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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Wes Helms

Third Base Wide Open For Next Season

Phillies 3B Kevin Frandsen. (Mark Hirsch/Getty Images)

There is a big question mark stamped next to the third baseman’s name for the 2013 season. It’s a position that hasn’t had a consistent inhabitant since Scott Rolen was traded in 2002.

A few guys like David Bell, Pedro Feliz and Placido Polanco were supposed to be main-stays. But only Polanco managed to make an All-Star appearance.

It’s also a position that has fielded the likes of Abraham Nunez, Greg Dobbs, Wes Helms and Ty Wigginton.

The future for third base still doesn’t look bright for the Phillies. General manager Ruben Amaro already knows this, and he’s already tried addressing it at the deadline.

Philadelphia exercised the option of plucking top third base prospect Mike Olt from the Texas Rangers in a deal centered around Cliff Lee but nothing ever came to fruition for both clubs. Olt would have given the Phillies their first real third baseman since Rolen, and a prospect to be truly excited about since Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

They also were named as one of the teams interested in acquiring Padres third baseman Chase Headley.

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Phils Win Wild Wet One

It sure as hell wasn’t an easy ninth inning, especially with Brad Lidge on the mound for the final frame. But despite loading the bases, Lidge nailed the door shut to give the Phillies their fourth straight win, a 4-3 victory over the Rockies on a rain-soaked afternoon. The win was also the Phils’ seventh straight at home.

J.A. Happ made his return to the Phillies rotation with a solid five-inning effort. The left-hander allowed three runs on four hits and four walks while striking out four. The bull pen followed up with four shut out innings in which Lidge finished off with a save.

The skies opened up after the sixth inning ended (or beginning of seventh which allowed our good buddy Mike Patota to win the rain delay pool). After a 99-minute delay, the Phillies attacked. Jimmy Rollins proved why he is the spark to this offense with his hustle. After Wilson Valdez led off with a ground-rule double, Rollins drove him in on a single and got to second when Carlos Gonzalez booted the ball in left field. Then he stole third base and took home on a passed ball with no one covering home. When Rollins plays his game and manufactures scoring opportunities, he sets the Phillies up to win.

Rollins, Jayson Werth, and Ben Francisco each had two hits. Francisco homered in the second inning and drove in two runs. Raul Ibanez, Valdez, and Ross Gload each hit pinch-hit doubles for the Phillies. For Colorado, Ryan Spilborghs went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the fourth inning.

Happ had his velocity today but not the command. He hadn’t pitched since April and it showed with the four walks and the 55/37 strike/ball ratio. Happ gave them five solid innings and kept the game close but he will need to do a much better job at this point in the season.

With the win and the Braves’ 5-4 loss in the 11th inning thanks to former Phillies third baseman Wes Helms’ walk-off single, the Phillies sit five games behind the Braves in the division. They are also three games back of the Giants for the Wild Card, who are playing Arizona right now.

2B: Werth (32), Ibanez (20), Francisco (9), Valdez (9), Gload (4). HR: Francisco (3).

WP: Madson (3-1). LP: Beimel (1-1). S: Lidge (9).

Boxscore.

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Dan Haren was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Los Angeles Angles for Joe Saunders and three “top” prospects. The Phillies focus will now turn towards Roy Oswalt as the trade deadline nears.

Historic Halladay

Phillies ace Roy Halladay hugs catcher Carlos Ruiz and is congratulated by first baseman Ryan Howard after his perfect game against Florida Saturday night. AP Photo.

Phillies fans knew there was going to be a no-hitter. But not many were expecting that Roy Halladay would be perfect. It’s almost fitting that it happened in Philadelphia where Halladay, a championship-starved pitcher, finally landed himself on a true contender.

Doc faced 27 batters and showed each one of them to their seats on the bench as he pitched the 20th perfect game in major league history and the second this season. The Phillies won the game 1-0 over the Marlins in Florida.

It was the second perfect game of the season (Oakland’s Dallas Braden threw one a couple weeks ago) and the second in Phillies history (Jim Bunning was the first on Father’s Day in 1964). The last no-hitter for the Phillies was Kevin Millwood in 2003.

Halladay got the lone run he needed in the third inning. Chase Utley hit a fly ball to center field that got misplayed by Cameron Maybin. Wilson Valdez was hustling the whole way and scored to make it 1-0.

One run was all that was needed for the 32-year old ace. He struck out 11 in the effort to see his ERA drop to a 1.99 and his record to improve to 7-3.

Florida thought they could thwart Doc’s efforts in the ninth with a couple of pinch hitters who have a history with the Phillies. They must have known ex-Phillies kill the Phightins, obviously leaving fans nervous. With one out, former Phillie Wes Helms struck out looking. Then former catcher Ronny Paulino hit a ground ball to third baseman Juan Castro who threw out Paulino to clinch history.

Josh Johnson was no slouch either in his effort against Halladay. He allowed one unearned run on seven hits and a walk in seven innings pitched.

The Phillies are winners of two straight and are hoping to build on the momentum. Though the offense has only scored four runs the last two games, the winning is all that matters. The offense will come.

Doubles: Valdez (6), Castro (5).

WP: Halladay (7-3). LP: Johnson (5-2).

Boxscore.

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In a classy gesture, the Marlins are going to dig up the pitching rubber and give it to Doc as a souvenier. From ESPN.com:

The Marlins said they would give Halladay the pitching rubber as a souvenir, leading to a slightly surreal scene. The lights at Sun Life Stadium went out and fireworks began exploding two minutes after the game ended, with the field crew preparing for a postgame concert behind second base.

Working in the dark, four men went to work on the mound, digging up the slab where Halladay made history.

Phils Lose Series to Fish

Series recap:
Monday – L 3-5
Tuesday – W 5-3
Wednesday – L 2-6

The series started on Monday, back in Philly. After a very successful 8-2 road trip that ended with a series win at Yankee Stadium, the Phillies would face the Marlins for three. After sweeping the first series in Florida, they were hoping for at least another series win. They didn’t get that.

Jamie Moyer took the mound on Monday, taking his 5th stab at career win #250. He pitched well until he gave up a 3-run homer to Wes Helms. Ryan Howard teed off that game, hitting a 2-run shot off the top of the batters eye in center field and a solo homer to left center. He was really the only offense as the Phillies could only muster six hits.

Tuesday was a much better game as Joe Blanton went seven shut out innings, striking out 11 total. The Phillies took a 5-0 game into the 9th and after Howard’s first error of the season forced 2 runs in, Brad Lidge came in to get the save after blowing two in New York. They got things going early in the first with base hits that were stretched and good base running, the complete opposite of Monday’s game.

On Wednesday, they couldn’t do much at all… against a reliever! Brett Myers pitched solid until the 6th where he got in serious trouble. Down 2-1, he surrendered back to back doubles to make it 3-1 and the surrendered a 2-run homer. He then left in the 6th with soreness in his right hip. X-rays revealed some jaggedness.

This could be bad news for both Myers in the Phillies. If he is out for a period of time, more pressure will be put on Cole Hamels, JA Happ, Blanton and Moyer. Hamels has been stellar and Myers has been drastically getting better. Blanton showed some life and Moyer is still awful. Not much can be said for Happ yet as he will be making his 2nd start on Friday.

Next will be home versus the Nationals:
5/28 – off
5/29 – Detwiler (0-0, 2.45), Happ (2-0, 2.60)
5/30 – Martis (5-0, 4.86), Hamels (2-2, 4.68)
5/31 – Lannan (2-4, 4.11), Moyer (3-5, 7.42)

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