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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: July 2010

Lidge Blows the Comeback

Phillies fans thought they had it bad in 1993 with closer Mitch Williams.  Brad Lidge is taking the term “wild” to a whole different level.  Once again Lidge had a rocky ninth inning and couldn’t shut the door.  Lidge spoiled the Phillies comeback by allowing a three-run walkoff home run to Ryan Zimmerman.

The Phillies fell behind early courtesy of three first-inning runs given up by starter Joe Blanton.  As seems to always be the case, Blanton settled down through the middle innings before allowing a sacrifice fly to Ian Desmond.  Blanton didn’t have his best outing but certainly wasn’t the reason that the Phillies lost.  He pitched six innings giving up four runs on nine hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

Carlos Ruiz led the charge with three hits on the evening including a solo home run.  Additionally he knocked in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning.  Raul Ibanez continued his incredible hot streak with a two-run home run in the seventh inning.  Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth each added two hits as well.

The ninth inning can never be easy with Brad Lidge on the mound.  He allowed the lead-off batter Michael Morse to walk and Nyjer Morgan sacrificed him over to second base.  Lidge preceded to walk Adam Kennedy.  Consequently Ryan Zimmerman deposited a mammoth three-run home run to dead center field to send Lidge home with a blown save.

Something has got to give.  Charlie Manuel once again stood by his closer and reaffirmed to everyone that Lidge is his guy.  Well I just don’t think that Lidge can be the guy anymore.  The Phillies have given Lidge every possible chance to remain as the closer.  I respect everything that he has done for the organization.  His perfect season in 2008 resulted in one of the greatest moments in Philadelphia sports history.  Everyone should be grateful to him for such a great accomplishment.  But Lidge just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to finish games anymore.

One thing that sticks out is his command – it just isn’t there anymore.  In addition, he cannot be counted on in the postseason.  No one will have confidence in sending Lidge out there to protect a one run lead against some of the top teams in baseball.  It’s not fair to the Phillies organization and it’s not fair to the fans.  Other options need to be exhausted.  Thanks for the pleasant memories Brad Lidge, but you’re just not the guy anymore.

HR: Ibanez (10), Ruiz (3)

WP: Storen (3-2). LP: Lidge (1-1).

Boxscore

-C.B.

Oswalt Roughed Up in Debut

Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt gets roughed up in his debut. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Well it wasn’t the start that everyone anticipated from Roy Oswalt tonight. In a matter of hours, Oswalt went from a highly-praised acquisition to a complete mystery on the mound. The Washington Nationals just went off on Oswalt as they crushed the Phils, ending their winning streak at eight with an 8-1 inning.

Oswalt allowed five runs, four earned, off of seven hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings. Chad Durbin got blown up for three runs in the seventh inning to knock the game out of reach.

Craig Stammen pitched 6 1/3 brilliant innings for the Nationals. He allowed a run on five hits and a walk while striking out five.

Raul Ibanez continued on his tear with another two hit game. Jayson Werth and Domonic Brown each added a pair of hits with one of Werth’s being a solo homer, as that was the only offense the Phils could muster.

Washington jumped on Oswalt early. Nyjer Morgan led-off the game with a triple and scored on the next batter. They added four more before the seventh when Werth homered. After that, the rest was history.

HR: Werth (15).

WP: Stammen (3-4). LP: Oswalt (6-13).

Boxscore.

Series Preview: Nationals

Phillies (56-46, 2nd in NL East) at Washington Nationals (44-58, 5th in NL East)

Where: Nationals Park (Washington D.C.)
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Probable Pitchers
Friday: Roy Oswalt (6-12, 3.42) vs. Craig Stammen (2-4, 5.50)
Saturday: Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.85) vs. Ross Detwiler* (0-1, 0.00)
Sunday: Cole Hamels* (7-7, 3.48) vs. TBA
*Lefty

Broadcast Info
Friday, 7:05: CSN
Saturday, 7:05: CSN
Sunday, 1:35: MyPHL17
All Games on 1210 AM

Hot (last 7) – Raul Ibanez: .458 (11-for-24), 7 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 BB. He is also on an 8-game hitting streak.

Player to Watch – Roy Oswalt: This isn’t usually a segment for Phillies players but this is Oswalt’s debut as a Phillie and he is the player to watch. It also doesn’t help that the Nats have no one worth watching. Oswalt is 6-12 on the season with a 3.41 ERA. He’s a top-of-the-rotation pitcher on any team and will give the Phillies the depth they need in their rotation. Another Phillies Roy (Halladay) made his debut in Washington as well, breezing through the Nats order. Oswalt is a competitor so expect big things from him to start the series.

