Recap: Doc twirls a gem

Posted by mattsmith on 11th April 2010

Phillies 2, Astros 1

Sunday, April 11th

All killer, no filler

All killer, no filler

Roy Halladay carved up the Astros, earning career win No. 150 and complete game No. 50 on getaway day in Houston.

Halladay scattered seven hits, struck out eight, walked none and allowed one unearned run. He was masterful.

On a day when the bats weren’t clicking — Roy Oswalt pitched very well in defeat — Halladay did what all good aces are paid to do.  Halladay got into trouble in the sixth inning, loading the bases with no outs, but forced Cory Sullivan to ground into a rally-killing double play before getting Carlos Lee to pop up to Jimmy Rollins.

Rollins hit his 34th career leadoff homer and Carlos Ruiz knocked in Raul Ibanez with a fielder’s choice in the second inning to make it 2-0.

The Phils produced only six hits, the first time this season they failed to reach 10 or more knocks.

In two games, Halladay is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA. Stunning.

The Phils’ 5-1 record is their best start since 1993 (8-1).

Tags: Carlos Lee, Carlos Ruiz, Houston Astros, Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt
Posted in Phillies recaps | 2 Comments »

Recap: Left stranded

Posted by mattsmith on 8th April 2010

Nationals 6, Phillies 5

Thursday, April 8th

The Phillies should have came away with a season-opening sweep of the lowly Nats on Thursday. They had ample opportunities to score the game-tying and winning runs. Ultimately, they fell flat… sort of like Raul Ibanez’s batting average.

Kyle Kendrick resembled the same marginal major-league pitching talent from last year. He allowed three runs in the first inning and five total over four innings.

So much for all the preseason hype.

The Phils battled back and eventually tied the score. Jayson Werth was 3-for-5 with three doubles, while Ryan Howard and Chase Utley both had two hits.

Too many dudes left stranded in this one (11 LOBS, 1-for-14 RISP), though. The Phils had runners on second and third in the eighth, but couldn’t capitalize.

In the ninth, you got the sense they were going to pummel Matt Capps, who might as well be the team’s personal BP hurler. Utley got things going with a hustle double, followed by an intentional walk to Howard. Werth got Utley over to third with a fly ball, but Ibanez popped up and Shane Victorino grounded out to end the game.

Ibanez is a smokin’ 1-for-11 on the year. Victorino’s not too far off.

Well, the 162-0 season is out the window.

On a personal note, I vomited in my mouth in the bottom of the seventh inning when Nelson Figueroa and Brian Schneider re-formed one of the greatest battery’s in recent Mets history.

For the love of hell, why must we employ not one, but two regulars from the Mets’ 2009 roster?

Having  a pair of perennial losers on the 25-man roster is a bad omen. Believe it.

Where’s Paul Bako?

Tags: Brian Schneider, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Kyle Kendrick, Nelson Figueroa, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino
Posted in Phillies recaps | No Comments »

Victorino trade talk is false

Posted by mattsmith on 5th December 2009

The Phillies ARE NOT quietly shopping Shane Victorino.

Some blog morons and talk-show radio hosts started the rumor. From what I can gather, it’s false.

Not getting traded.

Not getting traded.

The thought is, should the Phillies move Victorino, it would open the door for top prospects Michael Taylor and/or Dom Brown. Neither, at this stage in their young careers, is ready to be a full-time player in the big leagues.

Taylor, the older of the two, is probably a step ahead of Brown. Brown is arguably the more talented of the two.

I expect both to be invited to spring training, fighting for a roster spot. I’d imagine, however, the Phillies would send out feeler regarding Raul Ibanez before Victorino or even Jayson Werth, for that matter.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Ibanez is dangled during spring training IF and ONLY IF Brown and/or Taylor put forth eye-popping performances.

