Tagged: All-Star Break

The Phils end the first half on a high note with a sweep of the 1st place Reds.

The Phils end the first half of the regular season on a high note as they sweep the 1st place Reds behind the six-hit pitching of Cole Hamels, as they defeat the Reds, 1-0.

The Phils took the lead in the third as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Jimmy Rollins hits an RBI single, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who was safe on second on a ground-rule double, thanks to fan interference as a fan in the left center field seats touched the ball while it was still in play, which was confirmed when the umpires reviewed the call, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Reds tried to come back in the fourth, as they loaded the bases, via a single to Paul Janish and walks to Joey Votto and Scott Rolen, and with nobody out, when Jonny Gomes hit into a force out, 5-2, wiping out Janish at home as Ruiz touches the plate for the inning’s first out, while both Votto and Rolen would move up a base, and Gomes would be safe at first. The Phils then got out of the inning as Jay Bruce lined out to Phils’ starter Cole Hamels, who would catch the ball before it could hit the ground, then throw over to second for a 1-6 doubleplay, doubling up Votto, to end the inning, with the Phils still in the lead. The Phils then tried to increase their lead in their half of the fourth, as they loaded the bases via a ground-rule double for Jayson Werth, as another fan interfered with a ball in play, this time preventing what could have been either a triple or an inside-the-park home run, depending on how the ball would’ve hit the wall in center field, by catching it, a call that was once again confirmed by a review by the umpires, Ryan Howard being hit by the pitch, and a walk to Ruiz, moving both Werth and Howard up a base, and with two men out. Reds starter Matt Maloney would turn the Phils’ away by getting Wilson Valdez to hit into a force out at third, 6-5, wiping out Howard for the inning’s final out. Neither team would make another serious threat during the game as both starters would keep the bats under control. The game would end as a Phils win as the Reds would go down 1-2-3 in the ninth as J.C. Romero would strike out Bruce swinging for the inning’s first out, then Brad Lidge would record his sixth save of the season by first striking out Drew Stubbs swinging and then getting pitch hitter Miguel Cairo to pop out to right for the game’s final out.

Cole Hamels gets the win as he pitches seven and two-thirds strong innings, giving up six scattered hits and three walks, while striking out three. His record is now 7-7 with a 3.78 ERA. Jose Contreras collects his seventh hold of the year as he pitches a third of an innings, walking a batter. J.C. Romero also pitches a third of an inning, striking out the only man that he would face, collecting his fourth hold of the season. Brad Lidge collects his sixth save of the year as he pitches two-thirds of an inning, getting out both men that he would face, striking out one. Matt Maloney took the lost, as he pitches six innings, giving up a run on four hits and a walk, while striking out one. His record is now 0-2 with a 3.09 ERA. Nick Masset and Arthur Rhodes pitches for two shut out innings, giving up just one walk (Masset) and a hit batter (Rhodes) between them, while striking out three (Masset).

The Phils had just four hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins leading the team with two hits, both singles, as he knocked in the only run of the game, for the second game in a row. Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth had the other two Phils’ hits, both ground-rule doubles, thanks to fan interference in both cases, with the second one, on Werth’s hit, being the more costly, as it might have ended up being either a triple or an inside-the-park home run, based on where the ball might have hit the wall and with Reds’ center fielder Drew Stubbs being positioned almost against the wall in center, that ball would have been going places, but, since the fan caught it, we may never know. Guys, let the ball alone unless you are quite sure it will be leaving the ballpark. You may never know what might be the results.

The Phils (47-40, 3rd NL East) will be off for the next three days (except for Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay, who will both be at the All-Star Game), trying to recharge their batteries before they start the second half with a four-game set against the Cubs (39-50, 4th NL Central) in Chicago at Wrigley Field.


The Phils enter the All-Star break on a high note as they complete the sweep of the Pirates, 5-2.

A five-run first inning and a strong performance by J.A. Happ was more than enough for the Phils to complete the three game sweep of the Pirates, 5-2. They end the home stand with a 9-1 record, one of the best home stands in the team’s long history.

