The Phillies (62-52) will be welcoming back to Philadelphia the once proud Pirates (52-62, 5th National League Central) for a three games weekend series. The first game of the series will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (6-12, 4.94), who is coming off his first victory as a Phil against the Cardinals on August 2, when he went seven very strong innings, giving up only an earned run on four hits, in the Phillies’ 2-1 win. This will be his first career start against the Bucos. He will be looking for his second win as a Phil, eating up the innings as he does so, while trying to continue Pittsburgh’s present woes. His opponent will be Pete Maholm (7-7, 3.95), who is coming off a lost to the Cubs on August 2, as he got bombed by the presently mighty Cubs, giving up five earned in six innings of work on eight hits, in the Pirates’ 5-1 lost. He has faced the Phillies earlier this year, pitching a complete game against them on April 27, giving up only one earned run on two hits, in the Pirates’ 5-1 win. He hopes to improve his present record while hoping that the Phillies’ batters won’t do any better against him this time around.
There are presently rumbling among both the fan blogs’ and Philly sports writers over the inconsistenty of the Phillies’ offense, an offense that for one or several days will score five or more runs without any problem, and the next can’t seem to be able to even buy a run, making the opposing starter look like Cy Young in the process, while forcing their own starters to be almost picture perfect with some very sad results. I don’t know if this goes back to hitting coach Milt Thompson or not, but it does go to how this team is built. Too much concentration on the long ball and too little concentration on having guys, especially those in the 6-7-8 holes in the battling line-up, being able to make contact to not just put the ball in play, but to follow the late Wee Willie Keeler’s maxim of hitting them where they ain’t, and unfortunately, the guys are hitting them right where the opposition fielders are. And, as I have stated here several times before, they are not doing enough small ball to try and put pressure on the opposition. (Exception being Shane Victorino, as every time he gets on, he puts on the pressure with his threat to steal a base, although I have seem to have noticed a lack of that happening right now. Maybe the home run bug has made him forget about just getting on base and making the defense nervous?) So, if it is Milt Thompson, I have this question: Is there anyone in the present organization who can make these guys do the little things, i.e., small ball, whether they like it or not, and can do it as soon as he shows up? If there isn’t such a person, then firing Thompson now won’t mean anything if they don’t have anyone waiting in the wings who can take charge as soon as he arrive and show these home run hitters the reality that small ball helps a lot more than home runs when it come to be a more consistent run scoring team.
The Phillies’ lead over the Marlins is a game and a half and two games over the Mets as the two teams prepare to face each other at Shea Stadium for a weekend series. The Phillies lead the Braves by nine and a half games as the Braves’ win over the Diamondbacks in Arizona. The Phillies will be trying to take advantage of the once powerful Pirates and try to come away with a sweep at best or a series win at worst while hoping that their two nearest rivals in the East will end up cancelling each other out by the time the weekend is over.
The weekend series continues this afternoon as the Phillies (54-49) hosts the Braves (49-53) at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 3:55 pm Eastern, being shown nationally on Fox Sports Saturday Baseball. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.11), who is coming off of a no-decision against the Marlins on July 20, where he went eight innings, unleasing his nasty new curveball which helped to keep the young Marlins off-balanced all day, giving up only two earned runs on four hits. Hamels has faced the Braves two times already this year, having a 2-0 record against them, going a combined total of seventeen and two-thirds innings, giving up only one earned run on nine hits. Hamels will for the fourth straight week try to notch his tenth win of the year while pondering if the Phillies’ batters will finally give him some runs support, after having already pitched three straight quality starts with little to no run support. The Braves will be sending to the mound Mike Hampton (0-0, _.__), who will be making his first start at the major league level since 2005. He will be looking for his first win of the year, while hoping to continue the Phillies present offensive woes.
