Tagged: Athletics

Not again???? *&^$#!!!! And this time, an umpire gets into the act???? GGGRRRR!!!!

The Phillies let another game slip out of their hands as they blow another lead, losing to the Cubs, 3-2. And, to add insult to injury, a bad umpire’s call may have hurt them this time. Like yesterday, the Phillies would score first, as, with two men on and two outs, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI single, knocking in Chase Utley, who has been hit by the pitch, and then would move up to second on Ryan Howard’s walk, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between two former A’s teammates, Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton and Cubs’ starter Rich Harden. As the Phillies’ batter would be patient at the plate, causing Harden’s pitch count to rise, Blanton would breeze quickly through the first four innings, giving up only a lead-off walk and a hit. The Phillies would finally get their second run off of Harden when, with a runner on first and two outs, Howard would hit a single to right, with Utley, who has gotten on first with a single, would go to third on the hit. Cubs’ right fielder Kosuke Fukudome would then commit a throwing error, which would allow Utley to score, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Cubs would cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1, as, with runners on the corners on and one out, Daryle Ward would hit a ground ball to Utley. Utley would throw to Jimmy Rollins for the inning’s second out, removing Henry Blanco, who has earlier singled, but he would then make an errant throw to first, which would pull Howard off the first base bag, because of Blanco’s slide which would force Rollins to make a quick throw when he actually have time to throw out Ward, which would not be recorded as an error. The blunder would allow Mark DeRose, who has earlier walked, stole second and has moved to third on Blanco’s single, to score the Cubs’ first run. Blanton would then end the inning by getting Alfonso Soriano to pop out. Blanton would then melt down on the mound in the sixth, as he proceed to walk first Ryan Theriot and then Derrick Lee. After getting out the next two batters, with the runners both moving up a base on the second out, he would then walk DeRosa to load the bases. That was enough for Charlie Manuel, as he would come out to take out Blanton and replace him with Scott Eyre. Eyre would, unfortunatley, walk Fukudome on five pitches, forcing in Theriot, and tying the game at two all, while leaving the bases loaded. Eyre would end the inning by striking out Blanco. In the seventh, the Phillies would try to retake the lead, with runners on the corners and two out, Howard would hit a ball at Cubs’ first baseman Lee, who would proceed to boot the ball, but would somehow be able to throw it in time to pitcher Jeff Samardzija, to get out Howard. This would lead to an argument between Howard,  Manuel, Davey Lopes and first base umpire Chris Guccione, while, according to the Phillies’ announcers, Howard, Lopes and Manuel had a point as Howard would actually beat Lee’s throw to first, which would have given the Phillies the lead with Rollins, who was safe on a force out, moved to second on Shane Victorino’s walk and has gone to third during another force out, coming across the plate during the play. Third base coach Steve Smith would eventually be ejected from the game by home plate umpire Bill Welke for still arguing the call. This would turn out to be huge, as, in the Cubs’ half of the seventh, with one out, Clay Condrey would give up a solo home run to Soriano, his twenty-third home run of the year, to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. This would be the final score, as the Phillies would be unable to score in the eighth inning, and after turning back the Cubs in their half of the eighth, would be unable to get anything done in the ninth, as Carlos Marmol would record his seventh save of the season.

Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he pitches five and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on two hits and five very costly walks. Scott Eyre would get his second blown save of the season, as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up only one walk, which sadly brought in the tying run, and one strikeout. Clay Condrey would get the lost as he pitches an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. His record is now 3-4 with a 3.58 ERA. Rudy Seanez would also pitch an inning, as he gives up no run on one hit. Rich Harden would also receive a no-decision as he would only last five innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits. Chad Gaudin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit. Jeff Samardzija would get the win as he pitches an inning and a third, giving up no runs on two hits. Carlos Marmol would get his seventh save of the year as he pitches one and two-thirds innings of scoreless ball, giving up no hits while striking out three.