Series Overview: The Phillies lead the season series 4-2… The Phils are going into Washington on a complete tear, winning eight straight to put themselves in prime position to retake first in the division. The Nats took two-of-three from Atlanta to help the Phils but now stand in their way… The Phillies have been awful on the road (22-28) while Washington has been much better at home (27-22)… The Phillies are still rolling and with no Adam Dunn or Stephen Strasburg in the line up/rotation for Washington this weekend, things are lined up for a third-straight sweep.

When There’s A Wilson, There’s A Way

The early 80’s were a great time for the Phillies. So have been the past few years. On a night where the Phils had their 80’s Retro night, Wilson Valdez provided the fans with a Thriller as the A-Team Phillies beat the D’Backs 3-2 in extra innings for the sweep. The Phils have won eight straight and 11 in their own park, a streak that has helped bring the Phils to a 2.5 deficit of the Braves after being down seven games at the start of the streak.

Kyle Kendrick pitched another fantastic start but lost his winning decision when Ryan Madson gave up a run in the ninth. Kendrick went 6 1/3 innings while allowing a run on four hits and three walks while striking out five. Madson was charged for the run but Romero blew the save. Jose Contreras pitched the 11th and got the win after Brad Lidge struck out two in a 1-2-3 10th inning.

Valdez was the hero. Starting in place of the injured Jimmy Rollins, Valdez went 3-for-5 from the eight-spot, including the RBI single in the 11th to drive in Cody Ransom to win the game. Carlos Ruiz and Ransom each added a pair of hits.

The Phillies got on the board first in the fifth inning when Ruiz drove in Ransom. Then Raul Ibanez hit a solo homer in the sixth inning. Kendrick’s night then ended in the seventh a batter after Miguel Montero’s solo homer with one out. Montero then drove in the game tying run in the ninth.

2B: Polanco 2 (19), Ruiz (15). HR: Ibanez (9).

WP: Conteras (5-3). LP: Vasquez (1-4).

Boxscore.

Phils Trade For Oswalt

Starting pitcher Roy Oswalt can launch the Phillies into another deep postseason run.

Well the reports have turned into good news. The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros, sending J.A. Happ and a couple prospects in their end of the deal. The presence of Oswalt alone makes the Phillies a better baseball team and will hopefully turn the Phillies into legitimate World Series contenders.

After spending the first nine seasons of his fine career, the 32-year-old right-handed pitcher will begin a new segment of his career on the perennial contending Phillies. Only twice in his career (2005-06) was Oswalt in the playoffs, losing the World Series to the White Sox in the latter of the two years. Oswalt has a shot at getting back to the Fall Classic with the Phils, who are only 3.5 games out of first with 61 games to play.

The details of the deal are this: the Phillies will send Happ and infield prospects Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar and the Astros will send Oswalt to the Phillies. Houston will also pay $11 million of Oswalt’s salary for this season and next season but the Phils will lose Oswalt’s 2012 option. In order for the Phils to acquire Oswalt, he had to wave his no-trade clause in which he did to join the Phillies.

“I’m glad it worked out for both of us. I wanted to go to a contender, and Houston gets some good prospects in return who will hopefully allow them to build a winning team,” Oswalt told ESPN.com’s Amy K. Nelson.

“The hardest part about it is cleaning out my locker. I’ve been in the same place for 10 years and having to say goodbye and clean out the locker is the toughest part,” he said.

Oswalt was also in talks with his former team mate in Houston, Brad Lidge before he made his decision. He said, “I trust his opinion,” in regards to Lidge’s telling Oswalt about the Phillies’ tight-knit clubhouse and drive to win.

Oswalt is 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA thanks to playing for the Astros, who sport one of the worst records in baseball and are in the bottom of the league in runs scored. Oswalt’s fortunes will shift gears as he will go to a team at the top of the league in runs scored.

Both Oswalt and Happ were set to pitch tomorrow so it will be interesting if they will take the hill for their new teams tomorrow.

Phils Close to Landing Oswalt

First Cliff Lee at the deadline. Then Roy Halladay in the offseason as the Phils sent Lee packing. Now we’re back at the deadline and Roy Oswalt’s name is floating around. The Phillies and Houston Astros have agreed on a deal that will send Oswalt and $8 million to the Phils in exchange for J.A. Happ, Vance Worley, and two more prospects.

