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Category Archives: Rodrigo Lopez

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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Phils Rattle Snakes

Struggling slugger Jayson Werth homers in the fifth inning. It snapped a 101-AB homerless drought that dated back to June 23. (John Russo/TTB)

The ball was carrying out of Citizens Bank Park Tuesday night. With the breeze to a minimum and the humidity almost non-existent, the cool night allowed for the Diamondbacks and Phils to hit four homers combined. But the Phils’ long balls packed more punch as they kept Arizona in check, winning 9-5.

Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, and Cody Ransom each hit two-run homers. Howard wound up driving in three runs, the last two coming on his sixth-inning homer that gave the Phillies the lead for good. Werth’s homer in the fifth was his first of the month. The last time he went deep was June 23, a span of 101 at-bats.

Cole Hamels wasn’t his best but neither was Rodrigo Lopez. Both pitchers only lasted five innings due to pitch counts. Home plate umpire Tim McClelland was brutal on both pitchers, who combined for nine walks. Hamels allowed three runs in his five innings on six hits and four walks while striking out eight and Lopez allowed four runs off of seven hits and five walks while striking out four.

Hamels left the game with 4-3 lead but lost the winning decision when David Herndon gave up a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds. But the Phillies got the runs back and Herndon the win with Raul Ibanez’s RBI single to tie it and Howard’s two run bomb to give them the lead. Ransom’s shot next inning gave the Phillies the 9-5 lead and eventual final score.

The Phillies got a huge scare in the seventh. After making a running catch on a fly ball hit by Stephen Drew, Shane Victorino left the game. It was said he strained his left oblique and will be evaluated again tomorrow to see if it has any long-term damage (let the Domonic Brown talks commence). This comes a day after Jimmy Rollins bruised his foot when fouling a ball off. The short stop arrived to the stadium today on crutches and did not play.

The win for the Phillies was their sixth straight and ninth straight at home. With Atlanta’s loss, the Phils moved to within 3.5 games of the Braves, who are facing a weak Washington squad. With two more against the D’Backs and a three-game series to follow versus the Nats, the Phillies could land themselves within striking distance if they continue this tear.

2B: Polanco (17). HR: Werth (14), Howard (23), Ransom (2).

WP: Herndon (1-2). LP: Norberto (0-1).

Boxscore.

Pitching Non-Existent in Loss

Kyle Kendrick, Danys Baez, or David Herndon: take your pick on who was the goat in the Phillies 8-6 loss to Arizona, ultimately losing the series in the desert. Kendrick lasted five innings in the no-decision, allowing five runs on eight hits, four walks, and striking out four.

Kendrick started pitching very well through the first four innings, holding a 3-0 lead. But in a matter of minutes, the game quickly turned into the Diamondbacks’ favor. Pitcher Rodrigo Lopez led off with a single and Kelly Johnson, who killed the Phillies all series, ripped a two-run homer to left field. It wasn’t over yet as Stephen Drew then tripled and Justin Upton walked. Mark Reynolds then hit a three-run bomb that gave Arizona the 5-3 lead.

The Phillies answered rather quickly in the top of the sixth. With Chase Utley on third, Jayson Werth hit a no-out sacrifice fly to score him to make it a 5-4 game. Raul Ibanez followed that up with a double that put runners on second and third. After a Wilson Valdez ground out, Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run single to give the Phillies the 6-5 lead.

But then Baez surrendered the lead in the seventh thanks to John Hester’s RBI double. Arizona then took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth with two runs off of Drew Herndon.

The odd line up for the Phillies produced some offense. Ross Gload led-off and had a pair of hits. Greg Dobbs hit second and homered. Utley, Ryan Howard, Werth, and Ibanez made up the 3-through-6. Wilson Valdez got the start at short and had a pair of hits and a spectacular defensive game where he turned a double play and made a great throw at the plate. Ruiz had two hits as well.

Doubles: Ibanez (5). HR: Dobbs (1)

WP: Rosales (2-0). LP: Herndon (0-1). S: Qualls (4).

