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Category Archives: Minesota Twins

Father’s Day Failure

On a day celebrating fathers around the world, the Phillies were the only ones not celebrating. Roy Halladay was taken yard two times and Carl Pavano pitched a complete game to lead the Twins to a 4-1 win and series win in Philadelphia.

Halladay got hit pretty well but only allowed four runs, three earned on 11 hits while striking out eight in eight innings. Pavano only allowed a run on four hits, the lone mistake being a solo homer given up to Wilson Valdez, his second of the season.

Denard Span and Justin Morneau each homered for the Twins. Both also had two-hit games along with Jason Kubel.

The Phillies will have the day off on Monday before hosting the last-place Cleveland Indians for a three-game series. The Phils sit 5.5 games out of first currently.

HR: Valdez (2).

WP: Pavano (8-6). LP: Halladay (8-6).

Boxscore.

Phils Blow Big Lead In Ninth; Lose In 11

Saturday’s game was a huge emotional roller coaster for the Phils. After blowing a huge lead, tying the game up with two outs, and then getting rocked again, the Phillies lost 13-10 in an 11-inning affair that should’ve ended in nine.

Danys Baez will lead the group of goats of the game. Though I don’t want him deported, I am not a fan of Baez at all this season, eating my words of favor for his signing in the off season. Baez allowed three runs in the top of the 11th to give Minnesota it’s victory.

Cole Hamels really settled in after his rough three-run first inning to pitch seven quality innings, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven. He left the game with an 8-4 lead.

The Phillies had a 9-4 lead going into the ninth. Jose Contreras will be the first goat. Jim Thome hit a two-run bomb to make it 9-6. Then Brad Lidge entered, allowing an RBI single tacked onto Contreras to make it 9-7. Then Joe Mauer hit a two-run homer to tie the game, making it 9-9.

After a scoreless bottom half, Chad Durbin allowed a solo homer to Drew Butera (who?) to make it 10-9. But with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Ross Gload hit a solo homer to tie the game at 10, breathing life back into the Phillies faithful.

Then this is where Baez gets goat of the game. Baez was rocked for three runs in the top of the 11th and Ryan Howard struck out to end the game, capping off the come back for the Twins and the collapse of the Phillies.

The offense was awesome in the first three innings, scoring eight runs powered by a two-run triple by Chase Utley (3-for-5 with three RBIs), a Howard two-run blast (1-for-6), and a Raul Ibanez solo shot (2-for-3). Jayson Werth and Wilson Valdez also homered.

The one positive you can get out of this game is that Hamels was still very sharp and that the offense was scoring in bunches. The bull pen faltering was a bit disturbing and you can’t expect the offense to pick up on all of the pitching’s woes. Hopefully a tough loss like this won’t spin the Phillies into another funk.

Doubles: Ibanez (13), Polanco (14), Utley (13). Triples: Utley (2). HR: Valdez (1), Howard (14), Ibanez (5), Werth (12), Gload (3).

WP: Rauch (2-1). LP: Baez (2-4).

Boxscore.

Howard Powers Phils Past Twins

Second baseman Chase Utley hits a three-run bomb in the second inning. AP Photo/Tom Mihalek

Ryan Howard had a couple twin-killings, his style, Friday night. The Big Piece erupted for four extra-base hits, falling a single shy of the cycle, as the Phillies beat Minnesota 9-5, extending their winning streak to three.

Joe Blanton did tonight what the Phillies need him to do every start. He went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out one. He hadn’t allowed a hit through the first four innings but began to falter a bit. He still gave the Phillies a good enough performance for the win.

Howard was on his game tonight, going 4-for-4 with a double, triple, and two home runs. Chase Utley quelled thoughts that he was injured with a three-run blast in the second inning that Howard followed up with a solo shot. Placido Polanco also had a pair of hits.

