the newspaper. Echh.

Roy Halladay took the mound for game two, and had the Nationals shut out through eight innings (yay!). He flirted with disaster in the ninth, giving up two runs, but managed to escape intact for the complete game victory, as the Phils prevailed 3-2.

Also in this game, Washington starter John Lannan faced Ryan Howard with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, and proceeded to hit Howard on the wrist, driving in a run. Lannan, if you recall, was the pitcher who hit Chase Utley a few years ago, giving him a broken hand.

Yo, John Lannan, stop hitting my Phillies!

For his career, Lannan has faced the Phillies 12 times, going 0-9 with a 5.80 ERA. The Nationals have lost 11 of those 12 games. So bring him on some more! Just let me wrap the players in bubble wrap first. :-)

Not to be outdone, Cliff Lee finished off a complete game of his own the next night, as the Phils won 4-0.

I think I could get used to this whole “Four Aces” thing. :-)

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I often find myself wondering about some of the photos MLB chooses to use in the slideshows for each game. For example, why use this one?

my wallet is this big.jpgThe caption states that “The Nationals’ Jayson Werth gestures to teammates on the field during the ninth inning.”

Gesturing about what? Trying to cue the musical accompaniment for a dramatic ninth inning rally? The size of the proverbial “one that got away”? Or maybe the size of his wallet now that the Nationals have grossly overpaid for his services?

I’m sure you readers can come up with something good! Leave a comment if you have an inspired caption to share.

Two Out of Three (x 2) Ain’t Bad

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).

do a little dance copy.jpg

(photo credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

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!

Opening Weekend – Home Sweep Home

OK, so I borrowed that little cliche from the Philadelphia Inquirer, who informed us this morning that the Phils’ sweep of the Astros marked the first time since 1970 that the team has begun a season with three home wins.

What a great way to start off a highly anticipated season of Phillies baseball!

Last Friday, though, I was feeling more apprehension than anticipation. First, it was April Fool’s Day, which just doesn’t strike me as a good day to begin the baseball season. Second, upon awakening that morning, I was greeted not with warmth and sunshine, but with the sight of snowflakes falling outside. Not just any snowflakes – giant, mutant snowflakes that began sticking to things. Third, the Phillies were facing the Astros, who are – get this! – the only NL team with a winning record against the Phils since 2004, and owners of a gaudy 16-7 record at Citizens Bank Park during that span (!). OK, so now it’s 16-10, but still…

But we had Roy Halladay on the mound, while they countered with Brett Myers. This seemed like a good thing. Roy is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and Brett Myers is, well, Brett Myers.

Halladay breezed through the first eight Astros batters, but then Brett Myers – Brett Myers! – singled for the first Astros hit of the game. Myers would get another hit in the fifth, so of the five hits Halladay surrendered, two of them were to the opposing pitcher.

As if that weren’t painful enough for me to stomach, Myers was the one who looked more ace-like, needing only 85 pitches though 7 innings, while Halladay threw 101 in 6. Still, Halladay had given up only one run.

Then the bullpen got into the game, and promptly gave up three more runs. With the Astros up 4-0 in the seventh, some of those watching at home may have given in to the urge to turn off the TV, thus saving themselves from further distress.

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O ye of little faith.

Make that me. Yes, it pains me to admit that I turned it off. I couldn’t bear to watch anymore! I later found out that the Phillies cut the lead in half in the bottom of the seventh, and then staged a ninth inning comeback with a barrage of singles to end up winning 5-4.

Thankfully, the next two games of the series were much less stressful to watch. :-)  Cliff Lee struck out 11 as the Phils won, 9-4; Roy Oswalt was victorious over his old team in a 7-3 win for the Phils.

Today is an off day, and tomorrow the Mets come to town, facing fourth ace Cole Hamels to start off a three-game set. C’mon, Cole, let’s keep that momentum going!!

Be Gone, Damn Bug!

The Phillies closed out their Grapefruit League play today with a 7-6 win over the Astros, and will now head north to prepare for Friday’s season opener against those same Astros. In addition to leaving behind sun and warmth (both of which seem to be in short supply around these parts), let’s hope they also leave behind the proverbial injury bug.

