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Archive for April, 2009

Nationals Win Series Final as Phillies Offense Runs Dry

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Centerfielder Shane Victorino solo homered off of Washington starter Scott Olsen with 1 out in the first inning for the only run the Phillies would score.  Brett Myers kept the Phils in the game and the ball in the park over six innings but the offense generated nothing despite 6 other hits and 5 walks as the Nationals won the series final by a 4-1 score as the Phils offense ran out of gas on Wednesday.

Olsen won his first game of the season going 5 2/3 innings giving up Victorino’s solo shot and 5 other hits while walking 2 and striking out 6.  The Nationals bullpen which gave up a ton of runs in the first 2 games, held the Phils to 1 hit in 3 1/3 innings while walking 3.  The Phillies left 10 stranded for the game, 5 left in scoring position with 2 out.  Reliever Julian Tavarez got credited with the save, his first in 2 years and 1 day.

Myers gave up 3 runs on 8 hits in a losing cause while walking 3 and striking out 3 and keeping the ball in the park for once, and keeping the Phils in the game while waiting for the offense to come alive.

After Victorino homered with one out, Olsen struck out the next 4 Phils in a row, and 5 of the next 6 hitters.  

Myers walked 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman with 2 out to tie the game in the third inning after giving up a double and walking 2 others to load the sacks.

The score remained knotted at 1-1 until the sixth inning when outfielder  Elijah Dukes and 2nd baseman Anderson Hernandez each singled to drive in a run apiece off of Myers.

Lefthanded reliever Jack Taschner tossed a clean 3 up, 3 down seventh inning in relief of Myers before bing touched for a Nationals insurance run in the eighth on 2 hits.  Lefthander J.A. Happ finished out the game retiring the Nationals on 1 hit in the ninth inning, but the Phils had to satisfy themselves by winning 2 of in the series rather than celebrating a sweep.

For all of the results of Wednesday’s games, click here.

The Phils have the day off on Thursday before entertaining the NY Mets in a 3 game early season weekend showdown series on May 1-3.

On Friday, Chan Ho Park faces Mike Pelfrey in the series opener.  It’s a battle of lefthanders on Saturday as ageless Jamie Moyer goes for his 4th win opposed by Oliver Perez.

For all of Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here, here and  here.

Hamels Sprains Ankle, Phillies Bash Nationals

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

   Chase Utley    Chad Durbin    Pedro Feliz

Phillies ace lefthander Cole Hamels went 1 out into the fifth inning with a 3 hit, 5-0 shutout going, but went down spraining his ankle attempting to field a bunt by opposing pitcher John Lannan.  1st baseman Chase Utley, 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz and leftfielder Raul Ibanez took care of the offensive chores drilling 4 homers accounting for all Phils’ runs while Chad Durbin shut down Washington in 3 1/3 innings of long relief as the Phillies bashed the Nationals by a 7-1 score on Tuesday.

           Cole Hamels       Cole Hamels

With 1 out in the fifth inning, Nationals shortstop Alberto Gonzalez stroked a 1-1 pitch for a single to centerfield bringing up pitcher Lannan who bunted Hamels’ next pitch toward the mound.  Hamels stooped to field the ball and rolled his left ankle and then rolled on the ground in pain as Lannan reached on the play with Gonzalez reaching 2nd base. Once on his feet, Hamels tried to throw a warm-up pitch and was then pulled for reliever Durbin who got the side out on 9 pitches.

The AP recap for Yahoo sports reports on the status of Hamels’ ankle:

X-rays on Hamels’ ankle were negative and the pitcher said he was planning to make his next start, although it will depend on how he responds to treatment.

“There’s some frustration, almost comedy,” said Hamels, who missed a chance to earn his first victory…

Hamels allowed four hits and struck out four in 4 1-3 innings, leaving with a 5-0 lead.

“It didn’t look that good, hopefully it’s not too bad,” Utley said about Hamels’ injury.

The World Series MVP left last Thursday’s start against  Milwaukee with a bruised left shoulder after being hit by  Prince Fielder’s line drive with one out in the fourth.

