The Phillies loses another close game in Spring Training, this time in spite of taking the lead with a five-run sixth inning, thanks to Blaine Neal being unable to hold off the Pirates in the ninth, as the Phils lose 6-5. Joe Blanton starts the game off for the Phils, going four and two-thirds innings, giving up only two runs on five hits and a balk while he struck out two. Robert Mosebach follows for an inning and a third, giving up a run on two hits and a walk. Ryan Madson and Scott Nestor follows with both men pitching an inning in relief, with each giving up a hit apiece as Madson strikes out three batters and Nestor two. Blaine Neal pitches an inning, losing the game as he gives up three runs on three hits, with the big blow being Jeff Salazar’s three-run home run, and a walk while striking out one. Blaine’s spring training record is now 0-2 with a 23.63 ERA, as he is also credited with a blown save. So far this spring, the Phils first four starters are pitching well, while both J.A. Happ and Chan Ho Park are both pitching well to claim the fifth and final spot in the rotation. If this keeps up, the starting rotation might become the strength of the Phillies arsenal this season like the bullpen was last season.
Among the batters, the Phils were quiet for most of the game, but had a five-run explosion in the sixth. The batters had nine hits, with Jason Donald leading the way with two hits, as he went 2 for 5 with a run scored, as he now has a .361 spring training batting average. Eric Bruntlett, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, John Mayberry, Jr., Miguel Cairo and Carlos Ruiz got the other Phils hits. Howard got two more RBIs with a two-run blast, his fifth home run of the spring, while Ibanez, Cairo and Ruiz knock in the other three runs. Donald is impressing the brass with his batting, as is Mayberry. Also, Pedro Feliz was in the lineup, playing third base for several innings, although going 0 for 2.
The Phillies continue Grapefruit League play by facing the Houston Astros this afternoon, while the Astros will also be involved in a split squad game with the New York Mets.
In other Phillies news, it has been announced that Chase Utley might be ready to participate in some games next week, putting him on schedule for actually playing on Opening Night next month with the Atlanta Braves. If so, that would be very good news for the Phils. And ex-Phil and now Tampa Bay Ray, Pat Burrell, took out a pair of big ads which appeared in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, thanking the fans for their support during his nine seasons as a Phil. A real nice move by Pat the Bat.
First off, I’m going to continue the quiz until tomorrow. So, if you haven’t made an attempt to answer the quiz, you still have time. The question is, which I will rephrase, is this:
Name the last National League team among the classic eight (teams that were members of the NL since 1900) to win its first NL pennant and name the last of the classic eight to represent the National League in the World Series, also for the first time? You all know where to find the answer.
Despite a late surge, the Phillies fell to Team USA this afternoon, with the final score, 9-6. Kyle Kendrick, who started the game for the Phils, recorded outs on seven of the first eight batter whom he faced before the roof fell on him. After getting out the first batter in the top of the third inning, with the Phils ahead 1-0, he would give up a single to Shane Victorino, who was playing center field for Team USA. Kendrick would then commit an error on a pickoff attempt, allowing Victorino to move to second base. Jimmy Rollins, who was starting as Team USA’s shortstop, then follows with a single, knocking in Victorino to tie the game. After a Dustin Pedroia single moves Rollins to second base, Chipper Jones would cap the inning off with a three-run home run to left, to give Team USA the lead, 4-1. Kendrick is then taken out for Antonio Bastardo, who finally ends the inning. Bastardo, in the fourth, gives up back-to-back home runs to Ryan Braun and Brian McCann, making it a 6-1 Team USA lead. He then gives up a three-run homer to Adam Dunn in the fifth, giving team USA a 9-1 lead. The rest of the pitching staff would keep Team USA quiet. Kendrick pitched two and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs on five hits while striking out one. Bastardo pitches two and one-third innings, giving up five runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two. Clay Condrey, Ryan Madson and Blaine Neal combines for four shut outs innings, giving up just two hits (Condrey and Neal one hit apiece) and three walks (Madson (2), Neal (1), while striking out 2 (Neal). All but one of the runs were given up on the long ball. Kendrick would take the lost for the Phils.
The Phillies’ batter scores a run in the first as Eric Bruntlett hits an RBI double, knocking in Marcus Giles, who has earlier walked, giving the Phils an early lead. After falling behind 9-1, Ryan Howard makes it a 9-4 game in the bottom of the fifth, as he hits a three-run home run. Jason Donald’s solo home run in the six reduces Team USA’s lead to 9-5. Mike Cervenak knocks in the Phils’ final run in the eighth. The Phils would get twelve hits, with Lou Marson leading the team with two hits. Giles, Bruntlett, Raul Ibanez, Howard, John Mayberry Jr., Geoff Jenkins, Cervenak, Donald, J.J. Fumaniak and Jorge Velandia would each record a hit.
Playing for Team USA, Rollins would go 1 for 2 with a single and a run scored while Victorino would go 1 for 3 with a single and a walk and a run scored. Pitcher Joe Bisenius would pitch one inning, giving up a run on three hits while striking out one.
