Phillies let third-base coach go
Smith had been with organization for two seasons
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
To actually see him get release is a big surprise.
PHILADELPHIA — Phillies manager Charlie Manuel made his first and only change to his staff in two seasons, when he opted not to bring back third-base coach Steve Smith.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed this from Dana Point, Calif., where he’s attending the General Managers Meetings. Manuel is in attendance as well, and the two men met with Smith personally to deliver the news.
Smith was hired before the start of the 2007 season, as a replacement for Art Howe, who had been hired but left to accept a position with the Rangers.
The rest of the Phillies’ coaches will be asked to return. (H/T Phillies.com)
Hopefully Charlie will have someone ready to take his place, although it is good to hear that the rest of the coaches will still be here. Goodbye Steve, and good luck in the future.
The fifth game of the 2008 World Series has now entered the history books as the first game in World Series history to be suspended, as Bud ‘I’m a moron’ Selig suspends the game before the start of the Phillies’ sixth, after B.J. Upton of the Rays scored the tying run on a Carlos Pena single, tying the game at 2-2. After Cole Hamels would pitch a quick 1-2-3 first, the Phillies’ bat would go after Rays’ starter Scott Kazmir. After Jimmy Rollins would fly out for the inning’s first out, Jayson Werth would get on base with a walk. Chase Utley would then be hit by the pitch, sending Werth over to second base. After Kazmir strikes out Ryan Howard swinging for the second out, Pat Burrell would take a walk to load the bases, moving up both Werth and Utley to third and second respectively. Shane Victorino would follow with a two-run single, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead, scoring both Werth and Utley, while sending Burrell over to second. Pedro Feliz would follow up with a single of his own, reloading the bases, as third base coach Steve Smith would stop Burrell at third base, so that he wouldn’t possibily being thrown out at home plate, while Victorino would stop at second. Carlos Ruiz would then end the inning by flying out. Neither team would be able to do anything in either the second or third innings as the mist that the two teams were playing in started to come down as rain. The Rays would cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1 as, with a runner on second and one out, Evan Longorio would hit a RBI single, scoring Carlos Pena, who has earlier doubled. The Phillies would then get out of the inning as Dioner Navarro would hit into a 6-4-3 double play, wiping out Longorio at second. In the Phils half of the fourth, they would threaten to score. After Feliz would stike out for the inning’s first out, Ruiz would reach base with a single. Hamels would then attempt to bunt him over to second. Kazmir would have other ideas as he would grab the bunt and fires to second, forcing out Ruiz easily for the second out, as Hamels would reach first safely. Rollins would follow with a walk, sending Hamels to second. Werth would then follow with a walk, loading the bases, as Hamels and Rollins would both move on to second and third. But the threat would end as Utley would ground out, 4-3 for the final out. During the time, the ground crew would try to work on the field as the rains proceed to come down even harder, but the umpires would refuse to call a rain delay at this point. In the fifth, Rocco Baldelli would reach first base as Rollins would be unable to catch a high pop up because of the rain and the winds, which would be called an error. But the Phillies would bite the bullet as Jason Bartlett would hit into a 4-3 double play, as Utley would make a spectacular play, tagging Baldelli on the foot as he ran pass him and would then throw to first to beat out Bartlett. In the Phillies half of the fifth, as the field was getting worse, the first two Phillies’ batters (Howard and Burrell) would both get on base via walks. This would be the end for Kazmir, as he would be taken out of the game by Rays’ manager Joe Maddon and be replaced on a getting bad mound by Grant Balfour. Balfour would then proceed to get the next three Phillies’ batter, all looking to be a bit too eager to swing, to either fly out or pop out. Victorino would start by flying out to left for out number one. Then Feliz would hit a high pop that would barely be caught by first baseman Pena for the second out, although the Infield Fly Rule should’ve been evoked by the umpires before then. Ruiz would then follow by also poping out to Pena for the inning’s final out. In the top of the sixth, with things only getting worst, and with Hamels forced to throw only mostly fastballs as he couldn’t get a frim enough grip on the slippery ball so that he can throw his curveball, he would start the inning off by striking out Akinori Iwamura for out number one. He would then get Carl Crawford to ground out to Howard for out number two. The next batter, B.J. Upton would then hit a ground ball to Jimmy Rollins, who would be unable to make the play, as Upton is given a single. Upton would then, after four straight throws to first, steal second base, as Ruiz is unable to throw him out. Pena would then hit a single to left, as Upton would score the tying run as he beat out the throw from Burrell. A pass ball by Ruiz would then allow Pena to reach second base. But the inning would finally end as Longorio would fly out to center. Then the umpires ordered the field to be covered. After a rain delay, Bud Selig would finally suspend the game at 2-2, calling for it to be continued on Tuesday night after 8 pm Eastern. But, after 1 pm today, it has been announced that the game, because of the continuing rain and the possibility of heavy winds, it will instead be continued after 8 pm Wednesday, with the Phillies up in the bottom of the sixth.
