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Category Archives: Tommy Hanson

Game 25: Paging Doc Halladay

Phillies SP Roy Halladay (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

There is something strangely off about Roy Halladay.

Yes his ERA is a blistering 1.95 but it’s the uncharacteristically high number of walks he’s thrown so far this season that has Doc feeling a little but under the weather. Through five starts (and a 3-2 record), Halladay already has thrown 10 walks, nine coming in the last three games alone.

In fact, Halladay walked three straight batters for the first time in his illustrious career over a week ago, a feat one would never imagine the masterful Halladay could pull off.

The reason for this can be related to Halladay’s small drop in velocity early on in the season. Doc has said that as he gets older it takes him a little longer to get stronger.

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2011 Moments: #4 The Might of Cliff Lee

Phils pitcher Cliff Lee celebrates with Shane Victorino at the top of the dugout after hitting his second home run of the season in the 7th inning. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Cliff Lee was forcing the Philadelphia fans to fall in love with the left-handed pitcher even more than they already had two years prior.

Lee’s swagger off the mound, his abilities on the bound and his ability to win over the hearts of more and more fans intensified when Lee belted not one, but two home runs through the course of the 2011 season.

On July 9, Lee provided the only run support he would get in the Phillies 4-1 loss. Granted they lost 4-1 in 11 innings due to a poor 11th inning by reliever Michael Stutes, the game was remembered for what Lee did at the plate.

In the 3rd inning, he faced Braves starter Tommy Hanson for the first time of the game. He worked a long, 10-pitch at-bat full before he sent Hanson’s pitch into the right-centerfield stands for his first career home run.

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Five teams to watch in the 2nd half

Atlanta catcher Brian McCann (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

With the second half of the 2011 season underway yesterday, division races, Wild Card races and the push for the best record in baseball begin to heat up. With just under 100 games out of the way, five teams jump out as the favorites to make the playoffs and do some serious damage in their respective leagues.

There really are no new teams in this year’s hunt. The Reds have stumbled in the first half of the season but are still four games out of first place in the NL Central. The Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants are riding their pitching to the best two records in the league.

In the American League, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are back at their three-way fight for the division and Wild Card while the Central and West are up in the air for two teams each: Cleveland/Detroit and Texas/Los Angeles.

The Wild Cards for each league will also present some interesting match-ups. Atlanta will have to battle with the NL Central if they can’t overcome Philadelphia and the Yanks/Sox/Rays may have some competition.

So with that, here are five teams to watch. This is not a Top 5 post but five teams who could make some serious noise in the second half of the regular season.

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McCann’s blast evens the series

For much of the season, Michael Stutes had been an incredible susrpise for the Phillies.

But today was not his day. Stutes surrendered a couple base runners before giving up a three-run home run to Brian McCann in the top of the 11th that gave the Braves a 4-1 win.

Cliff Lee did all for the Phillies, including the offense. Lee pitched eight innings of one run ball, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out nine. His lone blemish came on a solo home run allowed to Dan Uggla in the 5th.

But prior to Atlanta’s tying home run, Lee did a little damage of his own, smoking a 2-2 pitch, the 10th of the at-bat, off Braves starter Tommy Hanson to give the Phils a 1-0 lead.

The Phils blew an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the 10th inning. With the bases loaded, John Mayberry grounded out to first to end the threat.

2B: Mayebrry (6). HR: Lee (1).

WP: Sherril (2-1). LP: Stutes (3-1). S: Kimbrel (28).


Series Preview: vs Atlanta Braves

PHI: 55-33, 1st in NL East; ATL: 53-36, 2nd in NL East

When: July 8-10
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Friday: Roy Halladay (11-3, 2.44) vs Brandon Beachy (3-1, 3.23)
Saturday: Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.92) vs Tommy Hanson (10-4, 2.52)
Sunday: Cole Hamels (10-4, 2.40) vs Derek Lowe (5-6, 4.21)

Broadcast Info
Friday, 7:05, CSN
Saturday, 4:10, FOX
Sunday, 1:35, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM

Player to Watch -Craig Kimbrel: With the series likely to be low scoring and tight, the Braves may have to rely on their rookie closer. Kimbrel’s 27 saves shattered the previous record of 18 saves for a rookie before the All-Star Break and he has an incredible 70 strike outs. But he’s also blown five already this season and his 2.40 ERA in 45 innings shows he is vulnerable to getting hit.

