The Phillies, thanks to grand slams by Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, were able to defeat the Washington Nationals, 13-11, as starting pitching once again failed them.
Washington took a quick 1-0 lead, as, with the bases loaded via singles to Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns and a walk to Jesus Flores, and with one man out, Alberto Gonzalez knocked in Dunn with a sacrifice fly, while sending Kearns over to third. The next batter, Nationals’ starter Shairon Martis, helped his own cause by hitting an RBI single, knocking in Kearns, while sending Flores over to second base. The Phillies would quickly tie the game up in their half of the second. With runners on second and third, with no one out, Greg Dobbs hits an RBI single, knocking in Jayson Werth, who had earlier walked, and had move to third on Raul Ibanez’s double, while sending Ibanez, who had earlier doubled, over to third. The score was then tied up at two-all as Lou Marson hits into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Dobbs at second, as Ibanez scored. The Nats retook the lead in the third, as, with a runner on first, and no one out, Ryan Zimmerman hits a two-run home run, his third home run of the year, scoring Nick Johnson, who had earlier walked, making it 4-2 Nationals. Two batters later, Elijah Dukes made it a 5-2 Nationals’ lead as he hits a solo home run, his third home run of the season. It became 6-2 Nationals in the fifth, as Zimmerman hits a lead-off solo home run, his fourth home run of the season, and his second of the ball game. But the Phils would come back to tie it up at six all in their half of the fifth, as with the bases loaded via singles by Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley, with one man out, Ryan Howard hits a grand slam home run to center field, his fourth home run of the season and the sixth grand slam home run of his career, scoring Rollins, Victorino and Utley. But, the Nats regained the lead in the sixth, as with the bases loaded via a double to Anderson Hernandez, an intentional walk to Zimmerman, and a walk to Dunn, with two men out, Dukes walked, bringing in Hernandez, making it 7-6 Nationals. The Phils would tie it up at seven-all in the bottom of the sixth, as, with runners on second and third, and no one out, Rollins hits an RBI double on a ball that was misplayed in foul territiory by third baseman Zimmerman that landed fair, scoring Marson, who had earlier walked, and had moved to third base on pinch hitter Pedro Feliz’s double, while Feliz would only end up on third. Sadly, the Phils would be unable to do more damage as Victorino grounded out back to the pitcher, 1-3 for the inning’s first out, and after Utley was hit by the pitch, loading the bases, Howard this time lined out into a double play, 3-unassisted, as Johnson beat Utley back to the bag. The Nationals retook the lead in the top of the eighth, as with a runner on first, and no one out, Johnson hits a two-run home run, his second home run of the year, scoring Hernandez, who had earlier walked, making it 9-7 Nats. Two batters later, with a man on first, and still nobody out, Dunn hits a two-run home run, his fifth home run of the season, scoring Zimmerman, who had earlier walked, to give the Nationals an 11-7 lead. But, the Phils would come right back in their half of the eighth. With runners on second and third, and one out, Victorino hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Feliz, who had earlier singled, and had gone on to third base on Rollins’ second double of the night, making it 11-8 Nationals. Utley then hits an RBI single, scoring Rollins, and cutting the Nats’ lead down to 11-9. Howard and Werth followed with a pair of walks, loading the bases for Ibanez, with still two men out. On the first swing of the bat, Ibanez hits a fast ball into right field for a grand slam home run, his sixth home run of the year, his eighth career grand slam home run, and the Phils’ second grand slam of the night, as they took the lead 13-11, their first lead of the ball game. Ryan Madson then came into the game to record his first save of the season, as he shut down the Nats, giving up only a single.