Boxscore.

Pedro to Debut Wednesday; Moyer to Bull Pen

Hallelujah!

Pedro Martinez will make his 2009 debut with the Phillies on Wednesday. To make room for him in the rotation, Jamie Moyer was informed that he will be put in the bull pen. Chad Durbin was also re-activated and Rodrigo Lopez was sent to AAA Lehigh in his place. A roster move to accommodate Martinez will be announced prior to Wednesday’s game.

Moyer has been terrible all year and the Phillies will try his hand in the pen. He will most likely take the lefty long reliever role as Chan Ho Park will be the righty. It’s unknown on how effective he will be but Charlie Manuel feels he will still be a key player for the Phillies.

“Based on our reports on how Pedro has pitched in his rehab starts, we felt it was time to move him into our rotation,” Manuel said. “Jamie was a total professional and team player when we let him know of the decision to move him to the bullpen. He has been, and will continue to be, a very important part of this team.”

The move was highly anticipated by a lot of fans who were getting tired of Moyer’s struggles. Martinez went 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in three minor league starts. Moyer has been terrible all year, going 10-9 with a 5.47 ERA.

The Cubs will also pitch Jeff Samardzija in a spot start Wednesday versus Martinez. The game will be on ESPN at 8:05 ET. He’s pitching in place of Ted Lilly.

Pitching Probables for the Cubs series:
Tuesday: Happ (8-2, 2.74) vs Harden (7-7, 4.41)
Wednesday: Martinez (0-0, – -) vs Samardzija (1-1, 6.29)
Thursday: Lee (9-9, 2.95) vs Dempster (6-5, 4.04)

Marlins Sweep Phillies

I am extremely frustrated at watching this Phillies team play as of late. Three rants to be had on this team after watching their performance versus Florida (or lack there of).

Cole Hamels is a sissy:
If there is anyone out their that has no heart, it’s Cole Hamels. He has been a disgrace to watch on the mound and it can be said that all Philly fans are tired of his approach to each game this year. I am in no way saying he is a bad pitcher but this year it seems that he has been lazy and shown no will to win.

Phillies Nation had a post on him just being unlucky. I call BS on that as this is just Hamels not being good. He is showing no command of his change up or his fastball and his curveball is a joke. He knows that pitch sucks but he shows no signs of improving it. Ace’s can not be two-pitch guys. Thank God for Cliff Lee or this season could be in serious jeopardy.

Offensive Inconsistency:
After a torrid July, the bats have officially died. With the exception of Jimmy Rollins, no one has shown any consistent run support. They strand runners and they don’t hit with runners in scoring position.

Ryan Howard is awful. He hasn’t homered since July 27. Chase Utley is batting .148 in August with one extra base hit (2B). Shane Victorino is also struggling with his .227 average for the month.

Raul Ibanez’s lack of support:
Don’t get me wrong, he’s had plenty of hits. He just isn’t driving anyone in. This does have something to do with Utley and Howard’s struggles but he’s not bringing guys home. He only has one RBI since July 28.

It’s about time for another behind-closed-doors meeting where there is a lot of hollering from Uncle Chollie. This is his team and he has to tell his team that in order to win, they have to straighten their crap out.

Friday – Marlins win 3-2: Ricky Nolasco out pitched the steady Joe Blanton as the Phillies wasted another quality start by Big Joe. The only offense for the Phillies came from Ben Francisco’s two run homer, his first as a Phillie and 11th of the year.

Saturday – Marlins win 6-4: Hamels gave up a pair of homers including four runs in 5.1 IP. Howard went 4-4 with two doubles.

Sunday – Marlins win 12-3: This was just an ugly game. The Phillies went up 1-0 and it all fell apart after that. Moyer pitched okay, giving up three runs, two earned, in five innings. He gave up 11 hits and a walk as well, throwing 97 pitches. Rodrigo Lopez was destroyed for six runs in .2 IP. Pedro Feliz hit a two run homer.

Series MVP’s:
No one. I’m not even going to put forth the effort for Florida’s players.

