Blogging Baseball: All-time baseball highlights and real-time commentary

Archive for August, 2011

Halladay, Howard’s 2 HRs Lead Phillies in Shutout of Reds

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Ryan Howard   Roy Halladay   Raul Ibanez   Hunter Pence
Phillies ace Roy Halladay, who’s had tons of rest — 9 days worth due in large part to the Hurricane Irene postonements, tossed a seven inning 2 hitter and combined with relievers Brad Lidge and Michael Schwimer to shut out the Reds on a total of 4 hits.    The Phils clubbed 4 homers off of Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo and 2 Reds relievers.    1st baseman Ryan Howard slammed 2 of the homers, one of them off of Arroyo to get the Phils on the board in the fourth inning, and drove in 3 runs.   Leftfielder Raul Ibanez and rightfielder Hunter Pence each slammed homers and Halladay, excelling with the stick as well as his arm, sent an sacks-loaded opposite-field double to the rightfield corner amidst the Phils’ 4 run sixth inning.   Ibanez had a big game going 3 for 5 with a 2 run homer as Halladay’s pitching and Howard’s 2 HRs led the Phillies in a 9-0 shutout of Reds in game 2 of their series.

With the win, the Phils’ increased their lead in the NL East race to 7 1/2 games games over the Atlanta Braves who were pounded by Washington.   The 3rd place Mets are now 22 games back and tied with the Washington Nationals after being shut out by Florida.   The last place Florida Marlins remained  26 1/2 games behind the front-runners.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides notes and highlights of Phils’ MLB-leading 18 shutouts:

Halladay (16-5) gave up Brandon Phillips’ leadoff single in the first inning, then dominated the team he no-hit in the playoffs last season. His bases-loaded double in the sixth inning off Bronson Arroyo (8-11) made it 6-0.

It was especially pleasing for Halladay, given the way he’s been rained on the last few weeks. He pitched only twice during a 21-day stretch because of rainouts, the most recent one last Saturday, and was a little concerned about how it would affect him.

“I don’t know what the word is—it’s one of those things you can’t control,” said Halladay, who threw 108 pitches. “You’re trying to get into a rhythm and it makes it difficult.

“I felt fresh. I felt like my location early on wasn’t great. I got into a rhythm as the game went on.”

Ryan Howard hit two of the Phillies’ four homers, giving him 29 for the season. He also reached 100 RBIs for the sixth straight year, a team record.  Howard had been tied with Hall of Famer Chuck Klein for consecutive 100-RBI seasons.

Raul Ibanez returned from a strained groin and had a two-run homer among his three hits. Hunter Pence also hit a solo homer off Arroyo, who has given up the most in the majors.

Arroyo has given up 36 homers, the most ever by a Reds right-hander. Left-hander Eric Milton holds the franchise record of 40 homers allowed.  [By the way, take note that the year before coughing up 40 dingers with the Reds, Milton logged 43 dingers while notching a 14-6 mark pitching for the Phils in 2004. (Author)]

Any thoughts of another no-hitter were dismissed on his second pitch.  Phillips singled to right field, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by a Red this season. The Reds wouldn’t get another hit until Joey Votto doubled in the seventh. Halladay walked two, hit one batter and fanned nine.

“Halladay wasn’t sharp early,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He threw a lot of pitches. It’s always a game changer when you get on a guy like that early.”

He came to bat in the sixth with the bases loaded and lined a down-the-middle slider the opposite way into the right-field corner.

“I couldn’t tell you where it was,” Halladay said. “I’m guessing it was down the middle or I couldn’t have hit it.”

His awkward swing produced his first RBIs of the season and ended Arroyo’s outing. The right-hander fell to 1-7 career against the Phillies.

For all of Tuesday’s  scores and recaps, click here.

Cliff Lee goes for his 15th win in Wednesday’s game 3 opposed by Dontrelle Willis for the Reds in a duel of lefthanders.

