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Archive for May, 2007

May 31,1971: Chicago White Sox Paste Boston 22-13

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

On this day 36 years ago, the Chicago White Sox, the worst team in baseball, had a rare laugher, getting soo far out ahead of the Boston Red Sox that they coasted home in a hit-fest by a 22-13 score.

The White Sox scored there runs in bunches, particularly a 6 run 1st inning and a 7 run 6th inning.

                               Luis Aparicio

 Baseball Library tells;

Chicago’s Luis Aparicio and Walt “No Neck” Williams each collect 5 hits in a slugfest with Boston… with Williams scoring 5 runs. The 2 teams collect 40 hits‚ one short of the AL record set in 1950.

                              Carl Yastrzemski

Note that Red Sox lineup; Carl Yastrzemski played 1st base and the outfield and was at the peak of his career, he hit 40 homers for the second straight year and finished the 1970 season with a career high .329 batting average.   Also in the BoSox lineup was 3rd baseman Rico Petrocelli who had a career-year in 1969 with 40 dingers and a .297 average.  Also, note pinch hitter Dick “Duckie” Schofield who was mainly a utility player and near the end of his career.  Schofield played  in 65 games with those 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates who surprised the Yankees in their famous world series matchup.

The White Sox went on to post a 56-106 mark, finishing dead last in the AL East, some 41 games behind the division winning Minnesota Twins.   Boston finished in 3rd place in the AL East, 21 games behind the division winning Baltimore Orioles.

Diamondbacks Sweep Phillies on “Unit” Johnson’s 6 Inning 1 Hit Shutout, Moyer Tagged for 3 HRs

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

        Eric Byrnes     Randy Johnson    Mark Reynolds

It has gotten oh, so familiar with the Phillies in this series, to the point of gross repetitiousness. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks get on the board early, the Phils’ offense snoozes for 7 innings as Randy Johnson and a reliever toss a 1 hit shutout for 7 innings.  Arizona adds 3 late inning insurance runs on two 8th inning homers.  The Phils offense wakes up to make a 9th inning charge which falls short. 

And so the Phils, who began this series off of a sweep of Atlanta — 2 games over .500 and a mere 2 1/2 games behind the Braves, now find themselves 4 games behind the Braves, tied with Florida a game beneath .500 and swept by the Diamondbacks by a 4-3 score.

Almost too frustrating to write about.

“Big Unit” was vintage for 6 innings as only 2 Phillies reached base;
Pat Burrell on a one out, 2nd inning single and rightfielder Shane Victorino leading off the 4th making second on a shortstop throwing error.  That was all she wrote for the Phils, minus Ryan Howard in the lineup, as Johnson made 61 pitches over 6 innings striking out 6 with no walks.  It was his first start since suffering with tendinitis.

In the meantime, aside from leftfielder Eric Byrnes’ leadoff homer to start the game, losing pitcher Jamie Moyer acquitted himself well for 7 innings giving up 5 hits while walking one and striking out 3 in this duel of lefthanders.  Moyer was supported defensively by 3 double-plays.

But after Byrnes clubbed his 2nd homer, a one-out shot to leftfield, and after a double to leftfield by 1st baseman Conor Jackson, 3rd baseman Mark Reynolds clubbed a 2 out 2 run blast to center.  That was it for Moyer.   Ryan Madson came in and retired the side to end the 8th inning.   Antonio Alfonseca pitched a perfect 9th but the damage was already done.  It was up to the Phils offense to wake up in the 9th to pull this one out.  But they came up short once again.

AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston describes the phillies’ 9th inning for Yahoo sports;

Howard was held out of the starting lineup a night after suffering a cramp in his left leg. Howard said he was OK, but the slugging first baseman also has never faced Johnson.

Manager Charlie Manuel tried to rest Howard the last time the Phillies faced the 6-foot-10 lefty. That lasted until the seventh when Howard hit a pinch-hit grand slam against Arizona’s bullpen to win the game for Philadelphia.

Howard had a chance to win it again because reliever  Brandon Lyon faltered in the ninth.

Lyon hit a batter and Shane Victorino reached on a grounder that went through second baseman Orlando Hudson’s legs for an error. Jimmy Rollins’ two-RBI triple made it 4-2.

