Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Madson to the DL

Brad Lidge comes off the DL and Ryan Madson hops on. It’s like a vicious cycle of misfortune for the Phillies. Madson was said to have been injured during his blown save on Wednesday against the Giants.

Antonio Bastardo was called back up.

But the injury seems strange. Todd Zolecki reported that Madson broke his right big toe. I doubt he did that pitching which only means the idiot was so ticked at how much he sucks as a closer that he broke it kicking something.

The question is what did Madson break it on? A cooler? Nah. How about the bench. Eh maybe. Maybe he just took Ryan Howard’s bat and broke his own toe because he’s too humiliated to be seen on the mound again. Whatever the injury is, get better Mad Dog. You’re a much better set-up man than closer.


Series Preview: Mets

Phillies (12-9; 2nd in NL East) vs. New York Mets (13-9; 1st in NL East)

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Pitching Probables:
 Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 7.71) vs. Jon Niese (0-1, 3.68)
Sat: Roy Halladay (4-1, 1.80) vs. Mike Pelfrey (4-0, 0.69)
Sun: Jamie Moyer (2-2, 5.25) vs. Johan Santana (3-1, 2.08)

 7:05 pm; CSN
Sat: 3:10 pm; FOX
Sun: 8:05; ESPN

Hot (last 7 games): No one.
Not (last 7 games): Everyone

Player to watch: David Wright. Wright has appeared to have found his stroke, something the Mets have been waiting for him to find. He’s a great hitter and regarded as one of the best third basemen in the game. It could be a problem for the Phillies if he gets hot, especially with Moyer and Kendrick pitching. His .438 OBP is exceptional but he has struck out 25 times already this year. It will be an interesting series for him indeed.

Series overview: The Mets are coming off of a sweep of the Dodgers and are currently on a seven-game winning streak… The Phillies offense woke up on Wednesday and are hoping that carries over into this series, especially Ryan Howard… Pelfrey has been phenomenal for the Mets… The Mets are currently in first place and it’s the first time since the Phillies have not been in first since May of last year… Phillies sweep based on the fact I hate the Mets.

Lidge Activated

The Phillies bull pen (we hope) can breathe a sigh of relief. Brad Lidge is back and will most likely take back his role as closer. To make room, Antonio Bastardo got sent down to AAA Lehigh Valley

Ryan Madson was once again shaky in the role, blowing his last two save opportunities.

This is excellent news. Reports have said Lidge’s velocity and command were back and he said he felt really good. His knee and arm are fine and he feels like he’s back to 2008 form.

Late Inning Rally Sparks Win

  Wilson Valdez #21 Of The Philadelphia Phillies Hits

SS Wilson Valdez hits the go-ahead single in the 11th. Photo by Jeb Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Jayson Werth had a lot at stake during his two-out, bases-loaded, ninth-inning at-bat. The Phillies were trailing 4-1. Werth was 0-3 and in danger of ending his 20-game streak of reaching safely was in jeopardy and the Phillies were on the verge of getting swept by the Giants and dropping four straight games.

Werth came through with the big three-run double to tie the game up. After a couple wacky innings in the 10th and 11th, the Phillies held on to win 7-6 Wednesday afternoon, snapping their losing streak and preventing the sweep.

The offense needed to wake up and boy did it ever in the final moments of this game. Tim Lincecum was absolutely spectacular but once Giants manager Bruce Bochy yanked him with one out in the ninth, the Phillies had their chance.

Lincecum (4-0, 1.27) went 8.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, one walk, and striking out 11. Hamels (2-2, 5.28) was great too until the sixth inning. He lasted six, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out 10.

Ryan Howard finally busted out of his mini slump in a big way. Facing Lincecum in the fifth, Howard homered to left for the first time in 65 AB’s. He finished 2-for-4 with a homer and double.

The Phillies got the late rally going. With runners on second and third and two outs, Howard stepped up to the plate. Brian Wilson walked Big Brown to lead the bases for Werth. Werth hit a three-run double that just squeezed in foul to tie the game up at four.

The Phillies then added a run in the top of the 10th when Brian Schneider scored on a wild pitch by Jeremy Affeldt. But San Fran answered in the bottom of the tenth as Ryan Madson blew his second save on the season, allowing an RBI single to Andres Torres.

The Phillies then tacked on two in the 11th. Raul Ibanez led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ben Francisco. Wilson Valdez then hit an RBI double to give the Phillies a 6-5 lead. They added another run when Eugenio Velez dropped a fly ball to score Valdez, making it 7-5.

But it wasn’t going to be an easy win for the Phillies. Nelson Figueroa got out of a huge jam, surrendering only one run to hold down the fort for the Phillies, earning his first career save.

Doubles: Howard (6), Werth (11), Valdez (1). HR: Howard (4).

WP: Madson (1-0). LP: Romo (0-2). S: Figueroa (1).