The Phils’ spring clubhouse seems to have suffered a heavy infestation – Domonic Brown is out following surgery on a broken bone in his hand; Chase Utley was sidelined the entire spring with a creaky knee, with no timetable for his return to action; and Brad Lidge is likely to go on the DL with pain in his shoulder.

Additionally, Jose Contreras missed a couple days with a scratched cornea, Placido Polanco hyperextended his elbow, and Shane Victorino and Roy Oswalt luckily avoided serious injury after running into Raul Ibanez, and being hit in the back of the neck with a line drive, respectively.

Enough already! Be gone, damn bug!

But “bug” is a vague word. Is the injury bug an insect-bug?
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Or a bacteria-bug?
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Do we need to call in an exterminator?
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Or a vaccinator?
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At the moment, I don’t care which it is, I just want this team healthy! Right now!

Trying To Remain Calm / Not Who You Think It Is, Part 3

Just a couple of posts ago, at the start of Spring Training, I was, well, calm about the state of the Phillies. Of course, then I was blissfully ignorant of events that would transpire, and conspire to make me potentially lose my calm.

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Then, Chase Utley was taking it easy because of some vague reports of “soreness”. Now, Utley has been diagnosed with patellar tendinitis in his right knee, has received a cortisone shot in said knee, and has yet to appear in a Spring Training game.

Then, Domonic Brown was simply looking for his first hit of Spring Training. Now, although Brown finally got a hit over the past weekend, he broke a bone in his right hand in the process, something called the hook of the hamate bone.

broken hook.jpgA tiny bone, to be sure. Surgery was performed this morning to remove the bone, and the expected recovery time is 4-6 weeks.

[OK, if this bone can be totally removed, what possible purpose does it serve? Why do we have it? Must be about as useful as an appendix, tonsils, and wisdom teeth.]

I don’t even want to get into the fact that yesterday, the offense appeared to still be trying to awaken from winter hibernation, and Roy Oswalt allowed two home runs in 2 2/3 innings of work.

Yes, I know, it’s still early, sometimes pitchers are “working on things” and “getting their work in”, and hitters are still trying to get their timing down and working out the kinks, yada, yada. So I will take a deep breath, and try to remain calm.

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For the final installment (for now) of “Not Who You Think It Is”, did you know that the Phillies have had not one, but two legends of rock on their roster? Well, not really, just in name only.

PhilCollins_singer.jpgPhil Collins the rock star rose to fame first as the drummer for Genesis, followed by a very successful solo career. But being British, he likely never played baseball.

PhilCollins_baseball.jpgPhil Collins the ballplayer pitched for the Phillies from 1929-1935. The Phils of this span were mediocre at best, just scraping above .500 once (78-76 in 1932), and really stinky at their worst (52-102 in 1930). Collins himself was 72-79 with a 4.67 ERA during his stint with the Phils.

JimMorrison_singer.jpgJim Morrison the rock star was the frontman for The Doors from their inception in 1965, through 1971, when he died of a supposed drug overdose in Paris. There are some who believe that Morrison never actually died, and that he faked his death.

JimMorrison_baseball.jpgJim Morrison the ballplayer debuted with the Phillies in 1977, and during his two seasons in Philadelphia compiled a .174 batting average while appearing in 58 games. In 1979, he went to the White Sox as the “player to be named later” in a deal that brought the Phillies Jack Kucek.

Jim Morrison the ballplayer was last spotted managing the Charlotte Stone Crabs, a minor-league affiliate of the Rays.

Jim Morrison the rock star was last spotted with Elvis, buying Slurpees at a 7-Eleven in rural Georgia.

Not Who You Think It Is, Part 2

Programming Note: I tried to post this blog entry last night, but was prevented from doing so by “technical difficulties” (i.e., MLBlogs’ platform was being ornery, and wouldn’t let me upload any images. I can’t blog without visual aids!)