Joe Blanton received a no-decision as he lasted only four and a thirds innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out three. Jack Taschner pitched an inning and a third, giving up a run on on one hit and two walks. Clay Condrey pitched one and one-thirds scoreless innings, giving up a walk, as he struck out two batters. Scott Eyre faced only four batters, giving up four runs on two hits, both home runs, and three walks. J.A. Happ picked up the win as he pitched an inning, giving up no runs, while giving up only a walk. His record is now 1-0 with a 4.38 ERA. Ryan Madson recorded his first save of the year as he pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up just one hit, as he struck out two. Shairon Martis also received a no decision, as he went five innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits and four walks, while striking out three. Julian Tavarez recorded his first blown save of the year, as he allowed a run to score, while pitching one-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits. Mike Hinckley pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs. Kip Wells pitched a scoreless inning, striking out two. Garrett Mock pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on three hits, while striking out a batter. Joel Hanrahan took the lost as he blew the save for the third time this year, as he gave up three runs on one hit and two walks, as he struck out a batter in a third of an inning. His record is now 0-1 with a 8.64 ERA.
The Phillies had fourteen hits in the game, with both Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez leading the way with three hits apiece. Rollins had a single and two doubles, knocking in a run, while scoring two, as he raised his average up to .192, as he may be showing signs of coming out of his slump. Ibanez had a single, a double and a grand slam home run, the eighth one in his career, as he knocked in four runs, while scoring twice, raising his average to .342. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz each had two hits, with both Victorino and Feliz recording a double. Ryan Howard and Greg Dobbs recorded the other two hits, with Howard’s hit being a grand slam home run, his sixth career grand slam, leaving him just one short of the Phillies’ record of seven career grand slams, set by Mike Schmidt. The two grand slams in one game was last done by the Phils on September 9, 2003, when Tomas Perez and Jason Michaels hit grand slams against the Braves. Besides Rollins’ RBI, and the four RBIs posted by both Howard and Ibanez, Victorino, Utley, and Dobbs would record the other three. The Phillies’ pitching staff, after giving up none on Sunday, gave up five home runs last night, three by Blanton, and two by Eyre, which leaves Ryan Madson as the only Phils’ pitcher who has so far not given up a gopher ball. Madson’s stint in the ninth inning occurred because Brad Lidge is presently listed as day-to-day, thanks to inflammation of his right knee. Hopefully this will be a temporary situation as the knee will be checked on today. With the victory, the Phils have now won four games in a row, and are just half a game behind the slumping Marlins, who had lost their seventh straight game to the New York Mets.
The Phillies (10-8, 2nd) will continue their three-games series with the Nationals (4-14, 5th). The game will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Game time is 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (0-2, 9.69), who is still looking for his first win, as he came off a lost against the Brewers on April 23, where he pitched only three and a thirds innings, after being taken out of the game after being hit by a line drive off his left shoulder off the bat of Prince Fielder. He had at that point given up two runs on four hits and no walks, while striking out six, looking like he was getting back his old form, in the Phils’ 6-1 lost. He will be going for his first win while really lowering his ERA. His opponent will be John Lannan (0-2, 4.43), who is also looking for his first win, as he comes off his second straight no-decision, this time against the Braves on April 22, as he went seven innings, giving up no runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Nationals’ 1-0 lost. He will try to record his first win. The Phillies will try to make it five wins in a row, while hoping that they’ll be ending up in first place for the first time this season.
The Phillies dropped to 6-8 on the season as they lose another game, one in which they were almost no-hit by the Brewers, while their ace was taken out of the game after being hit on the shoulder by a line-drive hit by Prince Fielder.
The game started out as a pitchers’ duel between Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels and Brewers’ starter Dave Bush for the first three innings, in which Hamels gave up only a single (Corey Hart) while striking out six of the first nine batter that he had so far faced, while Bush had allowed only one Phil batter to reach base, via a hit batsman (Jimmy Rollins). That all changed in the fourth, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Ryan Braun hits a two-run home run to left, his fourth home run of the season, and his third home run in the series, as he knocked in Hart, who had earlier singled, giving the Brewers a 2-0 lead. The next batter, Prince Fielder, then hit a first pitch line drive up the middle, which hit Hamels’ on his left shoulder, as he was finishing his delivery. The Phillies, not taking any chances with their ace, decided to take Hamels out of the game, for what was later revealed to be a bruise on his shoulder. The Phils replaced him with J.A. Happ who then ended the inning with no further damage. The Brewers then added to their lead in the fifth, as Fielder hits a two-outs, based-loaded double, scoring Bush, who had earlier singled, had moved up to second on Rickie Weeks’ single, and had gone to third on Braun’s walk, Weeks, who had singled and had moved up to second base on Braun’s walk, and Braun, who had walked, giving the Brew Crew a 5-0 lead. The Brewers then made it 6-0 in the eighth as Bill Hall hits a one-out, solo home run, his first home run of the year. As the Brewers were piling it on, Bush was no-hitting the Phils, having allowed only four more man to reach base (three walks and a hit batter), by the time Matt Stairs came up to pinch hit with one out. With the count 3-1, Stairs broke up both the no-hitter and the shut out, as he hit a pinch hit home run to right, his second home run of the year, both as a pinch hitter, making it 6-1 Milwaukee. After Shane Victorino got the Phils’ second hit, a single, Bush was taken out of the game and replaced with Mitch Stetter, who would end the inning by getting Chase Utley to ground out, 4-3. Stetter would then end the game by pitching a scoreless ninth.