Next Series: Philadelphia Phillies (61-48; 32-19 on road) @ Chicago Cubs (58-51; 33-19 at home)

The Phillies lead the series 2-1 after playing the Cubs a few weeks ago. The Cubs, much like the Phillies, have been playing some inconsistent baseball, allowing the Cardinals to make some room in the Central standings.

The Cubs offense has still been struggling as they are 14th in average in the league while the Phillies are 8th. The Cubs are also 10th in runs scored while the Phillies still have first in hand. Chicago’s 3.83 team ERA is 5th in the league while the Phillies are 11th.

The Phillies are off tomorrow, a great time for Charlie Manuel to close the doors and sit his team down. Hopefully the Phillies will wake up in time to prepare them for the real late season run that will lead into the post season. They match up well in the pitching category so we shall see if the offense shows up.

Pitching Probables:
Tuesday – Happ (8-2, 2.74) vs Harden (7-7, 4.41)
Wednesday – Lee (9-9, 2.95) vs Marshall (3-7, 3.93)
Thursday – Blanton (7-6, 4.02) vs Dempster (6-5, 4.04)

Rotation Battle Pt. 2

The Phillies are in a dilemma that most teams dreamed they were in. They will soon have six very capable starting pitchers once Pedro Martinez is ready. But who will go when he is ready? The Phillies already said that they didn’t sign Martinez to pitch in the bull pen. So he is almost locked in.

Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton are locked in. That leaves Jamie Moyer (who got shelled again last night), JA Happ (who pitches tonight to make his bid to remain in the rotation), and Martinez to battle for the last two spots. Rodrigo Lopez already lost his spot and has joined Chan Ho Park as the other long reliever in the pen.

So the Phillies are stuck. Right now, Moyer seems to be the obvious choice to dump due to his ineffectiveness all season. He has only pitched seven innings twice all year. He has been the bull pen killer. But he is not the kind of pitcher who could be effective in a relief role due to his style of pitching.

Happ has been proven to be human as of late but is still pitching pretty well. He can tighten up his spot in the rotation with a good outing tonight. If he gets beat up by the Rockies, the rumors of him being sent back to the bull pen could be true. The Phillies know he can start but how well he has pitched in the pen this season prior to starting can really help them boost a bull pen that has struggled tremendously all season.

One could only imagine what the Phillies would be going through next month if Brett Myers is ready. The bull pen would be the likely spot for Myers, who is in the last year of his contract. He may become the new bridge to Brad Lidge and could close if something happens to Lidge. His chances at starting are very slim and deciding to do so could cost the Phillies games.

A Giant Step Backwards

July was a phenomenal month for the Phillies as they went 20-7. But now comes August and it seems as it the Phillies finally cooled down. Cliff Lee’s amazing debut saved the Phillies from getting swept as they couldn’t figure out the Giants starting pitching, losing three of the four-game series. This was their first series loss since the beginning of July.