Arizona brought in Valverde to stop the rally, but Burrell singled home Rollins with one out to make it 4-3 and Howard pinch hit for Wes Helms.

After pinch-runner Michael Bourn stole second, Howard hit a line drive to Hudson stationed in short right field against the lefty slugger and Bourn was easily doubled off to give Valverde his 19th save.

“I knew he was over there,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said of Howard. “It was just a matter of time until we were going to get him.”

Howard said once he hit into the shift, he realized his liner, “wasn’t going to fall.”

Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Todd Zolecki adds these comments and observations about Ryan Howard and his absence from the lineup vs Randy Johnson;

Howard’s not hurt
He’s fine.

Ryan Howard seemed amused yesterday as reporters circled his locker. He left Tuesday’s 11-5 loss to Arizona in the top of the ninth inning after he said he suffered a cramp in his left leg. Howard did not start last night but said he felt fine.

Manager Charlie Manuel said he rested Howard because he had played five straight days after returning from the disabled list with a strained left quadriceps. Also consider that Arizona had lefthander Randy Johnson on the mound. Howard is hitting .133 with three homers and nine RBIs against lefthanders this season.

But truthfully, after the club’s lack of candor about Tom Gordon’s right rotator cuff inflammation and after the length of time that it took the team to reveal Howard’s leg injury, one has to wonder about Charlie Manuel’s explanation.

AP’s Gelston adds this comment from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and these notes on the game;

“I’m concerned about our team. I’m worried,” Manuel said. “We’ve got to improve and stop making mistakes.”

Former Seattle teammates Johnson and the 44-year-old Moyer (5-4) combined to set a record for the matchup of the oldest lefties in history. At a combined 88 years, 90 days, Johnson and Moyer broke the record set the last time these two faced off in early May.

Moyer earned the win in that game, but was done in by home runs in this one.

The Diamondbacks announced in an Associated Press report that the they have signed their 2006 first-round draft choice, pitcher Max Scherzer to a four-year, $4.3 million contract with bonus opportunities that could make it worth up to $6 million for the Scott Boras client.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps of this and all of Wednesday’s games, click here. 

The Phillies get a much needed day off on Thursday before the San Francisco Giants come to town for 4 games.

On Friday, Adam Eaton faces Matt Morris in the series opener.  On Saturday, Cole Hamels opposes Noah Lowry in another battle of lefties.  On Sunday, Freddie Garcia faces Tim Lincecum.  Pitchers for Monday’s get-away game have yet to be determined.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on all of Thursday’s games, click here.

Diamondbacks Cream the Phillies, Lieber Clubbed in 2nd, Bullpen, Defense Collapse Late

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

              Orlando Hudson      Greg Dobbs

Phillies starter Jon Lieber got through the 1st inning with no problem despite a balk and a none out runner at 2nd base.

But in the 2nd inning, the Arizona Diamondbacks ripped him for 5 runs on 7 hits. 

Then the Phils worked themselves back into the game scoring a run in the 2nd inning and 2 more in the 7th to narrow the gap to 5-3 before the bullpen came unglued in the 8th and 9th giving up 6 runs as Arizona won going away by an 11-5 score.

AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi reports on the Diamondbacks’ 2nd inning for Yahoo sports;

The Diamondbacks pounded losing pitcher Lieber for seven hits in the second.  Drew led off with a single and Chris Young doubled.  Alberto Callaspo’s sacrifice fly to right drove in the first run. With a drawn-in infield, Montero singled to right to make it 2-0.

After Owings fanned for the second out, Eric Byrnes singled and Conor Jackson followed with an RBI double.  Hudson and Reynolds hit consecutive run-scoring singles for a 5-0 lead.

Arizona’s 2nd baseman Orlando Hudson had a career game going 4-for-6 with 4 RBIs.  JD Drew’s little brother, shortstop Stephen Drew went 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs including a lead off single to begin the 5 run D’back’s 2nd inning. 

From the 3rd inning until 2 outs in the 7th, Lieber regained composure and got into a groove as Arizona went scoreless for the duration. With 2 on and 2 out in the 7th, Lieber who tossed 96 pitches was lifted and reliever Yoel Hernandez struck out centerfielder Chris Young to retire the side.

