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Category Archives: Carlos Pena

Pena’s 8th Inning Homer Overshadows Pitcher’s Duel

Rays 3, Phillies 2
WP – David Price (10-4, 2.95)
LP – Antonio Bastardo (2-2, 3.75)
SV – Fernando Rodney (21)

PHILADELPHIA — The game was living up to it’s billing.

Cole Hamels and David Price were dueling in a 1-0 game through seven innings. Hamels pitched seven shutout innings in his start, holding a slight advantage over Price by putting his team in the best position to win.

With both pitchers throwing 223 pitches combined, they gave way to their bullpens after seven. There, the Rays won the important battle in their 3-2 win over the Phils.

A gassed Antonio Bastardo, who threw 29 pitches yesterday, struggled in the 8th inning, costing Hamels a shot at his 11th win of the season. Bastardo walked two hitters before giving up a one-out three-run homer to the left-handed hitting Carlos Pena to give the Rays a 3-1 lead.

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Bad News Cubs

Michael Martinez and Jimmy Rollins celebrate scoring in Wednesday's 9-1 win over Chicago. (Philly.com staff photo)

Somewhere, Morris Buttermaker is laughing at the Chicago Cubs.

If Mike Quade isn’t an alcoholic just yet, he may be after today. The Phils offense woke up and start Vance Worley shut down the Cubs in a laugher dubbed “The Bad News Cubs,” 9-1.

Carlos Pena was caught kicking the ball and throwing it away in the 4th inning, turning a rare double-error in one play and re-enacting a scene that would fit right into the “Bad News Bears” film.

To Charlie Manuel, 95 degrees is “hittin’ weather.” And boy did the Phillies hit the ball today at Wrigley. Jimmy Rollins homered from both sides of the plate and doubled, driving in three runs. Chase Utley had himself a pair of doubles while driving in two runs.

The Phils got on the board in the 1st inning. With Michael Martinez and Chase Utley on second and first respectively, Ryan Howard hit a soft ground ball to the left of the shift to score Martinez from second and make it a 1-0 game. Utley, who made it to third on the play, scored on a Shane Victorino ground out to make it 2-0.

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Welcome to the Mini Mart

The Phils Chase Utley is gunned down at home in the 8th inning by Starlin Castro. Cubs catcher Geovany Soto blocked the plate. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Michael Martinez is turning into the 2011 version of Wilson Valdez.

Martinez’s two-out, two-run double in the top of the 9th gave the Phils a 4-2 lead and come-from-behind win over the Cubs Tuesday night. It was the second clutch hit for Martinez in the past week, slowly turning the groans to cheers in the Philadelphia crowd.

With two outs, Ben Francisco and Jimmy Rollins hit back-to-back singles before Martinez’s blooping double down the first base line. The ball got caught up in the Phillies bull pen, allowing Rollins to score from first base and add an extra run to the already go-ahead hit.

Before the 8th inning, it was Chicago’s game. They were hitting the cover off the ball all game but could only muster two runs in the 1st and none after. Reed Johnson, Starlin Castro, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena all had multi-hit games for the Cubs.

But, despite Utley and Martinez’s heroics, the night belonged to a certain young short stop for the Cubs.

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Heat gets to Halladay as Phils lose

Phils starter Roy Halladay left the game in the 5th inning with heat exhaustion. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

With the temperature at 91 degrees by first pitch, Roy Halladay was still donning his signature 3/4-sleeved shirt.

Common sense kicked in and the heat forced the right-hander to remove that shirt. But then, fatigue and heat exhaustion also settled in and Halladay’s day was done in the 5th inning, leading to a poor outing by the Phillies ace.

Chicago took advantage of a weary Doc and weak Phillies bull pen as they went on to win, 6-1, and take the first game of the series against the hardest pitcher they would face.

Halladay allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk in four-plus innings of work while managing only one strike out. He left the game after allowing a lead-off single to Starlin Castro in the 5th.

The 3rd inning took the most of Halladay. The Cubs, already up 1-0, scored two runs and forced Halladay to throw a grueling 31 pitches. Rodrigo Lopez singled, Kosuke Fukudome walked and Castro singled to start the inning. Aramis Ramirez followed up with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 and Carlos Pena singled home Fukudome to make it 3-0.

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Will They Stay or Will They Go?