As for Victorino, I expect to see him operating out of the No. 7 hole with the addition of Placido Polanco. Yes, Vic’s on-base percentage is way better than Jimmy Rollins, who will remain the leadoff hitter, because, well, he’s been a leadoff hitter all of his career. We’ve seen, time and time again, J-Roll isn’t a prototypical leadoff hitter, but he hasn’t had sustained success over a long period of time anywhere else except for the No. 1 spot.

One final tidbit on Victorino: In case people forgot, he’s a part of “the core.” It’s Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and, yes, even Cole Hamels. They are “the core” because they are the players this team is built around. You don’t just give away those players to make room for an unproven kid…

Tags: Dominic Brown, Jimmy Rollins Michael Taylor, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino
Posted in Phillies commentary | No Comments »

Surgery planned for Lidge, Ibanez and Eyre

Posted by mattsmith on 8th November 2009

In case you haven’t heard, Brad Lidge, Raul Ibanez and Scott Eyre will undergo surgery over the next few days.

Lidge will have surgery Wednesday to remove a loose body from his right elbow. In addition, Lidge will have his flexor/pronator tendon looked at.

It’s expected that Lidge will miss the start of spring training.

Meanwhile, Raul Ibanez will go under the knife to repair a sports hernia and Eyre will have loose bodies removed from his left elbow. Both should be good to go by the start of spring training.

Tags: Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Scott Eyre
Posted in Phillies news | No Comments »

World Series Game 5: Phillies 8, Yankees 6

Posted by mattsmith on 3rd November 2009

The Stud

The Man saved the World Series.

The Man who saved the World Series.

Chase Utley made sure the Phillies would play a Game 6 in the Bronx. The slugging second baseman hit two home runs, tying Reggie Jackson for most round trippers in a single World Series (five).

Utley’s second homer – a solo shot in the seventh – proved to be the game-winning run.

The Story

The three-days rest experiment failed for the Yankees in Game 5.

A.J. Burnett, who was brilliant in Game 2, was rocked right from the start. In the first inning, Jimmy Rollins singled, Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch (more on that in a second) and Utley hit a first-pitch fastball out of the yard. That set the tone for the Phillies, who with their back against the wall, came out firing.

Burnett pitched two-plus innings and allowed six runs. So, you got to believe the lack of proper rest hurt the guy. And you’ve got to believe Joe Girardi is having some reservations on pitching Andy Pettite in Game 6…

Anyway, the Philleis adjusted well to Burnett and made him pay.

Meanwhile, Cliff Lee was effective for the Phillies. Lee didn’t dazzle like in Game 1, but he gave a gutsy performance. The Yankees scored a quick run in the first inning, but the lefty pretty much shut them down until the eighth, when Alex Rodriguez smashed a two-run double to cut the lead to 8-4. Lee lasted seven-plus frames and gave up five runs on seven hits. Again, it wasn’t his best, but it was certainly good enough.

The Phillies bombarded Burnett and went quiet until the seventh, when Utley and Raul Ibanez launched homers to make it 8-2. Those were two HUGE runs.

Like a zombie that never dies, the Yankees kept crawling and crawling their way back in the game. Against Ryan Madson in the ninth, the Yanks got the first two guys on base before Derek Jeter hit a 6-4-3 double play to kill the rally.

So you thought.

Johnny Damon had another amazing at-bat, eventually getting on when he roped a single to left field. Madson, though, struck out Mark Teixeira to end the game. Great job by Ryan to work himself out of trouble.

By the way, I can’t stop raving about Damon. He’s MVP if the Yankees go on to win it…

One big concern is the health of Victorino, who was pulled in the eighth inning. He got drilled by a Burnett fastball right on his knuckles. X-rays taken were negative and Victorino said afterward that he feels fine. We’ll see.

The Turning Point

You can look at the Jeter twin-killing in the ninth. That prevented another nightmare on Broad and Pattison, for sure.

Utley’s first-inning bomb sent a pretty loud message. The Yanks had gotten a quick run off Lee, so they had the momentum right away. Utley’s homer really gave the Phillies early hope that, yes, they can do this. They can comeback from a 3-1 deficit.