By the time that Hamels injured his ankle, the Phils had staked him to a 5-0 lead in the third inning and the ace lefthander was looking like an MVP.   centerfielder Shane Victorino lined a 2-2 pitch for a single into left centerfield.  Utley followed pounding an 0-2 pitch out to right centerfield to put the Phils up 2-0. 

Rightfielder Jayson Werth followed by reaching on a fielding error by shortstop Gonzalez and Lannan then issued an intentional walk to Ibanez.  Feliz followed nailing Lannan’s first pitch for a 3 run shot to leftfield and a 5-0 Phillies lead.

Utley then led of the fifth by taking Lannan to a 3-1 count before lining his 2nd homer of the game to rightfield and extending the Phils lead to 6-0.

Leftfielder Adam Dunn got the Nationals on the board with their only run of the game with a 1 out solo homer off of Durbin in the sixth inning.  It was the only hit Durbin would give up in earning the win with 3 2/3rds innings of long-relief.

Losing pitcher Lannan left the game after five full innings giving up 6 runs on 9 hits, 3 of those hits for homers. 

Ibanez added icing to the cake leading off the eighth inning against reliever Saul Rivera with a solo homer, his 7th of the season, giving the Phils their final winning margin of 7-1.

Reliever Clay Condrey closed down the Nationals in the ninth inning to seal the win.

For all of the results of Tuesday’s games, click here.

In the series final Brett Myers looks to pitch the Phillies to a sweep and is opposed by Scott Olsen for the Nationals.

After the series final with the Nationals for 2 more games on  Wednesday, the Phils have the day off on Thursday before entertaining the NY Mets in a 3 game early season weekend showdown series on May 1-3.

For all of Wednesday’s games, click here.

Slams by Howard, Ibanez Rally Phillies Past Nationals in Slugfest

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

            Ryan Howard      Raul Ibanez

Phillies starter Joe Blanton had the 2nd of his 2 worst outings since coming to the team.  Lefthanded relievers Jack Taschner and Scott Eyre didn’t fare muuch better as Washington jumped to 6-2 and 11-7 leads.   But the Phillies rallied multiple times despite 5 Washington homers.  The big blows of the game were 1st baseman Ryan Howard’s fifth inning game-tying grand slam to centerfield off of starter Shairon Martis and leftfielder Raul Ibanez’s 2 out, eighth inning slam to rightfield off of reliever Joel Hanrahan as the Phillies beat the Nationals by a 13-11 score on Monday.

The AP recap for Yahoo sports reports on Blanton’s performance and the 5 Washington homers:

Blanton allowed three homers and six runs in 4 1-3 innings, raising his ERA to 8.41 through four starts.

The five homers allowed by Philadelphia brought its season total to 39, highest in the majors.

“I had my worst control ever, my worst slider ever,” Blanton said. “Put those together, and it’s a bad night.”

Blanton gave up 6 runs on 8 hits, including 3 homers in 4 1/3 innings.

The 2 grand slam homers in a game is a rare offensive feat which the Phillies have accomplished only 4 times in franchise history.

With the game knotted at 2-2 after two innings, the Nationals charged to a 5-2 lead in the third inning on a 2 run homer by 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman, his 1st of 2 dingers for the game, and a solo short by centerfielder Elijah Dukes.  Washington tacked on a 6th run in the fifth on Zimmerman’s solo short.

That 6-2 lead didn’t last long as the Phils loaded the bases with 1 out for Howard in their fifth.  On a 1-2 pitch, Howard got it all and went yard for a slam off of starter Martis.  As Kalas would say “Outta here” to deepest centerfield.

The two teams traded runs in the sixth inning, as Martis pitched five full innings and got no one out in the sixth giving up a walk and 2 doubles as the Phils tied the score.

Washington took an 11-7 lead on two 2-run homers in the eighth; by 1st baseman Nick Johnson and by leftfielder Adam Dunn off of Scott Eyre who got no one out in the inning.

Lefthander J.A. Happ, who emerged as the game’s winning pitcher — his 1st win of the season, took over for Eyre and got the side out, only surrendering a walk. 

The Phillies went to right to work on relievers Garrett Mock and Hanrahan in their eighth inning as centerfielder Shane Victorino sacrificed to rightfield to drive in the 8th run and 2nd baseman Chase Utley drove in the 9th run with a 2 out single — both runs socred off of Mock.