Multiply factors would kill the Phillies today. First, Blanton’s five walks. Four of those walks would lead to the two runs that he would give up, especially the three walks that he would give up in the sixth inning, loading the bases. Although it would be Scott Eyre who would walk home the tying run, it would never have happened if Blanton had been able to throw strikes when he needed to, especially after getting ahead of the hitters. Secondly, the offense. Although they would force Rich Harden to leave the game early by getting him to work long pitch counts, they would be unable to get a key hit when they needed it when they threaten to score in the early innings. Business as usual for the offense. Third, Jimmy Rollins’ blunder in the fifth, when he could’ve taken his time to throw to first for the third out on Daryle Ward’s grounder to Utley, but instead would rush his throw because of Harry Blanco coming at him to break up the double play. Instead of the score staying 2-0 Phils, it became 2-1 Phillies because he would force Ryan Howard off of the bag to keep it from going past him. And lastly, the umpire’s call in the seventh inning on Howard’s grounder to first that would bounce off of Derrick Lee’s glove. According to instant reply, Howard has actually beaten Samardzija to the bag, but first base umpire Chris Guccione would call Howard out. The broadcasters think that this is the result of the same umpire earlier calling Utley safe on the previous play when he might’ve been beaten by the throw. If it is, it really stinks! as it kept the Phillies from retaking the lead. Oh man, how much more of this do we Phillies’ fan have to suffer through before we all go mad? Or when will all of this buzzard luck finally start to go our boys’ way?

The Phillies (73-62) will continue their four games series with the Cubs (85-50, 1st National League Central), now trying for a split in the series. The game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports and will start at 3:55 pm Eastern (2:55 pm Central) in Wrigley Field. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (7-10, 4.49), who is coming off a win against the Dodgers on August 25, as he pitches seven shut out innings, giving up nine scattered hits while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 5-0 win. He will be trying to pitch his six straight quality start since returning from the minors and improving his record to 5-1 in his last eight starts, while trying to stop the Phillies’ present slide at three games. The Cubs’ starter will be Ted Lilly (13-7, 4.23), who is coming off a win against the Pirates on August 25, as he went seven innings, giving up only three earned run on seven hits while striking out seven, in the Cubs’ 12-3 rout. He will be trying to see if he can continue the Cubs’ seven game winning streak and continue the Phillies’ current losing streak.

With the lost, the Phillies are presently trailing the Mets by two game and lead the Marlins by five games, as the Mets defeated the Marlins. The Phillies will be trying to regroup so that they can come back and split the series before continuing their long road trip.

Overworked bullpen allows another good start to disappear in another disastrous eighth inning as the Phillies lose to the Cubs, 6-4.

The Phillies’ bullpen would blow yet another game in the eighth inning as Chad Durbin gives up a grand slam home run to Aramis Ramirez, as the Phillies lose the opener of their four games series with the Major League leading Cubs, 6-4. The Phillies would take the lead in the first inning, as, with runners on the corners and two outs, Shane Victorino would hit a RBI single, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, and sending Ryan Howard, who has walked, to third. After Jayson Werth worked a walk off of Cubs’ starter Ryan Dempster to load the bases, Dempster would end the inning by getting Pedro Feliz to strike out swinging. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels and Dempster, as Hamels would refuse to give up hits to the Cubs while Dempster would get out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. In the Cubs’ half of the fifth, they would tie the game at one all, as, with one out, Mark DeRosa would hit a RBI triple, scoring Kosuke Fukudome, who has gotten on base with an infield single. Hamels would then end the threat by first striking out Dempster for out number two, and then getting Alfonso Soriano to pop up to the shortstop for the inning’s final out. The Phillies would then regain the lead in the sixth. Werth would start the inning off with a double. Feliz would then walk, putting runners on first and second. Carlos Ruiz would then hit a RBI single, scoring Werth, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead, while sending Feliz to second. Hamels would then sacrifice the runners over to third and second, respectively, for the inning’s first out. Jimmy Rollins would then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Feliz, to make it a 3-1 Phillies’ lead, while sending Ruiz to third. The Cubs then decided to pitch to Utley, instead of going after a slumping Pat Burrell, and Utley would make them pay for it as he would hit a RBI single, knocking in Ruiz, to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead. Burrell would end the inning by flying out to left. Hamels would then proceed to keep the Cubs silent in both the sixth and seventh innings, before handing the ball over to the bullpen. Unfortunatley, the bullpen would not be able to preserve the win in the eighth. Ryan Madson would give up a lead-off pinch hit home run to pinch hitter Mike Fontenot, his ninth home run of the year, cutting the Phillies’ lead down to 4-2. Soriano would follow with a double. Ryan Theriot would then single, sending Soriano to third, with no one out. Charlie Manuel would immediately take out Madson and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would then walk Derrick Lee, loading up the bases. Then, on a 1-0 fastball, Aramis Ramirez would hit a grand slam home run, his twenty-fourth home run of the year, scoring Soriano, Theriot and Lee, giving the Cubs a 6-4 lead. That would end up being the final score as the Phillies would be turned back in the ninth, with Kerry Wood recording his twenty-eight save of the year.