In my first installment of “Not Who You Think It Is”, I apparently jumped the gun a bit when I mentioned there were no Phillies injuries to worry about (yet). Note I did use that disclaimer “yet”. Because now it appears that Chase Utley has been hampered so far this spring by what has been diagnosed as patellar tendinitis.

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Patellar tendinitis is also known as “jumper’s knee”, which begs the question as to what Chase has been doing this offseason, hmm? Turns out it can be caused by many activities that don’t involve jumping, so I guess we can stop wondering what Chase was spending all his time jumping over, or on.

So to distract my thoughts from Chase’s knee, let’s get on with the next entry in the possible mistaken identity sweepstakes, Buster Brown.

If you’re of a certain generation, the first thought that pops into your head when you hear the name “Buster Brown” is probably a pair of shoes you had (or wish you had) as a child.

buster brown shoe logo.jpg[an aside: is this not the creepiest looking dog in advertising history? How on earth did they plan to appeal to children with a psycho dog that looks like it's about to shred you apart with a huge mouthful of piranha teeth??]

But just like Ethan Allen, there was no Buster Brown heading up Buster Brown shoes. There was, though, a George Brown, who started the Brown Shoe Company in 1878. In 1904, the Brown Shoe Company purchased the rights to the name Buster Brown, which was a popular comic strip that had debuted in 1902.

Blues fans may remember a different Buster Brown, who cracked the pop Top 40 and hit #1 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1960 with his song “Fannie Mae”, presumably not about affordable housing.

buster brown blues.jpg
Finally, we have Buster Brown the baseball player. A major league pitcher from 1905 to 1913, he appeared in 31 games for the Phillies from 1907 to 1909, compiling a 9-6 record with a 2.56 ERA.

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His career totals would be less than stellar at 51-103, which would probably be why we think of shoes first, and not him.

Next time, rock icons that played for the Phillies?

Not Who You Think It Is

It’s been almost two weeks since my last entry, and there just really hasn’t been much going on to motivate me to blog. This is a good thing, I suppose, because it means there isn’t any controversy in the Phils’ camp at the moment, and no injuries to worry about (yet).

So today I was idly browsing through a list of the all-time Phillies roster, and was struck by some of the names that made me do a double-take, thinking to myself “Huh, I didn’t know he was a Phillie”.

And that’s because they weren’t, at least not the person I first thought of.

Take, for example, Ethan Allen.

Most of us will probably think of the furniture company. Ethan Allen the furniture company was not founded by anyone named Ethan Allen, though. It was started by two New Yorkers who bought an old furniture factory in Vermont, and named it after an actual Ethan Allen.

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That would be Ethan Allen, the Revolutionary War hero, who was from Vermont, and led the Green Mountain Boys in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga.

Ethan Allen the baseball player was not from Vermont, but rather hailed from Ohio. This Ethan Allen was an outfielder for six different major league teams during his 13-year big-league career, including a stint with the Phillies from 1934-36.

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Over the course of his Phillies career, he batted .316, and led the league in doubles with 42 in 1934. His time as a Phillie came to an end in 1936, when he was part of a trade with the Cubs that brought future Hall-of-Famer Chuck Klein to the Phillies.

Next up: Buster Brown – shoe maven, bluesman, or ballplayer?

Ladies, Who’s Ready For Another Six-pack??

♫   I like big butts and I cannot lie… 

imagesCA5QC89Q.jpgBig butts, little butts, and all the butts in between (but not the really flat, Tim Lincecum-type butts).

Since one six-pack is never enough, here’s another to tease your brain and delight your eyeballs. Try to stop drooling long enough to leave your best guesses in the comments. :-)

panama butt.JPG                                                            Panama butt

evergreen butt.JPG                                                       Evergreen state butt

past butt.JPG                                                           butt of the past

phuture butt.jpg                                                         butt of the phuture

really nice butt.JPG            a really nice butt whose owner doesn’t seem to have any nicknames that I can find

obvious.JPG                                                         an obvious butt :-)

The first person to identify all six butts correctly gets, well, nothing, except the satisfaction of knowing that you really know your butts!

(all photos by me)

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