Jim Thome received a huge standing ovation when he pinch-hit in the fifth inning, earning himself a free pass to first. The former-Phillies slugger was a fan-favorite in his stay in Philly and was one of the key players that transitioned the Phillies into a National League power house.

Jason Kubel hit a triple off of Blanton to brake up his early no-hit bid in the fifth inning. Kubel’s shot hit off the base of the right-center field and rolled away from Shane Victorino. Kubel rounded third but ran out of gas as he was thrown out at the plate by Utley.

The Phillies got a huge scare in the eighth inning when Carlos Ruiz was hit in the back of the helmet from the barrel of Kubel’s broken bat. He went to the hospital and we are waiting on the results from the tests.

Scott Mathieson made his 2010 debut and first appearance in almost four years. He got whacked around in the ninth inning, allowing two runs on three hits in 2/3 innings pitched.

Doubles: Howard (12). Triples: Howard (2). HR: Utley (11), Howard 2 (13).

WP: Blanton (2-4). LP: Blackburn (6-4)

Boxscore.

Series Preview: Twins

Phillies (34-30, 3rd in NL East) vs. Minnesota Twins (38-28, 1st in AL Central)

Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Probable Pitchers
Friday: Joe Blanton (1-5, 7.28) vs. Nick Blackburn (6-3, 4.96)
Saturday: Cole Hamels (6-5, 3.74) vs. Kevin Slowey (7-4, 3.84)
Sunday: Roy Halladay (8-5, 2.36) vs. Carl Pavano (7-6, 3.92)

Broadcast Info
Friday, 7:05: CSN
Saturday, 4:10: FOX
Sunday, 1:35: MyPHL17
All Games on 1210 AM

Hot (last 3) – Jose Contreras: 0-0, 3.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 0 R, 3 K, amazing since beginning of May.
Not (last 3) – Joe Blanton: 0-2, 15 IP, 20 R, 18 ER, 5 HR, 10.80 ERA.

Player to Watch – Joe Mauer: He is the best player in the American League and arguably the best in baseball. He’s the most dynamic catcher in a long time to play the game. His power numbers are low (only two home runs and only 28 RBIs) and his .311 average is 15 points below his career average. He’s been in a fun his last 10 games, batting .273 and only driving in four runs but much like we’re waiting on Chase Utley to do, Mauer can bust out at any moment.

Series Overview: The Phillies took a huge series away from the Yankees… Like Mauer, the Twins have been struggling a bit as they’ve seen their lead in the division diminish to half a game to Detroit… The Phillies need to keep pace with Atlanta and New York in order to not fall further from first in the NL East… Jim Thome returns to Philly where he was loved like a son… Joe Blanton hasn’t gone further than seven innings yet this season and hasn’t allowed fewer than three runs in any of his starts. He will need a good start on Friday to set the tone for the Phillies this series… Cole Hamels has been Philadelphia’s most consistent pitcher this season thus far. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last eight starts… Roy Halladay versus Carl Pavano on Father’s Day may be the rubber match in this series as pops will not only be treated to a cool hat at the stadium but also a good pitching duel.

Phils Saved the Henny

Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco tracks down a ball hit in foul territory to end the Yankees' scoring threat in the sixth. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

So a campaign was started today if you were following me to “Save the Henny,” as I had a pint of Hennessy cognac on line for this game with one of my friends who’s a Yankees fan. Well the Henny was saved as the Phillies stomped the Yankees, 7-1, to take the three-game series for the second straight year in the Bronx. It was the first series win for the Phillies since May 28-30 in Florda.

Kyle Kendrick was almost untouchable as he followed up Jamie Moyer’s stellar performance with one of his own. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed one run on four hits, two walks while striking out three in seven innings. Jose Contreras pitched the eight and an out in the ninth and J.C. Romero finished it off. Andy Pettitte was good for the Yankees but his offense left him hanging as the veteran lefty allowed three runs in seven innings.