Enter Hanrahan who promptly wild-pitched Utley to 2nd base.  He then walked both Howard and rightfielder Jayson Werth to load the bases with Ibanez coming to bat.  The lefthanded leftfielder tattoed losing pitcher Hanrahan’s 1st pitch out to rightfield as Citizen’s Bank Park fans went electric.

Reliever Ryan Madson came on to pitch the ninth and put down the Nationals on 1 hit to record his 1st save of the season. 

Notably missing from his closer role in Monday’s game was Brad Lidge.   The other day, it was reported that Lidge had resolved a flaw in his delivery so it was surprising that he was not inserted into a definite closer situation.  MLB.com’s Andy James reports on why Lidge was unavailable in the ninth inning on Monday:

Lidge was unavailable because of inflammation in his right knee, it was announced after the game.

Lidge underwent an MRI on Monday and is listed as day-to-day. He will be re-evaluated Tuesday, and the Phillies are hopeful their closer won’t have to be placed on the disabled list.

The soreness and inflammation is located in the same knee which was operated on twice in 2008.

Lidge noted the soreness is most evident when he pushes off the rubber from the stretch.

“Based on the MRI, I’m not overly concerned,” Lidge said. “It didn’t show any tears. I’m concerned on a small level because it’s not feeling great.”

For all of the results of Monday’s games, click here.

The Phils entertain the Washington Nationals for 2 more games on Tuesday nd Wednesday, followed by a day off on Thursday before entertaining the NY Mets in a 3 game early season weekend showdown series on May 1-3.

Tuesday’s game is a battle of lefthanders as ace Cole Hamels is opposed by another youngster, John Lannan.

For all of Tuesday’s games, click here.

Moyer Impressive as Phillies Pound Marlins for Sweep

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

     Shane Victorino     Jamie Noyer    Pedro Feliz

Veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer was masterful and the Phillies offense, for the first time this season, got off to an early 4-0 lead against lefthanded rookie call-up Graham Taylor and led 4-1 after five innings.  But then the offense opened up on all cylinders against the Florida bullpen blowing the game wide open with 9 runs, 4 in the seventh and 5 more in the eighth.   The Phils man-handled and swept the Marlins winning the series final in a laugher by a 13-2 score on Sunday.  

Things got sooo bad for the Marlins that rightfielder Cody Ross, who went 3 for 4 for the game, was called on to pitch the ninth inning and retired the Phils only surrendering a 1 out single by rightfider Jayson Werth.

As much as the Phils offense opened up in the late innings, this game was devoid of homers by either side, believe it or not.

Ageless Moyer, notching his 3rd win, had easily his best outing of the young season going 6 innings, tossing 105 pitches and giving up 1 run, that in the fifth inning, on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6.  Rookie Taylor, charged with the loss in his first MLB game, went 3 1/3 innings giving up 4 runs on 4 hits while walking 6. 

Centerfielder Shane Victorino, leading off in this one with Jimmy Rollins riding the bench again, was in the center of both rallies going 2 for 5 and driving in 4 runs.  His single in the seventh drove in 2 runs as did his eighth inning double.  3rd baseman Pedro Feliz went 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs as each of the first 7 hitters in the lineup got at least 1 hit with only Werth without an RBI, although he scored 2 runs.

And while the offense fired away, taking advantage of wildness and other mistakes by Marlin relievers Hayden Penn and Kiko Calero in the seventh and eighth innings, Moyer left the game in the capable hands of Chad Durbin, who pitched the seventh and young lefthander J.A. Happ who pitched the eighth and ninth innings.  The only Marlin hit in the final 3 innings was catcher Ron Paulino’s 1 out ninth inning double off of Happ.  Paulino advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch and scored Florida’s 2nd run on a sacrifice fly.

For all of the results of Sunday’s games, click here.

Having completed their first series sweep of the season the Phils return home on Monday to entertain the Washington Nationals for 3 games followed by a day off on Thursday before entertaining the NY Mets in a 3 game early season weekend showdown series on May 1-3.

