Two home runs by a presently red hot Ryan Howard and the Pedro Martinez/Jamie Moyer rain delay show in which the two combined to give up only one run in six and a third innings, as the Phils defeated the Braves, 4-2. The Phils now lead the NL East by eight games as the Marlins also lost last night.
In the second inning, the Phils took a quick 1-0 lead as Ryan Howard hits a lead-off home run, his thirty-sixth home run of the season. Then the rain came down, as the game is delayed twice, which would lead to the removal of Phils’ starter Pedro Martinez, who pitched two shut out innings before being replaced by Jamie Moyer, and Braves’ starter Tommy Hanson, who had given up the solo home run to Howard. The Phils, after play resumed, would increase their lead in the fourth as, with one man on, and with nobody out, hits a two-run home run, his thirty-seventh home run of the year, scoring Chase Utley, who had earlier singled, making it a 3-0 Phils’ lead. The Braves would get a run back in the fifth as, with one man on, and with one man out, Matt Diaz hits an RBI double, knocking in Ryan Church, who had earlier hit an infield single, and had gone to second on third baseman Pedro Feliz’s throwing error. The Phils made it 4-1 in the seventh as, with a runner on third and with nobody out, Feliz hits an RBI single, knocking in Raul Ibanez, who had earlier tripled. In the eighth, the Braves would cut the Phils’ lead to 4-2 as, with runners on the corners, and with noone out, Chipper Jones hit into an RBI force out, 6-4, as Martin Prado, who had earlier singled, is forced out at second, while Diaz, who had earlier doubled, and then went to third on Prado’s single, scored, while Jones was safe at first. That would be the final score as Brad Lidge would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, recording his twenty-sixth save of the season.
Pedro Martinez pitched a no-decision as he pitched two innings before being taken out of the game after two rain delays, giving up just one hit and a walk, while striking out a batter. Jamie Moyer got the win as he pitched four and a third innings, giving up a run on four hits, while he struck out five. His record is now 12-9 with a 5.12 ERA, his second win since going into the bullpen. Chan Ho Park recorded his ninth hold as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out both batters that he would face, striking out one. Ryan Madson recorded his twenty-second hold as he gave up a run on three hits and a walk. Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 inning, recording his twenty-sixth save of the year, striking out a batter. Tommy Hanson took the lost, as he pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out four. His record is now 9-3 with an ERA of 3.15. Kris Medlen also pitched two innings, giving up two runs on three hits, as he struck out two. Eric O’Flaherty pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk, as he struck out two. Peter Moylan pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits. Mike Gonzalez pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.
The Phillies had nine hits in the game, with Ryan Howard leading the way, with a single and two home runs, a solo shot and a two-run bomb, accounting for three of the Phils’ runs, while raising his batting average to .272. Pedro Feliz followed with two hits, one of which was a double, as he knocked in the other Phils’ run. Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz had the other four Phils’ hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a triple. The win added some distance between the Phils and their nearest rivals in the East.
The Phillies (74-52, 1st) continues their home stand with the Braves (67-61, 2nd-T) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and the game will be started at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be Cliff Lee (12-9 (5-0), 2.63 (0.68)), who is coming off a win against the Mets on August 24, as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only two unearned runs on six hits, while striking out five, in the Phils’ 6-2 win. He will be trying to make it six wins in a row since being traded to the Phils. The Braves will counter with their ace Derek Lowe (12-8, 4.48), who is coming off a no-decision against the Marlins on August 23, where he pitched five innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out three, in the Braves’ 7-5 win. He will be trying to match Lee pitch for pitch, to give him his first lost in the NL. The Phillies will be trying to further increase their lead in the East, while at the same time putting an early dagger into the Braves pennant hopes.
The Phillies lose in extra-innings as the bullpen blows yet another lead in the late innings, as the Phils lose their first game in a year to the Braves in Atlanta, 5-4.