The Phils took a quick 1-0 lead as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Jimmy Rollins, a single by Shane Victorino, moving Rollins up to scond base, and a single by Chase Utley, moving both Rollins and Victorino up a base, with nobody out, as Ryan Howard hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Rollins, while moving up a base both Victorino and Utley. Two batters later, with the bases reloaded, thanks to a walk to Jayson Werth, and now two men out, Pedro Feliz broke the game open early, as he hits a grand slam home run, his sixth home run of the year, scoring Victorino, Utley and Werth before him, giving the Phils a 5-0 lead. That would turn out to be all the runs that the Phils would need, as Pirates’ pitching would keep them off the scoreboard for the next seven innings, while J.A. Happ would dominate the Bucos during his seven innings of work, helped by some double plays. The Pirates would get a run across in the sixth as, with one man on, and one out, Freddy Sanchez hits an RBI double, scoring Andrew McCutchen, making it 5-1 Phils. After Madson pitched an easy eighth inning, J.C. Romero was given the ball in the ninth. Garrett Jones greeted him with a lead-off home run, his fifth home run of the season, making it a 5-2 Phils’ lead. But that would be the best that the Pirates would be able to do, as Romero would strike out the next two batters, and then get the last batter to hit into a 1-3 ground out to end the game.

J.A. Happ got the victory as he pitched seven very strong innings, giving up only one run on four hits and two walks, as he struck out four. His record is now 6-0 with an ERA of 2.90. Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just two hits. J.C. Romero pitched the ninth, giving up a run on one hit, while striking out two. Virgil Vasquez took the lost as he lasted only one and a third innings, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out only one. His record is now 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA. Jeff Karstens, Evan Meek, Donald Veal and Joel Hanrahan would combine for six and two-thirds shut out innings, giving up just two hits, (Meek (1), Veal (1)) and a walk (Kerstens), while striking out six batters (Kerstens (2), Meek (1), Veal (1)).

The Phils had only six hits in the game, with Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz leading the way with two hits a piece, with one of Pedro’s hits being a grand slam home run. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino had the other two Phils’ hit. Besides Feliz’s four RBIs, Ryan Howard knocked in the Phils’ other run via a sac fly. The Phils now go into the All-Star break ten games over .500 (48-38), with the third best record in the National League and four games ahead of the second place Marlins in the NL East.

Phillies start off the second half of the season visiting the Marlins in Miami, trying to get their groove back.

The Phillies (52-44) will start the second half of the season with a three games weekend visit with the Marlins (50-45) in Miami. The first game of their three games series will be played at Dolphin Stadium and will start tonight at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound the veteran Jamie Moyer (8-6, 3.95), who is coming off a recent victory against the Cardinals on July 10, where he went seven innings, giving up only one earned run on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 4-1 win. He has already faced the Marlins twice so far this year, winning both starts. In those two games, he has gone a combine total of fifteen innings, giving up just five earned runs on nine hits. He will be going for his ninth win of the season, while trying to start off the Phillies’ second half with a win. He will be opposed by Ricky Nolasco (10-4, 3.70), who is coming off fifth straight wins, although his last start was a no-decision against the Dodgers on July 12, where he went six innings, giving up just two earned runs on five hits, in the Marlins’ 5-3 win. In those five wins, he would go a combine total of thirty-seven and two-thirds innings, giving up only six earned runs on twenty-four hits. He has already faced the Phillies twice this year, winning both starts, going twelve and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on eight hits. He will be going for his eleventh victory of the season, while also trying to set the tone for the Marlins’ second half, especially after Andrew Miller has just been put on the disabled list.