It was reported that the team had a meeting behind closed doors yesterday afternoon for 15 minutes to try and address the problems that they are presently having. You know, to try and clear the air. Oh, I hate to tell you, Charlie, but I think these guys needs more than 15 mins. to correct this mess. They need a good old fashion Dallas Green/Larry Bowa-style kick in the pants tirade, telling them what they should be doing, and not what they’re doing, and I do believe that target number 1 of the tirade should be Jimmy Rollins. Sorry Jimmy, but that laid back attitude of yours need to be thrown out the window, along with the swinging at the first pitch(s) thrown at you that you are presently doing too much of. Honestly, dude, you are suppose to be the leader of this team. As long as you keep doing your imitation of Alfred E. Neuman’s “What, Me. Worry?”, this team is not going anywhere. You want to regain the pennent and get into the World Series, start acting like you want it bad!!!! Of course, this goes all the way to the top, with the idiots owners who own this club, who keep wanting to do things on the cheap, and it keeps showing with the kind of people who they keep giving contracts to, who end up being busts. Ladies and Gentlemen, my fellow Phillies’ fan, we need to revolt against these cheapskates who runs the team, and get our boys out of their cheapo hands and into the hands of a George Steinbrenner-type who will be willing to put out the money for the necessary talents for both the farm system and the main team that will be in the pennant race year after year as a constant threat. Until that happens, what we are seeing now is just going to be constantly repeated again and again until they are finally removed from the helm.
The Phillies are presently tied for second place with the Marlins, both trailing the Mets by two games. The fourth place Braves are trailing the Phillies and Marlins by four and a half games, and poised to get back into the race. The Phillies need to step it up, get out of their present funk and show to the rest of the league that they are not dead yet!!!!
The second place Phillies (54-48) will start a three games weekend series with the Braves (48-53). The first game of the three game set will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their number four man Kyle Kendrick (8-4, 4.87), who is unfortunately coming off of an awful performance against the Marlins on July 19, where he would only last four and one-third innings, giving up seven earned runs on ten hits, in the Phillies’ 9-5 lost. In that performance, he would pitch inside on right handed hitters which would seem to confound the young Marlins’ righthanders, but he in turn would get hurt by their left handed batters, who would knock in all but two of the runs that he would give up in the game. This seems to be Kendrick’s major weakness, as over 62% of the hits that he has given up so far in his young career has been to lefthanders. Maybe a bit more studying under Jamie Moyer to learn how to get around lefties, and the continuing ability to work inside on righties might get him moved up into the number three spot in the rotation. He will be facing the Braves for the fourth time this year, with a 2-0 record plus a no-decision, which the Phillies would also win, as he pitched a combine total of seventeen and one-third innings against the Braves, giving up only eight earned runs on seventeen hits. Lifetime against the Braves, he is 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA in five starts. He will be trying to record his ninth win, while trying to help get the Phillies back on the winning track. The Braves’ will counter with Jair Jurrjens (9-5, 3.22), who is coming off a lost against the Nationals, also on July 19, where he would go six and a third inning, giving up five earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 8-2 lost. The young hurler from the Netherlands has already pitched one game against the Phillies so far this year, losing to them back on July 3, as he pitched seven innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 4-1 lost. He will be trying for his tenth win of the season while seeing if he will have better luck this time against the presently potentless Phillies’ batters.
The Phillies’ batters can’t seem to do anything right at the moment, as they return from New York losing the last game of their most recent three games series with them without so much as a fight. The batters appear to still be in a general slump, in spite of some players having good individual batting performances. But, in general, the batters don’t seem to be using their heads when they are at the plate. They don’t seem to take their time, or not swing at balls that are, quite frankly, not in the strike zone, or even close to it. They don’t seem to be willing to sacrifice themselves, making a strategic out, if it will result in either getting a runner over to third, from second, or getting them home with less than two outs, by hitting the ball to the left side of the infield. They don’t seem to be doing too much hit and run with the players on the team that have some speed, that could open up a hole between second and first, thereby getting the runner over to third. They don’t seem to be staying patient enough at the plate with they are ahead of the count at either 2-0, 2-1 or 3-0, thereby forcing the pitcher to throw them their pitch, and not his slop, which opposing pitchers are at the moment quite sure that they will go after since they are all playing really lousy right now. Quite frankly, they need to play so much smarter baseball in general, getting away from the long ball, which at the moment seems to be bringing in just one run at a time, and start doing some small ball, which I believe that I have already mentioned here several times in the past. Yes, it’ll bring in one or two runs at a time, but at least it should keep the defense on, well, the defensive, wondering what these guys are going to do next. I think it’s time that they start taking it to the other team, and stop hoping that something is going to happen. News flash guys, the only way things are going to happen is if you guys start making it happen offensively, especially as the starters have kept you in most of the last dozen or so games that you have lost. Your opponents are not blowing you guys out of games. Quite frankly, you guys are playing yourselves out of games. Hopefully, since you’ll be facing weak teams for the next several series, you might be able to correct this. But, if you guys start losing series to the Nationals and the Padres of the world, that’s it, this season is officially over, end of story.