In the meantime, Arizona’s starter Micah Owings, who recorded the win, threw 107 through 5 innings pitching into and out of jams and didn’t have a clean inning throughout. However, the Phils only notched a single run off of Owings in the 2nd on an RBI single by catcher Carlos Ruiz.  Owings gave up 1 run on 7 hits, walking 2 and striking out 3.  For the game, the Phils were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners.

In the 7th inning, the Phillies scratched themselves back into the game with 2 runs.  Maaddi recounts the Phillies 7th;

A night after closer Jose Valverde turned a four-run lead into a one-run game in the ninth, the Diamondbacks’ middle relievers let the Phillies chip away in the seventh.

After Bourn’s bunt hit, Shane Victorino walked to chase  Medders.  Doug Slaten came in to face Chase Utley, who delivered a two-run single off the left-hander after the runners advanced on a passed ball by catcher Miguel Montero.

Slaten left after walking Howard.   But Tony Pena entered and retired Pat Burrell on a double-play grounder to third base.

That brings us to Geoff Geary, the D’backs’ 8th inning, 2 crucial Phillies errors and another 5 run plastering which put the game out of reach.  The  8th inning play-by-play tells it all about another late inning Phillies meltdown.

The Phils tried to come back with single runs in the 8th, on a lead off solo blast by 3rd baseman Greg Dobbs, and in the 9th on pinch-hitter Abraham Nunez’s ground out scoring Victorino, but it was way too little, far too late as the D’backs also scored an icing run in the 9th off of reliever Clay Condrey on a fielder’s choice ground out.

In the 9th inning, 1st baseman Ryan Howard, who had just come off of the 15 day DL resulting from a leg injury, gave the Phillies and their fans a brief scare in the top of the ninth inning.

 Inquirer Staff Writer Todd Zolecki reports on the Howard scare;

Howard left the game after he got up gingerly following a diving attempt at a ball that Alberto Callaspo hit up the first-base line. Howard had his legs contorted awkwardly as he threw the ball over the head of pitcher Clay Condrey for an error.

But breathe easy.

“It’s a cramp. Just a cramp,” Howard stressed. “My hamstring cramped up when I tried to get up and make the play. That’s why I couldn’t make an accurate throw. A good play gone bad. My leg is fine. I just got up and tried to stretch it out.”

That’s a relief because Howard just returned from the 15-day disabled list after suffering a strained left quadriceps. The Phillies certainly couldn’t afford to lose him again.

                             Chase Utley

The only offensive bright spots in this one for the Phillies, aside from Dobb’s continued hitting, were 2nd baseman Chase Utley who was 4 for 5 with 2 RBIs and Michael Bourne who went 2 for 2 scoring a run after replacing Aaron Rowand in centerfield late in the game.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps of this and all of Tuesday’s games,  click here.

On Wednesday, the Phillies try to salvage one game in the series and to get back above .500 in a battle of lefties on Wednesday as Jamie Moyer opposes ‘Big-Unit’ Randy Johnson in the get-away game.

The Phillies get a much needed day off on Thursday before the San Francisco Giants come to town for 4 games beginning on Friday.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps of this and all of Wednesday’s games, click here.

Davis Bests Garcia, Arizona Edges Phillies for 5th Straight Win

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Phillies starter Freddy Garcia had his longest and best outing of the season on Monday going 8 innings, tossing 113 pitches and giving up 3 runs on 7 hits including a homer while walking 2, one intentionally and striking out 9.  Unfortunately, Garcia’s fine performance was in a losing cause as Arizona’s  Doug Davis was just a little bit better as the Diamondbacks nipped the Phils in the opener of their 3 game series by a 5-4 score.

          Conor Jackson     Doug Davis    Ryan Howard

Davis, with his unorthodox delivery which to this eye closely resembles Mike Marshall’s Maxline technique, seemed to baffle the Phils throughout his 8 innings.  Watching Davis’s delivery as he brings his arm behind while kicking seems reminiscent of the recent video demonstration of Maxline shown on Yahoo.

AP sports writer Rob Maadi reports for Yahoo sports;

Davis (3-6) allowed seven hits, struck out five and didn’t issue a walk to get his first win since April 27. The Diamondbacks are averaging just 3.3 runs when Davis pitches, one reason why he has a losing record despite a 3.27 ERA.

