The Phils continue to show themselves to be the best road team in the major league after posting six quick runs in the first as they coast to an easy 10-1 victory over the 2008 American League Champions Rays. In the process, the Phils stopped a six games losing streak.
The Phils took an early lead in the first as, with two men on, and nobody out, Chase Utley hits a two-run double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier reached base on a two-base throwing error by Rays’ third baseman Evan Langoria, and Shane Victorino, who had just walked, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. It became 3-0 Phils as Ryan Howard hits an RBI double, scoring Utley. After Jayson Werth followed Howard with a single, sending him up to third base, putting runners on the corner, with still nobody out, and Pedro Feliz struck out swinging, for the Phils’ first out, John Mayberry made it 6-0 Phils with a three-run home run, his third home run of the season, scoring both Howard and Werth. The six-run outburst made things easier for Phils’ starter Jamie Moyer, who would proceed to have an easy game, giving up only five hits before finally being taken out of the game in the seventh. Before then, the Phils would add to their lead. In the top of the fourth, with two men on, and nobody out, Carlos Ruiz hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, for the Phils’ first out of the inning, while scoring Mayberry, who had reached first base on a missed catch error by Rays’ first baseman Carlos Pena, then moved up to second on Chris Coste’s single, before continuing on to third on Rays’ center field B.J. Upton’s fielding error, while Coste moved up to second, as the Phils increased their lead to 7-0. Two batters later, with Coste now on third with, two men out, thanks to a Rollins’ ground out, 4-3, Victorino would make it an 8-0 lead as he hits an RBI single, scoring Coste. Utley then gave the Phils a 10-0 lead as he hits a two-run home run, his sixteenth home run of the season, knocking in Victorino. The Rays would score a run in their half of the fourth as, with two men on, and two men out, Jason Bartlett hits an RBI single, knocking in Pena, who had earlier doubled, while sending Pat Burrell, who had earlier walked, over to second, making it a 10-1 Phils’ lead. But that would be all of the scoring that night, as the Rays’ bullpen stopped the Phils’ offense, while Tyler Walker and Sergio Escalona, recalled from the minors to take the place of Clay Condrey, who had been placed on the 15-day disabled list, took over for Moyer and threw three shut out innings at the Rays.
Jamie Moyer got the win as he pitched six strong innings, only giving up a run on five hits and three walks, while striking out four, recording career victory no. 251. His record is now 5-6 with an ERA of 5.97. Tyler Walker and Sergio Escalona combined for three shut out innings, giving up only three hits (Walker), while striking out one (Walker). David Price took the lost, as he got roughed up for all ten runs, only five of which were earned, on seven hits and two walks, while striking out only two, in four and a third innings of work. His record is now 1-2 with a 4.45 ERA. Winston Abreu and Lance Cormier then came in for four and two-thirds scoreless innings, giving up only three hits (Abreu (2), Cormier (1)) and a walk (Abreu), while striking out five batters between them (Abreu (3), Cormier (2)).
The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Chase Utley leading the way with three hits, including a double and a home run, knocking in four runs, as he raised his batting average to .303. He was followed by Shane Victorino, who had two hits, knocking in a run, as he raisied his average to .308. Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, John Mayberry Jr., Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz had the other five Phillies’ hits, with Mayberry’s hit being a three-run home run, and Howard’s hit a one-run double. Besides Utley’s four RBIs, Mayberry’s three, and Victorino and Howard’s one RBI each, Ruiz knocked in the other RBI, as the Phils’ bats finally knocked in some runs, as they took advantage of some sloppy fielding by the Rays.
The Phillies (37-31, 1st National League East) continue their three-games Interleague Play series with the Rays (37-35, 4th American League East). The game will be played at Tropicana Field, at 7:08 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (4-3, 5.28), who is coming off his third straight no-decision, this one against the Blue Jays on June 18, as he pitched five and one-third innings, giving up four runs on nine hits and a walk, while he struck out two, in the Phils’ 8-7 lost. He will once again try for his fourth straight win and his fifth win of the season, while trying to eat up the innings to help give the bullpen a much needed rest. The Rays will counter with Matt Garza (4-5, 3.83), who is coming off a lost against the Rockies on June 18, as he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks, as he struck out five, in the Blue Jays’ 4-3 lost. He will be trying to even up his record while hoping to avoid getting creamed by the Phils’ potent road warrior offense. The Phillies will be looking for another road win, while at the same time go back to increasing their lead over the Mets.
Yesterday afternoon, the Phillies faced the Tampa Bay Rays in their final spring training game. Despite their best efforts, they lost the game to the Rays, 9-7.
The Phils’ ace, Cole Hamels, started the game for the World Champs. In five innings of work, he gets rocked by the 2008 American League Champs, giving up six runs on six hits, including two home runs, a solo shot in the first inning to former teammate Pat Burrell and a three-run home run to Carlos Pena, also in the first, and a walk while striking out seven. Gary Majewski followed him, pitching a scoreless inning, giving up only a hit. J.C. Romero then took the mound for an inning, being hit for two runs on three hits and a walk. Cedrick Bowers followed Romero, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. Mike Koplove took the mound in the ninth, giving up a run on one hit and three walks while striking out a batter. Hamels took the lost, with his spring record now at 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA. In spite of the bad outing, the fact that Hamels was striking out a large number of batters in the ballgame should be an indication that he will be tough to face during the regular season.