Series Overview: This is going to turn out to be a huge series for both teams. With the Phils holding a 2.5 lead in the NL East on the Braves, they are looking to expand on that lead and not allow the Braves to get any closer heading into the All-Star Break. Read more of this post

Oswalt’s Gem Completes Sweep

As the Fresh Prince once said, the Phillies are, “hotter than Madona in a pointy bra.” Roy Oswalt, Raul Ibanez, and one-hitter are all I need to say to describe this beautiful 1-0 win to sweep Atlanta, give the Phils a six-game lead in the division, and put them on a scorching 10-game winning streak.

Oswalt pitched seven remarkable innings, allowing one hit, one walk, and striking out eight. The lone hit Oswalt allowed was a double by Martin Prado with two outs in the fourth to break up his perfect game.

Tommy Hanson wasn’t to be overshadowed as well. The Braves starter allowed only two hits and three walks in six innings of work while striking out four. Neither he or Oswalt got credited with a decision.

Brad Lidge locked the door, earning his 26th save on the year. Lidge earned a save in each of the three games this series.

The Phillies finally got on the board in the eighth. Chase Utley led-off the inning getting hit by a pitch but Ryan Howard hit into a double play. Jayson Werth was walked immediately after and Ibanez ripped an RBI double with Werth scoring from first.

The Phillies are off Thursday and will begin a weekend series at home against the Mets, their final home series of the season.

2B: Ruiz (25), Ibanez (35).

WP: Madson (6-2). LP: Venters (0-1). S: Lidge (26).


The “Big Three” Is the Story this Series

By John Russo

Phils lefty Cole Hamels strikes out a career-high 13 batters in the Phils 2-1 win over Florida on Sept. 14. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Charlie Manuel knows what he did just put his team in the best position to win. So does Bobby Cox, who knows what it’s like to have a “Big Three” on his roster.

“It’s unbelievable,” Cox said before Monday’s game. “Oswalt’s been dynamite ever since he got over here. It’s a good situation for him for a change. And just looking at Hamels right now. There’s nothing but zeroes in runs just about. He’s kind of secretly in that Cy Young mix. Halladay is unbelievable. We used to play him in the spring and you can see it.”

The Phillies lined up their rotation for this series, pitching Cole Hamels in last night’s 3-1 win. Hamels allowed a run in eight strong innings of work while striking out six.

Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, the other two pieces to the big three, will pitch tonight and tomorrow respectively. Halladay dominated the Braves in his previous two starts this season, throwing a five-hit complete game shut out in April and a five-hit, one-run complete game in the beginning of July.

Ace Roy Halladay has been a blessing for the Phillies this season. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Cox is throwing Mike Minor and Tommy Hanson against the Phils this series. With Jair Jurrjens’ injury yesterday that forced him to pitch Brandon Beachy, there were questions on whether Cox should have moved everyone up a start to pitch his ace, Tim Hudson, against Oswalt.

“No, we got confidence in our guys running out there,” Cox said. “Minor is a very good pitcher and Tommy Hanson is pretty dominating at times too so we like our chances with good young pitchers.”

In today’s match up. Halladay will be going for his 20th win on the season. If (and assuming when) he gets that next win, he will be the first Phillies pitcher to do so since 1982 when Steve Carlton went 23-11.

Hamels, Halladay, and Oswalt all have ERAs under 3.00, another remarkable feat. Hamels and Oswalts ERAs have been on a steady decline the past two months while Doc’s was always low.

RHP Roy Oswalt dominates the Dodgers on Aug. 10. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Since Oswalt’s first start on July 30, he is 7-1 with a 1.94 ERA and 61 strike outs in 11 starts. Also since that date, Hamels is 5-3 with a 1.91 ERA and 79 strike outs in 10 starts and Halladay is 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA and 61 strike outs in nine starts.

Manuel doesn’t feel there is one “ace” on the staff.

“Whoever pitches good on that night,” Manuel said when asked who he considers the staff ace after Monday’s 3-1 win. “We got some good pitchers and we don’t like to say which ones the ace. I like all three of them – our top ones – and I think (Joe) Blanton and (Kyle) Kendrick have done a good job for us. I like the fact that they do pitch good games at times.”

Cox has had a big three before in his career. From 1993-2002, he had three possible future Hall of Famers in the rotation for him: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. The Braves won their division all nine years that trio was together.

Will this Phillies “Big Three” bring them a World Series like it did Cox in 1995? We sure hope so.