Cole Hamels took the lost, in spite of pitching a good game before being taken out because of a bruised left shoulder. He pitched three and one third innings, giving up just two runs on four hits and a hit batter, while striking out six. His record is now 0-2 with a 9.69 ERA. Hamels thinks that he will be able to take his next turn in the rotation. We’ll see. J.A. Happ pitched an inning and a third in relief, giving up three runs on three hits and three walks, while he struck out three. Jack Taschner followed him, pitching two scoreless innings, giving up just a hit and a walk. Chad Durbin pitched an inning, giving up one run on on a hit, while striking out one. Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up a hit, as he struck out one. Dave Bush got the win, as he gave up only one run on two hits, three walks and two hit batters, as he struck out four, in eighth and two-third innings. His record is now 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA. Mitch Stetter pitched one and one-third scoreless innings, giving up no hits.
The Phils got only two hits yesterday, Matt Stairs’ pinch hit home run and Shane Victorino’s single, as Bush no-hit them for the first seven and a third innings before Stairs finally broke it up with his home run. Before the home run, the Phils got only five men on base, via two hit batsmen (Jimmy Rollins and Victorino) and three walks (Victorino, Raul Ibanez and Chris Coste). After their eleven run explosion on Monday, the Phils have scored just two runs. This has got to stop.
The Phillies (6-8, 3rd) now go on the road to face the Florida Marlins (11-4, 1st), who are presently mired in a three games losing streak, for a three-games series at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida. The first game of the three-games set will be played tonight at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Brett Myers (1-1, 5.03), who is coming off a no-decision against the Padres on April 18, where he pitched a strong six and two-thirds innings, giving up just three runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out three, in the Phillies’ 8-5 lost. He will be shooting for his second straight win. His opponent will be Josh Johnson (2-0, 2.91), who is also coming off a no-decision, with his coming against the Nationals on April 18, as he pitched six innings, giving up six runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out six, in the Marlins’ 9-6 extra-innings win. He will be trying for his third win of the season. The Phillies hope to improve their record at the expense of the fish.
Jamie Moyer pitched six plus strong innings while Phillies’ batters batted around twice as the Phillies defeated the struggling Brewers, 11-4.