An All-Around Ugly Loss

Whatever is wrong with the Phillies, it needs to stop now. Jamie Moyer pitched okay and the offense made Todd Wellemeyer look like Tim Lincecum as the Phillies lost 6-2 Tuesday night. This was the first time the Phillies were NOT in first place in the NL East since May 29, 2009.

Moyer (2-2, 5.25) wasn’t bad at all. He went six innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits, one walk, and striking out two. He got no offensive support at all. Wellemeyer (1-3, 6.33) went seven-plus innings, allowing two runs on three hits, three walks, and striking out four.

The Phillies attempted a late rally in the eighth while down 6-1. Ben Francisco drove in Carlos Ruiz with no outs to make it 6-2. The after Shane Victorino was called out on strikes (one of my biggest pet peeves), Placido Polanco hit into an inning-ending double play.

Then Chase Utley led-off the ninth trying to stretch a single into a double and was thrown out. Ryan Howard then stared at strike-three and Jayson Werth did the same.

The Phillies can’t expect to beat Lincecum tomorrow if they aren’t hitting. Though a break-out game would be due, it’s not happening against a pitcher as unbelievable as Lincecum. It’s a tough pill to swallow but I think the Giants will be getting out the brooms.

Doubles: Werth (10)

WP: Wellemeyer (1-3). LP: Moyer (2-2).


Lidge on His Way

It would be excellent news when the Phillies get Brad Lidge back. They have been hurting tremendously in the bull pen with the poor seasons so far for David Herndon, Danys Baez, and Ryan Madson. All three have an ERA above 6.00 and have had outings that made struck worries in the hearts of the fans.

According to Ryan Lawrence’s tweet, Lidge threw two innings today for AA Reading, striking out four and getting the other two outs via ground out. The only base runner he allowed reached on an error. With an outing like that, Lidge would hope to be back in the pen soon.

Madson has filled in considerably well despite his lone blown save that wasted eight shut out innings by Kyle Kendrick against the Braves last week. Baez and Herndon have both caused fans to utter, “Oh no!” when they would enter the game. With three more pitchers on the return, it will be very interesting what guys lose spots in the pen.

Recently acquired long-arm Nelson Figueroa was used in a spot start situation in which he threw over 100 pitches in  his five-inning, two-run outing against Arizona. The Phillies would love to have him back in the pen once J.A. Happ and/or Joe Blanton return; the latter will likely back in less than a week.

Top 10 Baseball Lyrics in Music

So everyone does a little Top Ten list on best baseball movies or best baseball characters in movies. I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to list what I feel are the Top 10 baseball-related songs or lyrics in music. This should be really fun seeing as I’m a musician and that has been the only love to equal sports in my life.

So here are my top ten:

10: “Tessie” – Dropkick Murphy’s: I hate the Red Sox and their little nation but this is a great song for a fanbase that was starving for a championship for 86 years. Now that they won in 2004 and 2007, I will have no problem not hearing this song again. 

9: “Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)” – The Treniers: Not only is this a classic song by one of the best acts ever, it’s about one of the greatest all around baseball players to ever play.

8: “Wild Thing” – Joan Jett: This song has nothing to do with baseball if you just listen to it but if you have seen one of my favorite movies of all time, “Major League,” you will get why. Hearing this song makes me think of Ricky Vaughn, the closer of the Indians in “Major League” nicknamed Wild Thing. The song blasts when he enters the game and the stadium goes wild. Mitch Williams, eat your heart out.

7: “Catfish” – Bob Dyaln: Dylan wrote this short classic about Jim “Catfish” Hunter, the great starting pitcher who famously played for the Oakland A’s and a couple other teams. It’s about a great player and it’s an amazing little folk song for sure.

6: “Rocky Mountain Way” – Joe Walsh: He has a line in there that goes,

“Bases are loaded and Casey’s at bat playin’ it play by play… time to change the batter.”

Whenever one mentions Casey At the Bat, you’re a winner in my book.

5: “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” – Jack Norworth: It may be the baseball national anthem but it is trumped by popular rock tunes that wind down the final four. The Cubs make it their 7th Inning ritual but they normally have celebrities that destroy the song.

4: “Glory Days” – Bruce Springsteen: “Glory Days” is just a summer song that mentions playing baseball in it. It’s a song often heard at games and is a song often rocked out during barbeques. The Boss + baseball = great song any day.

3: “Zanzibar” – Billy Joel: This song gets a high nod because it’s an incredible song all-around and it’s by Billy Joel, an avid New York baseball fan. The lyrics getting love in here are:

Rose, he knows he’s such a credit to the game,
But the Yankees grab the headlines every time…
Me, I’m trying just to get to second base
And I’d steal it if she only gave the sign
She’s gonna give the go ahead
The inning isn’t over yet for me, for me

Pete Rose is a former Phillie and Joel has updated the song saying “Rose he knows he’ll never make the Hall of Fame…” during live shows.

2: “Theme From ‘The Natural'” – Randy Newman: This is just an incredible song from one of the greatest baseball movies ever. I’m sure this song has played in your heads after a Ryan Howard home run at least once.