Series Preview: Braves

PHI: 89-61, 1st in NL East
ATL: 86-64, 2nd in NL East
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Probable pitchers
Mon: Cole Hamels (11-10, 3.01) vs. Brandon Beachy (0-0, 0.00)
Tue: Roy Halladay (19-10, 2.49) vs. Mike Minor (3-1, 5.84)
Wed: Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.90) vs. Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.62)

Mon: 7:05; CSN
Tue: 7:05; CSN
Wed: 7:05; CSN
Radio: 1020 AM

Player to Watch – Jason Heyward: Heyward is enjoying a nice rookie season. The outfielder is hitting .286 with 18 homers and 72 RBIs on the season for the Braves. There was a lot of pressure on Heyward as a rookie.  He has basically handed the starting right-fielder job right in spring training.  As a rookie, he has struck out a ton which will work in the favor if the Phils’ Big Three, who feast on young hitters.  Heyward has calmed down a bit lately on the strikeout totals.  He has only recorded four strikeouts in his last 31 at-bats.  He is going to have to be patient if he wants to solve the Phils’ Big Three.  Heyward is a guy that has a tremendous amount of power to all fields and the Phillies pitchers will have to selectively choose their pitches to this youngster.

Series overview: This is the biggest series of the season for both Philadelphia and Atlanta. Atlanta will need to win the series to gain some sort of ground. If the Phils can manage two wins, they position themselves for a fourth-straight division win.

The Phillies are coming off a sweep of the Washington Nationals.  The Braves just finished a sweep of the New York Mets.

The pitching matchups in this series seem very one-sided with the Phillies having a huge upperhand.  This series is a chance for the Phillies to put the division out of reach and to stay on the winning track heading down the stretch.

Tonight’s contest features arguably one of the hottest pitchers in baseball Cole Hamels.  Hamels is 4-0 with 0.60 ERA in his last five starts.  In three of those starts, he didn’t give up a single run.  The Braves had a last minute pitching change today.  Jair Jurrjens was slated to start but will be sidelined due to a knee injury.  Rookie right-hander Brandon Beachy will start in place of Jurrjens.  Beachy was a combined 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA in the minor leagues this season.

Tuesday’s game pits Roy Halladay against rookie starter Mike Minor.  Halladay has struggled a bit as of late.  Halladay has given up a combined 18 runs in his last two starts.  However he still was able to record victories in both starts, which speaks volumes of where the offense is lately.  Minor on the other hand has struggled since being called up.  He is 3-1 but his 5.84 ERA is very troublesome for the Braves.  His record is a product of a good offensive team.  The Phillies should be able to give Halladay enough run support in this contest.

In the series finale, Roy Oswalt will take on Tommy Hanson.  Oswalt has been absolutely superb as of late.  In his last five starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA.  Since coming over to the Phillies Oswalt has really turned his season around.  He has only suffered one loss in a Phillies uniform.  Hanson is a young pitcher that the Braves are banking on being a future ace.  But Hanson is not pitching too bad lately.  In his last five starts he has a 2-2 record with a 2.80 ERA.  He hasn’t gotten lit up too much but just hasn’t been able to notch many victories.

Phils Fall Out of First

The Atlanta Braves have been on a role and they used that momentum to carry them into first place of the NL East. They did so by beating Philadelphia 9-3 to take a half-game lead in the division.

Troy Glaus continued on his tear, going 2-for-3 with a three-run homer in the seventh. Chipper Jones homered in the first inning and drove in two runs and Yunel Escobar and Eric Hinske each drove in two runs. Phenom Jason Heyward went 0-5.

The Phillies scored three runs in the top of the seventh to make it 6-3 before Glaus’ three-run bomb. With two outs, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz, Wilson Valdez, and Ben Francisco each doubled one after another to score three.

Joe Blanton (1-4, 5.68) has just been awful this season. He got hit around today, giving up six runs, four earned, in six innings of work on eight hits and a walk while striking out two. Chad Durbin allowed the three-run homer in the seventh though two of the runs weren’t credited to him.

Tommy Hanson allowed a run on three hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings pitched. He struck out two in the effort to improve his record to 5-3.

The Phillies haven’t scored more than three runs since May 21 against Boston, a 5-1 victory. Since then, they’ve score 10 total runs, been shut out in five, and are 2-7.

Doubles: Ibanez (10), Ruiz (6), Valdez (7), Francisco (3).

WP: Hanson (5-3). LP: Blanton (1-4).