Shane Victorino went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in the fifth. Carlos Ruiz had a pair of doubles and scored twice and Ryan Howard drove in two runs. Despite using his voodoo magic on his team, Chase Utley went hitless again, watching his batting average drop to an awful .257.

Kendrick was backed by some stellar defense as well. The Phillies had three plays in the field that could all make ESPN’s Top 10 tomorrow. Jayson Werth made a spectacular diving catch early in the game. Then with runners on first and third and two outs with the score 3-1, Placido Polanco made a diving catch on the tarp in foul territory to end the threat. The while pitching, Contreras made a behind-the-back stab on a come-backer and threw to first for the out in the eighth inning.

Robinson Cano drove in the only run for the Yankees, a two-out RBI single in the sixth that made it a 3-1 game at the time. He finished the night 2-for-4 as he continued his batting tear with a .372 average on the season. The Captain, Derek Jeter went 0-for-4 on the night as he was held hitless for the series.

The Phillies got the scoring going in the fourth inning when Howard drove in Victorino with one out. Victorino then hit a two-run shot down the left field line to make it 3-0. New York made it 3-1 in the sixth but the Phillies erupted for four runs in the ninth to pull away. They would have had two more run in the ninth but a ground ball hit by Ben Francisco hit off of Raul Ibanez’s foot with two outs. The two runs scored but the umpires gathered and ruled that it hit Ibanez for the third out.

The Phillies were in a must-win situation for not only their self-esteem but also to keep pace behind the Braves and Mets, who both won tonight. It was also interesting that the game where the Phillies had the best chance of winning was Tuesday in which they got pummeled and the two games the Phillies were expected to get smoked, they dominated.

The Phillies come back home to play first-place Minnesota for a three-game set before taking a day off and playing the last place Indians. The series against the Twins will be a tough one as they will be playing their second straight series against a team leading their division.

Doubles: Ruiz 2 (8), Ibanez (12). HR: Victorino (11).

WP: Kendrick (4-2). LP: Pettitte (8-2).

Boxscore.

Doc to Face Shrek Tuesday

The Phillies decided it was best to adjust their rotation for their upcoming series with the New York Yankees. Roy Halladay and Kyle Kendrick will be trading spots in the rotation because coach Rich Dubee wants Halladay to have six more starts before the All-Star Break and not five. The move will pitch Halladay on Tuesday against Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia and line him up to pitch against the first-place Minnesota Twins instead of the last-place Cleveland Indians during the Phillies’ stretch of interleague play.

“I ain’t worried about who we’re getting him against,” Dubee said. “I’m just getting him six starts instead of five.”

Dan MacNeal, myself, and five others will be thrilled with the move as the seven of us will be invading Yankee Stadium on Tuesday to see the classic battle between Doc and Shrek.

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ROLLINS TO REHAB — Jimmy Rollins will begin his rehab process Tuesday according to Todd Zolecki on Twitter. He was supposed to begin on Monday but it got pushed back a day for unknown reasons. Hopefully the Phillies won’t rush him back this time so he can last longer than a week in the line up.

5 Teams to Watch in the AL

Yankees – They’re the 2009 World Series champions and still kept intact the solid nucleus that got them there. They traded top prospects to land centerfielder Curtis Granderson, a much better defensive asset than Johnny Damon. They also traded Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez to bolster the starting rotation. With guys like C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Brunett, and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees boast a very good pitching unit. Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in the game and the aging offense led by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira can still put a ton of runs up on the score board. If things go right, they could have another parade down Broadway.

Red Sox – The pitching is truly phenomenal. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka form the best top-four in baseball. The offense is led by top young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Marco Scutaro is hoping to end the revolving door at the short stop position and Adrian Beltre is an offensive upgrade at third. Offensive depth is the only thing that should concern the Sox but they have the pitching to get the job done. David Ortiz is a shell of his old self but it still the DH.

