Gameday: Hamels to pitch for series win

Posted by phillies09 on 23rd September 2009

Phillies vs. Marlins

7:10 PM at Land Shark Stadium

Hamels (10-9, 4.07 ERA)

Cole Hamels is pitching his best baseball of the year. Allowing only one run in each of his past two starts, Cole has accredited his second half push to, “finally acquire[d] the necessary arm strength.” As the days until a Phillies playoff berth begin to diminish, there is no better time that the Phillies would want the ace to peak.

Looking to burst his bubble tonight will be Marlins pitcher Rick VandenHurk (2-2, 4.24 ERA). The righty hasn’t pitched too bad this season, although he definitely allows an opportunity for runs to be scored with a healthy diet of walks and a 1.37 WHIP. VandenHurk has only averaged about five innings a game in nine starts this season, meaning that the Phillies will probably see a nice portion of Marlins relievers.

If Cole can continue to pitch well to finish the season, including tonight, the issue of the playoff rotation could become even more intriguing. Not only will the tail end be up for discussion(4 or 5 starters, Pedro/Jamie/Happ), but now the 1-2 will be interesting. Will Charlie stick with last years man and set up an easier matchup for Lee in a #2 spot? Or will the Cy Young stud be the man to take the mound to open the playoffs.

Only one things for sure, and that’s that I really need to knock on wood until we clinch.

Fun Phact - VandenHurk is from Holland!

VandenHurk's personal clog collection

Tags: Cole Hamels, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Rick VandenHurk
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Recap: Phils continue towards playoff berth.

Posted by phillies09 on 22nd September 2009

Game One

Joe Blanton out dueled Josh Johnson as the Phillies took game one of the double header. Johnson had ten strike outs in five innings, as he struck out the side twice. Blanton was one shy, as he finished with nine strike otus through seven.

The Phillies were a meager 2-11 with RISP, a problem that has nagged them through the past couple of weeks.

Ryan Howard had three RBIs, as the Phils put up a 5-spot in the 8th inning.

Clay Condrey pitched a perfect 9th to seal off a combined give hitter for the Phils

Game Two

Anibal Sanchez absolutely shined in the nightcap. Eight innings, two hits, no runs. There isn’t much more to say, as the Phillies just could not figure out the pitcher with a now 3-7 record.

Jamie Moyer pitched a decent game, going an impressive 104 pitches for his age. Moyer has pitched great in Miami through his career, and probably could have won another with some run support.

Jimmy Rollins stole his 30th base of the year in the loss. This his sixth straight year with 30 or more.

The Phillies magic number at the end of the night was lowered to five.


ESPN’s homepage currently has up a nice article about J-Werth and the Phils hopes of repeating.

Tags: Anibal Sanchez, Clay Condrey, Florida Marlins, Jamie Moyer, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, Joes Blanton, Josh Johnson, Philadelphia Phillies, Ryan Howard
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Painful to watch, Phils swept

Posted by mattsmith on 9th August 2009

Sunday, August 9th

Marlins 12, Phillies 3

This was the ugliest loss of the season.

The Marlins finally solved Jamie Moyer and Josh Johnson pitched like an ace for Florida, which swept the Phillies and is four games back in the division.

We could have seen the last of Moyer, who allowed 11 hits and three runs over five-plus innings.

The Phillies have had 1-9 homestands, horrible starting pitching and a closer who can’t close, but this loss ranks at the top of worst moments of 2009.

Shane Victorino was ejected for arguing balls and strikes… in center field.

Victorino ran in from center field and had to be restrained from home plate umpire Ed Rapuano.  Victorino threw his arms up in the air after a pitch by Rodrigo Lopez was called a ball in the seventh inning. Victorino pushed Paul Bako out of the way and nearly made contact with Rapuano.

Go here to watch it all unfold.

(The ejection was bush league all the way. Rapuano should be disgusted with himself and, consequently, fined for his actions).

The Marlins unloaded for six runs in the seventh. Jayson Werth, who replaced Victorino, failed to put his glove on the grass to field a single up the middle by Mickey Man… err, Chris Coghlan, allowing three runners to score while Coghlan advanced to third base.

The Phillies’ bats, meanwhile, were quieted once again. Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard both haven’t hit a home run in 12 games and Chase Utley is mired in a terrible slump.

Ibanez hasn’t had an RBI in August.

The lack of production is mind-boggling.

Philly will look to get back on track at Wrigley Field starting Tuesday.

