Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: April 2011

7th Heaven

Shades of last season were looming at Citizens Bank Park today.

With Roy Halladay dealing, the Mets held a 1-0 lead heading into the 7th. For sure it appeared the Phillies would have to life the right-hander with only 78 pitches under his belt.

But a big blast and some small ball scored two for the Phils and Halladay was able to finish the game, beating New York 2-1.

It was the 60th career complete game for Halladay. He allowed a run on seven hits and a walk while striking out eight in the win. Halladay improved to 4-1 and lowered his ERA 2.14. Read more of this post


6 for 6: Howard’s big game crushes Mets

It was a record-breaking night for the Phillies.

Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco both set Phillies records for the month of April as they played key roles in the Phillies 10-3 drubbing of the Mets Friday night.

Ryan Howard rips a two-run homer to the second deck in right field. It was the first of two homers. Howard also drove in six RBIs. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Howard hit two home runs and drove in six RBIs. Polanco had two hits and drove in two runs as well. The offensive surge overshadowed the fact Vance Worley was making his first start of 2011 in place of the injured Joe Blanton (will get to that later).

The Phils broke the scoreless tie in the 4th inning when Howard sent Mets starter Mike Pelfrey’s offering into the right field upper deck. Two innings later, Howard cleared the bases the only way he knows best, hitting his 10th career grand slam off reliever Dillon Gee.

Worley was everything plus more the Phillies wanted from the young righty, making an emergency start in place of Blanton. He was strong through six, allowing four walks and two hits while striking out five.

The same could not be said for Pelfrey, who got pummeled for the second time this season against Philadelphia. He lasted only 4 1/3 while giving up four runs on eight hits and a walk.

A pair of records were broken tonight by Howard and Polanco. Howard’s 27 RBIs this month are a new club record for April, shattering Pat Burrell’s 24 in 2008 with one game to go. Polanco also hit his 39th hit, a record for April. Polanco his hitting .390, second in the majors.

The 3-4-5 for the Phillies have finally heated back up. Jimmy Rollins’ two-hit night brought his average up to a .282. Howard’s two hits brought him above .300 and Ben Francisco’s two hits got him up to .272. In their last three games, the trio is a combined 17-for-40 (.425) with three doubles, five homers, and 17 RBIs.

HR: Howard 2 (6).

WP: Worley (1-0). LP: Pelfrey (1-3).


INJURY UPDATES — In a series of three Tweets by Todd Zolecki, he updated us on the Phillies injury situation as released by Ruben Amaro earlier today (tweets read bottom to top):

Phils DFA Zagurski, add third catcher

Ruben Amaro had commented the other day the Phils were going to add a third catcher in order to rest Carlos Ruiz’s back. In doing so, they desdignated left-handed reliever Mike Zagurski for assignment.

Taking his place on the 25 and 40-man roster is catcher Dane Sardinha. The 32-year-old catcher hit .205 (8-for-40) with the Phillies last season when Ruiz and back-up Brian Schneider shared separate stints on the DL.

Schneider will be making the starts and Sardinha’s presence is for emergency situations only. Once Ruiz is fully healthy, Sardinha will head back to Lehigh Valley where he’s currently hitting .105 (4-for-38).

The Super Rotation has been hit!

The Phillies stellar rotation has been decimated greatly with the great blow they took today.

Staff ace Joe Blanton was put on the 15-day DL – that’s like three whole starts plus more – with an impingment of the right elbow. Vance Worley will start tomorrow’s game against the Mets.

Blanton has been the best pitcher on the Phils staff. He has recorded only one loss (0-1) and has a 5.92 ERA, the highest of the five. That makes 2.41 ERA look minuscule (Cy Young winner my ass).

Blanton was a heavy Cy Young candidate heading into this season. He was so good, all five of his heads graced the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2011 MLB season preview.

The Phillies will never be able to recover with this loss. Facing the Mets, their hated division rival and announced “team to beat” by many optimistic fans, the Phils will be lucky to steal a win if that Cliff Lee guy can pitch a quality start.

Down On The Pharm

TTB staffer Chris Bengel went to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs game last night and will offer a few insights on the Phillies’ AAA affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The IronPigs faced the Pawtucket Red Sox last night and came away with an 8-2 victory.

The interesting part about the game was that the Red Sox starting pitcher was none other than former Phillie Brandon Duckworth. That certainly provided me with a stroll down memory lane as Duckworth was a top prospect for the Phillies years ago.

The IronPigs' Josh Barfield collides with Red Sox catcher Luis Exposito. He was safe at the plate. LV won 10-2 in the game.

There were a few players that I was looking forward to seeing last night. One was outfielder Delwyn Young.

Young had a very good spring and was in serious consideration to make the Phillies roster. But Young is not having a good season up at Lehigh Valley. Young is hitting .167 on the season. He went 0-for-4 last night against Pawtucket pitching. He did hit two long fly balls to the warning track  that were eventually caught.

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Series Preview: vs New York Mets

PHI: 16-8, 1st in NL East; NYM: 11-13, 4th in NL East

When: April 29-May 1
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Friday: Vance Worley (0-0, -.–) vs. Mike Pelfrey (1-2, 7.23)
Saturday: Roy Halladay (3-1, 2.41) vs. Jon Niese (1-3, 5.10)
Sunday: Cliff Lee (2-2, 4.18) vs Chris Young (1-0, 2.65)

Broadcast Info
Friday, 7:05, PHL 17
Saturday, 1:10, FOX
Sunday, 8:00, ESPN
All Games on 1210 AM

Read more of this post

Hammers and Hamels: Bats back a strong outing from Cole

The Phillies offense knew they had to keep up with the Diamondbacks with a pitcher like Cole Hamels on the mound.