As the Phillies get ready to start the second half, they have the knowledge that, like it or not, they are a rather good second half team. They also know that, with the Blanton trade, they now have an overabundance of starters, although not all of them are presently good (Adam Eaton and Brett Myers). The team hopes that either a returning Myers or the newcomer Blanton will become their number two starter, to help balance their ace Cole Hamels, while Jamie Moyer and a continuing to improve and impress Kyle Kendrick will become their no. 3 and 4 pitchers, respectively. And it is rather encouraging to learn that J.A. Happ, in his first start after being sent back to Lehigh Valley, has made a very strong statement to bring him back to the Majors, as he shut down the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in seven innings of scoreless baseball. At this point, the odd men out appear to be Eaton and Myers, with Eaton being the most in danger of saying good bye to Phillies’ pinstripes at the moment. Myers would be next, especially as long as he continues to be a headcase if he doesn’t show any improvement after coming back from the Iron Pigs and Reading. But with all that said and done, the Phillies still need to find a new reliever, preferably a leftie, to help the bullpen pick up the slack while Tom Gordon is still out and to help take some of the pressure off him when he returns. Lastly, hopefully the All-Star break will have done most of the players some good, especially Jimmy Rollins, who the Phillies need to get on base to help jump start the offense. (Jay-Ro, a word of advice, please lay off the first few pitches that are thrown at you, unless you are very, very sure that you can hit it away from a fielder. That’s all I’m asking. Be more selective at the plate. Oh, and Ryan Howard, will you please stop swinging at pitches that you can’t reach. Please???? The sooner you do, the sooner the pitchers will stop throwing their junk at you.)

The Phillies will begin their second half now tied for first place with the Mets, who will be continuing a four games series with the Reds in Cincinnati. The third place Marlins are trailing both teams by a game and a half as they prepare to host the visiting Phillies. The fourth place Braves trails the two division leaders by six and a half game as they prepare to host the Nationals for three games. The Phillies hope to perform better against Eastern Division rivals that are not the Braves, while trying to get back sole control of first place against the presently streaking Mets and the pesky fish.

Pat Burrell’s three-run shot in the eight help keep the Phillies in first place as they defeat the D-backs, 6-3.

Pat Burrell’s three-run home run will help keep the Phillies in first place in the East before the All-Star break as the Phillies defeat the Diamondbacks, 6-3. The D-backs would score the game’s first run in the top of the second as Cole Hamels would throw a fastball on a 1-2 pitch that Chad Tracy would hit out of the park for a solo home run, his fifth home run of the season, to give the D-backs a 1-0 lead. The D-backs would increase their lead in the fourth as Hamels would give up a two out RBI single to Robby Hammock, scoring Chris Young, who has gotten on base earlier with a bunt single, and has gone to second on a Chris Burke infield single, to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead. Normally, that would be the ballgame, as the D-backs’ starter, Brendon Webb was getting the Phillies’ batters out with a nasty changeup, which he was throwing in conjunction with his curveball. But, it wouldn’t be so today, as the Phillies would refuse to go down easily. In the fifth, the Phillies would cut the D-backs lead to 2-1, as with one out, Hamels would hit a RBI double, which would score Pedro Feliz, who has earlier singled, all the way from first base as the ball went into the gap in left center field. Hamels would then keep the score at 2-1 as he stopped two attempts by the D-backs to break the game open. In the sixth, after Mark Reynolds would get on base with the only walk that Hamels would give up and then goes to second on Tracy’s single, Hamels would end the threat by first striking out Young and Burke, and then getting Hammock to fly out to right. Then in the seventh, Webb would lead off the inning with a single, and then move to second on Stephen Drew’s single. But, the Phillies would get the first out as Conor Jackson pushes a hard bunt down the third base line that would be picked up by Feliz, who would then touch third base, getting Webb out, but is unable to double up Jackson, while Drew goes to second on the play. The next batter, Orlando Hudson, would then get a single deep to right, which would hit the wall in front of Geoff Jenkins. This would turn out to be good luck for the Phillies, as the D-backs’ third base coach, unable to tell whether Jenkins has caught the ball or not, would stop Drew at third base, which in turn would force Jackson to stop at second, as Chase Utley would relay Jenkins’ throw to catcher Chris Coste. As soon as he has caught it, Coste would see Hudson, who has thought that he was going to get a double on his hit, trapped near second base, since Johnson was still standing on the bag. After looking over at Drew, he threw the ball to Ryan Howard. Howard, while also keeping an eye on Drew, to make sure thst he wouldn’t score during the rundown, forced Hudson back towards second. When Hudson tried to run out of the basepath to keep from being tagged by Howard, he was automatically called out by the umpire, for the second out of the inning, with men on second and third. Hamels would then end the threat by striking out Reynolds for his eighth strike out of the game. In the Phillies’ half of the seventh, with two outs and a man on second, Jimmy Rollins would get a RBI double off of Webb, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who was pinch running for Coste, who has earlier singled, that would tie the game at two all. After Ryan Madson would put down the D-backs in the top of the eighth, the Phillies went to work on the D-backs’ reliever Chad Qualls. Utley would start the inning off with a single to center, then would go to second on Howard’s single to left. With two men on, Qualls would throw a 2-2 slider to Pat Burrell which Burrell would hit to left, into the flower garden, for a three-run homer, for his twenty-third home run of the season, to give the Phillies a 5-2 lead. Two batters later, with one out, Feliz would hit a solo home run, his twelfth home run of the year, to give the Phillies a 6-2 lead. In the ninth inning, with Brad Lidge pitching, Hudson would hit a RBI single, scoring Emilio Bonifacio, who has earlier singled, to make it 6-3 Phillies. But that would be it as Lidge would end the game by striking out Reynolda.

