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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bull pen falls apart after Hamels’ early exit

Cole Hamels and Jon Lester were cruising through what appeared to be a pitchers duel.

Cole Hamels left the game after the 4th with a right hand contusion. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

But a line drive off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez changed the pace of the game, ending Hamels’ day. The rest was history as Boston won, 5-2, and prevented the sweep in Philadelphia.

Gonzalez’s liner rocketed off Hamels’ glove hand. The left-hander had the presence to finish the play and the inning but was immediately yanked after four innings. He had x-rays during the game which were negative and Hamels was diagnosed with a right-hand contusion. He will make his next start.

David Herndon replaced Hamels and allowed three runs in the next two innings and Boston was able to get themselves out of a pitcher’s duel and get Lester his 10th win of the season.

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Three Pigs make IL ASG

With All-Star weekend looming, the minor leagues are announcing their All-Star teams.

In AAA, three IronPigs made the International League team. Pitchers Michael Schwimmer and Mike Zagurski will join catching prospect Erik Kratz to represent Lehigh Valley.

Zagurski is the only one of the three who has seen some Major League action this year. Zagurski is 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA in 24 games. He’s struck out 41 batters in 27 2/3 innings.

Schwimmer has been just as good, posting a 4-0 record in 30 games. He has a 2.01 ERA in 42 2/3 innings while striking out 56.

At the plate, Kratz is hitting .277 with a .860 OPS. He has 10 dingers and 28 RBIs.

Ibanez powers Phils past Boston

Phils left fielder Raul Ibanez watches his 7th-inning homer leave the park. He broke a 1-1 tie with his blast. It was his first home run since May 30. (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

For almost a month, Raul Ibanez had failed to hit the ball out of the park.

But the 39-year-old snapped an 87-at-bat homerless streak with a solo home run as well as tally three hits in the Phils 2-1 win over Boston, winning them the “World Series Preview” series.

Ibanez’s power couldn’t have come at a better time. With John Lackey (7 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, BB, 5 K) on his game for the night, the Phils offense had a hard time plating the guys he put on.

But Ibanez’s RBI single in the 2nd got the ball rolling for Philly. Boston tied it up in the 5th when Lackey ripped an RBI double. Ibanez answered back in the 7th with his solo home run, his first long ball since May 30, to make it a 2-1 game.

Ibanez finished the night 3-for-3 with a double, homer and both of the Phils’ RBIs. He fell a triple shy of the cycle.

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Lidge nearing first minor league appearence

RHP Brad Lidge (David Maialetti /Philly Inquirer)

Remember this guy? Brad Lidge says he is nearing his first minor league stint, good news for the righty and certainly good news for the depth of the Phillies bull pen.

Lidge feels his partially torn rotator cuff is well enough for him to begin a rehab assignment.

“Honestly,” Lidge said, “my shoulder right now feels like nothing ever happened.”

Though Lidge is optimistic, it will all depend on how much faith GM Ruben Amaro, manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee will have in Lidge for they will be the guys signing off on his innings and assignments.

But if Lidge doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he is hopeful to be back by the end of July. By then, the Phils will be hopeful their two injured relievers Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras along with starter Joe Blanton are back. With those guys possibly back, it will be interesting to see who Lidge replaces.

The Phils have gotten a lot of great innings from lefty Antonio Bastardo and righty Michael Stutes, their two youngest arms in the pen with the brightest futures.

For now, Lidge has to get that assignment. Time will tell on the rest.

Nats building a World Series team… from the past

After being a huge part of the 2007 and 2008 success for the Phillies, J.C. Romero's true colors shone the past 2 1/2 seasons, ending his tenure in Philly. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

The Washington Nationals are well on their way to building a World Championship team… the 2008 champions that is.

Washington signed former Phillies left-handed reliever J.C. Romero, the third member of the Phillies 2008 championship squad to join the Nationals this season.

In the off season, the Nationals added NLCS hero Matt Stairs to their bench. They then went out and threw a lot of undeserved money to super star Jayson Werth.

Romero, who had winning decisions in two of the 2008 World Series games including the deciding Game 5, became the third member.

Romero was designated for assignment and then released by the Phils. The Nats offered the 35-year-old a minor league deal and sent him to AAA Syracuse.

Romero posted a 3.86 ERA in 16 1/3 innings, walking 12 and striking out 10. His lack of control wound up being his demise, ending his stint hopefully permanently with the Phillies.

With Romero officially gone, I’d like to reflect on my favorite Romero moment that very few of you know.

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Cliff Lee is wicked hardcore

Phils pitcher Cliff Lee finished his third straight shut out in the Phils 5-0 win over Boston. In 42 innings during the month of June, Lee allowed only one run and 21 hits. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

June is a good month to throw a baseball if your name is Cliff Lee.

Pitching in his final start of the month, Lee pitched another clean slate, his third straight, as the Phils went on to shut out the Red Sox, 5-0.

