TTB

Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: October 2011

2011 Phillies Moments: #6 An unlikely hero

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Jaime Garcia had the Phillis foiled, and it seemed they couldn’t do a single thing against the Cardinals left-hander.

That is, until they pinch-hit Ben Francisco in the 7th inning in hopes of sparking something for the offense. Francisco provided more than just a spark; he single-handedly won the game for the Phillies.

Though the post season was short lived, it didn’t lack in the memory department. Francisco’s blast is one of two moments that made this Top 10 list.

Garcia was cruising through the first six innings, allowing only a trio of singles. If the Phils couldn’t strike, who knew how long Cole Hamels and their bull pen could contain the eventual World Champion Cardinals powerful line up.

Shane Victorino led off the inning with a single, only his team’s fourth hit of the evening. With John Mayberry at the plate, sure-gloved catcher Yadier Molina let a pitch get past him and Victorino scampered safely to second. Mayberry and Placido Polanco proceeded to record outs, causing fans to worry Victorino was going to be stranded at second with no outs.

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Boston to interview Phils bench coach for manager

Mackanin

Phillies bench coach for the last three years, Pete Mackanin, is apparently on the Boston Red Sox’s radar as their new manager, reported the Philadelphia Daily News earlier this morning.

After Terry Francona resigned almost a month ago, the Sox have been desperately in need to find themselves a viable manager to replace Francona, who was a player’s manager and helped lead the Red Sox to World Championships in 2004 and 2007.

Mackanin is scheduled to have an interview today, new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington confirmed yesterday to the Boston Globe.

Mackanin has been a Major League interim manager twice: Pittsburgh in 2005 (12-14 record) and Cincinnati in 2007 (41-39). He managed 13 years in the minors as well.

Mackanin has always wanted to be a full time Major League manager and the opportunity couldn’t come any sooner.

“I’ve always hoped that somebody would at least give me an interview,” Mackanin told the Daily News during the NLDS. “Hell, I’m 60 years old, so sooner or later it’s bound to happen. It’s the top of the industry. There’s only 30 jobs like that. I’ve managed my whole life, so it would be great. It would be fun to have the chance.”

2011 Moment: #7 Hunter Pence Trade

(AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

Some say that July 29th should be a holiday for the Philadelphia Phillies franchise.

It was on that day in 2009 that the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee from the Indians. On July 29th 2010, the Philadelphia Phillies added another Ace to their staff, Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros.

One year later, Philadelphia was astonished one more time. On July 29th 2011, the Phillies acquired right fielder Hunter Pence in a trade. He was traded from the Houston Astros for pitcher Jarred Cosart, first baseman Jonathon Singleton,  pitcher Josh Zeid and a player to be named later.

Hunter Pence brought a youthful and fresh look to the Phillies line up. He added protection for Ryan Howard and fit right in with the team. Not only did he fit in with the team from the start, but also the fans. Philadelphia fell in love with Hunter Pence the day he put on the red and white pinstripes.

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2011 Moment: #8 IronPigs make first ever playoffs

The Pigs celebrate after reaching their first ever Governor's Cup.

Much wasn’t expected when Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg took over as manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The IronPigs had never had a winning season in their first three years of existence. In fact, they had never had a record over .500.

But Sandberg turned everything around and had the Lehigh Valley buzzing.

The IronPigs finished the 2011 regular season with an 80-64 record and made the International League playoffs for the first time.

They advanced all the way to the Governors’ Cup finals where they fell to the Columbus Clippers three games to one.

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2011 Moment: #9 Opening Day Heroics

Phils pinch hitter John Mayberry drives in the game-winning run with a single to score Ben Francisco. (Photo by John Russo)

The fans knew it was over as soon as the ball left John Mayberry Jr’s bat.

Perhaps it was the fact the Phils had the bases loaded with one out that forced Astros center fielder Michael Bourn to play shallow. But the moment Mayberry ripped a screamer to center with the game tied 4-4 in the 9th, the fans knew it was over Bourn’s head and the game was over.

Mayberry’s winner wouldn’t have been made possible if it weren’t for the Phils showing resiliency in their first action of the 2011 season.