For all of Wednesday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Victorino’s Homer Leads Phillies Past Reds

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Shane Victorino     Cole Hamels

Phillies’ centerfielder Shane Victorino’s eighth inning one out 2 run homer off of Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey broke a 1-1 tie.   Reliever Antonio Bastardo notched his sixth win without a loss tossing a hitless, scoreless seventh inning while walking 1 and striking out the side.    Lefthander Cole Hamels came off of his short stay on the DL tossing a six inning 1 run, 2 hit effort striking out 7 and walking none but received a no-decision.   Up 3-1, reliever Michael Stutes gave up a run on 3 hits in the eighth and closer Ryan Madson came on in the ninth to close out the Reds for his 24th save as  Victorino’s homer led the Phillies past the Reds by 3-2 in the opener of their 3 game series.

With the win, the Phils’ increased their lead in the NL East race to 6 1/2 games games over the Atlanta Braves who had Monday off after their Saturday and Sunday games with the Mets were washed out by Hurricane Irene.   The 3rd place  Mets are now 21 games back after a doubleheader sweep of Florida.   Fourth place Washington had the day off and dropped to 23 games back.   The last place Florida Marlins dropped to 26 1/2 games behind the front-runners

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides highlights and background on Monday’s game:

Hamels was solid for six innings of his return from the disabled list…

Victorino snapped an 0-for-11 slump with his homer off right-hander Homer Bailey(notes) (7-6), improving the Phillies to 4-1 against Cincinnati. Philadelphia came away with a sense that its formidable rotation was back in form.

“He looked very sharp, very good,” Victorino said. “If you’d told me he was on the DL for 15 days, I’d have said, ‘No way.’ I hope to keep that Cole the rest of the way. I think he’s back.”

Hamels made his first start since Aug. 12 expecting good results. He got them against a team he has dominated throughout his career.

Hamels fanned seven without walking a batter, throwing 50 strikes out of 76 pitches before leaving with the score tied at 1. He remained 8-0 in his career against the Reds, including a shutout at Great American Ball Park that completed the Phillies’ playoff sweep last season.

Hamels held the Reds to two hits—one a misplayed fly ball—in six innings, an encouraging return by the left-hander who was sidelined by an inflamed pitching shoulder.

“It was a real good night for him, real good,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We didn’t want to push him. At the same time, he felt good.”

Antonio Bastardo (6-0) fanned three in his one inning of relief.  Dave Sappelt’s infield single drove in a run in the eighth, cutting it to 3-2. Ryan Madson gave up a hit in the ninth before finishing it off for his 24th save in 26 chances.

Bailey fanned a season-high nine batters, but made one bad pitch out of 100 that turned the game.

“When you’re playing a team that has the pitching that they have, they’re accustomed to playing low-scoring, close games, and one pitch can be the difference,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Bailey fanned Victorino on a breaking ball with two runners aboard in the fifth. Bailey started him with another curve in the eighth, and Victorino— batting .344 in the seventh inning or later—was ready.

“He’s getting a lot of extra-base hits, and it seems every one he gets is big for us at this moment,” Manuel said.

Misplays in the outfield set up the first two runs.

Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 12 games—longest by a Red this season—when Hunter Pence slipped on the warning track while trying to catch his fly ball. Pence’s feet went out from under him, allowing the ball to drop just out of his reach for a triple. Phillips scored on Joey Votto’s groundout.

Sappelt, a rookie, had a bad moment in left field in the fifth. He initially broke back on Wilson Valdez’s line drive, then came in, dived and missed the ball, letting it skip past him for an RBI double that tied it at 1.

With the score 3-1 in the eighth, Michael Stutes was reached for 1 out and 2 out singles and faced a 1st and 3rd base threat.  Leftfielder Sappelt singled past 3rd base driving in the Reds’ 2nd run as Stutes then faced a 2nd and 3rd base predicament.  He then coaxed a ground out to 2nd base out of Votto to get out of the inning.

For all of Monday’s  scores and recaps, click here.

Ace Roy Halladay goes for his 16th win in Tuesday’s game 2 opposed by Bronson Arroyo, with his 1-6 career mark and 7.13 ERA against the Phillies, for the Reds.