Milwaukee took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as Ryan Braun hits a two-out, solo home run, his second home run of the season. The Phillies then went to work on Manny Parra in their half of the first. With the bases loaded via a walk (Shane Victorino), a single (Chase Utley) and a second walk (Ryan Howard), the Phillies took a 2-1 lead as Jayson Werth’s hits an RBI double, scoring both Victorino and Utley, as Howard stopped at third. The Phillies made it 3-1 as Raul Ibanez knocked in Howard with an RBI single, while sending Werth on to third. Pedro Feliz made it 4-1 Phils with an RBI single, scoring Werth, while Ibanez stopped at second base. The Phils made it 5-1 in the third as Feliz hits a two-out, solo home run, his first home run of the year. The Brewers cut the Phils lead to 5-3 in the fifth as Braun hits a two-out, two-run home run, his second home run of the game and his third home run of the year, knocking in Casey McGehee, who had earlier singled. The Phillies came back in their half of the fifth, scoring five runs. With runners on first and third and one man out, Chris Coste hits an RBI ground out on a slow grounder to third base, 5-3, for the inning’s second out, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked, stole second and had gone to third on a wild pitch, making it 6-3 Phillies, and sending Feliz, who had also walked, over to second base. After Jamie Moyer had gotten on base with a walk, and Jimmy Rollins has singled to right to load the bases, sending the runners over to third and second, respectively, Victorino made it 7-3 Phils with an RBI single, scoring Feliz, while sending Moyer over to third and Rollins to second, leaving the bases loaded. Utley made it 8-3 Phillies with a bases-loaded walk, scoring Moyer and moving up a base both Rollins and Victorino. With Howard batting, the Phillies made it 10-3, as R.J. Swindle threw a wild pitch, scoring Rollins from third, as catcher Jason Kendall threw the ball past Swindle, who was covering home plate, for a throwing error, allowing Victorino to score and for Utley to reach third base. Swindle finally ended the inning by striking out Howard. Feliz made it 11-3 Phillies in the sixth as he hits an infield single to the second baseman, which was deflected off of Swindle, scoring Werth, who had earlier doubled and had move over to third base on Ibanez’s ground out, 4-3. The Brewers made it 11-4 Phillies as Braun hits a two-out, RBI single, scoring Kendall, who had gotten on base earlier with a walk, had moved over to second base on pinch hitter Mike Rivera’s single and had gone on to third on Corey Hart’s ground out, 4-3. That would be the final score as the Phillies’ bullpen kept the Brewers from scoring in the last two innings.
Jamie Moyer got the win, as he pitched sixth innings plus two batters, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out two. His record is now 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA. Chad Durbin pitched a third of an inning, striking out the only batter he would face. Clay Condrey pitched one and two-third scoreless innings, giving up only three hits, while striking out two. Jack Taschner pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up a hit and a walk. Manny Parra took the lost for the Brewers, as he went just four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out four. His record is now 0-3 with a high ERA of 8.16. Jorge Julio pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up five runs, four of which were earned, on two hits, three walks and a wild pitch. R.J. Swindle pitched an inning and a third, giving up a run on two hits, a walk and a wild pitch, while striking out two. Seth McClung pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit and a walk, while striking out two. Carlos Villanueva also pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just a hit and a walk.
The Phillies collected thirteen hits in the game, with Pedro Feliz leading the team with three hits, two singles and a home run, knocking in three runs and scoring two, as he increased his batting average to .359. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and Chris Coste were next with two hits apiece, with both Werth and Coste’s two hits being doubles. Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez had the other two Phils’ hits. Besides Feliz, Werth would knock in two runs, while Victorino, Utley, Ibanez and Coste would each knock in a run. Despite the offensive display, the pitching staff is still giving up too many home runs, as Moyer was the victim of two home runs at the hands of Ryan Braun, who knocked in all four of the Brewers’ runs.
The Phillies (6-6, 2nd) continued their three games series with the Brewers (4-9, 6th National League Central) with another night game from Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Joe Blanton (0-1, 9.00), who in his last start, on April 16 in Washington, lost his first start as a Phil, as he went six innings, giving up just three runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out five, in the Phillies’ 8-2 lost to the Nationals. He will be trying for his first win in 2009, while trying to bring his ERA down even more. The Brewers will oppose him with Braden Looper (1-0, 3.27), who is coming off a win against the Cincinnati Reds on April 15, as he went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out five, in the Brewers’ 9-3 win. He will be going for his second straight win. The Phillies will be trying for their first series win at home, while trying to increase their winning streak to three games.
The Phillies’ Joe Blanton loses his first start since being traded to the Phils, as he and the relief corps were the victims of several home runs launched by the Nationals as the Phils fall to the Nationals, 8-2.