The next Phillies Spring Training game will be tomorrow night at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, Florida, against the Toronto Blue Jays. The game will start at 7 pm Eastern. The Phils will also play a ‘B’ game with the Blue Jays at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida. That game will start at 12 noon.
Okay, first things first: The Baltimore Orioles during the weekend had picked up Adam Eaton, signing him to a minor league contract worth $400,000 dollars, after he had cleared waivers. Okay, I have just this to say: Hey Baltimore, are you guys so desperate for arms that you’re willing to pick him up? If so, good luck with him, guys, as you are going to be needing it.
As several Phils, including Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, get ready to join their teams for the World Baseball Classic, Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge are both presently sidelined with soreness, Durbin with his right hamstring and Lidge with his arm, although Lidge would pitch earlier today with very little trouble, according to pitching coach Rich Dubee, while Durbin, at the moment, has no idea when he’ll start throwing in non-game conditions.
The Phillies have added two B games to their schedule, both against the Toronto Blue Jays. One was played earlier this afternoon, at Clearwater, with the other B game to be played this coming Friday. In the B game, via a report from Phillies.com beat writer Todd Zolecki’s blog, The Zoe Zone, starters Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton have combined for seven scoreless innings, giving up between them just seven scattered hits, as Moyer would also walk one while striking out four.
After losing three games in a row, the Phils have three straight games, as they would defeat the Atlanta Braves yesterday afternoon, 7-3 and have just beaten the Toronto Blue Jays’ ‘A’ squad, 12-7, coming from behind to win both games.
In yesterday’s game, pitching-wise, Brett Myers would pitch three solid innings, as he would give up just two earned runs on three hits, while striking out one batter. Chan Ho Park, the fourth man involved in the battle for the final spot in the rotation, would follow him by pitching three strong innings, giving up only one run, via a home run, on four hits, as he also strikes out one batter. Scott Nestor would follow with a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit while striking out one and walking one. Joe Bisenius and Blaine Neal, who would redeem himself after his bad outing, would both follow with a pair of 1-2-3 innings.
Meanwhile, the Phils’ batters, after being kept scoreless during the first four innings, would score their seven runs in the fifth (1), sixth (4) and seventh (2) innings. Eric Bluntlett and Marcus Giles would lead the attack by getting two hits each, with Giles scoring two runs and knocking in a run, while Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry Jr., Jeremy Slayden, Gerg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins, Matt Stairs and Carlos Ruiz would each contribute a hit in the Phils’ 11-hit attack. Besides Giles, Rollins, Dobbs, and Stairs would each get an RBI, while Ruiz would knock in two runs. Giles would also steal two bases, while Bruntlett and Mayberry would each steal one.
Park would be the winning pitcher, with a Spring Training record of 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. The losing pitcher for the Braves would be Jeff Ridgway, with a Spring Training record of 0-1 with a 40.50 ERA.
In today’s games, J.A. Happ and Carlos Carrasco would start things off for the Phils. Happ would give up a two-run home run to Adam Lind in the first inning, giving Toronto the lead, before settling down. He would pitch three strong innings, giving up just two runs on three hits and a walk. Carrasco would take over and have a 1-2-3 fourth, before being hit around in the fifth, giving up five runs, including a three-run homer to Kevin Millar and a solo shot to Bradley Emaus, giving the Blue Jays a 5-2 lead. He would then come back and keep the Blue Jays scoreless in the sixth. Carrasco, in three innings, would give up five runs on three hits and a walk, while striking out three. Gary Majewski would then come in and pitch two strong innings, giving up no runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out one. Yoman Bazardo would follow him with a strong inning of relief.
Batting wise, after scoring single runs in both the first and fifth innings, the Phils would explode for six runs in the sixth, and then score two runs apiece in both the seventh and eighth innings. In an eleven-hit attack, Raul Ibanez and Slayden would lead the team with two hits each, while Bruntlett, Miguel Cairo, Ryan Howard, Mayberry, Pablo Ozuna, Jason Donald and Ronny Paulino would each get a hit. Bruntlett, Ibanez, Howard, Mayberry and Slayden would each knock in two runs, while Cairo and Ozuna would both knock in one run each. Howard would hit a two-run home run, while Slayden would hit a solo shot. After being quiet in the first three games, the bats have come alive, knocking in thirty-one runs in three games.
The winning pitcher, in spite of the five runs that he would give up in the fifth, is Carrasco, now with a Spring Training record of 1-0 and an ERA of 5.40. The losing pitcher for the Blue Jays is Jeremy Accardo, with a Spring Training record of 0-1 and an 15.75 ERA.
The Phillies’ Grapefruit League record is now 3-3 after six games.
The Phillies have tomorrow off. Their next game will be an Exhibition Game on Wednesday afternoon against Team Canada, with Cole Hamels on the mound. The game will begin at 1:05 pm Eastern from Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.