Joe Blanton is slated to start in the series opener with the Nationals and is opposed by Shairon Martis who won his previous outing against the Phils going 6 innings and giving up 2 run.

For all of Monday’s games, click here.

Phillies Rally From Behind, Edge Marlins Again

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Both Chan Ho Park and Chris Volstad registered quality starts and the  Phillies took an early 2-0 lead before falling behind the Marlins by 4-2 in the fourth inning on back-to-back homers.  But the Phillies again charged back with single runs in the sixth and ninth innings for tie and force extra innings. 2 tenth inning runs completed the Phillies’ rally from behind as they edged the Marlins again, this time by a 6-4 tally on Saturday.

Park and Volstad matched on the mound for 7 innings, although the latter held a slight edge leaving the game with the Marlins holding a slim 4-3 lead.  But Park tried to help his own cause opening the Phils’ scoring with a 1 out, third inning solo homer.  He also retired 9 of the first 10 Marlins hitters he faced — 7 of them in a row between the final out in the first inning and the end of the third inning.  Park’s homer, the 3rd of his career, was his 1st since his 2 run eighth inning homer for the Los Angeles Dodgers off of Woody Williams at San Diego on  Sept. 29, 2000. 

In the fourth inning, after 1st baseman Ryan Howard solved Volstad in blistering a 1 out solo homer to centerfield for a 2-0 Phillies lead,
the first 2 Marlins reached on a single and a walk before 1st baseman 
Jorge Cantu’s 3 run homer put Florida ahead by 3-2.  2nd baseman Dan Uggla followed in back of Cantu with a solo homer and Florida was up by 4-2.  It was Uggla’s 2nd three-run homer in 2 games.

But the Phillies bounced back in the sixth inning loading the bases with none out on a single, Uggla’s fielding error on a ground ball and Volstad’s hitting 2nd baseman Chase Utley with a pitch.  Howard followed by grounding into a doubleplay with the Phillies’ 3rd scoring.   Both bullpens held their opponents off of the board in the eighth before the Phils notched the tying run in the ninth against 3 Marlins relievers, the run being charged to lefthanded reliever Renyel Pinto. 

Rightfielder Jayson Werth opened the ninth with a walk.  Leftfielder Raul Ibanez singled to rightfield with Werth advancing to 3rd base.  Pinch hitter  Greg Dobbs struck out.  Pinch hitter Matt Stairs followed ny grounding out to 3rd base with with Werth scoring on the play and Ibanez, who had advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch, and advancing to 3rd on the groundout.  Pinch hitter Chris Coste struck out to end the inning with the game knotted at 4-4.

Coste stayed in the game as battery-mate for Ryan Madson who retired the the Marlins in the ninth allowing only a 2 out single.

Logan Kensing took over on the mound for the Marlins in the tenth and got shortstop Jimmy Rollins on a goundout to shortstop.  Centerfielder Shane Victorino singled to rightfield and stole 2nd base.  Utley then singled to centerfield scoring Victorino.  Howard followed with a single to centerfield sending Utley to 3rd base.  Jayson Werth then followed singling to center scoring Utley.  Kensing the got Ibanez to fly to center and ended the inning by striking out Miguel Cairo who pinch hit for Madson.

Closer Brad Lidge held off the Marlins in 10th to pick up his 4th save, despite getting into hot water after striking out the 1st 2 Marlins.  Cantu doubled and both Uggla and leftfielder Brett Carroll walked before Lidge struck out rightfielder Cody Ross to seal the Phillies win.

Madson, who pitched the ninth was credited with his 2nd win, while Kensing, who surrendered the 2 Phillies 10th inning runs on 4 hits, was charged with the loss.

The AP recap for Yahoo sports notes:

Cole Hamels threw before the game and remained on schedule to start Tuesday against Washington.

For all of the results of Saturday’s games, click here.

In Sunday’s series final, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer faces 25 year old lefthanded minor league call-up Graham Taylor as Anibal Sanchez was scratched from Sunday’s start by the Marlins.  A series sweep now seems a real possibility.

After Sunday’s get-away against the Marlins, the Phils return home on Monday to entertain the Washington Nationals for 3 games followed by a day off on Thursday before entertaining the NY Mets in a 3 game early season weekend showdown series on May 1-3.

