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Archive for April, 2009

Updated News on Cole Hamels’ Shoulder

Friday, April 24th, 2009

                           Cole Hamels

Click on the above picture to view the full sequence of Hamels pitching to Prince Fielder and being hit by Fielder’s line drive

As everyone must now know, Phillies ace lefthander Cole Hamels was struck in the back of his left shoulder on a line drive by Prince Fielder in the fourth inning of Thursday’s game with the Milwaukee Brewers.  What follows are updates from 3 sources as to Hamels’ status.  There has been no press release by the Phillies club yet as to Hamels’ shoulder as the Phils head for Florida for 3 games with the Marlins beginning today (Friday). 

The updated AP recap of Thursday’s game for Yahoo sports reports:

The World Series MVP was forced to leave after getting hit in the left shoulder by Prince Fielder’s line drive. The team said Hamels had a bruise.

“I have a temporary tattoo of a baseball that will be going away,” Hamels said. “I’ll be fine. I’ve been hit in much worse spots, spots where you really don’t come back as fast. I’ll be able to go out there and pitch in five days.”

MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki adds:

…While Hamels is confident he will be back on the mound, it remains to be seen how the shoulder reacts when he throws his bullpen session this weekend in Florida.

Inquirer Staff Writer Jim Salisbury provides more detail:

“It seemed like the ball came off the bat at about 1,000 m.p.h.,” said first baseman Ryan Howard. “I heard it hit him. It was a scary moment.”

The ball hit muscle on the back of Hamels’ shoulder and rolled to Howard at first base. Fielder, one of the game’s top sluggers (84 homers the last two seasons) legged it out for a single. Hamels was fortunate it didn’t hit his elbow, or worse, his head. He actually wanted to stay in the game, but manager Charlie Manuel didn’t want to take any chances.

“I understood that,” Hamels said.

Hamels was treated with ice. He said he expects to make his next start Tuesday against Washington at home.

“I’ll be fine,” Hamels said. “I have a lot of fragile parts, so I’m fortunate it didn’t hit me in a danger area. I just have a temporary tattoo of a baseball on the back of my shoulder.”

So, as things seem to stand at present, we may only get a clearer picture of Hamels’ status when reviews of his bullpen sessions over the weekend are made known.

Hamels Injured by Line Drive, Brewers Beat Phillies in No-Hit Bid

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

For three innings on Thursday, Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels was up to his “ace” billing allowing 1 hit with the runner caught stealing, only 2 balls hit out of the infield, and 6 strikeouts.  But Hamels gave up an infield single and a 2 run homer by leftfielder Ryan Braun before being plunked on the left shoulder by a line drive single by 1st baseman Prince Fielder and then removed from the game with a bruised shoulder in the fourth.  Meanwhile,  Milwaukee’s David Bush flirted with a no-hit bid into the eighth inning as the Brewers beat Phillies by a 6-1 score.

Prior to the fourth inning, Hamels looked totally back and downright dominant.  It’s a shame about the circumstances and that Hamels was charged with the loss.  Considering that not one Phillies starter has gone a game yet this season without giving up a dinger and that Ryan Braun is emerging into an offensive force, the homer could be expected.  However, what is not to be expected are the repeated anemic offensive showings by the Phils — score a bunch of runs in a game and then take a collar in the next few.  That’s a recipe for “laugh a little, cry a lot.” 

Phillies Nation’s Tim Malcolm described the offense this way:

…Hitters weakly grounded balls, popped out and looked downright lost.

Are many players still living in last season, despite manager Manuel’s repeated urgings to take care of 2009’s business?  Or are they still reeling from the passing of Harry Kalas?  One way, or another, things do not look good such that perhaps one could suggest that Manuel call a team meeting and air it out, the sooner the better.

Young lefthander J.A. Happ took over for Hamels, who retired the first hitter he faced in the fourth before giving up a single and Braun’s homer.  Happ recorded a strikeout, surrendered a walk and and recorded the final out of the inning before being belted for 3 runs in the fifth as the Brewers jumped to a 5-0 lead.

lefthanded reliever Jack Taschner blanked the Brewers in the sixth and seventh innings, but Chad Durbin surrendered an eighth inning solo homer to 3rd baseman Bill Hall to cap Milwaukee’s scoring.

Once again, Phillies Nation’s Malcolm comments as Matt Stairs ripped another pinch homer, his 2nd dinger of the season, in the eighth:

The Phillies were about to be no-hit for the first time since 1978, but Matt Stairs came to the plate, then drew a 3-1 count. You know what happens when Stairs draws a 3-1 count.