The Phillies trail the now first place Mets by a game, as the Mets prepare to face the Cardinals for a three games weekend series. The Marlins, who are now behind the Phillies by a game, thanks to a lost to the National League Central leading Cubs last night, will continue their four games series with the Cubs. The Braves are behind the Phillies by five and a half games as they come to Philadelphia for a weekend series. The Phillies will be trying to continue their present dominance of the Braves, while seeing if they can regain their winning ways.
The Phillies lose another series to the Mets and in the process drop out of first place as its offense seem to have vanished into thin air as it waste a very good effort by starter Jamie Moyer. Moyer, who two hit the Mets, would give up only one run, a RBI single by David Wright in the third, scoring Jose Reyes, who has earlier walked and then stole second. The Phillies would then tie it in the seventh on a solo home run by Jayson Werth, his thirteenth home run of the year. The Phillies would threathen to take the lead in the top of the eighth, when, with one out, Eric Bruntlett would hit a deep fly ball to left field that would just miss going out of the park, instead ending up on second with a double. After Mets’ starter Oliver Perez strikes out Chase Utley for the second out of the inning, he would put Pat Burrell on first with an intentional walk. Ryan Howard is then hit by the pitch, loading the bases. Perez is then taken out of the game, replaced by Aaron Heilman. Heilmann would proceed to get Werth to end the inning by flying out. In the bottom of the eight, the Mets would regain the lead as, with two men on, and two outs, Carlos Delgado would hit a two-run double, scoring Robinson Cancel, who has gotten on base earlier with a pinch hit single, and Wright, who has just been intentionally walked. But Delgado would be thrown out trying to go to third base, Burrell to Bruntlett to Chris Coste to Pedro Feliz, to finally end the inning, but after the damage has already been done. Billy Wagner would then come in the ninth to record his twenty-sixth save of the year, as the offense goes down without a fight.
Jamie Moyer would pitch seven strong innings, keeping the Mets under control as he gives up only one earned run on two hits while striking out six, as he receives a no-decision. J.C. Romero is tagged with the lost, as he pitches an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Oliver Perez would also get a no-decision as he pitches seven and two-thirds innings, giving up only an earned run on six hits while striking out twelve. Aaron Heilman will get the win, pitching just a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. His record is now 1-2 with a ERA of 4.75. Billy Wagner will record his twenty-six save of the season, giving up only a hit.
The Phillies have now dropped into second place as the offense has allowed another great performance by Jamie Moyer to go down the tube because of their lousy performances at the plate. To say that at this moment the batters might as well just phone in their at bats is an understatement. This is just not acceptable. Where in the world has happen to the passion, the desire, the drive to want to win the Eastern Division for the second straight year, among the players, that they had around this same time last year? I mean, its looking more and more like these guys should be getting ready to join the federal witness protection program so that they can escape the wrath of the angry mob of Phillies fans who are soon going to be booing their sorry ***** out of Citizens Bank Park if they continue with this lackluster playing, instead of being the team that is suppose to be the run producing nightmare of starters for other major league teams. This is just pathetic, just dreadfully pathetic!!! It is especially pathetic with the way that the batters seems to be making even the worst pitcher look like he’s the second coming of Cy Young as he pitched against them. Hitting season? I’m beginning to wonder if Charlie Manuel was speaking a bit too soon when he made that comment back in May. To quote the old professor, Casey Stengel, “Can’t anybody out there play this game?” AAGGGGRRRHHHHH. Will some one please pass me the Alka Seltzer?