For all of Sunday’s games, click here.

Victorino’s 9th Inning Slam Pushes Phillies Past Marlins

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

   Shane Victorino     Clay Condrey    Chase utley

Florida Marlins 2nd baseman Dan Uggla connected for a 2 out, 3 run first inning homer off of Brett Myers.  But despite 5 more Myers walks and 4 more hits, the Marlins failed to score as Myers kept the Phillies in the game through 6 innings.  Relievers Clay Condrey and Ryan Madson shut the Marlins the rest of the way as the Phils broke a 2-run-for-26 inning drought with a 7 run ninth inning, featuring a 2 out Grand Slam by centerfielder Shane Victorino immediately followed by 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s solo shot as the Phils passed the Marlins by a 7-3 score on Friday.

For Myers, it was a very shaky 119 pitch 6 inning performance although he managed to keep the Marlins off of the board after the first inning.  In the process, he helped his own cause by picking the Marlin’s leadoff hitter off of 1st base after a walk to open the game and benefited from catcher Lou Marson gunning out Marlin shortstop Hanley Ramirez attempting to steal 3rd base amidst a fifth inning threat, as well as by coaxing a sixth inning-ending doubleplay grounder.

Once again, Phillies hitters could do nothing with an opposing starter as lefthander Josh Johnson pitched seven shutout innings, giving up only 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 8.  In fact, for the game, of the Phillies positional starters, only Victorino and Myers evaded striking out at least once — Utley and 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz went down on strikes twice.

Reliever Leo Nunez replaced Johnson and pitched a clean 9 pitch eighth inning striking out 2 Phillies. 

Things looked pretty bleak for the Phils as closer Matt Lindstrom retired 1st baseman Ryan Howard on a ground out leading off the Phils’ ninth.  AP sports writer Steven Wine’s recap describes what happened next for Yahoo sports:

Jayson Werth doubled with one out, and after a walk, [Matt] Stairs singled. Lou Marson walked to load the bases, and after a strikeout, Jimmy Rollins walked to force in a run.

Lindstrom went to 1-1 on Victorino, then backed him off the plate with an inside fastball.

“I said, ‘OK, let me not get hit in my ribs, but somewhere else,”’ Victorino said. “I’m just trying to get a hit, walk, whatever.”

The next pitch was another fastball, and when Victorino pulled it into the right field stands, Lindstrom (1-1) was showered with boos. They grew louder five pitches later when Chase Utley also homered.

Lindstrom, who became the Marlins’ closer in September, gave up four hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning and blew a save for the second time in five chances. His ERA rose from 1.50 to 9.45.

Condrey, who pitched the seventh and eighth innings only surrendering a single walk, was credited with his 3rd win of the new season while lowering his ERA to 1.86 for 9 2/3 innings in 10 games thus far.  Lindstrom was charged with  the loss.

The latest reports about lefthander Cole Hamels by both MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki and AP’s report for Yahoo sports both indicate that Hamels showed no ill-effects as of Friday from the hit he took in back of his left shoulder by a Prince Fielder line drive.  However, there is no specific report on his scheduled Friday “long-throwing.”  Hamels is scheduled for a bullpen workout before Saturday’s game.

The AP report notes:

“Cole says he feels good,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said before Friday’s game at Florida. “He says he doesn’t have any soreness. He said he thought he might be sore and he’s not. Right now he’s in his regular turn.”

Hamels is expected to throw on the side Saturday and then start Tuesday against Washington.

For all of the results of Friday’s games, click here.

The Phillies hope for more offensive consistency and scoring in the 2 remaining games in their weekend series against the Marlins.  They return home on Monday to entertain the Washington Nationals for 3 games followed by a day off on Thursday before entertaining the NY Mets in an  early season 3 game weekend showdown series on May 1-3.

On Saturday, Chan Ho Park is matched against Chris Volstad, also 2-0 and also with a sub-3 2.76 ERA.  In Sunday’s get-away game, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer faces 25 year old Anibal Sanchez.

For all of Saturday’s and Sunday’s games,  click here and here.