For all of Tuesday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Florida Marlins Edge Phillies in Hurricane-Shortened 1 Game Series

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

The Florida Marlins made their 1 game against the Phillies count in their Hurrican Irene-abbreviated series.  Roy Oswalt had a sub-par outing suffering through his worst pounding of the season as the Marlins pounded 12 hits, with every Marlins position player recording at least one hit, and giving up six runs—five earned— in 5 2-3 innings as Florida raced out to a 6-1 after their at-bats in the sixth.   Despite getting 7 hits through five innings, the Marlins held a narrow 2-1 lead going into the sixth.  But the first 3 Marlins’ hitters in the sixth inning connected for singles to load the sacks before catcher John Buck capitalized on Oswalt’s errant 1-0 pitch pounding a Grand Slam homer to rightfield to seemingly break the game open.   Oswalt then retired the next 2 hitters on fly outs before 2nd baseman Omar Infante doubled on a 1-0 pitch to chase him.   Reliever David Herndon came on to get the final out in the sixth and gave up a hit in a scoreless seventh.   Meanwhile, Marlins’ starter Clay Hensley handcuffed the Phils going 5 2/3 innings, giving up only a leadoff third inning homer to shortstop  Wilson Valdez — the Phils’ only hit through five innings.   But with 2 outs in the sixth, 3rd baseman Placido Polanco singled to center and 2nd baseman Chase Utley doubled putting runners at 2nd and 3rd base.   1st baseman Ryan Howard then plastered a 1-0 pitch out to rightfield to cut the Marlins lead to 6-4 and to chase Hensley.   Relievers Michael Stutes and Ryan Madson held the Marlins to 1 base-runner through the eighth and ninth innings and late game replacement at shortstop Michael Martinez closed the Phils to 6-5 with a ninth inning 1 out RBI double as the Phils tried for walkoff heroics against reliever Steve Cishek.  But Cishek got centerfielder Shane Victorino to fly out to leftfield on a 1-0 pitch and got Polanco ground out on an 0-1 pitch as the Florida Marlins edged the Phillies by 6-5 in a hurricane-shortened 1 game series.

Despite the loss, the Phils’ still lead in the NL East race by 6 games games over the Atlanta Braves who pounded the  Chicago Cubs on Thursday before being shut out by the Mets on Friday.  The Braves faced the same travails as the Phils as their Saturday and Sunday games with the Mets were Irene’d out.   The Mets jumped back into 3rd place 21 1/2 games back while Washington remained 22 games back in 4th place.   The last place Florida Marlins improved to 25 games behind the front-runners with their win over the Phils.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides notes on Friday’s game:

“It was pretty much one bad pitch,” Oswalt said, referring to Buck’s homer. “(It was) a slider that didn’t do what I wanted it to do.”

Oswalt was loudly booed in the sixth in a way that was reminiscent of the days when the Phillies lost often at old Veterans Stadium.

Manager Charlie Manuel was cheered when he emerged from the dugout to lift Oswalt, but the pitcher was given encouraging cheers on his way back to the dugout.

“He made some good pitches but the guys jumped on it. I can’t explain it,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “The way we’ve been hitting we had a hell of a night because we haven’t been hitting that well.”

Oswalt missed 37 games this season with lower back inflammation, but didn’t blame his back for not having the same zip on his fastball.

“It was a little down tonight but I don’t worry about that,” Oswalt said of his velocity. “I saw 91-92 (mph), there’s no big difference. I’m good.”

After Greg Dobbs, Gaby Sanchez and Mike Cameron led off the sixth with three straight singles, Buck hit an opposite-field grand slam that landed in the first row in right field for his 16th homer of the season to put Florida ahead 6-1.

“It feels good to be able to come through in a situation like that,” Buck said. “Against the Phillies, bases loaded, Roy Oswalt, that’s the kind of scenario you’ll write in a fantasy book.”

Clay Hensley (2-5) allowed three runs on three hits in 5 2-3 innings and Dobbs had four hits—including two doubles—to help Florida win for just the fourth time in 21 games and snap a five-game losing streak in Philadelphia.