Cole Hamels would get another no-decision, as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only one run on five hits and striking out six. Ryan Madson would face only three batters, giving up three earned runs on three hits. Chad Durbin would get the lost as he received his fifth blown save of the year, as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits and a walk. His record is now 5-3 with a 2.19 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. Ryan Dempster would also get a no-decision as he goes six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits and four walks, while striking out seven. Sean Marshall would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Bob Howry would get the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. His record is now 6-4 with a 5.31 ERA. Kerry Wood would get the save, his twenty-eighth of the year, as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit.

For the second straight night, the Phillies’ bullpen would blow a lead in the eighth inning, now showing itself to maybe getting overworked. It would seem that one or two of the starter(s) might have to go eight full innings if they want to avoid any more eight innings blow ups like in the last two games. Either that, or Charlie Manuel is going to have to find someone who is fresh enough to act as the eighth inning bridge to Brad Lidge. Scott Eyre maybe? Just a suggestion, Chuck.

The Phillies (73-61) will continue their four games series with the Cubs (84-50, 1st National League Central). The game will be played in Wrigley Field and will start at 2:20 pm Eastern (1:20 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (6-12 (1-0), 4.75), who is coming off a no-decision against the Dodgers on August 24, as he went six innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits, in the Phillies’ 5-2 extra-inning win. He has never pitched against the Cubs and will be trying to pitched his fourth quality start since his trade to the Phils and his second win, while trying to end the Phillies’ present two games slide. The Cubs will counter with Rich Harden (9-2 (4-1), 2.00), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on August 24, as he went seven innings, giving up only an earned run on two hits and striking out eleven, in the Cubs’ 6-1 win. He has faced the Phillies once before on June 26 as a member of the A’s, giving up no runs on two hits and striking out eleven in eight innings of work, in the A’s 5-0 win. He will be trying for his tenth win, while hoping to once again defeat the Phils.

With the lost, the Phillies trail the Mets by a full game, and are ahead of the Marlins by five games, as the Mets prepare to meet the Marlins for three games in Miami. The Phillies will be trying to recover from their last two loses while trying to see if they can regain first place during the series between the Mets and the Marlins.

Still meeting the Cardinals in St. Louis, now trying for a series win.

The Phillies (59-50) will continue their three games set with the Cardinals (62-50, 3rd National League Central) with a night game tonight from Busch Stadium. The game will start at 7:15 pm Eastern  (6:15 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (5-12, 5.13), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on July 27, when he would pitch only two innings thanks to a two hours plus rain delay, as he gave up two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 12-10 win. This will be Blanton’s first career start against the Cardinals, which will hopefully end in Blanton’s favor. Blanton will be trying for his first career win as a Phil as he makes his third start since being traded to the Phillies. The Cardinals’ starter will be Braden Looper (10-4, 4.38), who is coming off a win against the Braves on July 28, going seven strong innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits, in the Cardinals’ 12-3 win. He has faced the Phillies already this year back on July 10, where he would go six innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits, in the Cardinals’ 4-1 lost. Looper will be trying to improve his season record while seeing if he can do better than he did the first time against the Phillies.

The Phillies will be trying to do better then they did last night when they were only able to get five hits, all of them against the Cardinals’ starter, Kyle Lohse. They will also be trying to score some runs for Blanton, something he didn’t get much of either from the A’s or in his first two starts as a Phil, while the rest of the Phils will be looking for a good start from Blanton in return.

The Phillies are leading the Mets by a game as they prepare to meet the Astros tonight. The Marlins trail the Phils by a game and a half as they play the Rockies. The Phillies now lead the Braves by nine and a half games as they have just lost to the Brew Crew. The Phillies, as they now look to win the series and the road trip, will be trying to put some distance between themselves and their rivals, especially the Braves who are about to enter the point of no return in the pennant race. 

Taking a look at the numbers.

It is now the first of August and the start of the dog days of summer, before we enter the period known as the September pennant races. At the moment, the Philles are leading the National League East, holding a slim one game lead over a resurgent New York Mets squad. How are Charlie Manuel’s boys doing it at the moment/ Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?