Cole Hamels would get a no-decision, pitching seven innings, as he gives up only two earned runs on eleven scattered hits, while striking out eight D-backs. Ryan Madson would get the win, as he pitched a shut out inning while giving up one hit. His record is now 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch the ninth, giving up an earned run on two hits. Brandon Webb would also get a no-decision as he goes seven innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits while he struck out six. Chad Qualls would take the lost as he goes only a third of an inning, giving up four earned runs on four hits. His record is now 2-7 with a ERA of 3.89. Connor Robertson would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits.

With the win, the Phillies will stay in first place in the National League East, no matter what either the Marlins or the Mets will do tonight. The Phillies’ players will now spend the next four days, except for Chase Utley and Brad Lidge who will both be in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night for the All-Star Game, trying to relax and get refresh, before they play their first series of the second half against the Marlins in Miami on July 18.

The Phillies (52-44), with the win, remain in first place as the 30 major league teams head into the All-Star break. They presently lead the Mets by a game as the Mets prepare to play the Rockies later tonight. The Phillies now lead the Marlins by a game and a half as they lost to the Dodgers. The Braves remain six and a half games behind the Phillies after their win against the Padres today. 

Edit: The Phils’ lead over the Mets stay at half as the Mets’ defeated the Rockies with ease. (I need to start drinking more caffeine if I want to avoid making such factual errors late at night.)

R.J. Swindle optioned back to Lehigh Valley, Joe Bisenius recalled before All-Star break.

Phillies recall Bisenius, option Swindle
Right-hander back in the Majors for first time this season

The Phillies prepare to host the D-backs in their last home games before the All-Star break.

The Phillies (50-43) will conclude their ten games home stand with a three games series against the Diamondbacks (46-46, 1st National League West) that begins tonight at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (8-3, 4.39), who is coming off a no-decision against the Mets on July 6, as he pitched six innings, giving up only one earned run on eight scattered hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 lost. He’ll be trying once again for his ninth win of the season, and for his fourth straight quality start, while hoping to be able to throw another quality start against the D-backs as he did back on May 7, where he went six innings, giving up only three earned runs on ten hits as he received a no-decision, in the Phillies’ 5-4 win. The D-backs will counter with Doug Davis (3-4, 3.74), who is coming off a lost against the Padres on July 5, where he went eight innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Diamonbacks’ 4-2 lost. Lifetime against the Phillies he is 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA in six starts. He will be trying to even his record, while trying to keep the D-backs in first place in the weak Western Division.