Among the batters, the Phils had eleven hits against Rays’ pitching. Matt Stairs led the way with three hits, two singles and a double, as he knocked in a run and scored a run, ending the spring with a .288 batting average. Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez both followed with two hits each, with Ibanez hitting a home run, a two-run shot in the fourth, along with a double, while Howard had two singles and scored a run. Howard ended the spring with a .333 batting average while Ibanez ended his with a .310 batting average. Hopefully, Howard will be able to translate his hot spring hitting into the regular season. If so, opposing pitchers are in for a long season while facing him. Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs and Jason Donald had the other four Phillies’ hits, with Dobbs’ hit being a two-run home run in the fourth, while Donald’s was a solo shot in the sixth. Werth’s hit, a double, help knocked in a run. Werth ended the spring with a .333 average, after a slow start thanks to injury problems. Rollins ended his spring with a .351 batting average, after coming back from being hot while playing for Team USA in the WBC. Prospect Jason Donald will be headed for Triple-A Lehigh Valley with a .310 batting average.
The defending 2008 World Champions are now ready to begin their title defense, ready to become the first National League team to repeat as World Series Champs since the Pete Rose-Johnny Bench-Joe Morgan-led Big Red Machine of 1975-76.
The Phillies will play the first game of their title defense tonight at home against the Atlanta Braves, the first game of a three-game series with the Braves. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park, with the game starting at 8:00 pm Eastern time. The game will be televisied nationally on ESPN. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers while the Braves will counter with Derek Lowe. Both starters’ records will be 0-0 with a -.– ERA.
PLAY BALL!!! and GO PHILLIES!!!!!
In the first of two games with the Tampa Bay Rays before Opening Night, the 2008 World Champions Phils defeated the 2008 American League Champs with a two-run ninth inning rally, winning the ballgame 3-2.
Joe Blanton started the game for the Phillies, pitching five strong innings, as he gave up just two runs on six hits while striking out three Rays. He was followed to the mound by Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson, who each pitched a scoreless frame, giving up just one hit between them (Eyre) and two walks (Durbin and Eyre with one walk each), while they together struck out two Rays (Durbin and Madson one apiece). Brad Lidge, who got the win, pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Lidge spring training record is now 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA. Looks like Blanton and the bullpen are all ready to start the season.
The Phillies’ bats got six hits last night. Jayson Werth led the team with two hits, raising his spring training average to .324. Jimmy Rollins, Jason Donald, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz got the other four Phils’ hits. Raul Ibanez, Chris Coste and Donald had the Phils’ three RBIs, with Donald’s being a walk-off single in the ninth inning, knocking in Eric Bruntlett with the game winner.
The Phillies are presently playing their last spring training game, also with the Rays, this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. They are presently trailing the Rays 4-0 in the bottom of the third inning.
In their final Grapefruit League game, the Phillies lose a wild shoot out with the Washington Nationals, 12-10.
Jamie Moyer started the game for the Phils and, in four innings of work, got torched by the Nats for nine runs on eleven hits, including two home runs to Ryan Zimmerman, a solo shot in the third and two-run home run in the fourth, and a two-run home run to Austin Kearns, also in the fourth inning, and two walks while striking out three. Not a typical Moyer game, but hopefully he now has it out of his system before he goes on to face the Atlanta Braves this upcoming Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Clay Condrey followed for two scoreless innings, giving up only a hit and a walk as he struck out one. Chad Durbin then pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits while striking out one. Jack Taschner took the lost as he pitched an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, a pair of solo home runs to Cristian Guzman and Alex Cintron, and two walks as he struck out one batter. Gary Majewski ended the game for the Phillies, pitching a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Taschner spring training record with the Phils is now 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA.
Among the batters, the Phils collected twelve hits. Pedro Feliz led the team with four hits, including a double and a solo home run in the second, as he knocked in three runs while scoring two. Ryan Howard and Matt Stairs both followed him with two hits apiece, with each man hitting a home run, with Howard’s being a two-run shot in the first, his tenth home run of the spring, while Stairs hit a three-run home run in the sixth. Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, Eric Bruntlett and Carlos Ruiz had the other four Phillies’ hits, with Ruiz knocking in a run. Greg Dobbs had the Phils’ final RBI.
After the game, the Phillies took a chartered plane back home to Philadelphia, where they will play two spring training games at Citizens Bank Park against the 2008 American League Champions Tampa Bay Rays. The first of the two games is to be played tonight at 7:05 pm.
In other sports new, as the Villanova Wildcats prepare to meet the North Carolina Tar Heels in Detroit, Michigan, to get into the NCAA Championship Game, one of my three alma maters, the Penn State Nittany Lions Basketball Team yesterday defeated the Baylor Bears, 69-63, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, to win the 2009 NIT Tournament. To say that I’m right now a very happy puma (not lion as the Nittany Lion is actually a Mountain Lion or Puma) is an understatement.