Folks, I’m pissed. This game should never have been played in the first place, since MLB knew that the weather was going to get worst as it progressed and that the rain would have not ended until sometimes Wednesday. Bud Selig, MLB and their FOX overlords (let’s be frank people, FOX was the real ones calling the shots here) decided to try to sneak this one in, believing in the optimistic reports from the three weather bureaus that MLB uses, because of their greed for money and whatever ratings they thought they could get from this series. So, tell me Bud, how did that work out for? I’m just saying. GGGRRRR!!! And then, when he finally does call for it to be suspended, he waited until after the Rays had scored a run in the sixth, in foul weather that only a duck would love and say that he did this for the health of the players. Hello!!! Bud Homer, would that include B.J. Upton, who stole second in that slop? What would MLB has done if he’d slide the wrong way, or slip and fall flat on his face trying to steal second. Continue to play the game or finally called for it to be put in a rain delay? I call BS on your worrying about the players’ health, you tool. If you did care, you should’ve called it in the fourth, or the fifth at the latest. JERK! I’m starting to have more respect for Bowie Kuhn at this point, and that’s saying a lot as far as I’m concerned.
Anyway, the game is suppose to continue tomorrow with the Phillies’ batting. The Phillies has a chance to win this. They have at the least nine or at the most twelve outs to get just one run across and do it against a Rays’ bullpen that they have been able to score runs on since game two. The Rays, on the other hand, have nine outs within which to plate one run, and they have to do it against a Phillies’ bullpen that has been almost spotless during the post-season, and they start it off with the bottom of their lineup while the Phillies will start their inning with almost the top half of their lineup. Come on people, the Phillies still have a chance to do this. They just need to suck it up, get over the feeling that someone is trying to rob them of a championship, and just go about their business. If they’re going to be the World Champs, they should be able to overcome this just as they have overcome everything else that has been thrown at them this year. As the Tugger once said, “You Gotta Believe!!” and I believe that this team can get past this and WIN. GO PHILLIES!!!
Oh, and Charlie Manuel, I think you did the right thing by not having a postgame conference when there was really no reason for it. I salute you on doing that, ‘Uncle’ Charlie.