The Nationals took a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Adam Dunn hit a three-run home run, his third home run of the season, knocking in both Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman, who had both earlier singled, while the two had moved up to third and second base respectively on Zimmerman’s single, as Pedro Feliz committed a catch error on the play. Those would turn out to be the only runs that Joe Blanton would give up as he proceeded to pitch the Phillies’ starters first quality start as he kept the Nationals scoreless for the next five innings. The Phillies, meantime, proceeded to cut down the Nats’ lead. They first made it 3-1 in the fourth as Raul Ibanez, with two men outs, singled in Chase Utley, who had earlier singled and had moved over to second base on Ryan Howard’s ground out to first. The Phils then cut the lead down to 3-2 in the fifth as Jimmy Rollins hit a sacrifice fly, knocking in Lou Marson, who had earlier doubled and had moved over to third on Blanton’s sacrifice bunt. But, the bullpen, this time, would be unable to keep the game close. In the seventh, Chad Durbin gave up a lead-off, solo home run to Josh Willingham, Willingham’s first home run of the year, making it 4-2 Nats. Then in the eighth, Jack Taschner would give up four runs to the Natonals. Elijah Dukes started things off by hitting a lead-off, solo home run, his second hme run of the season, increasing the Nationals’ lead to 5-2. Three batters later, Alberto Gonzalez made it 6-2 Nationals by hitting a solo home run with two outs, his first home run of the year. Two batters later, Anderson Hernandez made it 7-2 Nats with an RBI single, knocking in Roger Bernadina, who had earlier walked and then stole second base. Zimmerman increased the Nationals’ lead to 8-2 by bringing home Hernandez, who had moved up to second base on Johnson’s walk, while Johnson would move up to second. That would end up being the final score as Joel Hanrahan came in and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Nationals, giving them their first win of the season.
Joe Blanton took the lost, his first since his trade last year to the Phils from the Oakland A’s, as he pitched six solid innings, giving up just three runs on eight hits and one walk, while he struck out five. His record is now 0-1 with a still high ERA of 9.00. Chad Durbin pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on a hit and two walks. Jack Taschner pitched an inning, getting smoked for four runs on four hits and two walks as he struck out two. J.A. Happ pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. Shairon Martis picked up the win for the Nationals, as he went six and one-thirds innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out one. His record is now 1-0 with a 4.82 ERA. Mike Hinckley pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Joe Beimel pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Joel Hanrahan also pitched a 1-2-3 inning, with a strike out, ending the game for the Nationals.
The Phillies had only five hits in the game, with both Raul Ibanez and Lou Marson collecting two hits. Ibanez, who raised his average to .303, went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Marson, catching in his first game since being called up because of Carlos Ruiz’s injury, went two for three, including a double, as he scored a run. Chase Utley had the other Phils’ hit, a single, as he went 1 for 3 with a walk, scoring a run, as his average dropped to .393. Jimmy Rollins knocked in the other Phils’ run with a sacrifice fly. The Phils other .300 hitters at the moment, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz saw their batting averages drop as they all took the collar (.313, .313 and .308 respectively).
The Phillies (4-4, 3rd) now come home for a seven-games home stand, starting with a four-games series with the San Diego Padres (7-3, T-1st National League West). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin after 7 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (0-1, 17.18), who is coming off a rocky start against the Colorado Rockies last friday night. He gave up seven runs on eleven hits and a walk, while striking out only one batter in three and two-thirds innings of work, in the Phils’ 10-3 lost. He will be trying to recover from that poor start. The Padres will counter with Chris Young (2-0, 1.38), who is coming off a win against the San Francisco Giants on April 12, where he pitched seven strong innings, giving up no runs on four hits, while striking out seven, in the Padres’ 6-1 win. He will be looking to increase his record to 3-0 at the Phillies’ expense. The Phillies will come home, preparing several tributes in the memory of the late Harry Kalas, while trying to see if they can get back onto the winning track.
The Phillies have lost their second straight game in the young season as the bats resurrect a major problem from last season, the inability to knock in runs after putting men in scoring position.