The Phils took an early lead in the third as, with two men on base, and two men out, Ryan Howard hits a ground-rule double, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled and had gone to third on Chase Utley’s single, making it 1-0 Phils, while sending Utley over to third. The Braves would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the third as, with a runner on third and nobody out, Martin Prado hits an RBI single, scoring Gregor Blanco, who had earlier tripled. The Phils regain the lead in the fifth as, with two men out, Utley hits a solo home run, his seventeenth home run of the year, to give the Phils a 2-1 lead. The Braves would tie the game up with one swing of the bat in their half of the inning as Prado hits a lead-off home run, his fourth home run of the season. Five batters later, with the bases loaded, via singles to Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson and a walk to Casey Kotchman, and with one man out, Jeff Francoeur hits an RBI ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s second out, scoring Jones and giving the Braves a 3-2 lead, while moving both Anderson and Kotchman up a base. The Phils tied it in the eighth as, with two men out, John Mayberry, Jr., hit a pinch hit home run, his fourth home run of the season. The Phils then retook the lead as Pedro Feliz followed Mayberry with a solo home run of his own, his fifth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 4-3 lead. The Braves would tie the game up yet again in their half of the inning, as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Prado hits an RBI double, scoring Blanco, who had earlier reached base with a walk, and had then gone to second on Ryan Madson’s throwing error when he tried to pick off Blanco at first, while Prado would go on to third when Jayson Werth misplayed the ball for a fielding error. The Braves won the game in the tenth inning as, with runners on second and third, with one out, and with both the infield and outfield in to stop the winning run from scoring, Prado hits an RBI single over Mayberry’s head in left, scoring Matt Diaz, who had earlier singled and then went to third on Blanco’s single, beating Mayberry’s throw to third, giving the Braves a 5-4 extra-innings, walk-off win.
Joe Blanton got a no-decision, as he pitched five innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out three. Chad Durbin pitched two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit. Ryan Madson committed his fourth blown save, giving up a run on one hit and two walks, while striking out one. J.C. Romero pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Chan Ho Park took the lost as he gave up a run on three hits, as he struck out one, in one-third innings. His record is now 3-2 with a 6.04 ERA. Derek Lowe also received a no-decision as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four. Eric O’Flaherty pitched an inning, getting his eighth hold, as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Mike Gonzalez recorded his fourth blown save, as he gave up two runs on two hits, while striking out a batter. Rafael Soriano pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Boone Logan pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit. Peter Moylan got the win, as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out the two men that he would face. His record is now 2-2 with an ERA of 4.15.
The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Pedro Feliz leading the way with three hits, including a solo home run, knocking in a run, as he raised his average to .295. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both followed with two hits each, with both men knocking in a run, Utley via a solo home run and Howard with a ground-rule double. Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs and John Mayberry, Jr. had the other three Phils’ hits, with Mayberry’s being a pinch hit home run. The Phils offense is still somewhat in neutral as they wait for Raul Ibanez to return from the disabled list and their lead-off man, Jimmy Rollins to get it in gear as his batting average continue to go low.
The Phillies (39-35, 1st) continue their three-games series with the Braves (36-40, 4th) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and it will start at 7:00 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamel (4-4, 4.44), who is cioming off one of his worst starts this season, as he lost to the Blue Jays on June 26, as he went only four and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 6-1 lost. He will be going out to prove that he is indeed the Phils’ ace starter. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (5-6, 2.93), who is coming off a lost to the Red Sox on June 26, as he went eight innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Braves’ 4-1 lost. He wil be trying to rebound from that lost. The Phils as a team now need to forget about June and try to put together a winning streak before the All-Star break, trying to put some serious distance between themselves and the rest of the division. But, they need to start it with a win tonight, and Hamels will have to lead the way by shutting the Braves down, no ifs, ands, or buts about it!!!!
After suffering a lost at the hands of their old rivals, the Atlanta Braves (1-0), the 2008 World Champions Philadelphia Phillies (0-1) will be shooting for their first victory of the 2009 season tonight against the same Braves, in the second game of their opening three-game home stand. The game will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern.