The Phillies’ offense is still trying to regain its strength while starting pitching has been pitching rather well during the last several games in spite of getting almost no help from the offense. During this time, Ryan Howard’s bat seem to have come alive, as he has hit safely in his last thirteen games, and in the last ten, he has gone 15 for 40 for a .375 average, getting in that span seven extra-base hits, all of them home runs, and knocking in fifteen RBIs, as he has taken the National League lead in both home runs (27) and RBIs (83). Howard is presently riding on a hot bat, as he has raised his batting average to .234. The Phillies will be looking towards riding on his hot bat for a while. Another hot bat is Pat Burrell, who, during the same ten games span, has gone 12 for 35 for a .343 average, although taking the collar (0 for 3) in last night’s game. Burrell will be trying to see if he can remain hot. A third hot bat, believe it or not, is Pedro Feliz, who has hit 11 for 35 in his last ten games for a .314 average, lifting his average up to .266. Another player who has been swinging the bat better lately is Jimmy Rollins who has gone 12 for 41 in the last ten games for a .293 average, along with five stolen bases. Jimmy could probably improve on his average by not swinging at the first three pitches thrown at him by pitchers, becoming more selective at the plate as he was last year. The Phillies’ offense hope that Chase Utley and Shane Victorino will also get hot during the last series of their present home stand, before they go out on their next road trip which will take them to Miami and New York, before coming back home for a short home stand with the Braves.

The Phillies’ lead over the Marlins and the Mets is still a game and a half, as both teams won their games yesterday, while their lead over the Braves has increased to six and a half games as the Braves has the day off. As the Phillies prepare to host the D-backs, the fish will continue their four games series with the Dodgers in Los Angeles, while the Mets will start a three games series at home with the Rockies, and the Braves will begin a three games series with the Padres in San Diego. The Phillies will be trying to win the third of their last four series while trying to increase their lead in the East before the All-Star break.

Phillies finally win a series as they defeat the Braves once again in Atlanta, 7-3.

Adam Eaton finally gets his third win of the year as the Phillies defeat the Braves once again in their home ballpark, 7-3. The Phillies would score their first run of the game in the second inning, as Pedro Feliz (ground rule) and Chris Coste would hit back to back doubles to score Feliz and give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would try to make 2-0 when Coste would be sent home in an attempt to score on an Eaton single to left. Unfortunately, a strike to home from left fielder Gregor Blanco, and a tag by catcher Brain McCann, would instead end the inning and leave it 1-0 Phillies. The Phillies would add to their lead in the third as Ryan Howard would hit his twenty-first home run of the year, a three-run shot, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled, and Chase Utley, who has walked, to make it 4-0 Phillies. They would increase their lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth as Pat Burrell would hit a solo home run into left field, his twenty-first home of the year. The Braves would cut the lead down to 5-1 in their half of the fifth when pinch hitter Ruben Gotay would hit his second home run of the season. Then in the bottom of the sixth, the Braves would try to get back into the ballgame, loading the bases with a double by Mark Teixeira, a walk to McCann and a single to Kelly Johnson, with nobody out. That would be it for Adam Eaton, who had pitched a good game up to that point. Charlie Manuel would replace him on the mound with Chad Durbin. This would turn out to be a brilliant move as Durbin would get the first batter that he would face, the badly slumping Jeff Francoeur, to hit into a 6-4-3 twin killing, wiping out Johnson at second, while bringing home Teixeira, making it 5-2 Phillies. Durbin would then end the threat by striking out Mark Kotsay. The Braves would get another run in the eighth inning, as Chipper Jones hits his seventeenth home run of the year, a solo shot to center, making it a 5-3 game. The Phillies would then put the game away in the ninth, as they increased their lead. Eric Bruntlett would starts things off with a walk. After Bobby Cox sends out Royce Ring in place of Blaine Boyer, Rollins would greet him with a RBI triple, scoring Bruntlett, and increasing the Phillies’ lead to 6-3. Two batters later, with Rollins still on third and one out, Utley would knock him in with a single, making it 7-3 Phils. That would turn out to be the ballgame, as Brad Lidge would come in and pitch a scoreless ninth, in spite of the Braves loading up the bases, thanks in part to two fielding errors committed by Howard, as Lidge would end the game by striking out Teixeira.