Relying on a slow curve that kept hitters off balance all night, the left-hander didn’t need much after Jackson’s two-run homer made it 2-0 in the first inning.

“I saw some bad swings on the curveball,” Davis said. “I had a plan and I wanted to execute it.” 

While Davis was baffling the Phils, the first two Arizona hitters staked the D’backs to a 1st inning 2-0 lead before Garcia got anyone out.  Centerfielder Eric Byrnes led off with a single to leftfield and 1st baseman  Conor Jackson, who went 3 for 5 for the game with 4 RBIs, followed by slamming a 2 run homer to leftfield.

While Davis made short work of the Phillies through 4 innings, Arizona added a 3rd run in the 4th inning.  Rob Maadi reports on the Arizona 4th inning;

Carlos Quentin’s sacrifice fly in the fourth gave Arizona a 3-0 lead.  Mark Reynolds doubled off Shane Victorino’s glove in right-center to start the inning, went to third on Stephen Drew’s sacrifice and barely scored ahead of a strong, no-hop strike by Victorino from deep right field on Quentin’s fly.

Davis got into his first jam of the game in the 5th inning as the Phillies loaded the bases with one out on 3 basehits.  But Davis got Garcia, who had singled to left with one out in the 3rd, to ground into an inning-ending double-play; pitcher to catcher to first to end the inning.

Only 1st baseman Ryan Howard solved Davis for his 7th inning solo shot to leftfield, Howard’s 3rd homer in 2 games. 

After Howard homered to lead off the 7th inning, Davis retired the next 6 Phillies he faced as the score was 3-1 Arizona after 8 innings.

In the 9th inning, Jackson pasted a 2 out, 2 run double off of reliever Ryan Madson, who had replaced losing pitcher Garcia, to up the score to 5-1.

Davis, who threw 106 pitches and whose 8 inning performance earned him his 3rd win against 6 losses, was replaced in the 9th inning by Arizona’s closer Jose Valverde who leads the NL with 18 saves.  But the Phils ripped into Vaverde, nearly drawing even.

Maadi reports on the Phillies 9th inning threat;

                              Greg Dobbs

The Phillies rallied against Valverde, getting a pinch-hit three-run homer from Greg Dobbs to cut it to 5-4. Pat Burrell followed with a pinch-hit single and Michael Bourn, who ran for Burrell, advanced to third when Carlos Ruiz’s grounder went through first baseman Jackson’s legs.

“I had a (Bill) Buckner moment there,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t expecting a ground ball from a right-handed hitter in that situation. It was a mental error on my part.”

Arizona manager Bob Melvin then pulled Valverde for  Brandon Lyon, who retired pinch-hitter Rod Barajas for his second save. Barajas, who ran across the field from the bullpen during Ruiz’s at-bat, flew out to the warning track in right.

“He’s been unbelievable all year,” Melvin said of Valverde, who has 18 saves. “They had some good at-bats off him. It’s going to happen.”

For the scores, boxscores and recaps of this and all of Monday’s games,  click here.

On Tuesday, the Phillies try to draw even in the series as Jon Lieber is opposed by Micah Owings. And it’s a battle of lefties on Wednesday as  Jamie Moyer opposes ‘Big-Unit’ Randy Johnson in the get-away game.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps of this and all of Tuesday’s games,  click here.

Baseball Trivia: May 28, 1998 Intentionally Walked… With Bases Loaded

Monday, May 28th, 2007

       Greg Olson      Buck Showalter     Barry Bonds

It’s the bottom of the 9th inning and the sacks are jammed with 2 outs, your club is up by 2 runs with one of baseball’s greatest power hitters stepping up to the plate.  Quite a pickle.

But when the Arizona Diamondbacks faced this situation in San Francisco against the Giants — bottom of the 9th inning, 2 outs, bases jammed with  Barry Bonds stepping up to the plate, Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter knew just what to do.

Baseball Library describes events;

Showalter orders reliever Gregg Olson to intentionally walk Barry Bonds to bring home the Giants’ 7th run.

Baseball Almanac picks up the action from here;

Brent Mayne batted next and lined out to right field on a 3-2 count and the manager was the hero.

Olson, who walked 6, including the intentional run-scoring walk, in 1 1/3 innings after taking over with 2 outs in the 8th inning was credited with the save.