The Phillies will send to the mound their ageless wonder Jamie Moyer, who, last season was 16-7 in thirty-three starts with a 3.71 ERA, leading the team’s starters in victories. Last season, he went 0-0 in two starts against the Braves. Moyer is presently four victories short of reaching 250 career wins, which, if he pitches well and has plenty of runs support from the Phils’ batters, he should reach that milestone by late May. Moyer will be trying to get the Phillies back onto the winning track, while using his pitches and veteran savvy to outthink the Braves’ batters. His 2009 record is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. His opponent will be second-year pitcher Jair Jurrjens. In 2008, in thirty-one starts, Jurrjens was 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA. The Dutch-born pitcher will try to do better against the Phils this year, as he went 1-2 in four starts against the Phillies last season. His 2009 record is 0-0 with a -.– ERA.
The Phillies’ bat will see if they can continue where they left off with Jurrjens last season while trying to forget what Derek Lowe did to them on Opening Night, trying to even the series at a victory apiece.
First, the answer to last week’s trivia question, which no one even attempted to answer. First, the question: Name the first ex-Phil to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame? And the answer is: Nap Lajoie is the first ex-Phil to be elected into the Baseball Hal of Fame, as he was elected as a member of the 1937 class, receiving 168 votes or 83.58% of the vote in the second Hall of Fame election, being that year’s highest vote getter. Nap was a member of the Phils for four years, 1896-1900. A new weekly trivia question will be asked at the bottom of this post.
The 2009 regular season started last night as the 2008 World Champions Philadelphia Phillies faced one of their oldest rivals, the Atlanta Braves, in a night game at Citizens Bank Park, which included the raising of the 2008 banner and fireworks, as the Phils wore their special opening night uniforms with gold trim and the 2008 World Series patch.
Sadly, during the game itself, all of the fireworks were on the Atlanta Braves’ side as they torched Phils’ starter Brett Myers for four runs, via three home runs, in the first two innings. Things looked very promising for Myers as he easily got out the first two batters that he faced, via a fly out to center and a 6-3 ground out. Then Chipper Jones, with the count 3-2, hit a single to left, getting the first hit of the 2009 season. The next batter, Brian McCann then hit a 2-0 pitch into deep right field for a two-run home run, the first home run of the new season, as the Braves took a quick 2-0 lead. In the second, the Braves added to their lead as Jeff Francoeur hit his first home run of the year, a rocket into the left field seats, making it 3-0 Atlanta. One batter later, Jordan Schafer, in his first major league at-bat, made it 4-0 Braves as he slugged a 3-1 fastball into center field. Myers would settle down after that, giving up only five more hits as he pitched a total of six innings. While the Braves were raining on Myers’ parade, Derek Lowe was expertly handcuffing the Phils, giving up only two hits in his eight strong innings of work, a one-out ground-rule double to Carlos Ruiz in the third inning, the first Phillies’ hit of the season, who was then left stranded on second, and a two-out single to Jimmy Rollins in the sixth, who was then left on first as Jayson Werth lined out right to Lowe to end the inning. The Phils would finally score a run in the ninth inning, getting it off of reliever Mike Gonzalez. Pinch hitter Eric Bruntlett started the inning off with a pinch hit double. Rollins then flied out to right, sending Bruntlett over to third with one out. The next batter, Werth, then singled sharply to left, scoring Bruntlett, collecting the first Phillies RBI of the season, making it a 4-1 Braves’ lead. Chase Utley followed with a walk, sending Werth over to second, and bringing up the tying run to the plate in the person of Ryan Howard. Howard, who had been given a steady diet of off-speed pitches all night by Lowe, saw five straight sliders from Gonzalez, working the count full. Thus, Howard was caught off-guard when pitch no. six from Gonzalez was a fast ball, the first one he had seen all night, which was sent right down the pike, for a call third strike. Howard was followed by Raul Ibanez, who, like Howard, was looking for his first hit of the year, and seeing if he could help his new team out early in the season. Sadly, it was not to be, as he struck out, swinging, on a 3-2 fastball, ending the ballgame as a 4-1 Braves’ victory.