You know, if nothing else, I’m just glad as hell the Yankees didn’t celebrate in Philly. Honestly, it won’t hurt as nearly as much if they win it all in New York.

The Next Game

It’s Game 6 on Wednesday night as Pedro Martinez takes the mound for the Phillies. It’s almost certain that Pettitte will start for the Yankees, but no official announcement has been made.

If I had to put a number on it, I’d say the Phillies have about a 25 percent chance of doing this. If there is a Game 7, I can almost guarantee we’ll see Lee in some capacity.

Then again, you gotta win Game 6 first, so … that’s a moot point right now.

Tags: A.J. Burnett, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Madson, Shane Victorino, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | 3 Comments »


Posted by phillies09 on 2nd November 2009

World Series Game 5

Phillies vs. Yankees

7:57 PM at Citizens Bank Park

In order to express the importance of tonight’s game, I turn to the most prominent Philadelphia sports athlete of all time; Hugh Douglas.

“It’s do or die. It’s do or die baby. It’s do or die. DO OR DIE. do or die!” Ok so maybe that’s not the exact quote, and maybe he’s not even close to prominent, but you get the picture. This is it for the Phillies, one last shot behind Cliff Lee to show any sign of life, or become the 27th team to fall victim to the Yankees towering payroll.

So this will be the second time the Yankees see Clifton Phifier Lee (Seriously, what were his parents thinking?). The same with the Phillies on Burnett. Both pitchers led their teams to wins in their last starts, but one will fall short tonight.

The Phillies better hope Burnett throws beach balls and they can establish a good, ehh I don’t know…20 run lead, before handing the ball over to their bullpen. Actually, I’d probably be biting my nails with any lead when Lidge comes in.

Is there really anymore to say? I can’t really get excited facing elimination. I’m disappointed in this team and the way that they have played through out the whole series. Ibanez and Howard are atrocious. And last night when Rollins and Victorino lead off and get on base in whatever inning and Utley, Howard, and Werth not only can’t knock them in, but can’t even advance them on an out. It’s like watching the Mets play their heartless baseball.

Here’s to sending this back to New York…I wouldn’t mind a couple more games eh?

Tags: A.J. Burnett, Brad Lidge, Chase Utley, Hugh Douglas, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, New York Yankees, Pedro Feliz, Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | 1 Comment »

World Series Game 1: Phillies 6, Yankees 1

Posted by mattsmith on 29th October 2009

The Stud(s)

Chase Utley cracks his first of two solo homers off CC Sabathia

To those Yankees fans who thought the Almighty Gods of baseball would stomp all over the world champs (and, yes, we’re still the world champs!)… suck it. Mmmk?
Cliff Lee was half man, half amazing. He twirled an absolute gem, pitching all nine innings and striking out 10 without allowing an earned run. He silenced the powerful Yanks lineup
(By the way, nobody in that lineup worries me after A-Rod…)
Meanwhile, Chase Utley showed why he’s STILL the best second baseman in baseball, blasting two solo homers off CC Sabathia. It was all the run support Lee would need.
(I think the six days off will really benefit Utley this series…)
The Story
Lee’s performance, obviously, was the headline maker. You can’t say enough about him. He’s been everything we hoped for and much, much more.
Sabathia made a pair of mistakes to Utley, but he was otherwise strong. However, he was far from brilliant. I thought the first inning, when labored after getting the first two outs, was a big statement by the Phils. Yes, they didn’t score, but they made him work… which is probably why he didn’t make it past the seventh inning. That leads me to my next point…
The Phillies beat up the Yankees’ much-maligned bullpen. They tacked on four huge runs in the eighth and ninth. In that regard, the Phillies were clutch. Raul Ibanez delivered the big blow, a two-out single that plated two runs to give the Phils a 4-0 lead.
Some numbers to ponder:
  • The Phillies are 19-5 in their last 24 postseason games — the best 24-game stretch in MLB history.
  • Cliff Lee is 3-0 with an ERA under 0.60 in four playoff starts.
  • Chase Utley set an MLB postseason record by reaching base in 26 consecutive games.
  • Ryan Howard has at least one RBI in every playoff game this year EXCEPT one.
The Turning Point
I guess it was Utley’s first dinger in the third inning. That didn’t cause those fair-weather Yankees fans to leave the ballpark early yet (but they started to bail in the eighth inning),  but it was certainly huge to get the first run.
The Next Game
Pedro Martinez faces A.J. Burnett in Game 2 Thursday night. All the pressure is on the Yanks. I’ve got a funny feeling Pedro will be good enough and the Phillies will pummell Burnett.
And if that’s the case…. SERIES OVER!