But what’s holding up the trade? Mr. Oswalt’s no-trade clause. Both teams and the rest of baseball world are waiting to hear Oswalt’s decision. The addition of Oswalt will immediately catapult the Phillies into prime position to make the post season. And with three pitchers like Oswalt, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels pitching in the playoffs can win the Phillies any series. It’s a pitchers game and Ruben Amaro, Jr. knows that.

Oswalt is still pitching great despite not having the record to show for it. That’s because the Astros are 42-59 and well out of playoff contention. Oswalt commented that he would want to play on a team that is in place to contend. Make it happen then!

Oswalt is 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA in 20 starts this season. He’s averaged about 6 2/3 innings a start and could see those numbers rise in Philly. His opponents OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) is a whopping .619. He’s also walked 34 batters and struck out 120.

Stay tuned as both Happ and Oswalt are set to pitch tomorrow and both teams would like to get this deal done today.

Halladay Dominates Again

Determination is in the eyes of Domonic Brown as he hustles during his Major League debut. "To get here to the Major Leagues, well, it's just the best thing that has ever happened to me," said Brown. (David M Warren/Philly Inquirer)

Roy Halladay was not going to be overlooked on a day he pitches. Not even for rookie phenom Domonic Brown’s debut. He tossed another complete game as Brown, Jayson Werth, and the rest of the offense backed him up in the Phillies’ 7-1 win. It was their seventh straight win and 10th straight at home.

Halladay went the distance for the eighth time this season. He allowed his only run in the ninth inning when Brown dove for the ball and missed resulting in an RBI double for Kelly Johnson. Halladay went on to strike out nine while allowing a run on six hits and no walks.

Brown went 2-for-3 in his debut with two RBIs and two runs scored. In his first at-bat, Brown ripped an RBI double off the top of the right field wall to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. He later scored in the inning. Werth went 3-for-4 with two doubles and Carlos Ruiz doubled twice and drove in three runs.

Brown received a loud ovation when his name was announced in the starting line up and then received a standing ovation when he stepped up to the plate in the second inning after Werth’s lead-off double. The lanky 6’5″ left-hander ran the bases well and played with a huge smile on his face. It was evident he was playing on pure adrenaline all night and was soaking in every moment.

“This is the best day of my life,” Brown said before the game. “I’ve been playing baseball since I was three years old. I’ve tried to stay humble through the years and just prepared every day by working hard. To get here to the Major Leagues, well, it’s just the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

The Phillies remained 3.5 back of the Braves with their 3-1 win over Washington. They also remain 2.5 games back of the Giants for the wild card. They go for the second straight sweep tomorrow and third in their own park. Kyle Kendrick will look to ride the momentum of his latest quality start.

2B: Werth 2 (34), D. Brown (1), Ibanez (21), Ruiz 2 (14).

WP: Halladay (12-8). LP: E. Jackson (6-10).

Boxscore.

The Dom Brown Era Begins

Baseball long has been ready for Domonic Brown. Is he ready for the show? (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s always tough when a player of Shane Victorino’s caliber gets placed on the DL. But the sting of losing another top-of-the-order bat gets eased with the call-up of a prospect like Domonic Brown. Yes, folks, Dom Brown is officially a Philadelphia Phillie and he will be in tonight’s line up wearing #9. Ruben Amaro stated that the only way Brown will get called up is if he will play every day. Now is the time to see what he’s made of. He’ll bat in the sixth spot where Raul Ibanez usually is to protect Jayson Werth.

The left-handed hitting phenom is enjoying a nice minor league season in which he has brought anticipation out the wazoo to Phils fans. He has 20 homers, 68 RBIs, a .327 batting average, and 17 stolen bases in 93 games.

What’s hysterical is that Mike Meech of the Fightins.com jokingly released a tweet that blew up on Twitter saying Brown got scratched from Lehigh’s line up. Well it was merely a prediction to today’s call-up.

Brown was drafted in the 20th round of the 2006 draft. Now 22, Brown is ranked as the 15th best prospect in the majors according to Baseball America in 2010. After starting the season with Reading and tearing it up there, he was promoted to Lehigh where he only played in 28 games. But what he did in those 28 games was impressive as he batted .346 while hitting five homers and driving in 21 runs.

Brown’s call-up was a tough decision to make. David Brown of Big League Stew explains:

“When (Lehigh manager Dave Huppert) refers to starting Brown’s “clock,” he meant the Phillies don’t want to waste a moment when they control how much money Brown makes. The sooner Brown comes up, the sooner and more easily he qualifies for arbitration and free agency — statuses that escalate players salaries.”