Brett Myers, in his six innings of work, gave up four runs on eight hits, including three home runs, and a walk while striking out six. His regular season record is now 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Jack Taschner, pitching in his first official game as a Phil, pitched a 1-2-3 inning as he struck out a batter. Scott Eyre followed him for two-thirds of an inning, recording a strikeout. Chad Durbin then pitched the final third of an inning, striking out the only batter he would face. Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for the Phils, pitching a 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout. Derek Lowe pitched eight strong innings for the Braves, staying out of trouble all night, as he gave up only two hits to the Phils as he struck out four. His record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Mike Gonzalez pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits and a walk, while getting two very important strike outs to end the game.
At this point, Eric Bruntlett is leading the team in batting with a 1.000 batting average, as he went 1 for 1 with a double. Carlos Ruiz follows at .333, as he went 1 for 3 on the night with a ground-rule double. Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth follow with both men going 1 for 4 for a .250 batting average, with Werth having the Phils’, at the moment, only RBI of the season.
The short series will continued tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ageless wonder Jamie Moyer, who record is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens, who’s record is also 0-0 with a -.– ERA.
Now, here is this week’s trivia question: Name the first ten Phillies’ Opening Day Pitchers? You all know where to find the answer. The answer will be posted on Thursday.
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!!!!!
During the 2 pm progress report on Chase Utley’s right hip, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro announced that the Phillies have re-signed veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer to a new two-year contract. The 22 years veteran went 16-7 for the Phils in 33 starts, with a 3.71 ERA in 2008, being the team leader in wins. In a two plus month period, from June 6 to August 21, he would give up three earned runs or less to opposing team. The soon to be 47 years old, has a record of 246-185 in 637 games (548 starts) with a 4.19 ERA, tied for 47th place on the all-time Major League wins list, while being presently third among active starters, with the recent retirement of Mike Mussina of the Yankees and Greg Maddux of the Padres/Dodgers. Since joining the Phillies in mid-2006, he has gone 35-21 with a 4.33 ERA in 74 starts, with the team going 46-28 (.622) in his starts, while pitching the divisional pennant clinchers in both 2007 and 2008, and having a good start in Game 3 of the World Series which the Phillies would win in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth.
Moyer’s re-signing means that the first four spots in the Phils’ starting rotation (Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Moyer) is now set, with the fifth and final spot now being an audition between Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, prospect Carlos Carrasco and Chan Ho Park. Whether the Phils will continue to go after free agent Derek Lowe after signing Moyer and Park is a good question, especially when they should be looking out for a right handed power bat to help counter balance their recent signing of Raul Ibanez, and the obvious departure of Pat Burrell, to counter the presently loaded left-handed power of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. But such a signing would serve notice to the rest of the National League East, after the Mets’ signing of free agent closer Francisco Rodriguez and their trade with Cleveland for J.J. Putz to be Rodriguez’s set-up man to better their weak bullpen, that the Phillies will be looking to repeat as the National League Champions with a very strong starting rotation.
The Phillies continue contract talks with 22 years veteran Jamie Moyer, trying to nail him in with a two-year, about $15 Million dollars deal, partly explaining why the Phillies were still in Las Vegas, beside getting ready to sign Raul Ibanez. Talks between the Phils and Moyer has in fact increased since their signing of former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ibanez has all but ended the possibility of the Phillies resigning their free agent left fielder, Pat Burrell. If Moyer does resign with the team, it would mean a starting roster consisting of Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton and Moyer, with the fifth spot to be fought over between Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, minor leaguer Carlos Carrasco, and Adam Eaton.
Correction, the battle for the final spot in the starting rotation has increased by one as former Dodgers Chan Ho Park has agreed to a one-year contract with the Phillies for $2.5 Million dollars, with bonuses that could push it up to $5 Million. With Park’s signing, the Phillies have added depth to the bullpen, while also adding another possible starter in the fight for the fifth and final spot in the rotation, if Moyer resigns with the ballclub. The 15 years veteran last year went 4-4 wiith a 3.40 ERA in 54 games with the Dodgers.
Hopefully this latest move will help the Phillies as they continue to see if they can get either Moyer or free agent Derek Lowe.