The now second place Phillies (54-48) will come home for a three games series with the Braves (48-53). The first game will be played tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. Kyle Kendrick (8-4, 4.87) will get the start, coming off of an awful performance against the Marlins on July 19, where he would only last four and one-third innings, giving up seven earned runs on ten hits, in the Phillies’ 9-5 lost. He will be facing the Braves for the third time this year, with a 2-0 record plus a no-decision, which the Phillies also won, as he would pitch a combined total of seventeen and one-third innings, giving up only eight earned runs on seventeen hits. Lifetime against the Braves, he is 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA in five starts. He will be trying to record his ninth win, while trying to get the Phils back on track. The Braves’ starter will be Jair Jurrjens (9-5, 3.22), who is coming off a lost against the Nationals on July 19, where he would pitch six and a third inning, giving up five earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 8-2 lost. He has already pitched a game against the Phillies so far this year, losing to them on July 3, as he pitched seven innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits. He will be trying for his tenth win of the season while seeing if he has better luck this time against the Phillies’ batters.
The Phillies now trail the first place Mets by a game. They are presently a half-game ahead of the Marlins, who are getting ready to play the Cubs later today. The Braves trails the Phillies by five and a half games, as they have the day off today, before coming into Philly for a three games weekend series. The Phillies will be trying to regroup this weekend, trying to prove that they are indeed a second half team, although their first two series of the second half would seem to say otherwise.
Manuel seethes after Phils’ loss to Marlins
But Charlie Manuel is frustrated with his team’s offense, and he let it be known after the Phillies wasted a golden effort from ace Cole Hamels in losing, 3-2, in 11 innings to the Florida Marlins yesterday.
“We get pitching like that, we’ve got to win,” an exasperated Manuel said after Hamels allowed just four hits, two of which were home runs, over eight innings.
Sitting behind a desk in the visiting manager’s office at Dolphin Stadium, Manuel flicked a few jabs at his team’s offense, then delivered a haymaker.
“Our situational hitting is absolutely terrible,” he said. “Absolutely off the chart, really.”
A double absolute. That’s how bad these last two days in Florida were. The Phils went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine in Saturday’s 9-5 loss. Yesterday, they went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.
“It’s going to be hard for us to win” if situational hitting does not improve, Manuel said. “[On Saturday], we hit all those balls down to third base in one inning – absolutely bad hitting. I’m not trying to hurt anybody’s feelings, but if I do, if I’m talking about you, that’s good. I mean to be talking about you.
“We hit enough. We talk enough [about situational hitting]. We’ve got to get it done. A lot of it is me. It’s up to me to make us try to get it done.
“Accountability is fine, but if you don’t execute, something’s wrong.”
The Phillies are widely hailed as an excellent offensive team; they entered yesterday’s game ranked second in the National League with 490 runs. The Phils have scored 20 runs in a game twice, most recently on June 13 at St. Louis. In the 30 games since then, however, they have scored four or fewer runs 20 times and two or fewer 11 times. They are 12-18 in those 30 games, but have managed to hang on to a share of first place.
“I hear everybody [praise] our lineup, but evidently they don’t really evaluate our lineup right,” he said. “It’s not like I’m throwing anybody under the bus, because I’m not. It’s about our team. I’m included in that.”
In one breath, Manuel said the team had several elite hitters. In another, he indicated that those hitters were underachieving. He also made a point to say that this year’s lineup is different than last year’s.
Last season, the Phillies had Aaron Rowand, who hit .309 with 27 homers and 89 RBIs. He has ostensibly been replaced by Jayson Werth (.268, 12 homers, 36 RBIs) and Geoff Jenkins (.238, 8 homers, 26 RBIs).
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who has struggled to match last year’s MVP season, was unfazed by Manuel’s criticism.
“He’s pretty much right, but we’ll get out of it,” Rollins said. “We don’t get concerned until late. Coaches do that now. We go play.” (H/T Philly.com)
What, Charlie is sick of how his offense is playing? Hey, Charlie, join the club, I’m just surprise it took you this long to explode. Ah for the days of Larry Bowa and his rants. Okay, Charles, now that you’d pinpointed the problem, what are you going to do about it? I’m waiting…..
The Phillies (48-43) continue their three games series with the Cardinals (51-40, 2nd National League Central), with a night game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will by rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 3.86), who is coming off a recent no-decision against the Mets on July 4, where he would pitch four and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 3-2 victory. He will be trying for his first major league victory while seeing if he will be able to pitch good enough to stay in the majors. The Cardinals will counter with their rookie Mark Mulder (0-0, 13.50), who is making his first start of the year, after spending some time in the bullpen. In his last appearace in the bullpen, on July 2 against the Mets, he would only go a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. He will be seeing if he can do well as a starter, while trying to keep the Phillies’ bats quiet.
