TTB

Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

2012: A career defining season for Chase Utley

When Chase Utley broke into the majors, he was an instant hit.

In fact, it was a hit that first enamored him to Phillies fans everywhere. In just the second game of his career, during only his 3rd Major League at bat, Utley recorded his first career hit when he blasted an Aaron Cook offering over the right field fence for a grand slam. I’m sure many of you recall this:

It was love at first site as Utley skyrocketed into stardom.

Phillies fans weren’t the only ones that took notice. All around the MLB, Chase’s astute work ethic, hard-nosed play and 5-Tool skill set catapulted onto the national stage.

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In defense of Kershaw over Halladay; Phillies fans need not fret

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Photo via ESPN

John Shields is a contributor on Team to Beat as well as a writer for The Philly Phans. Here is his latest up at TPP.

Last night MLB announced the winner of the 2011 Cy Young in the National League.

The recipient of baseball’s highest award for pitching this season? Lefty Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yes, the same young superstar that finished the season an impressive 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA while pitching for a team that finished 82-80.

Winning 20+ games with a team that is “average” is hard to do. Toronto finished 81-81 with nobody over 15 wins. An even more impressive stat: Kershaw won over a quarter of their games.

To many in this area, this was an outrage! a shocker! People were furious that our beloved ace got robbed. As for a small amount of fans in this area, myself included, there was no surprise involved. Kershaw was the best pitcher in the National League this year and earned this award.

Read the rest of Shield’s post at The Philly Phans.

Disappointing End: Carpenter, Cards bounce Phillies from postseason

Phils slugger Ryan Howard writhes in pain after injurying his foot on the last out of the game. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

For the second straight season, the Phillies season came down to Ryan Howard and, for the second straight season, Howard was retired for the final out of the Phillies season.

A season, which was record setting, and just flat out thrilling to watch, ended in a flash at the hands of Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals as the Phillies fell 1-0 at Citizens Bank Park.

Here’s how it went down:

The crowd came out in drones and the Phillies looked to make it back to their 4th straight National League Championship series. Roy Halladay was on the mound opposing Carpenter in the biggest game of the season for both teams.

As has been well noted, Halladay struggles in the first inning of starts and Rafael Furcal took note of that fact and led off the game with a triple. Skip Schumaker followed with an RBI double and the Cardinals were in business early with a 1-0 lead. Doc settled down and wiggled his way out of trouble thanks to a heads-up play from Chase Utley and the Phillies kept the damage to a minimum.

Unfortunately, that was all Carpenter would need. He set the Phillies down in order during 3 of the first 5 innings. The Phillies threatened in the 2nd with a 1-out double from Shane Victorino and then again in the 4th before Raul Ibanez flew out to the warning track with runners on the corners. From the 6th inning on, the Phillies only managed two base runners; an Utley single and pinch hitter Ross Gload reaching on a strikeout with a wild pitch.

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NLDS Preview: Milwaukee Brewers vs Arizona Cardinals

Arizona: 94-68; 1st in NL West
Milwaukee:96-66; 1st in NL Central

Schedule
Game 1: Oct. 1, 2:07 PM – Yovani Gallardo (17-10 3.52) vs. Ian Kennedy (21-4 2.88)
Game 2: Oct. 2, 4:37 PM – Shaun Marcum (13-7 3.54) / Zack Greinke (16-6 3.83) vs. Daniel Hudson (16-12 3.49)
Game 3: Oct. 4 – Joe Saunders (12-13 3.69) vs. Shaun Marcum (13-7 3.54) / Zack Greinke (16-6 3.83)
Game 4*: Oct. 5 – Josh Collmenter (10-10 3.38) vs. Randy Wolf (13-10 3.69)
Game 5*: Oct. 7 – (TBD vs TBD)

Road to the Playoffs
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Howard’s early blast guides Phils past Brewers

Phils slugger Ryan Howard (right) is congratulated by Raul Ibanez (left) after hitting a three-run homer. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

A day after it took the Phillies 6 innings to get their offense going, Ryan Howard made sure that they got on the board earlier. Howard blasted a Shaun Marcum offering into the seats in right field, giving the visitors an early 3-0 lead in the 1st inning. It was a lead that they would never relinquish.

Howard’s homer, his 32nd of the year, provided all the padding that Roy Halladay (17-5) would need. Doc pitched 8 brilliant innings allowing just 1 run. He struck out 9 while scattering 4 hits and 3 walks. The only trouble that Halladay got into occurred in the 4th inning when the Brewers loaded the bases with just 1 out. He then induced a double play groundball off the bat of Yuniesky Bentancourt to escape the threat.

The Phillies tacked on a pair of runs in the 7th courtesy of RBI singles from Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz extending the lead to 5-0. The Brewers answered with a run in their half of the 7th with a sac fly from Bentancourt and the Phillies took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th.

In the 9th, things got a little dicey. Antonio Bastardo started the inning with a hit and a walk putting a pair on with no outs. Enter Ryan Madson. Madson allowed a RBI single to Bentancourt and a sac fly to Jonathan Lucroy, but induced a harmless groundout from George Kottaras sealing the Phillies 5-3 win over the Milwaukie Brewers.

Shaun Marcum took the loss for the Brewers allowing 5 earned runs in 6.2 innings.

With the win, the Phillies sit at 93-48 and are riding a 5 game winning streak. They lower their playoff magic number to 3 and trim their divisional magic number to 10. With the Braves playing the Cardinals currently, one of these numbers will be a notch lower by night’s end.

2B: Polanco (12), HR: Howard (32)

WP: Halladay (17-5). LP: Marcum (12-6). S: Madson (29)

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