Adam Eaton would get the win, as he pitch well for six innings plus three batters, giving up only two earned runs on five scattered hits. His record is now 3-6 with a ERA of 4.79. Chad Durbin would pitch two innings, giving up no runs on no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an innings, giving up an earned run on one hit, Chipper Jones’ home run. Ryan Madson would pitch a scoreless, hittless third of an inning, striking out the only man he’d faced. Brad Lidge would pitch a wild, but scoreless ninth inning, giving up a hit while striking out the side. Jorge Campillo took the loss, as he pitched five innings, giving up five earned runs on eight hits. His record is now 3-3 with a 2.99 ERA. Jeff Bennett would pitch an inning and a third of scoreless ball, giving up just two hits. Will Ohman would pitch two-thirds of an inning of scoreless ball, giving up no hits. Blaine Boyer would pitch an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on one hit. Royce Ring would pitch an inning, also giving up an earned run on two hits.

It would appear that the Phillies’ bats have awaken from their interleague play slumber as they got thirteen more hits last night, six of which were for extra bases (3 (2B), 1 (3B), 2 (HR)), something that was missing during the slide. If the bats have indeed come back to life, then this is going to be a long summer, for Phillies’ opponents. Also, Adam Eaton might have turned a corner, as he has finally gotten the runs support that has been missing in most of his previous start. If he has been listening to Jamie Moyer for pitching advice, like the previous night’s starter Kyle Kendrick, then the starting rotation might end up getting better as the season progress. But, even with the win, there is one present cause for concern, Ryan Howard’s fielding, as he single handedly almost got the Braves back into the ballgame because of a pair of fielding miscues, especially on the one that lead to the bases being loaded on a ball that he should’ve let Utley field for the final out. Someone may need to take Howard out and help him get the feel of playing first base before it can really hurt the Phils.

The Phillies (46-39) will conclude their three games visit with the Braves (40-45), with a chance for a sweep and, surprises of surprises, a winning road trip. The game will be played tonight at Turner Field, with a start time of 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace, Cole Hamels (8-5, 3.38), who is coming off a good start against the Rangers on June 28, where he went seven innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 8-6 win. He has already faced the Braves this season, pitching a four-hit shut out against them on May 15, going all nine innings, in the Phillies’ 5-0 win. He will be shooting for his ninth win of the year and to complete the Phillies’ second sweep of the Braves in their own home ballpark. The Braves will be sending Jair Jurrjens (8-3, 2.94) to the mound to try and prevent the sweep. He is coming off a victory against the Blue Jays on June 27, where he would pitch eight innings, giving up no earned runs on three hits, in the Braves’ 4-0 win. In his last four starts, he has won three of them, with a no-decision in the fourth, which was also won by the Braves. In those games, he would give up only five earned runs in twenty-seven and two-thirds innings of work, while giving up no earned runs in the last twenty-three and two-thirds innings, while also giving up only twenty-five hits. He will also be shooting for his ninth victory, while seeing if he can stop the Phillies’ just reawaken bats and keep the Braves from being swept for the second straight time by the Phillies.

With the victory, the Phillies stay a game and a half ahead of the Marlins, who had earlier in the day beaten the Nationals. The Phils lead the Mets now by four and a half game as they’d lost their game to the Cardinals. The Phillies lead over the Braves is now at six games with their win. The Phillies will now try to leave Atlanta with a sweep of the Braves, before coming home to Citizens Bank Park to start a three teams, ten games in ten days, home stand before the All-Star break, during which they hope to create some breathing room between them and their nearest opponent.