NLCS Preview: Phillies vs. Giants

Filed Under (Command Center, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 16-10-2010

Tagged Under : Cablevision, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Fox, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Howard, San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum

As the Command Center predicted, the Phillies and Giants are set to meet in the NLCS and will battle it out to earn a trip to the Fall Classic.   The first round was all about pitching, and the NLCS will be more of the same.

Roy Halladay waited a long time to make his postseason debut, and all he did was throw a no hitter in one of the best pitching performances in postseason history.   The second “H” in “H2O,” Cole Hamels, also impressed in Round 1, pitching a complete game shutout in Game 3 to clinch the series for Philly.  Roy Oswalt was shaky in his Game 2 performance, but the Phillies should expect him to bounce back in the NLCS and pitch like the second ace of their staff.

San Francisco’s ace, Tim Lincecum, pitched a masterpiece of his own in the NLDS, striking out 14 in a complete game shutout of the Braves.   The Giants also feature a solid 2-3 punch with Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain, so runs are sure to be at a premium.  The Game 1 matchup of Halladay and Lincecum could be a classic and should be fun to watch (that is, assuming you don’t have Cablevision and actually CAN watch the game.  Thanks Fox & Cablevision).

So what about the offenses?  San Francisco struggles to score runs against mediocre pitching, so they will certainly have their hands full with the Phillies’ starters.  The Phillies have had an up-and-down year at the plate, but a large part of that was due to injuries to several key bats (Rollins, Utley, Howard).  Now that they are back at full strength, they have arguably the deepest lineup in the NL and have the ability to put up crooked numbers at any time.   

So, how will the NLCS play out?   The Phillies have the better team on paper, and have the home field advantage, so it’s their series to lose.  For the Giants to have a chance, they need their starters to pitch lights-out.  With the Giants’ offense, their pitchers have little (or no) margin for error.   Could they pull the upset?  Sure.  Will they?  Nope.

Prediction: Phillies in 6.

And Then There Were Two: NLDS Predictions

Filed Under (Command Center, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 04-10-2010

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Bobby Cox, Chase Utley, Cincinnati Reds, Cole Hamels, Derek Lowe, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Howard, San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum

While the Marlins, Mets, and Nationals hit the golf course and start to make their plans for 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves will be playing in the postseason.  The Phillies comfortably took the NL East, and it took the Braves until Day 162 to earn a playoff berth, but both will be battling to reach the World Series.

So what are their chances?  Here is my take on Round 1.

Phillies vs. Reds

The Phillies have the home field advantage against the NL Central Champion Cincinnati Reds.  The Phillies are clearly the better team, and to me, the question isn’t if the Phils will win this series, but rather how many games it will take.

The Phillies battled through injuries throughout the 2010 season.  Now they are healthy, and thanks to clinching the division title early, they were able to set up their pitching rotation.  With the Roys (Halladay & Oswalt) and Cole Hamels pitching the first three games, the Reds will have their hands full.  The Reds had the chance to set up their rotation as well, but with three righties (Volquez, Arroyo, & Cueto) facing Utley, Howard, and company, Cincinnati’s pitchers will have their hands full.

So, will the Reds take a game?  The Command Center says…

Prediction: Phillies in 3.

Braves vs. Giants

Both the Braves and Giants stamped their tickets to the playoffs on the season’s final day.  Both teams are also built on pitching.  Will one team’s staff let them down?  Will one offense catch fire at the right time?

The Giants will throw out “The Freak,”  Tim Lincecum, against Atlanta’s Derek Lowe in Game 1 on Thursday night.   Every game is important in a short series, but the winner of the first game of this showdown will have a huge leg up on their opponent.   A Giants win, and San Fran will be feeling good and looking to go on a roll with Cain & Sanchez to follow.  If the Braves can defeat San Fran’s ace, it could be a major blow to the Giants’ psyche and a big momentum swing in Atlanta’s favor.

I expect a bunch of low scoring games and teams looking to scratch and claw to put runs on the board.  Will the Braves rally behind their skipper and extend Bobby Cox’s managing career one more series?   I could see this series going either way, but the Command Center can only declare one winner.

Prediction: Giants in 5.

Did the Command Center get these right?  There’s only one way to find out.  Play Ball!