Jamie Moyer, starting the game for the Phils, ran into trouble early, as Braves’ lead-off man Kelly Johnson, hammers his first pitch, a cutter, into the right field seats, for his first home run of the season, giving Atlanta a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, Chipper Jones, who had earlier reached second on a double with one man out, scored from second base on a Chase Utley fielding error of a Brian McCann grounder, making it 2-0 Braves. The Braves added a run in the fourth inning, as, with runners on first and third, with two outs, Kelly Johnson singled in Jeff Francoeur, who had earlier singled and had reached third on an infield single by Casey Kotchman that Jimmy Rollins was unable to make a play on, increasing Atlanta’s lead to 3-0. The next batter, Yunel Escobar, followed with a single to left, but a strong throw from Raul Ibanez to home plate would cut down Kotchman, as Carlos Ruiz successfully blocked home plate before supplying the tag, for the inning’s final out. Then in the fifth, Jones knocked in the Braves’ final run of the evening as he hit Moyer’s first pitch, another cutter, deep into left field for his first home run of the year, and the Braves’ fifth homer of the young season. The Phillies’ bullpen then took over in the sixth, and, like it did on Sunday night, it would shut down the Braves’ offense for the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the Phillies were not having any luck with either Jair Jurrjens or the Braves’ bullpen. Although they would get a few men into scoring position, they would be unable to get the key hit that they needed to bring them home as they ended up being six-hit by Atlanta.
Jamie Moyer took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks, as he struck out two. His record is now 0-1 with an ERA of 7.20. Chan Ho Park pitched an inning of relief, giving up no hits. Jack Taschner followed him, pitching two straight 1-2-3 innings. Clay Condrey also pitched a 1-2-3 inning, with two strike outs, as the bullpen has so far pitched seven shut out innings, giving up no hits or walks. Jair Jurrjens picked up the win for the Braves, as he went five and two-thirds shut out innings, scattering four hits, along with three walks, while striking out two. His record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Jeff Bennett then followed him in relief, giving up a hit to the only batter that he would face. Eric O’Flaherty then came in and pitched an inning and a third of shut out ball, giving up a hit. Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez then came in to each pitch a scoreless inning, with Soriano striking out a batter.
Among the Phillies batters, Utley and Ryan Howard would each get two hits in the game, all singles. Ibanez and Ruiz had the Phils other two hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a double, the Phils only extra-base hit of the night. The Phils also had four walks, But, they were unable to knock in any runs, as they left eleven men on base, going 0-7 with runners in scoring position, a major problem for the team last season.
The Phillies (0-2) will conclude their short three-game home stand with the Braves (2-0) later this afternoon, as the Phillies receive their World Series rings. The game will begin at 3:05 pm Eastern time at Citizens Bank Park, with the ring ceremony to be performed at 2:15 pm. Starting for the Phillies will be Joe Blanton, who last year went 4-0 for the Phils (9-12 overall) with a 4.20 ERA. His record for the 2009 season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. His opponent will be Javier Vazquez, who in 2008 went 12-16 for the Chicago White Sox with a 4.67 ERA. This season his record is presenty 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phils will be looking to salvage a win at home before they go on the road for their first road trip of the young season, meeting the Rockies in Colorado for three weekend games and then going on to Washington, D.C. to face the Nationals for three games at the start of next week.
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.
They Phillies have announced that they will be giving the final two spots in the bullpen to J.A. Happ and Jack Taschner while they send Gary Majewski down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. They will also be giving the final bench spot to infielder Miguel Cairo. With that, your 2009 defending World Champions Philadelphia Phillies look like this:
Chan Ho Park
…plus J.C. Romero, who will be returning later in the season from his stupid 50-game suspension, to retake his roster spot in the bullpen.
Although the team looks good and appear ready to defend the title, I still have this nagging question in the back of my head. Why are they putting Happ into the bullpen, where he has not done too well so far at the big league level, instead of Majewski? Let’s be honest, folks. Happ is a starter, no more, no less. He’s better off pitching some more at Lehigh Valley until something bad happens to one of the five starters, knock on wood, instead of the bullpen. I can only think that he’s up here just in case someone in the starting rotation blows it big time real early in the season. I am so hoping that I’m wrong and that Charlie Manuel and the brain-trust knows exactly what they are doing.
In other Phillies-related news, the Mets have just signed outfielder Gary Sheffield to a one-year, $400,000 deal. If Gary’s attitude is as bad as I’d been reading about during the past few days, our team has just bit the bullet by him signing elsewhere. As for the Mets, I hate to be in their clubhouse when he starts becoming disruptive.