Flyball pitchers like Hamels tend to get hurt in parks like Arizona. And with Hamels’ track record on day games, the lumber needed to wake up to avoid the sweep.

It was another strong day for Cole Hamels, who allowed three runs in seven innings of work while striking out 8. He improves to 3-1 on the season. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In fact, Hamels was quite magical in his start, despite one blemish. He was backed by three home runs and the Phils prevented the sweep in Arizona, winning 8-4 heading into the much needed day off tomorrow.

Hamels pitched seven strong innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk while striking out eight. His only mistake came in the 6th when Chris Young hit the first of his two home runs.

Young had a field day today, unlike the did rest of the series. He finished the series with three hits, all homer, and five RBIs.

Placido Polanco had himself a strong day, going 4-for-5 with a double and three runs scored. Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard homered in the win.

But the real star offensively was Jimmy Rollins, who finally had the break out game he’d been needing this season. Rollins went 2-for-5 with an RBI double and two-run homer, quadrupling his RBI total on the season.

It was also Rollins’ first home run of the season. The Phillies were looking for that type of production from Rollins if he was going to hit out of the three-spot.

The Phillies eight-run performance was their first offensive explosion in a while. It was the most runs they scored since they put up 10 against the Braves on April 9’s 10-2 win.

Raul Ibanez Watch: Ibanez pinch-hit for Hamels in the eighth, striking out. He is now 0-for his last 25 at-bats. His replacement, John Mayberry, didn’t do much better despite going 1-for-3. He struck out twice and stranded four on base, including the bases loaded strike out in the 7th.

2B: Rollins (5), Francisco (3), Polanco (6). HR: Victorino (4), Rollins (1), Howard (4).

WP: Hamels (3-1). LP: Saunder (1-3).


Pregame notes 4/27

A few things before the Phils 3:40 showdown in Arizona. Cole Hamels (2-1, 2.92) will take on Joe Saunders (0-2, 4.98).

OSWALT LEAVES — [Update] In a tweet from Matt Gelb: “Phillies say Roy Oswalt has left the team because of significant storms in Mississippi. Team is “hopeful” he will return for next start.”

[Original] It’s still a mystery as to what’s going on with Roy Oswalt. After leaving the game with only three innings and 57 pitches under his belt, many wondered if his sore back was ailing him.

Oswalt then left without talking to reporters. This morning, it was made known that he left the Phillies for personal reasons and that no date was set for his return. Manuel also specified that Oswalt was pulled for his ineffectiveness, not the personal issues or injury.

MAYBERRY IN — Raul Ibanez is a putrid 0-for-24 in his current slump. That is why Ibanez will sit against the left-handed starter for the Diamondbacks, Joe Saunders.

John Mayberry will start in today’s game against the Diamondbacks. Five of Mayberry’s seven hits this season are pinch-hits. Mayberry is only 2-for-10 in three starts this season but his two hits are doubles.

With the way Ibanez is slumping, the Phillies hope Mayberry’s offense kicks it up a notch so he can see more starts and more at-bats.

Chased: Oswalt gets bounced in Phils loss

One streak ended tonight while another hopefully isn’t starting.

The Phils finally topped the four-run mark but lost their second straight on Tuesday night in Arizona.

Roy Oswalt got roughed up in the 7-5 loss to the D’Backs, making it through three innings before being lifted for Kyle Kendrick. Charlie Manuel didn’t say Oswalt left due to back issues but Oswalt had left before talking to reporters said Matt Gelb on Twitter.

Oswalt allowed five runs on six hits and a walk through three. He failed to strike anyone out. Much like his last start in San Diego, Oswalt’s velocity and movement in his fastball were down, forcing him to go deep in counts and not get Arizona to swing at bad pitches.

Arizona third baseman Ryan Roberts drove in a pair of runs and had a two-hit game. Pitcher Daniel Hudson had a two-run double to go with his quality start of three runs on 10 hits in six innings.

The Phillies trailed four heading into the ninth but cut the lead in half with a two-out, two-run home run by struggling outfielder Ben Francisco.

Ryan Howard had a three-hit day with a double and RBI. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Francisco also had two-hit games apiece.

Victorino led off the game with a triple and was driven in by Placido Polanco. But Arizona’s three-run 2nd gave them the lead and they never looked back.

Raul Ibanez went 0-for-4, extending his hitless streak to 25 at-bats and dropping his batting average to .171. He did walk, his first time on base since April 21.

After sweeping the lowly Padres in four games, the Phillies will turn to Joe Blanton tomorrow to avoid a sweep of an equally pathetic team in Arizona.

2B: Howard (7). 3B: Victorino (2). HR: Francisco (4).

WP: Hudson (1-4). LP: Oswalt (3-1).


News slightly worse for Contreras

Jose Contreras got checked out and his diagnosed with a Grade 1 sprain in his flexor that he hurt over the weekend according to a tweet by Inqy writer Matt Gelb. Ruben Amaro thinks he will be out 3-4 weeks.

Also, Domonic Brown will start his rehab with Single-A Clearwater tomorrow. If he’s hitting and playing well, we could see him in Philly by early June if the outfield continues to struggle at the plate.