Player of the Game

Chris Coghlan

Chris Coghlan


Tags: Chase Utley, Chris Coghlan, Ed Rampuano, Florida Marlins, Jamie Moyer, Josh Johnson, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino
Posted in Phillies recaps | 21 Comments »

Gameday: Cut your losses

Posted by phillies09 on 9th August 2009

Phillies vs. Marlins

1:35 p.m. EST at Citizens Bank Park

Josh Johnson (10-2, 2.98 ERA)

Josh Johnson (10-2, 2.98 ERA)

Jamie Moyer (10-8, 5.55 ERA)

Jamie Moyer (10-8, 5.55 ERA)

This series hasn’t gone as planned so far. Now is not the time to reflect. Instead, now is time to get back on the horse. It’s not the ideal situation for the Phillies. They have already dropped the series, and will look to salvage a game with Jamie Moyer on the mound.

The Marlins are doing exactly what they said they wanted to do — sweep the series. Today, the Fish have their ace going in Josh Johnson, who hasn’t lost in more than a month and will look to lower an already impressive ERA of 2.98.

Johnson has done all that the Marlins could ask and that’s win. It doesn’t need to be shutdown, no-hit baseball, but every game he starts he gives the team a great shot at taking a W. In 22 starts this season, Johnson has only allowed four or more earned runs twice. Both games were against the Nationals (go figure). Johnson allowed six hits and four runs, while still striking out nine, last week in Washington.

As for Moyer…well we don’t really know what game he’s playing. The majority of his 10 wins have come thanks to plenty of run support. Luckily, the only time he’s looked “dominant” has been the times he’s faced the Marlins.

His last start against the Rockies wasn’t a good one, giving up six earned and getting pulled at the start of the sixth frame. Hopefully, Moyer’s success against the Marlins will continue today. Otherwise, Florida could pull within four games of the Phils for first place.

Fun Phact - Chase Utley started Little League as a right handed batter. Around the age of ten he batted switch, before eventually never going righty again.

Tags: Chase Utley, Florida Marlins, Jamie Moyer, Josh Johnson, Philadelphia Phillies
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Hamels’ woes continue vs. Fish

Posted by mattsmith on 9th August 2009

Saturday, August 8th

Marlins 6, Phillies 4

Cole Hamels labored through 5 1/3  innings while the Phillies’ offense sputtered for the second straight night against Florida.

The Marlins have won the first two games of the weekend series and are five games behind the Phillies for first place.

Cody Ross’ two-run homer off Hamels (7-7, 4.77 ERA) in the sixth inning gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead that stood. Hamels allowed four earned runs over 5 1/3 innings, throwing 115 pitches.

Hamels’ outing got off to a rough start when he surrendered a solo homer to Chris Coghlan to lead off the game. Following a 3-0 July, Hamels is 0-2 and has yielded 10 earned runs in two starts this month.

I was at the game tonight. I studied Hamels’ body language, and it was very poor from the outset. In the third inning, with the Phillies ahead, 2-1, Utley bobbled a groundball, thereby muffing  a routine double play and allowing the Fish to score the tying run.

It seemed that Hamels showed his disgust by throwing his arms in the air. Utley immediately came over to Hamels for a quick word.

I interpreted it as Hamels showing up Utley. Not good.

After the game, Hamels did not speak to the media. Charlie Manuel said he is “trying too hard.”


I’ll stand by what I said in an earlier post: Shut Hamels down. Give him a mental rest. Let him collect his thoughts, relax for a couple weeks, and come back ready to go for the final month or so of the regular season. At this point, I fear Hamels is a destructive presence. He’s losing his cool, and that’s not good for the chemistry of this team

The Phillies’ bats were nonexistent with runners on base.  They scraped together a pair of runs in the first tinning to take a 2-1 lead. In the third, Nick Johnson gave the Phils a gift by dropping a routine popup, allowing Ryan Howard to cross thee plate to make it 3-2.

Howard was 4-for-4, tying a career high in hits. The Phils pelted Florida starter Sean West for six hits in the first two innings, but were pretty much blanked the rest of the way…

The Phillies were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

Former Phillie Brian Sanches (2-1, 1.14 ERA) pitched a scoreless fifth inning for the win.

With Josh Johnson toeing the slab Sunday, a Florida sweep appears likely.

Player of the Game

Cody Ross

Cody Ross

Tags: Brian Sanches, Chase Utley, Chris Coghlan, Cody Ross, Cole Hamels, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Ryan Howard, Sean West
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Gameday: Hamels in the spotlight

Posted by phillies09 on 8th August 2009

Phillies vs. Marlins

7:05 p.m. EST at Citizens Bank Park

Cole Hamels (7-6, 4.68)

Cole Hamels (7-6, 4.68)

Sean West (3-4, 4.91 ERA

Sean West (3-4, 4.91 ERA)

Tonight is a very important night for Cole Hamels. It’s not the World Series. It’s not the playoffs. There aren’t even playoff implications on the line. However in this regular season, average NL East game, all eyes are on Cole. You see with the recent offensive funk, acquisition of Cliff Lee, and his general mediocre performance, the faithful are beginning to grow restless.