Thursday – Giants won 7-2: Rodrigo Lopez got hammered in the fourth as he gave up a total of seven runs, three earned, in his short outing. Pablo Sandoval hit a homer and had four RBI’s and Eugenio Velez drove in three. The Phillies offense could only muster five hits on Jonathon Sanchez.
Friday - Phillies won 5-1: Lee made his debut and pitched a complete game, allowing a run on four hits and two walks, striking out six. He also had a pair of hits including one off the wall in left-center. Lee got support from Jayson Werth’s two hits, including his solo homer in the second, and three RBI’s.
Saturday – Giants won 2-0: Tim Lincecum pitched another stellar game as he out matched Joe Blanton. Aaron Rowand scored on a Juan Uribe sacrifice fly in the fifth to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Sunday – Giants won 7-3: Cole Hamels officially has been the Phillies worst starter of the season. After a great start, he fell apart in the fifth and sixth, allowing seven runs, six earned. Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco had a pair of hits including Rollins’ solo shot in the fourth.
Series MVP’s:
Cliff Lee – CG, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 6K; batting: 2-4, double
Tim Lincecum – 8 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 8 K; batting: 1-2
Eugenio Velez – 7-17, 3 R, double, 5 RBI
Next Series: Colorado Rockies (58-47; 31-26 on road) @ Philadelphia Phillies (59-44; 27-25 at home)
The Phillies lead the series 2-1 (last played in April). Despite a crappy road trip where the Phillies went 3-7 (lost four of last five), the Phillies will come back home where they have seemed to have found their groove.
The Rockies have been playing tremendous baseball as of late and are riding a four-game win streak. Their offense is second in the NL in runs scored only behind the Phillies. The Rockies pitching is sixth while the Phillies are twelfth.
It can’t be said what kind of Phillies team you’ll see in Philly versus Colorado. The offense could be working the count and the pitching could be good but at the same time, you could see Jamie Moyer give up a ton of runs and the offense look just as terrible in the past seven games. The Phillies will get a needed day off and hope to rebound.
Pitching Probables:
Tuesday: COL: Hammel (5-6, 4.66), PHI: Moyer (10-7, 5.32)
Wednesday: COL: De La Rosa, J (9-7, 4.68), PHI: Happ (7-2, 2.97)
Thursday: COL: Cook (10-3, 3.88), PHI: Lee, Cl (8-9, 3.02)

Phils Land Lee in Trade

Well the Phillies had their eyes set on Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays would not budge so the Phillies went straight to plan B. They nabbed another former Cy Young award winner in Cliff Lee from the Indians for a package of prospects. In the trade, the Phillies got the 2008 Cy Young winner and outfielder Ben Francisco for four prospects: Jason Donald, Lou Marson, Carlos Carrasco, and Jason Knapp.

Cliff Lee is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and a 6.34 K/9 this year. He has come back to form in his last five starts, pitching at least six innings and allowing no more than three runs. He also has thrown two complete games in that span. In four games versus the NL this year, he went 1-0 and didn’t allow more than three runs and went at least six innings, nothing four quality starts. He also had a complete game shut out versus St. Louis.

The Phillies were likely frustrated with the Blue Jays’ demands and gave up on Halladay so they went with the next best guy. Not only is Lee a great pitcher but he will add to the Phillies already solid rotation. The Phillies also succeeded in getting a great pitcher without coughing up Kyle Drabek and JA Happ.

I love this move for the above reasons. The Phillies now have a rock solid rotation along with Pedro Martinez and Rodrigo Lopez as back up plans. Also Brett Myers could be back but a bull pen spot is more likely than the rotation. With the addition of Lee, the rotation now probably looks like this going by when each respective pitcher has thrown:

Hamels
Happ
(Lopez is scheduled for tomorrow)
Lee
Blanton
Moyer

Overall this is a great trade and the Phillies are now instantly the best team in the National League in my opinion.

It’s All in the Cards

The red birds were left feeling blue after their little visit to Philly. After being swept by the Astros, the Cardinals came into this big series a little hungry. They even gained a big bat in Matt Holliday in a trade prior to the series. They also took command of game one, beating up JA Happ en route to an 8-1 victory. But that was it. The Cardinals awoke the angry beast known as the Phillies’ offense and they completely dominated the Cards to win the next two games.

Friday – Cardinals won 8-1: The Cardinals finally solved the young phenom, JA Happ. He was pitching well until the sixth inning, where he saw his last action, giving up five runs in six innings pitched. Holliday made his presence known with a four-hit night.

Saturday – Phillies won 14-6: When Jimmy Rollins hits, everyone hits. J-Roll went 2-5 with a grand slam and Shane Victorino had a four-hit night as Rodrigo Lopez pitched a solid outing to give the Phillies the boost they needed to right the ship that sunk the previous night.

Sunday – Phillies won 9-2: The Phillies powered their way to a big win with four homers coming from Rollins, Victorino, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez. Joe Blanton pitched a brilliant gem, going eight strong innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk.