The pudgy man’s eighth-inning pinch-hit home run broke up… Bush’s no-hit bid, giving the Phillies their lone run.

Bush threw 113 pitches in 7 2/3 innings for his first win of the new season.  And it was good to see Brad Lidge pitch the ninth inning and to stay in shape although there’s been little demand for a closer since his  consecutive saves string ended against the Padres 5 days ago.

The early reports on Hamels’ shoulder;

  • MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki: “It is unclear how serious the injury is.”
  • The AP recap of the game for Yahoo sports: “Hamels was struck on the front of his left shoulder by Fielder’s liner…. Trainers immediately tended to Hamels, who left the game with what the team called a bruise.”

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

The Phillies leave after Thursday’s game for a 3 game weekend series in  Florida against the Marlins before returning 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 series on May 1-3.

In Friday’s opener in Florida, Brett Myers opposes lefthander Josh Johnson who is off to a fine 2-0 start with a 2.91 ERA.   On Saturday, Chan Ho Park is matched against Chris Volstad, also 2-0 and also with a sub-3 2.76 ERA.

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

Phillies Bats Silent in Brewers Win

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Phillies starter Joe Blanton pitched a quality six innings making only 2 mistakes; a 1 out fifth inning solo homer by Milwaukee shortstop J.J. Hardy and a sixth inning 2 out, 2 run double by centerfielder Mike Cameron.  The runs stood up as Phillies bats fell silent in the Brewers’ 3-1 win in Wednesday’s series game 2.

Blanton did the job holding the Brewers scoreless through four innings, having given up 4 hits and having benefited from fine defense; catcher Lou Marson nailing rightfielder Corey Hart at 2nd base on an attempted steal in the fist inning, a second inning ending doubleplay with 2 men on, leftfielder Raul Ibanez nailing his Brewers counterpart in leftfield Ryan Braun who attempted to stretch his fourth inning single to left into a double. 

But J.J. Hardy pounced on a Blanton mistake in the fifth pounding a 3-2 pitch out to the leftfield seats to put the Brewers on the board.
Cameron lined a his 2 run double in the sixth upping the score to 3-0.
Blanton deserved better than a losing fate having put in his best performance of the new season thus far — six innings, 107 pitches, 1 walk and 5 strikeouts.  But he fell victim of a total lack of offensive support.

Meanwhile Braden Looper held the Phils scoreless through six innings for the win throwing 107 pitches giving up only 5 hits, walking 2 and, oddly, striking out none.  That is to say that the Phils put whatever Looper threw into play, 9 balls on the ground and 9 in the are but nothing fell, or found holes and nothing was “well-struck.” 

AP sports writer Rob Maaddi noted in the game recap for Yahoo sports:

“We hit four balls hard right at the right fielder,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “It seemed if something good happened for us, we didn’t take advantage of it.”

4 Phillies relievers shut down the Brewers completely over the final 3 innings, allowing no hits and only surrendering 2 walks.

The Brewers’ bullpen was perfect against the Phils in the seventh and eighth innings.  Reliever Todd Coffey pitched a shaky ninth inning and got credit for his 2nd save of the season despite giving up 3 hits as the Phils offense tried to show signs of life. One of the hits was a 1 out centerfield solo homer to avert a shutout by rightfielder Jayson Werth.

After Werth’s homer, Ibanez followed with a single to leftfield.  But 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz grounded into a fielder’s choice with Ibanez forced at 2nd.   Matt Stairs, pinch-hitting for Marson, singled to rightfield — runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 out.   Chris Coste pinch hit for reliever Ryan Madson and struck out swinging to end the game. 

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

In Thursday’s get-away game, ace lefthander Cole Hamels hopes to finally get the new season on the right track and lead the Phils to a 2 out of 3 series win over the Brewers.  He is opposed by David Bush.  

The Phillies leave after Thursday’s game for a 3 game weekend series in  Florida against the Marlins before returning home on Monday to entertain the Washington Nationals for 3 games to end the month of April.  They have the day off next Thursday before entertaining the NY Mets in a 3 game early season weekend series confrontation on May 1-3.

For all of Thursday’s games, click here.

Phillies Pound Brewers Despite Ryan Braun Homers

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

   Jayson Werth     Jamie Moyer      Pedro Feliz

Veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer pitched into the seventh inning giving up 4 Milwaukee runs, all driven in by leftfielder Ryan Braun on 2 homers and an RBI single as Braun had a perfect 5 for 5 game.  But Braun was only offense for Milwaukee as the Phils battered starter Manny Parra and 2 relievers enroute to a Phillies 11-4 pounding of the Brewers in Tuesday’s series opener.