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

So the fun begins. With a handful of big-name free agents set to test the waters after the season concludes, I couldn’t help but wonder: Where will they land next year? Or will they stay put in their home town?

It’s already been said that Tampa Bay doubts they could hold onto Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, or Rafael Soriano. And at the same time, The Rangers and Phillies have a goal to hold onto Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth respectively.

So I’m going to evaluate a couple free agents and give you my guess on where they’ll land:

Jayson Werth – Boston Red Sox: Let’s face it, Werth will want a change of scenery. In his presser on Monday, he basically said he enjoyed his time in Philly and said he will never see a group of fans like ours again. So who would want Werth? Basically in the race between the Yankees and Red Sox each off season, they acquire big-name guys. So if the Yankees go after Crawford, that means the Sox will get their hands on Werth, where he will instantly make them a serious contender in the toughest division in baseball.

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Cliff Lee – Texas Rangers: I think he stays in Texas. If he does, it will be the biggest splash in free agency as Lee is the league’s most prized possession this off season. Yankee fans didn’t help their cause in landing Lee after their harassment of his wife and he said he enjoyed watching the Phillies lose to the Giants. And with the team they have in Texas, he would be absolutely stupid to walk away from a young, talented team in which he would become the face of. As a pitcher, the Rangers haven’t had that since a certain Nolan Ryan. I’m sure Ryan will use all of his persuasive powers to keep Lee in the Lone Star State.

Derek Jeter – New York Yankees: As the captain of the Yankees, I don’t see him going anywhere else but staying in New York. He will demand a lot of money probably and put the Yankees in a tough spot: drop the cash on an aging short stop with decreased range and pop in his bat or cut ties with one of the greatest Yankees to ever wear the pinstripes. They can’t piss-off the masses. Jeter stays as a Yankee for life and wraps up his Hall of Fame career in the Bronx.

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Carl Crawford – New York Yankees: So the Yankees don’t get Werth. They will have to “settle” with Crawford, arguably the most enticing position player in the free agent market. He’s fast, can play a mean center field, and is a lifetime .300 hitter that can give you 15 homers and drive in about 70 runs. He hit career highs last season with 19 homers, 90 RBIs, and a .307 average along with a high in OPS (.851). Crawford will make the Yankees very happy next season and should allow them to stay ahead of the Red Sox and knock the Rays back out of the talks.

Carlos Pena – Seattle Mariners: Pena is a DH. The guy is a defensive liability. He struggled much of last season with injuries but will look to bounce back in a new team. Seattle is a perfect fit for him. Same type of laid-back fans and with the team looking to add a true power bat, they could start to build an offense around Pena. He’s just a building block to launch the Mariners into contention with the Rangers, who could be the best team in baseball if they win the World Series.

Jonny Gomes – Philadelphia Phillies: This is more like wishful thinking. With Werth likely gone in Philly, they will be looking to fill not only a hole in the outfield but also that important right-handed bat to protect Ryan Howard. Gomes would be a good replacement, that is assuming the Reds don’t pick up his $1.75 million option for next season. Gomes hit .266 with 18 homers and 86 RBIs last season. Similar numbers like that would be a fine replacement. Only problem is that he’s a worse defensive option than Raul Ibanez could ever have a nightmare to be. A two-year contract will be fine if Ruben Amaro, Jr. doesn’t over-pay.

Howard Takes Stage Tonight

Before every all star game is the State Farm Home Run Derby. This year will feature another one of your Phillies stars in Ryan Howard. Howard is in his third derby, winning in 2006 and failing to get out of the first round in 2007. As the big story of the derby, Howard was born in St. Louis, the location of this year’s game and derby. He will have to win the hearts of the home crowd as he goes against home town hero Albert Pujols. The game will be on ESPN at 8 PM ET.

NL contestants:
Ryan Howard – Phillies – 22 HR
Albert Pujols – Cardinals – 32 HR
Prince Fielder – Brewers – 22 HR
Adrian Gonzalez – Padres – 24 HR

AL contestants:
Brandon Inge – Tigers – 21 HR
Carlos Pena – Rays – 24 HR
Joe Mauer – Twins – 15 HR
Nelson Cruz – Rangers – 22 HR

My predictions:
Pujols, Howard, Pena, and Cruz will advance.
Pujols over Howard in the Final.

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