First, by months. Everybody knows that for the last few seasons people have kept saying that this team needed to win games early in the season, to get a quick start, if they wanted to be in contention for the pennant during September. Well, have they? In fact, they have:

March/April: 15-13

May: 17-12

June: 12-14

July: 15-10

As can be seen, the team has won three of the four months, with their best month being May, and their worst being June, which coincided with their bad spell of Interleague play. More on that later.

Another thing that people have said is that you need to win series to stay in contention, and the Phillies so far have also done that. At the moment, they have won 17 series, lost 13 and have tied 4. Of those 17 series wins, they have won all of the games (sweep) in five of them (Colorado (2), Atlanta (2), Washington (1)) while they have been swept only once (Los Angeles (AL)).

Another thing that you need to do is to lead in your division. And the Phillies have also done that, believe it or not. In fact, they have done pretty well against both their own division and the other two divisions in the National League:

National League East: 24-19

National League Central: 17-12

National League West: 14-7

Unfortunately, they have not done well this season against teams from the American League, going 4-11 in Interleague play.

But, how have they done against other clubs in the National League? For the most part, they presently have losing records with only two teams, both of them being in their division:

National League East:

Atlanta Braves: 10-2

Washington Nationals: 6-3

Florida Marlins: 4-5

New York Mets: 4-9

Total: 24-19

It is quite obvious that they would have to beat the pants off of both the Mets and the Marlins, whom they will meet for a total of 14 games during the last two months of the season, for the Phillies to gain complete control of the division. They also have 15 games left with the Nationals and the Braves.

National League Central:

Cincinnati Reds: 5-3

Houston Astros: 4-3

St. Louis Cardinals: 3-3

Chicago Cubs: 2-1

Pittsburgh Pirates: 2-1

Milwaukee Brewers: 1-1

Total: 17-12

The Phillies have one more series each with the Cardinals (this weekend), the Cubs, the Pirates and the Brewers for a total of 14 games, which may be important towards the home stretch, especially the four games series against the Cubs in Chicago at the end of the month and the four games series with the Brew Crew at home in mid-September as part of a seven games home stand.

National League West:

Colorado Rockies: 5-0

Arizona Diamonbacks: 4-3

San Francisco Giants: 3-3

San Diego Padres: 2-1

Los Angeles Dodgers: 0-0

Total: 14-7

Against the West, the Phillies have only three series left, a three games series with the Padres and two four games sets with the Dodgers, that may become important games for both teams in their divisional pennant races later on this month, for a total of 11 games. With the addition of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers via a deadline trade, the Phillies will probably be trying real hard to get at least a split with the Dodgers.

Last, and certainly not least, the Phillies did not do very well this year in Interleague play. Lets face it, they stank, as they went 2-4 against two teams in the American League East, and 2-7 against three teams from the American League West, while going 1-5 against two of the elite teams in the American League (Boston and Los Angeles Angels):

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 0-3

Toronto Blue Jays: 1-2

Boston Red Sox: 1-2

Oakland Athletics: 1-2

Texas Rangers: 1-2

Total: 4-11

With their record against American League teams in Interleague play, it means that this team, if it makes it to the playoffs and is able to get into the World Series, will have a problem defeating an American League ballclub, unless they are able to get some more pitching to help bolster the bullpen, or another strong bat either among the regulars or on the bench. Of course, that’s just my opinion. I have no idea what the cheapo owners of this team thinks on extra help.

The Phillies overall record of 59-49 is the fourth best in the National League. The Phillies will probably need to win their division to get into the playoffs, since the Cardinals and Brewers have better records than they do as they presently lead the way in the Wild Card race. The best way for the Phillies to win their division is to start winning series with the Mets and the Marlins, especially against the Mets, whom they have five more games left to play, while they have nine more games to play with the fish, starting this coming Tuesday at home. If they can take care of business with those two teams, especially during the September stretch run, the only real team they will have left to worry about afterwards is the Nationals, since the Nationals will at that point be trying to play the spolier role, especially since they will be playing the Phillies in Philadelphia during the last weekend of the season. Keep your fingers crossed people, it’s going to be a real bumpy last two months of the season.

Phillies enter New York, hoping to leave still in first place.