Tags: CC Sabathia, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | 4 Comments »

Breaking down the positions

Posted by mattsmith on 28th October 2009

Ryan Howard OVER Mark Teixeira

I understand Tex has the huge contract and he’s probably the best defensive first baseman in all the land. Oh, and he can murder the baseball…

Still, I’d take Ryan’s bat over his. Howard has proven time and again that he is a lethal force that can’t be messed with. He’s a superstar.

Chase Utley OVER Robinson Cano

OK, so maybe Chase hasn’t been the same player since, well, May 2008. That’s cool. I think he’s playing with an injury again, but we won’t know for sure until after the postseason.

I love what Cano brings and he has a bright future. But, by and large, Utley has been the best second baseman in the league since 2007. I know he’s struggle,d but he’s a gamer. Gotta love his attitude.

Jimmy Rollins OVER Derek Jeter

yeah, I know Jeter is the son of Jesus Christ and all, but I’ll take J-Roll any day. Sounds crazy considering he’s nowhere near as consistent with the bat as Jeter, but Jimmy has a flare for the dramatic. He comes through when you need him to. He’ll aggravate you, but he always makes up for it. Not to mention, he’s the best defensive shortstop in baseball. Period.

A-Rod OVER Pedro Feliz

Uhh, yeah, this is a no-brainer. I like A-Rod as a player. He’s a fraud in some ways, you know, because of that steriod thing… but he’s still one of the best of the game regardless

LF Raul Ibanez OVER Johnny Damon

They’re both old, but Ibanez has more potential… if that makes sense.

Shane Victorino OVER Melky Cabrera

Victorino is the best center fielder in the NL, in my opinion. Love him or hate him, he’s a stud. Melky reminds me of a Marlon Byrd type, but I may be wrong

Jayson Werth OVER Nick Swisher

Not even a debate. I would like to punch Swisher in his nose. He just has that look to him…

Carlos Ruiz OVER Jorge Posada

Ruiz has established himself as one of the best all-around catchers in the game. I respect Posada, but at this point in his career, I think he’s a step or two behind his prime.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Derek Jeter, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Melky Cabrera, New York Yankees, Nick Swisher, Pedro Feliz, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Robinson Cano, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | 32 Comments »

WORLD SERIES GAMEDAY: Does it get any better than this?

Posted by phillies09 on 28th October 2009

World Series Game 1

Phillies vs. Yankees

7:57 PM at Yankee Stadium

Two Cy Young winners? The most powerful offenses in baseball? Oh yeah…and the World Series stage? Welcome to paradise.

Cliff Lee has been unstoppable this postseason. His 0.74 ERA proves it. But his buddy CC Sabathia is no slouch either. In fact, if you combine their last appearances you’ll get one run over 16 innings.

These two are great friends. In what seems like worlds ago they were a tandem on the Indians, until the organization decided that winning wasn’t their thing as the economy slid. Sabathia fell into the Yankees $161 million bear trap last off season, while the Phillies acquired Lee at the deadline in 2009.

The Phillies have been in this situation before. A game they won’t win. Sabathia is pitching, how could they? They’ve responded before too: Oh, yes they have.