Seven strong innings from Cole Hamels and two shut out innings from Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Rays, 3-2, to take the first game of the World Series. The Phils would jump into the lead in the top of the first, when, with a runner on first and one man out, Chase Utley would hit a two-run home run into the right field seats, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Phillies would threaten to increase their lead in the second, when, with the bases loaded via a single (Shane Victorino) and two walks (Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz) and with one man out, Victorino would try to score on a shallow fly ball to left center field by Jimmy Rollins that was caught by Rays’ centerfielder B.J. Upton for the inning’s second out. Victornio, who would later admit that he ran home on a miscommunication with third base coach Steve Smith, who was telling him not to go home, would be tagged out at home plate by Rays’ catcher Dioner Navarro for the inning’s final out. In the top of the third, the Phillies would threaten to score again after Werth would reach third base via a lead-off double and a Utley ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s first out. But Rays’ starter Scott Kazmir would get out of the inning by getting first Ryan Howard and then Pat Burrell to strike out swinging. The Rays would then mount a threat of their own in their half of the third as they would load up the bases with only one out via two singles (Ben Zobrist and Akinori Iwamura) and a walk (Jason Bartlett). But Cole Hamels would end the threat by getting Upton to ground into a 5-4-3 double play on a sharp grounder hit to Feliz. The Phillies would finally add another run in the fourth as, with runners on second and third and one man out, Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move to second on Feliz’s single, and who would both move up a base on Chris Coste’s ground out to first, would cross the plate on Ruiz’s ground out, 6-3, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. The Rays would finally get on the scoreboard as, with two outs, Carl Crawford would hit a solo home run on a Hamels’ curveball, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 3-1. The Rays would then cut the Phils’ lead down further in the fifth, as, with a runner on second and two men out, Iwamura would hit a RBI double, scoring Bartlett, who has earlier walked and then stole second, to make it a 3-2 Phillies’ lead. Hamels would then end the inning by getting Upton to foul out to Howard, who would make a spectular catch just inside the stands behind the first base foul line. The Rays would try to threaten again in the sixth as Howard would boot Carlos Pena’s ground ball for a fielding error. But, when Pena tried to steal second, he would be picked off by Hamels, who would throw over to Howard, who would then throw to Rollins, would would just barely tag out Pena for the inning’s first out, although the Rays’ bench would claim that Hamels had actually balked, a claim that first base umpire Kerwin Danley would ignore. Hamels would then proceed to strike out Evan Longoria and then get Crawford to ground out, 4-3, to end the inning. The Phillies would make another threat to score an extra run in the seventh, as, with runners on third (Utley (single, stolen base and wild pitch (J.P. Howell)) and first (Burrell (walk), who was then replaced by pinch runner Eric Bruntlett) and two outs, Rays’ reliever Grant Balfour, the second Rays’ reliever for the inning, would end the inning by striking out Victornio. Hamels’ seventh would be an easy eleven-pitch 1-2-3 inning. After the Phillies would go down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Ryan Madson would come out in relief of Hamels and proceed to pitch a 1-2-3 inning of his own. In the Phillies’ ninth, the Phils would make one final attempt to get an insurance run as they would get runners on second (Werth (ground-rule double) and first (Utley (intentional walk)) and one out. But, the Rays would get out of the inning as first Howard would strike out looking and then Bruntlett would pop out to the second baseman. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Brad Lidge to close it. Lidge would proceed to strike out Pena and Longoria on seven pitches before ending the game by getting Crawford to foul out to Feliz for the final out, recording the save.
Cole Hamels would get the win as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 4-0 record in the post-season. Ryan Madson would pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Brad Lidge would also pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two, as he would record his fifth save in the post-season and his forty-sixth save in forty-six tries. Scott Kazmir would receive the lost as he pitches six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out four. His series record is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.50. J.P. Howell, Grant Balfour, Trever Miller and Dan Wheeler would combine for three scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Howell and Balfour one hit apiece) and two walks (Howell and Balfour would each give up a walk), while striking out five (Howell and Balfour two each and Miller one).
The Phillies would win last night’s game thanks to the bullpen shutting down the Rays’ offense in the last two innings, while Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would combine to get the last eleven Ray batters out, after Hamels had picked off Carlos Pena trying to steal second in the sixth inning. Speaking of the pick off, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon and the Rays’ bench all thought that Hamels had balked before he threw to first base after Pena had started to run towards second base. The first base umpire, Kerwin Danley, would ignore their argument, but before the start of the Phillies’ seventh, home plate umpire Tim Welke told Maddon that he would look into the matter. Quite frankly, I don’t know what the point of all this is. If it was a balk, Danley should’ve called it right then and there. I just hope this wasn’t an attempt by Maddon to influence things later in the series as it could backfire on his team since the umpires could decide to look closely at the pitchers of both teams when their pitchers throw towards first when there is someone on base who is a basestealing threat. I guess time will tell. Meanwhile, the Phillies offense would once again in the post-season be unable to hit an early knockout blow against their opponent as they would leave eleven men on base, thanks mainly to Ryan Howard being unable to stop chasing junk out of the strike zone. Hey big guy, lay off the junk pitches will you? As long as you keep swinging at them, they’re going to keep throwing them to you. Please follow Charlie Manuel’s advice, just relax at the plate and let the ball come to you. Even if it means hitting into an out, it’ll at least be a lot better than being made to look like a fool with your constant swing and misses at off-speed junk.