Florida took a 1-0 lead in the first when Emilio Bonifacio scored on Logan Morrison’s double-play groundout. Bonifacio was on second after singling and stealing second.

Valdez’s solo homer in the third was the Phillies’ first hit and tied the game at 1.

The Marlins… scored the go-ahead run in the fourth when Mike Stanton reached on Dobbs’ double to make it 2-1.

For all of Thursday thru Sunday’s  scores and recaps, click here, here, here and here.

The Phils now travel out of hurricane harm’s way for a 7 game road trip — 4 games inland in Cincinnati beginning on Monday, followed by a 3 game weekend series in Florida with the Marlins.    Lefthander Cole Hamels comes off of his short stay on the DL and is opposed by Homer Bailey for the Reds.

For all of Monday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Former Cy Young Winner Flanagan Dead of Gunshot Wound

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Mike Flanagan                 Mike Flanagan

Former Baltimore Orioles lefthander and Cy Young winner Mike Flanagan was found dead Wednesday afternoon near his Baltimore home, according to an AP report for Yahoo sports, from what the Maryland medical examiner ruled as suicide — a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head.

Flanagan, one of the stars of a fine Orioles staff of the late 1970s and early 1980s, was the ace of the 1979 staff going 23-9 with a 3.08 ERA and was a prominent part of the Orioles’ pitching rotation which brought them to the 1983 World Series where they beat the Phillies by 4 games to 1.

The Baseball Library site provides these notes about Flanagan:

Armed with a big-breaking curveball, an underrated fastball and a great pickoff move, Flanagan strung together a decade of formidable pitching after losing his first five major-league decisions. From 1977 to 1987, he started more games (334) than any other AL pitcher and posted a .500 or better record each season from 1977 to 1984.

Flanagan suffered a severe knee injury in 1983 (though he returned to win 12 games and make a pair of post-season starts) and a torn Achilles tendon in 1985, costing him big chunks of both seasons. Struggling in Baltimore, Flanagan found new life after getting traded to Toronto during the 1987 stretch run. The Blue Jays were no doubt glad to acquire him, as he owned more wins (17) and innings pitched (208) against them than any other hurler.

After starting 30 games for Toronto in 1989, he was released when he got off to a slow start the following season.

Flanagan ended his career with the Orioles retiring in 1992.

The AP report for Yahoo provides notes on Flanagan’s career and demise:

After his retirement, he worked for the Orioles as a coach and in the front office before settling into a job as color commentator on the team’s broadcast network.

Flanagan was scheduled to work this weekend’s series against the New York Yankees.

“He was looking forward to broadcasting the Yankees series coming up. He was doing something he loved,” said Jim Duquette, who teamed with Flanagan from 2005-07 to attempt to rebuild the Orioles.

A police investigation revealed the 59-year-old pitcher was upset about financial issues. He left no note.

According to police, Alex Flanagan last spoke to her husband about 1 a.m. Wednesday. She told police he sounded upset, and he promised he would talk to her later.

When Alex Flanagan did not hear from her husband, she called a neighbor to check on him. The neighbor went to the home and called 911 after failing to find him.

Police discovered a body on the property but could not immediately determine the identity because the wounds were so severe.

Flanagan was a crafty left-hander who went 167-143 with a 3.90 ERA over 18 seasons with Baltimore and Toronto.

He was 141-116 with Baltimore and is a member of the team’s Hall of Fame. Flanagan was also the final Oriole to pitch at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore’s home from 1954-1991.

“It’s very tragic. He was a good friend. I just wished I’d known he was having a struggle,” former Orioles player and manager Davey Johnson said. “I’d sure liked to have talked to him. It’s just a terrible loss. Everybody who knew Flanny loved him. He was always a delight to be around.”