An important thing to note is the extra short porch in right field. Ask any Mets fan what they think about Chase Utley and Citi Field’s 330 foot right field line. Yankee Stadium is kind of like that, except 314 feet. Cheap home runs galore. The way the Phils are hitting the ball recently, I can’t see this park holding them no matter who’s pitching.*Note - No credit taken from Raul, who’s 477 foot bomb at Yankee Stadium was third longest this year.

The man of the series has to be Brad Lidge. The Phillies would’ve swept easy in their only series this year if Lidge was anywhere near productive. Due to his two blown saves, the Phils could only manage 2 of 3.

Brad Lidge in those dimensions is a scary thought. I can’t imagine being up one run in the ninth inning of Game 7 and having any faith in Lidge.

Oh and one more thing… the weather forecast. 42 degrees and rain. Shout out to Bud Selig - thanks pal.

But this is the story that has yet to be told. A story that could be a novel as classic as Gatsby, Moby Dick, or Scarlet Letter. History is ready to be written, and damnit I’ll be waiting.

Sabathia's worst enemy
Sabathia’s worst enemy

Tags: Brad Lidge, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | 3 Comments »

NLCS Game 1: Phillies 8, Dodgers 6

Posted by mattsmith on 16th October 2009

The Stud

The Bearded Menace (Full beard not pictured here)

The Bearded Menace (Full beard not pictured here)

I’m thinking outside the box with this one. I could have picked Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez, both of whom smacked big three-run homers. But it was Chan Ho Park who was our most effective pictcher.
Tony Bastard, for whatever reason, entered in the seventh inning of a 5-4 game. He promptly allowed a leadoff double to Andre Ethier.
Park came in and shut the door. He retired Manny Ramirez, James Loney and Casey Blake rather swiftly.
The Story
This was a wild one. It went from pitcher’s duel to slugfest in a hurry.
Cole Hamels looked pretty good through four innings … then he started having menstruation cramps. Clayton Kershaw was filthy in his first four innings of work.
But then, faster than you can point out five B-list Hollywood celebrities sitting  behind home plate, Kershaw came unglued. He issued three wild pitches in the fifth. Ruiz belted a three-run homer to get the Phils on the scoreboard and Ryan Howard collected a two-run double to make it 5-1.
Of course, Hollywood Hamels nearly coughed it up.
Hamels got hit around in the fifth and the Dodgers got within three runs at 5-2. He could have gotten out of the inning, but Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley muffed a relatively routine double play ball to keep things alive for Manny. Hamels threw his arms in his air like an annoying 5-year-old little brat upset at mommy and daddy for not buying him his favorite toy. Seconds later, the Steroid Freak blasted a two-run homer to cut the Phillies’ lead to 5-4.
Someone needs to slap Hamels across his girlish face.
Get focused, man. Stop doing those stupid Comcast Digital Voice commercials and get your crap together. Stop making excuses, too.
The later innings were crazy. Ibanez’s dinger made it 8-4 in the eighth. Of course, Ryan Madson comes in and allows three straight hits. The Dodgers got within two, but Madson found his way out of further trouble by making a good pitch to Manny, who hit a weak grounder to Pedro Feliz to end the frame.
Brad Lidge got the save. It wasn’t exactly easy (but what is??), but I’ll take it.
The Turning Point
Ruiz’s three-run shot. Or maybe it was Ibanez’s? How about Madson getting out of the eighth-inning jam? Either one of those works.
What’s Next?
Today at 4:07 p.m. EST, Pedro Martinez takes the hill against former Phillies and recovering drunk Vicente Padilla. I think it was Larry Bowa who once said that Padilla has a million dollar arm and a 10 cent brain.
I predict a Phillies sweep, by the way.

Tags: Andre Ethier, Brad Lidge, Carlos Ruiz, Chan Ho Park, Chase Utley, Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels, James Loney, Jimmy Rollins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Manny Ramirez, NLCS, Pedro Feliz, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | No Comments »