The 2008 World Series continues tonight with the series’ second game, being played tonight at Tropicana Field. The game will begin at 8:29 pm Easten time. The Phillies will send to the mound Brett Myers (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his victory over the Dodgers on October 10, where he went five innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out six, in the Phillies’ 8-5 win, thanks in part to his going 3 for 3 at the plate, knocking in three runs and scoring two. His post-season record is 2-0 with a 5.25 ERA, as he pitched twelve innings, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits and seven walks, while striking out ten. During the regular season, his record was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA, as he pitched in thirty games, giving up 103 runs, 96 of which were earned, on 197 hits and 65 walks, while striking out 163 batters in 190 innings of work. But, he was a better pitcher in the second half, after his return from a minor league reassignment, as he would go 7-4 with two no-decisions. Myers will be pitching his first start on the road during the post-season, and hoping to stake the Phillies to a 2-0 lead in the series, while hoping to avoid a repeat of his last road start back on September 19 against the Marlins where he got bombed for ten earned runs. The Rays will be countering with James Shields (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his second straight bad start in the ALCS against the Red Sox on October 18, as he would last just five and two-third innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Rays’ 4-2 lost. In the post-season, his record is 1-2 in three starts, as he would pitch ninteen and a third innings, giving up nine runs, eight of which were earned, on twenty-one hits and six walks, while striking out thirteen. His regular season record was 14-8 with a 3.56 ERA, as he would pitch in 33 games, going 215 innings, giving up 94 runs, 85 of which were earned, on 208 hits and 40 walks, while striking out 160. Shields will be going out to even the series at a game a piece, while trying to avoid getting hurt for the third straight game in the post-season. The Phillies will once again be trying to be patient with another Rays’ starter who have had even worst recent luck in the post-season than has last night’s starter Kazmir before striking the major blow, while hoping that Myers will be able to do well on the road for at least this game, before heading back home to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park and its very loud, screaming fans.
The Phillies let another game slip out of their hands as they blow another lead, losing to the Cubs, 3-2. And, to add insult to injury, a bad umpire’s call may have hurt them this time. Like yesterday, the Phillies would score first, as, with two men on and two outs, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI single, knocking in Chase Utley, who has been hit by the pitch, and then would move up to second on Ryan Howard’s walk, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between two former A’s teammates, Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton and Cubs’ starter Rich Harden. As the Phillies’ batter would be patient at the plate, causing Harden’s pitch count to rise, Blanton would breeze quickly through the first four innings, giving up only a lead-off walk and a hit. The Phillies would finally get their second run off of Harden when, with a runner on first and two outs, Howard would hit a single to right, with Utley, who has gotten on first with a single, would go to third on the hit. Cubs’ right fielder Kosuke Fukudome would then commit a throwing error, which would allow Utley to score, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Cubs would cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1, as, with runners on the corners on and one out, Daryle Ward would hit a ground ball to Utley. Utley would throw to Jimmy Rollins for the inning’s second out, removing Henry Blanco, who has earlier singled, but he would then make an errant throw to first, which would pull Howard off the first base bag, because of Blanco’s slide which would force Rollins to make a quick throw when he actually have time to throw out Ward, which would not be recorded as an error. The blunder would allow Mark DeRose, who has earlier walked, stole second and has moved to third on Blanco’s single, to score the Cubs’ first run. Blanton would then end the inning by getting Alfonso Soriano to pop out. Blanton would then melt down on the mound in the sixth, as he proceed to walk first Ryan Theriot and then Derrick Lee. After getting out the next two batters, with the runners both moving up a base on the second out, he would then walk DeRosa to load the bases. That was enough for Charlie Manuel, as he would come out to take out Blanton and replace him with Scott Eyre. Eyre would, unfortunatley, walk Fukudome on five pitches, forcing in Theriot, and tying the game at two all, while leaving the bases loaded. Eyre would end the inning by striking out Blanco. In the seventh, the Phillies would try to retake the lead, with runners on the corners and two out, Howard would hit a ball at Cubs’ first baseman Lee, who would proceed to boot the ball, but would somehow be able to throw it in time to pitcher Jeff Samardzija, to get out Howard. This would lead to an argument between Howard, Manuel, Davey Lopes and first base umpire Chris Guccione, while, according to the Phillies’ announcers, Howard, Lopes and Manuel had a point as Howard would actually beat Lee’s throw to first, which would have given the Phillies the lead with Rollins, who was safe on a force out, moved to second on Shane Victorino’s walk and has gone to third during another force out, coming across the plate during the play. Third base coach Steve Smith would eventually be ejected from the game by home plate umpire Bill Welke for still arguing the call. This would turn out to be huge, as, in the Cubs’ half of the seventh, with one out, Clay Condrey would give up a solo home run to Soriano, his twenty-third home run of the year, to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. This would be the final score, as the Phillies would be unable to score in the eighth inning, and after turning back the Cubs in their half of the eighth, would be unable to get anything done in the ninth, as Carlos Marmol would record his seventh save of the season.
Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he pitches five and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on two hits and five very costly walks. Scott Eyre would get his second blown save of the season, as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up only one walk, which sadly brought in the tying run, and one strikeout. Clay Condrey would get the lost as he pitches an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. His record is now 3-4 with a 3.58 ERA. Rudy Seanez would also pitch an inning, as he gives up no run on one hit. Rich Harden would also receive a no-decision as he would only last five innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits. Chad Gaudin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit. Jeff Samardzija would get the win as he pitches an inning and a third, giving up no runs on two hits. Carlos Marmol would get his seventh save of the year as he pitches one and two-thirds innings of scoreless ball, giving up no hits while striking out three.
Multiply factors would kill the Phillies today. First, Blanton’s five walks. Four of those walks would lead to the two runs that he would give up, especially the three walks that he would give up in the sixth inning, loading the bases. Although it would be Scott Eyre who would walk home the tying run, it would never have happened if Blanton had been able to throw strikes when he needed to, especially after getting ahead of the hitters. Secondly, the offense. Although they would force Rich Harden to leave the game early by getting him to work long pitch counts, they would be unable to get a key hit when they needed it when they threaten to score in the early innings. Business as usual for the offense. Third, Jimmy Rollins’ blunder in the fifth, when he could’ve taken his time to throw to first for the third out on Daryle Ward’s grounder to Utley, but instead would rush his throw because of Harry Blanco coming at him to break up the double play. Instead of the score staying 2-0 Phils, it became 2-1 Phillies because he would force Ryan Howard off of the bag to keep it from going past him. And lastly, the umpire’s call in the seventh inning on Howard’s grounder to first that would bounce off of Derrick Lee’s glove. According to instant reply, Howard has actually beaten Samardzija to the bag, but first base umpire Chris Guccione would call Howard out. The broadcasters think that this is the result of the same umpire earlier calling Utley safe on the previous play when he might’ve been beaten by the throw. If it is, it really stinks! as it kept the Phillies from retaking the lead. Oh man, how much more of this do we Phillies’ fan have to suffer through before we all go mad? Or when will all of this buzzard luck finally start to go our boys’ way?
The Phillies (73-62) will continue their four games series with the Cubs (85-50, 1st National League Central), now trying for a split in the series. The game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports and will start at 3:55 pm Eastern (2:55 pm Central) in Wrigley Field. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (7-10, 4.49), who is coming off a win against the Dodgers on August 25, as he pitches seven shut out innings, giving up nine scattered hits while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 5-0 win. He will be trying to pitch his six straight quality start since returning from the minors and improving his record to 5-1 in his last eight starts, while trying to stop the Phillies’ present slide at three games. The Cubs’ starter will be Ted Lilly (13-7, 4.23), who is coming off a win against the Pirates on August 25, as he went seven innings, giving up only three earned run on seven hits while striking out seven, in the Cubs’ 12-3 rout. He will be trying to see if he can continue the Cubs’ seven game winning streak and continue the Phillies’ current losing streak.
With the lost, the Phillies are presently trailing the Mets by two game and lead the Marlins by five games, as the Mets defeated the Marlins. The Phillies will be trying to regroup so that they can come back and split the series before continuing their long road trip.