The Phillies (53-46) goes to New York to meet the Mets (53-46) for an important three games series for first place in the National League East. The first game of the series will be played tonight in Shea Stadium and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their new acquistion, Joe Blanton (5-12, 4.96), who is pitching for the first time since his start as an Oakland Athletics against the Mariners back on July 9. That would end up being his twelfth lost of the season, as he would pitch six innings, giving up six earned runs on nine hits, in the A’s 4-6 lost. This will be both Blanton’s first start as a Phillie, and his first start as a National League pitcher. But this will not be the first time that he has faced the Mets. In two previous starts, for the A’s, he has shut them down for fifteen innings, giving up no runs. This will be Blanton’s first start in thirteen days and the Phillies hope that he will be well rested and ready to continue his success against the Mets, as the Phillies will try to win their first series of the second half and regain control of first place. The Mets’ starter will be Johan Santana (8-7, 3.10), who is coming off a no-decision against the Reds on July 17, as he would last only four innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits, in the Mets’ 10-8 come from behind victory. Santana has lost four of his last seven starts, during which his record would be 1-4 with two no-decisions, both of which were lost by the Mets, where he would pitch a combine total of forty-five innings, giving up eleven earned runs on thirty-eight hits. His last start against the Phillies was on July 4, one of his two no-decisions, during which he would go eight innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits, in the Mets’ 3-2 lost. This year, his record against the Phils is 1-0, with a no-decision, where he has given up five earned runs in fifteen innings of work. He will be trying for his ninth win of the year while trying to set up the tone for the Mets’ series with the presently floundering Phils.

The Phillies’ offense will be once again trying to regain the potent offense that they had in late May and early June, which seems to have vanished after their twenty run outburst in St. Louis on June 13. The Phillies have not done too well this season against divisional opponents, outside of the Atlanta Braves, presently being only 3-7 against the Mets. The Phillies will be trying for their first series win against the Mets, as well as of the second half, as they hope to take advantage of Mets’ closer Billy Wagner’s present day-to-day status because of a bad shoulder. But, in order to do that, they will need to start playing more situational baseball, the lack of which manager Charlie Manuel has blasted them about after losing Sunday’s game with the fish. If they don’t, they will definately be saying hello to the Nationals before the end of August.

The Phillies are presently tied with the Mets’ for first place in the National League East, both leading the Marlins by a full game, and the Braves by six, after the Braves’ defeat of the fish last night in Miami in the first game of a three games set between the two teams.

Phillies gets Joe Blanton from the A’s for three minor league prospects.

Phillies land workhorse Blanton
Trade sends three prospects to A’s for durable righty

The Phillies continue their visit to Atlanta.

The Phillies (45-39) will continue their three games series with the fourth place Braves (40-44) with a night game at Turner Field. The game will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter for tonight’s game will be Adam Eaton (2-6, 4.86), who is coming off a tough lost against the A’s on June 26, where he would go seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 5-0 lost. He has lost his previous three starts, although pitching rather well in two of them. The Phillies in his previous sixteen starts are 7-9, thanks mainly to a lack of runs support from the offense. He has already faced Atlanta once this season, pitching a no-decision against them on June 8, during the Phillies’ sweep in Atlanta, going six innings, giving up only three earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. He will be trying for his third victory of the season, while hoping that the bats are indeed back and will this time score some runs for him. The Braves will counter with Jorge Campillo (3-2, 2.54), who is coming off a win against the Brew crew on June 25, where he would go seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on four scattered hits, in the Braves’ 4-2 win. He has faced the Phillies already once this year, a no-decision on June 8 as Eaton’s opponent. In that game he would pitch five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Braves’ 6-3 lost. He will be going for his fourth win of the year, while trying to put the Phillies’ bats back to sleep, and to help the Braves avoid losing their fifth straight game at home against the Phillies.

The Phillies will be hoping that yesterday’s game will mean the return of their red hot bats, and the start of a break away from the other teams in the National League East. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ starting rotation is still in flux during Brett Myers’ reassignment to the Iron Pigs. Who will the Phillies use in the rotation spot left vacated by Myers? In the meantime, the Phillies have brought up R.J. Swindle from the minors, to help the team while Clay Condrey is still in Texas as his wife gives birth. Will Swindle be the left-handed reliever that the Phils have been looking for to compliment J.C. Romero? Only time will supply the answers to all three questions.

The Phillies will enter tonight’s game with a one game lead over the Marlins as the fish have defeated the Nationals this afternoon. Their lead over the Mets is still three and a half games as they prepared to played the third game of their four games series with the redbirds. The Braves trail the Phils by five game as they prepare to continue hosting the Phils at their home ballpark. The Phillies will be trying for their first two game winning streak since their 20-2 blow out of St. Louis back on June 13, as well as their first series win since their sweep of the Braves back on June 6-8.