NL East Recap 7-9

Filed Under (NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 10-07-2010

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Andres Torres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arthur Rhodes, Atlanta Braves, Billy Wagner, Cincinnati Reds, Clay Hensley, Cody Ransom, Cody Ross, Dan Haren, Dan Uggla, Eric O'Flaherty, Florida Marlins, Francisco Cordero, Greg Dobbs, Joe Blanton, Jonny Gomes, Leo Nunez, Matt Cain, Melky Cabrera, Mike Leake, New York Mets, Omar Infante, Philadelphia Phillies, R.A. Dickey, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Howard, San Francisco Giants, Stephen Strasburg, Tommy Hanson, Washington Nationals

Braves vs. Mets

The first place Atlanta Braves opened up a three game series in New York against the second place Mets on Friday night.  Behind strong pitching and timely hitting, the Braves defeated the Mets by a score of 4-2 to extend their lead to four games in the NL East.

braves-79Braves starter Tommy Hanson and Mets starter R.A. Dickey pitched well, with each allowing only two runs over the first six innings.  The Mets threatened to break open a 2-2 tie in the sixth and put runners on second and third, but Bobby Cox called on reliever Eric O’Flaherty, who retired pinch hitter Jesus Feliciano on a ground ball to keep the Mets off of the scoreboard.  Despite throwing over 100 pitches, Jerry Manuel left Dickey in to pitch the seventh inning.  The knuckleballer retired the first two batters in the inning, but then allowed back-to-back home runs to Melky Cabrera and Omar Infante which gave the Braves a 4-2 lead. 

The Braves bullpen did the rest, shutting down the Mets for the final three innings.  Billy Wagner pitched a 1-2-3 ninth against his former club to pick up his 20th save on the season.  O’Flaherty (3-1) earned the win in relief, while Dickey (6-2) suffered the loss for the Mets.


Phillies vs. Reds

The Phillies and Reds played the wildest game of the night on Friday in Philadelphia.  The Reds appeared to be cruising to a victory, but the Phillies exploded for six runs in the ninth and used a walk-off home run in the tenth to defeat the Reds 9-7.

phils-79The Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning off of Phils starter Joe Blanton, thanks to a three run homer from Jonny Gomes.  The Reds scored three more runs off of Blanton over his 5 1/3 innings, and added another run in the top of the ninth to take a commanding 7-1 lead.  Meanwhile, Reds starter Mike Leake was cruising, holding the Phillies at bay while helping out his own cause with three hits and an RBI.  However, it all came apart in the bottom of the ninth.

After a Ryan Howard RBI single with one out, Leake allowed a three run homer to Greg Dobbs which cut the lead to 7-5.  Leake departed and the Reds brought in their closer, Francisco Cordero.  Cordero retired his first batter, but after walking Ben Francisco, Cordero allowed a game tying home run to pinch hitter Cody Ransom to send the Phillies crowd into a frenzy.   Reliever Ryan Madson pitched a perfect tenth inning for the Phillies. Arthur Rhodes came on to pitch the bottom of the tenth for Cincinnati, and Raul Ibanez greeted him with a leadoff double.  Ryan Howard followed with an opposite field home run to give the Phillies the improbable victory.  Madson (2-0) picked up the win, while Rhodes (3-3) suffered the loss.


Nationals vs. Giants

It was the Strasburg and Dunn show Friday night in Washington as the Nationals defeated the Giants by a score of 8-1.

Giants Nationals BaseballRookie phenom Stephen Strasburg allowed a leadoff home run to San Francisco’s Andres Torres in the first inning, but settled down after that.  The Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the first off of Giants starter Matt Cain, and took the lead in the fourth inning on an Adam Dunn solo homer.  The Nats added two runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh, highlighted by a three run homer from Dunn.  Dunn’s second blast put the nail in the coffin for Cain (6-8) and the Giants.

Strasburg (3-2) allowed only three hits over his six innings of work, walking just one while striking out 8.  Three Nats relievers combined to shut out the Giants over the final three frames to close out the victory for Washington.


Marlins vs. Diamondbacks

After falling in the series opener in Arizona, the Florida Marlins bounced back to even the four game set by defeating the Diamondbacks 3-2 on Friday night.

Marlins Diamondbacks BaseballMarlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco and D-Backs starter Dan Haren each pitched into the seventh inning and did their best to keep their opponents off of the scoreboard.  The Marlins broke through with two runs in the third on RBI singles from Dan Uggla and Cody Ross.  After Arizona scored a run in the fourth, the Marlins got that run back in the seventh.  Uggla’s RBI infield hit brought home Florida’s third run and ended the night for Haren (7-7).  Arizona answered with a run off of Nolasco (9-6) in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t bring home the tying run.  

The Marlins bullpen took control from there.  Clay Hensley struck out the side in the eighth inning, and Leo Nunez pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn save number 19 on the season.