After tonight’s match-up, Lee has pitched 32 straight shut out innings. In five starts (42 innings) during the month of June, Lee has allowed only one run and 21 hits.

But the game was won before Lee even got rolling. In the bottom of the 2nd, Domonic Brown scorched his fifth home run of the season to the bull pen in right-center, a two-run blast.

Brown finished the night 2-for-3 with a double, home run, two runs scored and two RBIs. Shane Victorino also hit a two-run home run in the 6th inning to blow the game open at 5-0.

Lee went the distance, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three. It was his third straight shut out and fourth of the season.

Lee carried a no-hitter into the 6th before Marco Scutaro’s lead-off single wiped it out. Boston’s only other hit came in the 8th when Damien McDonald doubled to the corner in left.

Boston starter Josh Beckett was hit hard for five runs on five hits (two of them were two-run homers) and a walk while striking out only one.

2B: Brown (7). HR: Brown (5), Victorino (9).

WP: Lee (9-5). LP: Beckett (6-3).

Boxscore.

Phils without closer: Madson to the DL

The Phillies officially have three closers on the DL currently. Brad Lidge is slowly getting himself back in midseason shape, Jose Contreras just landed his second time on the DL this season and now Ryan Madson will take some time off.

In Madson’s place, the Phils called up right-hander Andrew Carpenter.

Madson landed on the DL with a right-hand contusion and hasn’t pitched since June 18. He took a ball off his hand a couple weeks ago and had been uncomfortable throwing. The move will be retroactive to June 19 so his stay on the DL will be short.

Madson has a 2.03 ERA with 15 saves on the season. Antonio Bastardo is the likely candidate to close games now.

Series Preview: vs Boston Red Sawks

PHI: 49-30, 1st in NL East; BOS: 45-32, 2nd in AL East

When: June 28-30
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Tuesday: Cliff Lee (8-5, 2.87) vs Josh Beckett (6-2, 1.86)
Wednesday: Vance Worley (2-1, 2.83) vs John Lackey (5-6, 7.36)
Thursday: Cole Hamels (9-4, 2.49) vs John Lester (9-4, 3.66)

Broadcast Info
Tuesday, 7:05, PHL 17
Wednesday, 7:05, CSN, ESPN 2
Thursday, 1:05, CSN
All Games on 1210 AM

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“Game 7: Dead Ball” out in print July 1

For those who don’t know him, Allen Schatz (@raschatz on Twitter) is the author of the booke “Dead Ball: Game 7.”

He has been marketing his book online the past few months and it is finally hitting the shelves in print on July 1!

On his site, he describes the book:

A puzzle takes shape as baseball’s World Series unfolds, but the pieces don’t seem to fit: missing women, strange threats, gambling problems, kidnappings, and relationships long dormant are all somehow connected, but major league umpire Marshall Connors may run out of time before he can solve the mystery…

Marshall’s post-season plans were to spend a week in Florida, helping his mentor teach a training class followed by a lot of sun. The vacation is cut short when Marshall gets assigned to work the World Series as crew chief, but the real reason is not discovered until he is neck-deep in trouble.

The surprise assignment rekindles a relationship with the O’Hara family and Marshall realizes some things truly are better left alone. As the games play out, so does the truth behind long-buried O’Hara family secrets and Marshall is caught in a storm that threatens to destroy him and those he loves.

With the help of his best friend, Thomas Hillsborough–ex-CIA spy–Marshall fights to solve the puzzle before the Series reaches its climax in GAME 7: DEAD BALL, the ultimate contest of survival.

Discount after the jump

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The Natch: Roy Halladay Has Been Better Than Advertised for the Phillies

TTB staffer Christian Hetrick also operates “Taking the Ride.” Here is his newest piece on Roy Halladay:

Roy Halladay is one rich dude. He makes $60 million over three years through 2013 and has a vesting option for another $20 million in 2014. But the way he has been pitching since joining the Phillies, it still feels like the man is under paid.

Halladay, arguably the game’s best pitcher, has found a way to exceed the high expectations Phillies fans had for him when he was traded to Philadelphia before last season. As a Phillies fan, I can say the fan base expected a lot out of the ace, but could Phillies’ fans have possibly expected this much out of Doc already?

Halladay is not even half way through his second season in Philadelphia, and he has already given the Phils 31 wins, 14 complete games, one perfect game, one playoff no-hitter, and one Cy Young Award. His 31 victories in his first 50 starts with the Phillies makes him only the sixth pitcher to record that many wins over his first 50 starts with a new team. This year Halladay has already reached ten wins, and has done it in one fewer start than last year. His three losses this year are four fewer than he had this time last year. Halladay’s four strike-outs in Sunday’s complete game victory over the Athletics, gives him 123 on the year, second most in the National League.

Read the rest over at TTR

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