Twins – It’s safe to say that Joe Mauer is the scariest hitter in the AL. The reigning MVP is one of the reasons Minnesota is buzzing prior to the 2010 season. Along with a new outdoor park and a very dangerous lineup featuring Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer, the fans and Twins have high expectations for this year. The only problem with them this year though is pitching. If their starters can have decent years, they could beat out Detroit for the division.

Mariners – Seattle is truly going to be a serious contender in the AL. The addition of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley will revamp a pitching staff and offense in need of fire power. Lee became a hot pitcher again after his last season transformation with the Phillies and will look to create a formidable 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. Figgins will add speed and Bradley will look to add power to a Mariners lineup that hit 160 homer (12th in the AL) last season.

Angels – Surely they make their case for a serious playoff contender every year but there has to be a breaking point. They improved an already solid lineup with Hideki Matsui and bolstered their bull pen with Fernando Rodney but the team still doesn’t jump out at anyone. The core of the offense is aging in Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Matsui and they lost Figgins to the division rival Mariners. Jared Weaver, Joe Saunders, and newly acquired Joel Pineiro will need to have season like 2009 to give the Mariners a fighting chance in an AL crowded with contenders.

East: Yankees
Central: Twins
West: Mariners
Wild Card: Red Sox

Pennant: Yankees over Mariners

Phils Lose; Hamels, Lidge Updates

The Twins used some big hits from the best players to beat Cole Hamel and the Phillies Saturday, 8-4. Greg Dobbs doubled and homered for the Phillies while a few others had multiple-hit games. Former Phil Jim Thome had a homer in the eighth inning as well.

Hamels was pleased with his ability to pitch more innings despite allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out two in the effort. Hamels is starting to really make use of the curveball he hoped to improve heading into this season. With the addition of that pitch and all that else has happened in the offseason, it’s easy for the fans to have their confidence restored in Hamels.

That condifendence starts in him.

“Being able to go that deep into the game, it’s just nice,” Hamels said. “Now I’m starting to really feel game-oriented, and ready to really get up there and get going.”

Boxscore.

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Brad Lidge is not ready nor will he be ready by Opening Day. Neither is J.C. Romero as both are still rehabbing and getting themselves back in game shape. Missing the opening series is evitable but Lidge still had hopes in pitching with the Phillies in the second series. He began Spring Training two weeks behinds all pitchers but feels he’s shaved a week off of that. If Lidge is smart, he will stop feeling he shaved that week off, use it, and not repeat the poor season he had in 2009.

Former Phils on the Move

Well it looks like some of the key parts to both World Series runs have found new homes this offseason. After Chris Coste went to the Mets, Pedro Feliz to Houston, and Scott Eyre retired, the Phillies saw two more guys leave for not-so-greener pastures.

Brett Myers just signed with the Houston Astros today, another former Phillie Ed Wade decided to collect. In eight seasons with the Phillies, Myers was  73-63 with a 4.40 ERA and 21 saves. He was hurt most of last year which led to the Phillies not signing him back.

Also a few days ago, Clay Condrey found a new home in Minnesota. Condrey was one of the players I was upset the Phillies didn’t bring back. In four years, Condrey was 16-8, with a 3.65 ERA in 189.2 IP. He was very solid in his stint with the Phillies.

Phillies Draft Two in Rule 5

The Phillies took two pitchers in the 2009 Rule 5 Draft today. They first selected right-hander Kenneth Herndon with the 17th pick. Herndon, 24, went 5-6 with a 3.03 ERA and 11 saves in 50 appearances last season with Double-A Arkansas, which is the Los Angeles Angels affiliate. He’s not a great pitcher and like Todd Zolecki said, his chances at making the Opening Day roster are slim due to the Phillies wanting a lucrative off season but he could be a mid-season promotion.

Their second pick was AAA prospect Angelo Sanchez, a right hander. Sanchez, 20, went 5-1 with a 5.52 ERA in 12 starts with rookie-level Elizabethton, which is a Minnesota Twins affiliate.

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