Baseball library mentions further;

It is only the 4th bases-loaded intentional walk in major league history and the first since Swish Nicholson on July 23‚ 1944.

Jerome Holtzman, in his article, Free Pass—Players Who Were Intentionally Walked With Bases Loaded explains;

As far as can be determined, this occurred only three times during the 1900s and as such is worthy of a special examination. The recipients, in order, were Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie of the Philadelphia A’s in 1901, Bill Nicholson of the Chicago Cubs in 1944, and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 1998.

And to the best of my knowledge, such a situation has yet to have come up in this century.

Phillies Rout Braves for Sweep Behind Hamels, Howard Belts 2 HRs

Monday, May 28th, 2007

           Ryan Howard    Cole Hamels     Greg Dobbs

Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels pitched another fine ballgame, going 6 innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while walking 1 and striking out 8 to win his 7th game of the season and 1st baseman Ryan Howard officially returned from the DL clubbing 2 homers while going 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs as the Phils bludgeoned the Atlanta Braves by a 13-6 score to sweep the 3 game series.  it was the first series sweep of the season for the Phils and their frst sweep of the Braves in Atlanta since they swept them in a four-game series in 1995.  The last time the Phils swept the Braves was in Philadelphia on April 20-22, 2001.

Meanwhile, the Braves have had a horrendous streak losing 10 of 14 and have fallen beneath .500 to 12-13 in May. They are now 4 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets and are only two games ahead of the charging Phillies.

Howard showed that he is back and ready to cause other teams mayhem as the Phillies begin their climb to overtake the Braves and those New York Mets who they play on the 5th through the 7th of June. 

Inquirer Staff Writer Todd Zolecki got these comments on Ryan Howard from winning pitcher Cole Hamels and by Howard himself;

Howard hit .364 (4 for 11) with a double, two home runs, six RBIs and three intentional walks in the series.

“He’s a top-notch player,” said Hamels, who allowed three runs in six innings to improve to 7-2. “He’s been battling to find himself and putting a lot of pressure on himself. I think coming off the DL, he’s realizing that he doesn’t need to put as much pressure on himself and I think he feels a lot more comfortable, too, because his body’s in check. He’s healthy. To go out there and do what he did today, I know we can count on him for the next couple series and obviously the remainder of the year.”

“Guys have been picking me up all year, and that’s the whole thing,” Howard said. “You want guys to go out there and get the job done. I was able to come up [in the first], get a good pitch and kind of take advantage of it.”

3rd baseman Greg Dobbs  also homered with Howard as they each hit 2 run homers in the Phils’ 4 run first inning off of losing pitcher Kyle Davies.  Davies was blasted for 8 runs on 8 hits and was KOed amidst the 7 run Phillies uprising in the 5th.

The offense clicked on all cylinders as shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Howard, centerfielder Aaron Rowand, Dobbs, catcher Carlos Ruiz and Matt Bourne all drove in runs and even pitcher Hamels had an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center amidst the 7 run fifth inning.

Not only was starter Davies rocked, the Braves bullpen was clubbed as well, except for Oscar Villarreal who retired the Phils in the 9th only surrendering a walk.

Francisco Rosario replaced Hamels who had tossed 96 pitches through 6 innings. Rosario retired the Braves in the 7th and 8th innings, only allowing 3 hits while striking out 3.

But things got a wee-bit dicey in the 9th for reliever Clay Condrey who got no one out and surrendered 3 Braves’ runs on 4 hits while walking 1.  But that turned out to be garbage time as rookie reliever Yoel Hernandez replaced Condrey and retired the side to end the game.

Braves catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia solo homered in the 2nd inning to temporarily narrow the margin of the Phillies’ lead to 4-1.  With the score at 11-2 Phillies in the 6th inning, centerfielder Andruw Jones clubbed a 2 out solo homer to leftfield to put the Braves’ 3rd run on the board.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps of this and all of Sunday’s games,  click here.

The Phillies return home on Monday for a 7 game homestand; 3 games against Arizona and 4 against San Francisco before heading to Shea Stadium for a huge 3 game series next week with the New York Mets.

In Monday’s opener, Freddy Garcia goes for his 2nd win opposing lefthander Doug Davis for the Diamondbacks.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps of this and all of Monday’s games,  click here.