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Category Archives: Craig Kimbrel

Kratz Ties It and Mayberry Ends In It Comeback Win

Phillies 8, Braves 5
WP – Josh Lindblom (3-3, 3.58)
LP – Christhian Martinez (5-4, 4.39)
SV – Jonathan Papelbon (31)

ATLANTA — Erik Kratz may have won the backup catcher spot for the 2013 season.

The 31-year-old catcher, getting plenty of time during Carlos Ruiz’s injury, hit a towering home run in the top of the 9th to tie the game up, 5-5. The homer was Craig Kimbrel’s third blown save of the season.

One inning later, John Mayberry hit a three-run homer to left field to put the Phillies ahead 8-5 and Jonathan Papelbon nailed the door shut in the win. It was Papelbon’s 31st save of the season and 250th in his career.

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NL Demolishes AL in All-Star Romp

KANSAS CITY — The lineup was more dominant on paper. The pitching was more dominant on paper. And they had the crowd to their back.

Unfortunately for the American League, the National League stole the show in KC. Backed by a bases-clearing triple in the 1st by Pablo Sandoval, the NL squashed AL starting pitcher Justin Verlander en route to an 8-0 shutout win in KC, guaranteeing homefield advantage for the NL team in the World Series.

Sandoval crushed a 1-1 offering from Verlander with the bases loaded, giving the NL a 4-0 lead and blowing the game wide open only two outs in.

The Phillies featured three participants in the Midsummer Classic.

Carlos Ruiz caught for R.A. Dickey in the 6th, Cole Hamels in the 7th, Craig Kimbrel in the 8th and Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th. He had one plate appearance, flying out.

Hamels pitched a perfect 7th inning and Papelbon pitched the final out in the 9th inning, hugging Ruiz as the NL celebrated it’s third straight win of the All-Star Game.

Boxscore.

Bullpen Killing the Phillies Right Now

Facts are facts: this Phillies bullpen really sucks.

Eight losses this season have been credited to the Phillies bullpen.

That’s a 16-game swing. Winning half of those games would give the Phillies an 18-14 record and keep that firmly planted out of the cellar. Instead, it’s been a nightmare watching the last few innings of every game.

The problems have been very recent. The bullpen has a 7.92 ERA (39 earned runs in 44 1/3 innings) in 17 appearances from April 21  to May 9 (stats from a tweet by Todd Zolecki).

In the past eight games, the Phillies bullpen cost the team a win five times dating back to the 15-13 debacle against the Braves. FIVE… and they were all against NL East foes!

Let’s look at those five games since you’re all incredibly miserable and there is nothing to put you in a worse mood.

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Worley finishes 3rd in NL ROY voting

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

It was an excellent rookie season for Phillies surprise starter Vance Worley.

But was his 10-3 record and 3.01 ERA enough to topple Atlanta’s two incredible rookies? That answer was a no.

In a unanimous decision, Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel took home the National League Rookie of the Year award with first baseman Freddie Freeman finishing second. As for the Phillies starting pitcher, a bronze medal was awarded for his surprisingly stellar season.

The battle was between apples, oranges and pears. It’s not often you see a starting pitcher, closer and offensive force all make top three cases for the rookie honors.

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The greatest night of baseball: Phils, Manuel set franchise records

Atlanta's Martin Prado and Dan Uggla sit in the dugout after their loss to the Phillies cemented one of the biggest collapses in baseball history. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

How do you recap such an incredible night of baseball?

Records, drama, comebacks, chokes. It’s all a part of what makes the game of baseball special, and that all happened in one night.

Atlanta, GA: The Philadelphia Phillies trail the Braves, 3-2, in the top of the 9th. Rookie closer Craig Kimbrel was three strikes away from guaranteeing at least one more game of Braves baseball. The first batter, Placido Polanco, ripped a lead off single into right field. Two batters later, Ben Francisco and Jimmy Rollins worked back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out. Chase Utley followed with a sacrifice fly to score pinch runner Pete Orr and tie the game…

Houston, TX: The Cardinals just blew out the Houston Astros, 8-0, to win their 90th game of the season, putting them 1/2 a game ahead of the Braves for the NL Wild Card. Sitting in their clubhouse, they anxiously waited for the Phils and Braves to end…

Atlanta: In the 13th inning, Hunter Pence drove in Brian Schneider to give the Phils a 4-3 lead. They would go on to win a franchise record 102 wins and give Charlie Manuel a franchise record 646th win. It completed the Braves miserable choke. The Cardinals were in, the Braves were shut out.

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Series Preview: vs Atlanta Braves

PHI: 55-33, 1st in NL East; ATL: 53-36, 2nd in NL East

When: July 8-10
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Friday: Roy Halladay (11-3, 2.44) vs Brandon Beachy (3-1, 3.23)
Saturday: Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.92) vs Tommy Hanson (10-4, 2.52)
Sunday: Cole Hamels (10-4, 2.40) vs Derek Lowe (5-6, 4.21)

Broadcast Info
Friday, 7:05, CSN
Saturday, 4:10, FOX
Sunday, 1:35, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM

Player to Watch -Craig Kimbrel: With the series likely to be low scoring and tight, the Braves may have to rely on their rookie closer. Kimbrel’s 27 saves shattered the previous record of 18 saves for a rookie before the All-Star Break and he has an incredible 70 strike outs. But he’s also blown five already this season and his 2.40 ERA in 45 innings shows he is vulnerable to getting hit.

Series Overview: This is going to turn out to be a huge series for both teams. With the Phils holding a 2.5 lead in the NL East on the Braves, they are looking to expand on that lead and not allow the Braves to get any closer heading into the All-Star Break. Read more of this post

Early bombs set tone for Braves

The Braves' Martin Prado leads off the bottom of the 1st with a solo homer to left. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

Two poorly-placed, low-velocity sinkers were turned into back-to-back lead off homers for the Braves. That set the pace for Atlanta, who beat the Phillies on a night the Negro Leagues were honored, 5-3.

Martin Prado sent Blanton’s first sinker in the mid-80’s over the left field fence to give the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. The next batter, Nate McLouth, took Blanton to dead center for a 2-0 lead.

Blanton, whose velocity is still down after coming off an injury to his right elbow, lasted only five innings for the second straight time. His replacements, J.C. Romero and Kyle Kendrick, did not do so well.

Romero and Kendrick were roughed up for three runs in the 6th off three hits and two walks. That poor inning gave the Braves a 5-1 lead, which ultimately killed the Phillies hopes of getting back in the game.

They followed up Blanton’s two-run effort on five hits, a walk and five strike outs. Though his location was good, his velocity was down and that ultimately hurt him.

With these two starts, people are starting to worry whether or not Blanton is fully healthy. His fastball topped out at 88 MPH, about 2-3 down from his usual average. Read more of this post

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