Brett Myers had been dominating the Phils through the first seven innings, holding them two only two runs on three hits.

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2011 Moment: #10 Cliff Lee’s lights-out June

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Only a few months into the 2011 season, the dominance of the Phillies rotation was put on full display.

Living up to the expectations heading into the season, the Phillies were a league-best 34-22 while holding a two-game lead on the Florida Marlins in the division.

It was all thanks to the pitching, that is, except Cliff Lee.

Lee was signed in December, giving the Phillies the scariest rotation in all of baseball. But it was Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels living up to the hype while Lee and Roy Oswalt took up the rear.

Lee was heading into June with a 4-5 record and 3.94 ERA through his first 12 starts. But what he did next was one of the most incredible months not only in Phillies history but baseball history itself.

By the end of June, Lee’s ERA dropped to 2.66 and his record was 9-5. That was all thanks to a 5-0 June for Lee, in which his ERA was a staggering 0.21. He had allowed only one earned run on 21 hits and eight walks in 42 innings of work, striking out 29.

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Phils decline options for Lidge, Oswalt

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“(The) Phillies, as expected, decline options on Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge,” according to Matt Gelb on Twitter.

Oswalt was expected to make $16 million in 2012 if the Phils took up his option. They had a $2 million buyout on his contract. Lidge’s option was worth $12.5 million with a $1.5 million buyout.

Both players will likely not be back with the Phillies if Oswalt decides to not retire or take less money or if Lidge decides to take less money.

GM Ruben Amaro did say in a statement that he would negotiate with both pitchers.

This could have very well been Oswalt’s last chance at a World Series ring, a complete shame indeed.

Coming Soon: The Top 10 Phillies Moments of 2011

It’s that time of the year again – and unfortunately too soon – for the Top Ten Phillies Moments of the Year.

Though the season didn’t end the way fans expected it, this will be the first of TTB’s list without an apparent top moment. The field was wide open this  season in a year that wasn’t short on exciting moments from January until now.

A handful of our readers on Twitter and Facebook along with the staff have compiled a long list of moments. But only 10 made it into the final list, with the staff each voting on their top 10.

In the coming couple of weeks, we will be posting our 2011 Phillies Moments, much like the last couple of years.

In case you want to do a little back-reading, here are the 2010 and 2009 Phillies Moments compiled on TTB the last two years.

So stay tuned and we hope you enjoy our list.

 

Albert Pujols Wants All Your Money

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols watches a solo homer in the 9th, his 3rd of the game, leave the park in Game 3 of the World Series on October 22, 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Bring it by the truck loads.

Whatever team wins the Albert Pujols sweepstakes this offseason, they are going to need a lot of cash to do it.

Pujols is looking at potentially his last big paycheck, one that will not only be the largest of his life but quite possibly the biggest in the history of baseball.

It has become almost a signature to see Pujols standing in the batter’s box, holding his bat in his left hand like a small twig; his hulking glare watching another baseball travel to an undiscovered solar system. And from Brad Lidge in 2005 all the way to last night’s mash-fest, Pujols has continued to do it in the most fitting of times.

Pujols made history. He did something that only Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson have done in baseball: hit three home runs in a World Series game. But that historical feat was only a microcosm of Pujols ridiculous career.

For the past decade, Pujols has been the most dominant player in baseball. And his name is so synonymous with baseball that when you type in the name “Albert” in Google, only Einstein’s name stands higher in the auto-fill.

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Phils keep coaching staff intact

According to Todd Zolecki, the Phillies six coaches have agreed to contracts for 2012.

That means the Phils will continue with hitting coach Greg Gross despite another end to the season that saw the Phils finish with the best regular season record but an early playoff exit.

“I couldn’t be happier to have the whole staff back for another season,” Manuel said in a statement. “Their dedication and work ethic speak for themselves and they were a huge part of our 102 wins.”

The list includes: Rich Dubee (pitching), Gross (hitting), Pete Mackanin (bench), Sam Perlozzo (first base), Juan Samuel (third base), Mick Billmeyer (bullpen) and bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo.

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