No matter what the outcome of the game, or the loudness of the boos, we won’t see a change in Cole. In the event of a bad performance there will be no tirade on Best Damn Sports Show, because quite frankly he’s too smart for that. But it’s the part of Cole that we can’t see that should worry us the most. It’s the young pitcher we forced into greatness, who delivered what we wanted, that is now playing second fiddle.

Of course he said that he was thrilled about the addition of Cliff Lee to the team. Leaders will never show frustration. His quote was somewhere along the lines of two aces is better than one. What he’s failing to realize however is that just because you pitch in the number one spot, doesn’t mean you’re an “ace.” Ask any Mets fan and you will find that the only time you can use “Hamels” and “ace” in the same sentence is when “ace” is describing Santana in a pitching matchup. (Then again it doesn’t get more bias than that)

So this is your chance Cole. Shut me up. Shut everyone up. Stop the bleeding, turn yourself around, and lead this team to an easy playoff birth.

The Phils will look to rebound from a game they for the most part deserved to lose last night, today against Marlin’s pitcher Sean West. The right hander should give them a good chance to do so as he’s young (23) and like a lot of Marlin’s pitchers lacks experience. The 6 foot 8 rookie has been in and out of the teams farm system this year and has pulled together a 3-4 record. His last outing against Arizona ended rather quickly after giving up 5 earned through only 4 2/3. West looked good early in the season but the luster has since worn off.

If you don’t remember Hamels’ last outing maybe this will help. Barry Zito. Yes, it was Barry Zito who out dueled him both on the mound and with the bat, as his broken bat two out single kept the inning alive and eventually broke open the game. 10 hits, 6 earned, 2 strikeouts. It’s a game we’re going to forget.

Today’s player to watch - Who else? Cole Hamels. Cody Ross and Jorge Cantu have a combined 9 hits and 5 homers off of Hamels.

Fun Phact - In giving up a walk off grand slam last night, K-Rod blew back-to-back saves for the first time in his MLB career.

Tags: Barry Zito, Cliff Lee, Cody Ross, Cole Hamels, Florida Marlins, Johan Santana, Jorge Cantu, Philadelphia Phillies, Sean West
Posted in Phillies previews | 1 Comment »

Marlins spoil HK’s night

Posted by mattsmith on 7th August 2009

Friday, August 7th

Marlins 3, Phillies 2

Harry Kalas’ enshrinement into the Phillies Wall of Fame was belied by Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins, who took Game 1 of the weekend series.

The Fish scored two runs in the first inning off Joe Blanton and a solo homer by Cody Ross in the second made it 3-0. Those were all the runs Florida would need.

Save a two-run homer by Ben Francisco, Nolasco (8-7, 4.86 ERA) stymied the Phils’ at-bats. The right-hander pitched seven innings with seven strikeouts.

The Phillies, who mustered only four hits, had runners on first and third base with no outs in the second inning, but could not score. The lack of production at the plate has been a recurring theme over the last several games.

To his credit, Blanton (7-6, 4.02 ERA) settled down after a rocky start, lasting 6 2/3 frames. However, the burly right-hander was once again starved of run support. The Phillies have scored only two runs in Blanton’s last two starts.

Leo Nunez needed only five pitches to retire Francisco, Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs in the ninth.

Player of the Game

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco

Tags: Ben Francisco, Cody Ross, Florida Marlins, Greg Dobbs, Harry Kalas, Joe Blanton, Matt Stairs, Philadelphia Phillies, Ricky Nolasco
Posted in Phillies recaps | 3 Comments »

Gameday: We Miss You Harry

Posted by phillies09 on 7th August 2009

Phillies vs. Marlins

7:05 p.m. EST at Citizens Bank Park

Ricky Nolasco (7-7, 5.00 ERA)

Ricky Nolasco (7-7, 5.00 ERA)

Joe Blanton (7-5, 4.02 ERA)

Joe Blanton (7-5, 4.02 ERA)

Since the usual Phillies-Mets rivalry has failed to heat up, the Phillies Faithful has set their eyes on a new team. The Marlins come to town today looking to take a big chunk out of the seven game hole that currently distances them from first place.

The Phils of course have a different idea. Although the season is very far from over, a series win would put them in a close to no-fail situation, needing a (dare I say) Mets like collapse to give away the NL East.