Speaking of the Phillies’ offense, someone among the players needs to lit into the rest of the team to get them out of their present funk. The offense has been acting like a sleepwalker for almost a whole month, and quite frankly, it needs to stop, and the only way it is going to stop is for one of the players to start acting like a team leader and get on the collective tails of the other batters. If this will ruffle some feathers, tough. This team is suppose to be better than this, and if they are waiting for someone to get a big hit, then they have been waiting too long. Someone needs to take command and tell the rest of them to get off their collective ***** and prove to themselves and everyone else in the league that they are the fourth best team in the National League and are a potent runs producer, instead of appearing to be a weak team that is playing a lot higher than they should be. Otherwise, they might as well start looking forward to another year of not being in the playoffs and a lot of really ticked off Phillies’ fans.
The Phillies lead is presently a game over the Marlins as they have just defeated the Padres. They are a game and a half ahead of the Mets as they prepare to greet the Giants. They lead the Braves by five games, as they plan to play the Dodgers later tonight. The Phillies hope to get the offense restared while trying to stave off both the Marlins and the Mets, two teams who they have allowed back into the pennant race because of their inconsistant play.
Cole Hamels pitches a very good game as he only gives up three hits in seven innings of work. Unfortunately, two of those hits would be solo home runs. And even worst, the Phillies’ offense disappeared completely, as they got only six hits, as they lose their fourth straight game, falling to the Cardinals, 2-0. The game would be a pitchers’ duel between Hamels and Cardinals’ starter, Joel Pineiro, as the Phillies would squander a chance to take the lead in the second, while Hamels would keep the redbirds off-balanced. That is until the fifth, when Hamels gives up a solo home run to Rick Ankiel, his nineteenth home run of the year, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. One inning later, with two men out, he would give up another solo home run, this one to Ryan Ludwick, his eighteenth home run of the year, to make it 2-0 Cardinals. That would be it, as the Phillies would be unable to mount much of an offense, as the batters would blow a rally in the seventh. Ryan Franklin would pitch the ninth, recording his twelfth save of the year.
Cole Hamels would take the lost, in spite of pitching seven innings of three hit ball as he gives up two earned runs. Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would both pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit each. Joel Pineiro would pitch six and one thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up only five hits. Ron Villone would pitch two-thirds innings of scoreless, hitless pitching. Kyle McClellan would pitch a hitless, scoreless inning. Ryan Franklin would pitch a scoreless night as he gives up only one hit while recording his twelfth save of the year.
Once again, the offense vanishes after showing a sign of life the previous day. This is getting to be a real annoyance. The Phillies are suppose to be one of the best runs producing teams in baseball, but I sometimes wonder if its really is, considering how much they seem to prefer letting their big men do all of their scoring and not even show a willingness to do some small ball. What is it with this team and creating runs when the big men can’t seem to get going? Are they afraid of looking like an ordinary team? If they are, then shame on them. They need to get off their individual high horses and start playing some small ball, and in that way put some pressure on the defense. Otherwise, start saying hello to the Nationals if they keep playing like this.
The Phillies (48-43) continue their three games series with the Cardinals (51-40, 2nd National League Central), with a night game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will by rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 3.86), who is coming off a no-decision against the Mets on July 4, where he pitched four and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 3-2 victory. He will be trying for his first major league victory while seeing if he will be able to pitch good enough to stay in the majors. The Cardinals will counter with rookie Mark Mulder (0-0, 13.50), who is making his first start of the year, after spending time in the bullpen. His last appearace, on July 2 against the Mets, he would only go a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. He will be seeing if he can do well as a starter, while trying to keep the Phillies’ bats quiet.
The lost leave the Phillies with a one game lead over the Marlins, who are presently losing to the Padres. Their lead over the Mets is now at a game and a half as the Mets crushed the Giants. The Phillies lead the Braves by five and a half games, as they are presently involved in a scoreless game with the Dodgers. The Phillies will once again try to find out where their defense have disappeared to so that they can get back to winning and leading their division.
Edit: The Phils lead is still at a game and a half as the Marlins are defeated by the Padres. The defeat now placed the Marlins in a tied for second with the Mets. Wheee I say in sarcastically. Come on offense, wake up, blast it!!!!