1: “Centerfield” – John Fogerty: The entire song. This song is baseball. If you wanted to get pumped up for summer, the crack of the bat, and the pop of the glove, you put in this classic. Whenever I hear this song, I think of the smell of popcorn, the hot summer days at the Sandcastle in Atlantic City for Surf games, and just the awesome atmosphere overall. Fogerty’s voice is American and so is this beautiful game. Oh and it’s also my ringtone.

Bats Die in Loss

Roy Halladay is human after all. After the way he pitched, Phillies fans would have never expected to see him allow five runs in a single outing. The Giants’ bats showed up and the Phillies’ didn’t as they lost 5-1 Monday night.

Halladay (4-1, 1.80) pitched seven innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits, no walks, and five strike outs. He was hit hard all game, something we’ve never seen and didn’t last eight innings for the first time all season. He gave up his second homer of the year to Eli Whiteside to lead off the seventh.

Shane Victorino had himself a nice little game, attemping to spark the Phillies offense. He went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Ryan Howard continued to struggle, though getting a huge extension. He is homer-less in 60 AB’s.

Whiteside and Pablo Sandoval both had multi-hit games for the Giants. Whiteside doubled and homered with two RBIs and Sandoval had a double and a couple runs scored.

The Phillies got runners on base and forced Jonathan Sanchez to leave early after throwing 107 pitches. Sanchez only lasted five innings, allowing a run on three hits and five walks, one hit batter, and fanning six.

On a positive note, Antonio Bastardo pitched the eighth, allowing only a walk and striking out two.

It’s frustrating seeing the Phillies offense struggle, especially when Halladay shows signs of mortality. The Phillies stranded (11) runners in the game, a ridiculously high amount. They were also 0-for-11 with RISP while San Fran was 3-for-7 and stranded only five. That’s unacceptable when you have guys in your line up designed to hit the ball.

Doubles: Victorino 2 (2)

WP: Sanchez (2-1). LP: Halladay (4-1).


Howard Signs Extension!

Courtesy of John R. Finger

You heard it from CSN’s Jim Salisbury first:

The Phillies have signed first baseman Ryan Howard to a five-year, $125 million contract extension, a person close to Howard has told Phillies insider Jim Salisbury.  The extension will kick in starting in 2012 and will go through 2016.

Howard is 30-years old and in the prime of his career. After cutting about 40 pounds from his 2008 form and drastically improving his defense and speed, Howard deserved to be a Phillie for practically his entire career.

In total, Howard will make $18 million this year and next, $20 in 2012 and 2013, and $25 in 2014-2016. There is also an option for $23 million in 2017 or a $10 million buy-out.

“We wanted to keep Ryan,” Ruben Amaro said. “He’s definitely committed. He’s been trying to improve his game since he got to the big leagues. We’re happy we have him.”

With 222 homers, 650 RBIs, a Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, and World Series ring in his repertoire, Howard is easily one of the elite hitters in the game.

Signing the deal now for the Phillies was smart seeing as Albert Pujols will be a free agent and could inspire Howard to ask for his kind of money.

Way to go Big Brown. Well deserved money right there. This almost spells doom for Jayson Werth, who could be very well traded at the deadline for either a top pitcher or a bunch of prospects.

“We wanted to keep Ryan,” Amaro said. “He’s definitely committed. He’s been trying to improve his game since he got to the big leagues. We’re happy we have him.”

Series Preview: Giants

Phillies (11-7) @ San Francisco Giants (10-8)

Where: AT&T Park

Pitching Probables:
Mon: Roy Halladay (4-0, 0.82) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 1.86)
Tue: Jamie Moyer (2-1, 5.00) vs. Todd Wellemeyer (0-3, 8.16)
Wed: Cole Hamels (2-2, 5.11) vs. Tim Lincecum (4-0, 1.00)

10:15 PM; CSN
Tue: 10:15 PM; CSN
Wed: 3:45 PM; CSN, MLBN

Hot (last three starts) – Roy Halladay: 3-0, 0.69 ERA, 26 IP, 19 K, 1 BB
Not (last seven games) – Shane Victorino: .167 (5-for-30), 6 K

Player to watch: Tim Lincecum. If there is going to be a pitcher who will be in Doc’s place in 10 years, it will be Lincecum. Lincecum is a rare pitcher. I’m sure we all hear about how he torques his small frame and extends his delivery to freakish lengths, getting everything he has and putting it into each pitch. Last time he pitched against the Phillies, Pedro Martinez out-dueled him. His numbers speak for themselves and the Phillies hitters will have a hard time with him.

Series overview: The Phillies are going up against one of the more dangerous teams in the NL… The Giants pride themselves in pitching and fortunately for the Phils, Barry Zito and Matt Cain will not be seen this series… Hamels v. Lincecum is the marquee match-up… Pablo Sandoval is the Giants best hitter… The Phillies will need their pitching to step up and their offense to fire at all cylanders again… Should be a tight series and will go either way.