Series MVP’s:
Shane Victorino: 8-13, 5 runs, double, homer, 3 RBI’s
Joe Blanton: 8 IP, 7 H, BB, 2 ER, 6 K
Ryan Howard: 6-12, 2 runs, 2 doubles, homer, 5 RBI’s

Next Series: Philadelphia Phillies (56-40, 29-15 on road) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (43-56, 23-31 at home)

This should be a cake series as the Diamondbacks pretty much stink. This is the first meeting of the season for the two teams. Much like San Diego, the D’Backs have only one real bright spot in Josh Upton, who’s batting .296 with 18 homers. Mark Reynolds leads the team in homers with 26.

The Phillies are the best team on the road. The D’Backs are 14th in batting in the NL while the Phillies are 5th. As far as scoring, the Phillies own the top spot with Arizona at 6. Phillies are easily the better team. They should and will sweep.

Pitching Probables:
7/27: PHI: Moyer (9-7, 5.65), ARI: Garland (5-9, 4.41)
7/28: PHI: Hamels (6-5, 4.66), ARI: Haren (10-5, 2.14)
7/29: PHI: Happ (7-1, 2.97, ARI: Petit (0-5, 7.68)

Another Series Win in the Books

The Phillies are red hot despite having their 10-game winning streak busted today by Chicago. They seemed a bit fatigued after playing a three hour and forty minute game last night that went 13 innings. The Phillies have still won 14 of their last 16 and are running away in the NL East.

Monday – Phillies won 10-1: I went to this game but didn’t write a recap. Pictures are posted on my Face Book page. It was a total slug fest as Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz, and Ryan Howard all hit bombs and Shane Victorino added two hits. Rodrigo Lopez went six strong innings, giving up five hits, three walks, and a run while striking out five. Chad Durbin earned a three-inning save, allowing only one hit and sitting down two.

Tuesday – Phillies won 4-1: This game was a lot closer as Joe Blanton looked sharp, allowing a run in seven innings of work. The bull pen was even better, throwing six clean innings with Chan Ho Park going three innings. In the bottom of the 13th, Jayson Werth hit a three-run walk off homer to send the Phillies to their tenth straight win.

Wednesday – Cubs won 10-5: It was just a bad game today as Jamie Moyer got wacked around pretty hard, allowing five runs on eight hits in only five innings. Charlie Manuel got run after a pretty crappy call where Paul Bako fouled off a pitch that hit the ground before being caught by Cubs’ catcher Koyie Hill. Not like it would have helped much anyway.

Overall, the Phillies offense still looked good despite leaving runners stranded on base again. They didn’t have that problem in Monday night’s game but Tuesday and Wednesday were frustrating to watch as they left on nine and 11 respectively.

The pitching was boat loads better the first two games. Moyer has not been pitching well at all this year. His win totals are skewed as he has gotten lucky in getting help from the offense to earn him a victory. Unfortunately for him, the Phillies offense couldn’t keep up with Chicago’s as he lost. If his poor play continues as Pedro Martinez gets ready, Rodrigo Lopez may be the guy to stay.

Series MVP’s:
Joe Blanton: 7 IP, 5 H, R, 5 K
Jayson Werth: 4-10, HR, 3 RBI
Chan Ho Park: 3 IP, 0 R, 5 K

Next Game: San Diego Padres (37-57) @ Philadelphia Philles (53-39)
Pitchers: SD: Correia (6-7, 4.34), PHI: Hamels (5-5, 4.72)

This is a make up game from April 20. The Phillies are leading the series 4-2 and have won 4 straight versus the Padres. The Padres are playing pretty crappy, losers of three straight and well out of the division and wild card race.

The only thing San Diego really has is Adrian Gonzalez who is a lefty and will not match up with Cole Hamels too well as he hits .196 versus lefties. The entire offense, as a matter of fact, can’t hit their way out of a wet paper bag as they are last in the league in average and runs scored. I obviously expect a win and nothing more.

I will do a full game story tomorrow after the game and then set up the Cardinals series. I will be in Hershey all day Friday for a Dave Matthews Band cocnert and coming back Saturday to go straight to work.
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