Moyer started strong by striking out the 1st two Brewer hitters looking before the righthanded hitting Braun plastered Moyer’s 2nd pitch out for an opposite-field shot to rightfield.  3 pitches later, the inning turned shaky as Moyer hit 1st baseman Prince Fielder.  But then he got the side out on a fielder’s choice grounder by shortstop J.J. Hardy.

But Parra fared far worse in the bottom of the first.  The Phils, in their first rematch with Milwaukee since beating the Brewers by 3 games to 1 in the  2008 NL Division series, battered Parra right out of the starting blocks as 9 hitters faced him and 4 runs scored on 4 hits, 2 walks and a sacrifice fly before Parra finally got Moyer looking at 3rd srike to end the inning.  The big blow was a 1 out, 2 run double by rightfielder Jayson Werth.

3rd baseman Pedro Feliz, who went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs for the game, extended the Phils’ lead to 5-1 with 2 outs by slamming Parra’s 1-1 pitch for a rigfhtfield solo homer.

The score remained 5-1 until the fith inning when Braun narrowed the gap with his 2nd homer of the game, a 2 run shot.  5-3 Phillies.

But the Phils broke the game open in their fifth inning.  After Werth grounded out, Jorge Julio, who took over for Parra to start the inning, walked leftfielder  Raul Ibanez who stole 2nd base and took 3rd on a wild pitch as Julio walked Feliz.  The stolen base was Ibanez’s 2nd of the season.  AP sports writer Rob Maaddi recaps the inning for Yahoo sports:

Chris Coste’s RBI groundout made it 6-3. Then Jorge Julio walked Moyer with two outs to keep the inning going.

Jimmy Rollins followed with a single to load the bases and  Shane Victorino singled in another run.   R.J. Swindle entered and walked Chase Utley to force in Moyer. With Ryan Howard batting, Swindle threw a wild pitch that allowed two runners to score. Victorino came around from second when catcher  Jason Kendall retrieved the ball and made an errant toss to the plate. 

Lefthander and former Phillie Swindle finally retired Howard on a swinging 3rd strike to end the inning.  Howard struck out 3 times in the game and was the only hitless starter in the Phils’ lineup.  His 3 strikeouts give him 15 thus far this season in 12 games as the vintage 2009 Howard strikeout-watch begins despite his current above .300 BA.

Moyer breezed through the sixth inning, his best inning by far in the game, going clean on the Brewers on 9 pitches, 3 fly outs.

The Phils capped their scoring in the sixth as Werth led off with a double to leftfield and advanced to 3rd on Ibanez’s groundout and socred on Feliz’s infield single through the hole at 2nd base.

After Moyer gave up a walk and a single to start the seventh, reliever  Chad Durbin replaced him and recorded the 1st out.  Durbin was replaced by Clay Condrey who was touched for Braun’s 2 out infield single which plated the Brewers’ 4th and final run.  The run was charged to Moyer.

Condrey held the Brewers scoreless in the eighth inning despite the first 2 Brewers reaching on singles.

Lefthander Jack Taschner took over to pitch the ninth inning and closed out the Brewers despite a leadoff walk and a 2 out single.

Moyer, who provided a quality outing aside from Braun’s 2 homers, recorded his 2nd win of the season while starter Parra was charged with his 3rd loss.

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

In game 2 on Wednesday, Joe Blanton, who was scheduled to start on Tuesday before Monday’s rain postponement, will face Braden Looper.  Blanton looks to rebound after being battered for 10 runs in 10 innings pitched in 2 outings thus far this season.

For all of Wednesday’s games,  click here.

Phillies Edge Padres on Ibanez Walk-off Homer

Monday, April 20th, 2009

  Click on picture Raul Ibanez  for video of homer.                               

Chan Ho Park gave up 3 third inning runs on Sunday as the Phillies fell into a 4-0 hole vs San Diego rookie Josh Geer after five. But 3 homers, including a none out, 2 run walk-off shot by leftfielder Raul Ibanez pushed the Phils past the Padres by a 5-4 score.

Park got through the 1st two innings with little trouble before San Diego notched 3 runs on him in the third which began with 22 year old rookie shortstop Everth Cabrera laying down and beat out an excellent bunt in front of catcher Chris Coste for a single.

After Geer grounded out advancing Cabrera to 2nd base, leadoff hitter centerfielder Jody Gerut singled to rightfield scoring Cabrera.  Then 2nd baseman Edgar Gonzalez tripled scoring Gerut and rightfielder Brian Giles grounded out scoring Gonzalez.  Boy, its confusing when there are 2 Gonzalez’s in the same lineup; Edgar and 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez who solo homered in the fifth inning for San Diego’s 4th and final run.