Victorino’s injury came in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game when he was routinely catching a fly ball and came up sore after making the grab. He has a strained left oblique and will miss some significant time.

So today starts the beginning of the Dom Brown era. Phils fans are only an hour away from seeing what one of the league’s top prospects is capable of.

Let the Dom-ination begin.

Phils Rattle Snakes

Struggling slugger Jayson Werth homers in the fifth inning. It snapped a 101-AB homerless drought that dated back to June 23. (John Russo/TTB)

The ball was carrying out of Citizens Bank Park Tuesday night. With the breeze to a minimum and the humidity almost non-existent, the cool night allowed for the Diamondbacks and Phils to hit four homers combined. But the Phils’ long balls packed more punch as they kept Arizona in check, winning 9-5.

Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, and Cody Ransom each hit two-run homers. Howard wound up driving in three runs, the last two coming on his sixth-inning homer that gave the Phillies the lead for good. Werth’s homer in the fifth was his first of the month. The last time he went deep was June 23, a span of 101 at-bats.

Cole Hamels wasn’t his best but neither was Rodrigo Lopez. Both pitchers only lasted five innings due to pitch counts. Home plate umpire Tim McClelland was brutal on both pitchers, who combined for nine walks. Hamels allowed three runs in his five innings on six hits and four walks while striking out eight and Lopez allowed four runs off of seven hits and five walks while striking out four.

Hamels left the game with 4-3 lead but lost the winning decision when David Herndon gave up a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds. But the Phillies got the runs back and Herndon the win with Raul Ibanez’s RBI single to tie it and Howard’s two run bomb to give them the lead. Ransom’s shot next inning gave the Phillies the 9-5 lead and eventual final score.

The Phillies got a huge scare in the seventh. After making a running catch on a fly ball hit by Stephen Drew, Shane Victorino left the game. It was said he strained his left oblique and will be evaluated again tomorrow to see if it has any long-term damage (let the Domonic Brown talks commence). This comes a day after Jimmy Rollins bruised his foot when fouling a ball off. The short stop arrived to the stadium today on crutches and did not play.

The win for the Phillies was their sixth straight and ninth straight at home. With Atlanta’s loss, the Phils moved to within 3.5 games of the Braves, who are facing a weak Washington squad. With two more against the D’Backs and a three-game series to follow versus the Nats, the Phillies could land themselves within striking distance if they continue this tear.

2B: Polanco (17). HR: Werth (14), Howard (23), Ransom (2).

WP: Herndon (1-2). LP: Norberto (0-1).

Boxscore.

Series Preview: Diamondbacks

Phillies (53-46, 2nd in NL East) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (37-62, 5th in NL West)

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Probable Pitchers
Tue: Rodrigo Lopez (5-9, 4.58) at Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.40)
Wed: Edwin Jackson (6-9, 5.01) at Roy Halladay (11-8, 2.28)
Thu: Joe Saunders (6-10, 4.62) at Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 4.60)

Broadcast
Tue: 7:05, CSN
Wed: 7:05, CSN
Thu: 7:05, CSN
All games on 1210 am

Hot (last 3) – Cole Hamels: 1-0, 0.38 ERA, 22.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 BB, 16 K.
Not (last 7) – Wilson Valdez: .071 (1-for-14), 1 R, 2 RBI, 4 K.

Player to Watch – Mark Reynolds: He’s their horse despite striking out another ridiculous rate. I think the thing to watch with his is how many times he will go down on strikes. His 139 strike outs make Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard look like patient hitters. But Reynolds leads the team with 23 homers and second with 62 RBIs. He’s a free swinger and with the pitchers the Phils have on the mound, it should be fun to feel the breeze he’ll create on the hot days ahead.

Series Overview: The D’Backs lead the season series 2-1… The Phillies are riding a five-game winning streak and eight-game home winning streak. They came out of the four-straight four-game series’ with a 10-6 record… Arizona isn’t exactly a group of road warriors as they are 13-33 on the road and the Phillies are 31-18 at home… The Phillies are basically on a roll and can continue with two of their three best pitchers going against such a lowly Diamondbacks team.

*****************************************

Jimmy Rollins was hobbled after fouling a ball off his foot in the Phillies 5-4 win over Colorado. The X-rays for his right foot came back negative and all Rollins has is a bruised foot. We’ll find out tomorrow if he will be in the line up or not.

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