Looking like the Phillies we’re used to seeing, the offense made a quick turn around against Colorado. This was no push over task as they took two games from pitchers with a combined 13 straight wins coming into the series.

Joe Blanton will be on the mound tonight, his first start since his showdown on the bay. Blanton for the most part matched the high performance of San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum. Joe took the Phillies through seven innings, allowing two earned off seven hits. He took the loss when the Phils failed to get a clutch hit that night after many chances with men in scoring position. Even with the loss, he’s won four out of his last five and has been the Phillies’ most solid starter not named Cliff Lee

The Marlins will throw right hander Ricky Nolasco. The 26 year old will come into today’s game with, what a surprise, a three game winning streak. (Bringing the total win streak of the last three pitchers scheduled to face the Phils to 16, if you’re following along…) His last outing was a good one to say the least. Nolasco notched a W against the NL Central leading Cubs surrendering only a run and four hits in seven strong innings.

The Phillie to watch today is Ryan Howard. Against Nolasco he’s only 4 for 16, but three of those hits came via the long ball.

Before tonight’s game, the Phillies will retire Harry Kalas to the Wall of Fame in centerfield’s Ashburn Alley. It is sure to be an emotional ceremony for all of the Phillies organization, Phillies fans, and all the true fans of the game. The event is scheduled to begin at 6:30.

Always the best, never forgotten

Fun Phact - Ryan Howard has a fraternal twin brother named Corey

Tags: Florida Marlins, Harry Kalas, Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Howard
Posted in Phillies previews | No Comments »

Fried Fish: Phils complete sweep

Posted by mattsmith on 19th July 2009

friedfishJ.A. Happ pitched seven no-run innings and clutch hitting by Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins led the Phillies to a 4-0 decision of the Marlins.

The Phillies have swept the Marlins in Florida twice this season and have won eight straight games at Pro-Player/Dolphin/Dolphins/Land Shark/Jimmy Buffett Beer Stadium, dating to last September.

Ibanez smacked a two-run double to the gap in left-center field to put the Phils ahead, 3-0, in the second inning off struggling lefty Andrew Miller, who couldn’t make it out of the third inning. Rollins added an RBI double in the third.

Happ improved to 7-0 while lowering his ERA to 2.68.

Four relievers (Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, Scott Eyre and Brad Lidge) shut the door on the Fish.


-The Phillies have won eight straight games and 12 of 13 to extend their lead in the NL East to seven games over the Marlins, seven over the Braves and 8 1/2 over the Mets.

-It’s interesting to note the Phillies haven’t had a division lead of seven or more games this late into a season since the 1993 campaign.

-I’m not going to declare the Phillies a lock to win the division… but they are definitely running away right now. The Marlins, while a fiesty bunch, are simply not in the same league as the Phils. They are too young and inexperienced. The Braves I worry about because they have had the Phils’ number and their young pitching is freakish good. The Mets are down and probably out, but at some point they’ll get all their horse sback, and I’m confident they will go on a run (carried by David Wright) very soon.

Tags: Andrew Miller, Chase Utley, Florida Marlins, J.A. Happ, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins
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Quick glance at Phils-Fish series

Posted by mattsmith on 16th July 2009

Phillies begin their second half in Miami tonight against the Marlins.

Because it’s a four-game series, it’s the biggest of the season for both teams.

For the Phillies, they enjoy a four-game lead over the Fish. And a sweep — while unlikely — would bury the Marlins.

I think the ideal situation is to win at least two games. Three out of four would be a bonus. A sweep, I think, is too far-fetched. The Marlins’ pitching is too good and the offense tends to bash Phillies pitching now and then.

Florida always gives the Phils a good game. I expect no different.

Here are –very briefly– my three keys to the series:

1) Jamie Moyer

Moyer has dominated Florida his entire career (12-2, 3.06 ERA). However, the Fish have seemed to figure out the 46-year-old in recent starts. What Moyer needs is a quality start in Game 1 of the series. And for Moyer, a quality start is defined as four runs over six innings. A solid performance will help set the tone.

2) Stay hot

It’s been a few days since the Phillies finished off a 9-1 home stand. It’s critical that everyone gets back on the same page. I worry that Jimmy Rollins, who has been on fire the entire month of July, will revert back to his old 2009 self (that is, stinking up the joint). Hopefully, J-Roll and company can find the groove again.

3) The Marlins ARE NOT the Mets, Reds or Pirates

Florida is much better than anyof those three clubs thejroll Phils easily disposed of on their recent home swing. The Marlins have quality starting pitching and big-time run producers in their lineup. They are not a pushover and shouldn’t be treated as such.

Tags: Florida Marlins, Jamie Moyer, Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies
Posted in Phillies commentary | 3 Comments »