Mets Pound Kendrick, Beat Phillies in Series Final

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The Mets avoided a series sweep by jumping on Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick for 4 first inning runs, including a 3 run homer by 1st baseman Nick Evans and then scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings as 3rd baseman  David Wright homered in the third inning and sacrificed in the Mets’ 6th run in the fourth.   The Phils answered the Mets  first inning 4 spot by having starter Mike Pelfrey on the ropes in the first but coming away empty-handed before answering with 3 runs in their second inning as centerfielder Shane Victorino’s single knocked in 2 runs and 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s single drove in the 3rd run.  Despite opportunities by the Phils in nearly every inning, Pelfrey bent, but didn’t break settling down and holding the Phils at bay through six innings.    Down 7-3 in the seventh, Utley led off with a double off of Mets’ reliever Tim Byrdak and scored on rightfielder Hunter Pence’s single.   The Phils missed opportunities for more in the seventh, in the eighth and ninth stranding 12 runners for the game as the Mets pounded Kendrick and beat the Phillies by 7-4 in series final.

Despite the loss, the Phils’ lead in the NL East race remained at 6 1/2 games over the Atlanta Braves who were edged by the Chicago Cubs after winning the first 2 games of their series.   3rd place Washington dropped to 22 games back after losing again to Arizona while the 4th place Mets picked up a game at  22 1/2 games back with their win over the Phils.   The last place Florida Marlins improved to 25 1/2 games behind the front-runners.

AP’s game recap provides these notes on Wednesday’s game:

Mike Pelfrey needed a career-high 125 pitches just to get through six innings.

Pelfrey pitched effectively, Nick Evans and David Wright homered and the New York Mets snapped a five-game losing streak…  on Wednesday.

The Mets avoided a sweep with their sixth win in 23 games.

Pelfrey (7-10) allowed three runs and nine hits. He nearly caused benches to empty in the sixth when he took exception to the way Placido Polanco turned away from an inside pitch. Pelfrey, who has a history of hostility toward the Phillies, motioned toward Polanco, who said something back. Catcher Josh Thole stepped in front of Polanco and the confrontation didn’t escalate.

“I hung a slider. I thought he tried to lean into it. I said: `Don’t lean into it.’ He said he didn’t. Done,” said Pelfrey, who earned his first win since July 27.

Bobby Parnell pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save this season and second in his career.

He retired Carlos Ruiz on a grounder with two runners on to end it.

Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (7-6) gave up six runs—two earned—and seven hits in four innings filling in for
Cole Hamels.

The Mets jumped on Kendrick in the first, scoring four unearned runs with the help of a fielding error by shortstop Michael Martinez.  Angel Pagan led off with a single.  Ruben Tejada followed with a sharp grounder to Martinez that could’ve been a double play.  But Martinez bobbled it and both runners were safe. Wright singled to load the bases and Pagan scored on Lucas Duda’s fielder’s choice grounder to second. After
Jason Bay
struck out, Evans hit a three-run shot to left.

“It’s all you can ask for is to get a chance to play and you do the best to make the most of it,” said Evans, who is playing first base now that Duda was moved to right field. “It’s definitely easier to get in a rhythm the more you play.”

Martinez, filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins, started his second game at shortstop. He’s started 24 games at second base and third base this season.

The Phillies answered with three runs in the second.  Shane Victorino hit a two-run single with two outs, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. After Polanco singled, Chase Utley’s RBI single got the Phillies within a run.  Ryan Howard walked to load the bases, but Pelfrey retired Hunter Pence on a fly to right to end the inning.

Wright led off the third with an opposite-field drive to right to put the Mets ahead 5-3. It was Wright’s 15th career homer at Citizens Bank Park, his most at any road stadium. Wright’s sacrifice fly in the fourth extended the lead to 6-3.

Pence’s RBI infield single in the seventh cut it to 7-4. The Phillies had runners at first and third with one out in the eighth against Manny Acosta when second baseman Justin Turner started a double play with a diving, back-handed grab on Polanco’s grounder up the middle.

For all of Wednesday’s scores and recaps, click here.

The Phils have Thursday off before opening a 3 game weekend series with the Florida Marlins.   Roy Oswalt opposes Clay Hensley in Friday’s opener.   On Saturday, ace Roy Halladay is opposed by Anibal Sanchez.