Meanwhile, Geer had the Phils totally shut down on only 4 hits through five innings before shortstop Eric Bruntlett reached on shortstop Luis Rodriguez’s throwing error on a groundball to open the sixth inning.  2nd baseman Chase Utley quickly capitalized by pounding a 2 run shot to rightfield off of the rookie starter.  The Phils were back in the game trailing by 4-2.

Phillies starter Park left after five full innings tossing 88 pitches and giving up 4 runs on 8 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3.  Lefthander J.A. Happ came on to pitch the sixth through eighth innings holding the Padres off of the board while giving up 3 hits, walking 1 and striking 2 in a sharp long-relief stint. 

Jimmy Rollins, relegated to the bench in this game due to his season-beginning stretch of poor hitting — 6 for 45 in 10 games, was sent to pinch hit for Happ.  Rollins responded with a lead-off homer rightfield off of reliever Edward Mujica to narrow San Diego’s lead to 4-3 after eight.

Reliever Clay Condrey was sent in to pitch the ninth and retired the side on 8 pitches, only giving up a lead-off single and getting Gerut to ground to 2nd base into a doubleplay.  Edgar Gonzalez flied out to rightfield to end the inning.

Padres manager Bud Black sent rookie reliever Edwin Moreno to pitch to the Phils in the ninth with the Padres holding their 4-3 lead.

The AP recap for Yahoo sports notes:

Black had to use Moreno (0-1) in the ninth because closer Heath Bell had worked three consecutive days. Moreno had not allowed an earned run in his first six appearances this season.

But 1st baseman Ryan Howard led off by running a 3-1 count on Moreno before singling to centerfield.  Then Moreno got behind 2-0 in the count to Ibanez who went yard on his next offering, a change-up, to win the game for the Phils.

For throwing an 8 pitch ninth inning, Condrey was credited with his 2nd win of the season.  The loss was Moreno’s 1st, a well as being charged with a blown save.

Rollins was not the only one benched.   Matt Stairs replaced Jayson Werth in the starting lineup after Werth suffered through a 3-for-17 funk over the previous 4 games.

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

In Monday’s series final, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer was to have faced 29 year old  Kevin CorreiaHowever the game was postponed by rain and will be made up later in the season.

Next into town are the Milwaukee Brewers who face the Phils in a 3 game series beginning on Tuesday.  Moyer, who was to have started on Monday, will now get the call in the opener in a battle of lefthanders with the Brewer’s 26 year old Manny Parra.

For all of Monday’s and Tuesday’s games, click here and here.

Indians Man-Handle, Romp and Pillage Over Yankees

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Taking great pleasure when the team everyone loves to hate gets their come-up’ens, this is one game which I just couldn’t pass up posting on.

The Yankees, those over-spending, over-rated Bronx boys who lately miss the playoffs habitually, got man-handled, bombed and pillaged for a 14 run marathon second inning, which included a 3 run homer, a grand slam and a solo shot enroute to a 22-4 humbling Saturday by the Cleveland Indians.

Chien-Ming Wang seemed to have little trouble putting down the Indians in the first inning as Yanks 1st baseman Mark Teixeira clubbed a 1 out, 2 run first inning homer off of Fausto Carmona to stake the Yanks to an early 2-0 lead.

But Yankee prosperity disappeared in the blink of an eye amidst the Indian’s 14 run second inning onslaught against Wang, who managed 1 out while being pummelled for 8 runs, and Anthony Claggett who got the side out in the second while being rocked for the other 6 runs plus single runs in the third and fourth innings.

Cleveland lambasted Yankees pitching for 4 more runs in the fifth and a run each in the eighth and ninth innings and a total of 6 home runs for the game including a grand slam and 2 sets of back-to-back homers.
 
AP sports writer Jay Cohen makes
these points on the rout for Yahoo sports:

Cleveland’s 14-run second—the biggest inning ever against New York… set the bar for Yankee Stadium’s new record book.

The 14 runs were the most scored in the second inning of a major league game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

It was the most runs for the Indians since they beat New York 22-0 on Aug. 31, 2004, at the old Yankee Stadium. The 22 runs also tied the Yankees’ record for most allowed in a home game.

Carmona (1-2) was the beneficiary of the Indians’ big day at the plate, working six innings in his first victory of the season.

With the score at 20-2 in the Yankees fifth inning, leftfielder Melky Cabrera belted a meaningless 2 run homer off of Carmona, but the Indians onslaught was by then too much for the Yankees to overcome.

Unlike last season’s 30-3 Texas Ranger rout of Baltimore, neither Indian reliever pitched 3 innings and thus, there was no save recorded here.