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

Victorino, Mayberry Jr. Star as Phillies Pound Mets Behind Worley

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Shane Victorino    Vance Worley    John Mayberry, Jr.
Young rookie Phillies starter Vance Worley tossed another standout seven inning effort, striking out 9 and allowing 5 hits, to win his 9th game of the season.   He got plenty of support from an offense which exploded on Mets’ starter Jonathon Niese after having pounded Dillon Gee in Monday’s opener.   Centerfielder Shane Victorino and substitute 1st baseman John Mayberry Jr. provided the heavy lumber, eachgetting 2 hits and driving in 3 runs apiece as the Phils peppered Niese for 4 third inning runs, a run in the fourth and 3 of the 4 runs scored in the fifth inning.    Victorino led off the third with a solo shot and Mayberry Jr. slammed a 3 run homer with 2 out in the third.   Oddly, Niece ended up striking out the side in the third.   Victorino also came up with a 2 out, 2 run triple in the Phillies’ 4 run fifth inning.  As fine a game as Worley had on the mound, he also chipped in on offense with 2 hits, an RBI and 2 runs scored.  Leading 9-1 going into the eighth inning, reliever Michael Stutes replaced Worley and was touched for 2 Met runs in theeighth on rightfielder Lucas Duda’s 2 out homer and a leadoff triple in the ninth followed by aground out plating the Met’s 4th run as  Victorino and Mayberry Jr. star for the Phillies in pounding the Mets 9-4 behind Worley to win the 2nd of the 3 game series.

With the win, the Phils’ lead in the NL East race remained at 6 1/2 games over the Atlanta Braves who edged out the  Chicago Cubs.   3rd place Washington dropped to 21 games back after being shut out by Arizona while the 4th place Mets dropped to 23 1/2 games back with the loss.   The last place Florida Marlins dropped to 26 1/2 games behind the front-runners.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides these notes on another Phillies rout of the Mets:

Playing without Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, the Phillies got 13 hits and rocked Jonathon Niese (11-11). The red-hot Mayberry and Victorino both had two hits and three RBIs.

Niese gave up eight runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings in his worst start of the season. He’s likely headed to the disabled list with a rib injury.

An RBI groundout by Justin Turner in the seventh snapped the Mets’ 17 1-3 innings scoreless streak, their longest of the season.  Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer off Michael Stutes in the eighth. New York has lost five straight and 17 of 22.

Worley pitched out of trouble in the first two innings and retired 15 straight at one point. The Phillies have won his last 12 starts.

“It’s a big deal to get in trouble and battle out,” Worley said.

Victorino drove one out to left to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the third. A few batters later, Mayberry ripped a three-run shot to the seats in left to make it 4-0.

Mayberry hit a two-run homer on Monday filling in for left fielder Ibanez, who has a sore groin. He started this one at first base for Howard, who has bursitis in his left heel. Mayberry is batting .326 (29 for 89) with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 31 games since his last recall from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 5.

Worley had an RBI single in the fifth and Victorino lined a two-run triple to center to put the Phillies up 9-0. Mets center fielder Angel Pagan didn’t get a good read on the ball, and then jogged after it. Victorino extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and is batting .314 with a career-high 14 triples and 14 homers in his best all-around season.

Leading by 9-1 going into the eighth, reliever Michael Stutes made a couple mistakes — the eighth inning 2 run homer and the leadoff ninth inning triple but, by then, the Phils owned an insurmountable lead which only Mitch Williams could have blown.

The AP game recap also noted:

The Phillies placed All-Star lefty Cole Hamels on the DL, retro to Aug. 13.   Hamels is slated to start on Monday at Cincinnati.

For all of Tuesday’s scores and recaps, click here.

Kyle Kendrick goes in Wednesday’s final opposed by Mike Pelfrey who is 0-2 against the Phils in 2011.  The Phils have Thursday off before opening a 3 game weekend series with the Florida Marlins.

For all of Wednesday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.