Chatter Up! Nationals @ Phillies 9-15-09 through 9-17-09

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 16-09-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Brett Myers, Centerfield Gate, Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park, Chatter Up, Christian Guzman, Cincinnati Reds, Clay Condrey, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Ian Desmond, Joe Blanton, Joel Hanrahan, Josh Willingham, Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Cain, Mike MacDougal, New York Yankees, pedro feliz, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, San Francisco Giants, Scott Eyre, Shane Victorino, St. Louis Cardinals, Stephen Strasburg, Tim Lincecum, Tyler Walker, Washington Nationals

Nats Logo chatterup Phillies Logo
Welcome to another edition of Chatter Up! here at NLEC. This week will match up Mark P Centerfield Gate against Matt Smith of Phillies Phandom. Enjoy!
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): Do you want and expect Willingham back in a Nationals uniform in 2010?
Mark P(CFG): There was talk of trading Willingham all season, but it never happened — and for good reason. The guy proved to be the hitter that we anticipated (and that I anticipated) when we got him from the Marlins. I think he’s now untouchable. You know, nothing’s impossible: but it would be hard to name a guy who the nats could get for him that would be as good. The fans love him and the guy just hits the hell out of the ball: who knows what he might have done had he started the season in the outfield, instead of that other guy … what’s his name? Oh yeah, Austin Kearns. How the Nationals brain trust could have ever concluded that he was better than Willingham is a question so embarassing it cannot be asked: and gives the term brain trust a whole different meaning.
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): Do you think MacDougal will opt out of his contract and test free agency?
Mark P(CFG): Good question. I somehow don’t think so. The Nats front office seems to think he will be back, talking endless of getting a set up guy that will make him the reliever for the team in 2010. This scares me, because MacDougal is one of those 9th inning guys who just scrapes by — but barely. The last thing this team needs is another collapses bullpen in 2010. Th next to last thing it needs is placing its trust in just one closer. I wouldn’t hold an audition for the spot necessarily (Joel Hanrahan won the audition in the Spring, for pity sake) but I sure wouldn’t think that “Heart Attack Mike” is the only answer we have.
Matt S(PP): The Nationals have been a much-improved squad over the last several weeks. Adam Dunn has had a tremendous season. Are you surprised by Dunn’s production this year and do you view him as a vital piece to the puzzle for next year?
Mark P(CFG): Yes, I’m surprised. You know, Dunn came with baggage: that he was a good hitter but with an indifferent attitude. That turned out to be false, or rather, perhaps it was true because Dunn got bored in Cincinnati (which is more than possible). I thought he would come in with about 29 to 32 homers and make a mash of the outfield. I could see it in my dreams: Dunning chasing down a ball hit over his head, dropping a line drive, tripping over his feet going into the corner. But not only has he really hit the cover off the ball, he has made a real effort to get better as a first baseman. You can see his defensive improvement, which is key, considering Guzman’s boot em and throw em away capabilities. If his defense gets better and he keeps hitting I would expect that the Nats would try to extend him. There aren’t many guys in the majors who can hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs. And for some reason (stop the presses) Dunn seems to love it here. Who knew?
Matt S(PP): Are Nats fans clamoring for Stephen Strasburg at this point? Can you explain how Strasburg making the team out of spring training would impact the franchise and its fanbase?
Mark P(CFG): I am surprised and gratified by the patience showed by Nats fans. We regularly draw 20,000 to games in which the late innings are so painful that people have to wish they were somewhere else. But they keep coming back for more, night after night. That same patience is being shown now by fans who realize that while it would be nice to see Strasburg right now — or early next year — it would be far better to see him in the post-seasons, with a healthy arm, in 2011. If Strasburg makes the team out of spring training I would advise the front office (they’re not exactly on the phone with me all the time, but there you have it) to pitch him during the third or even fourth home game — when they absolutely need to fill the stadium. My sense is that when Strasburg arrives DC will have to assign more cops for crowd control. The place will be packed. We’re patient, very patient. But honestly, we can’t wait to see this guy.
Matt R(NLEC): I read on your site that it seems the Nats have asked Christian Guzman to move to 2b, how helpful will this truly be for the Nats going forward or does it just shift his suspect defense to a different position?
Mark P(CFG): I think this is a bad decision that confirms the kind of decision making that baseball eggheads rightly criticize: which is based on the assumption that a bad shortstop will somehow improve when he moves to second. I don’t buy it. Not even a little bit. You know, I am such a fan of Alberto Gonzalez (for those who don’t know, a kid out of the DR) that I hope the Nats put him at second, keep Ian Desmond (our rookie phenom) at short — and work a trade for Guzman. He will command an $8 million dollar salary next year and freeing it up would help us to get some middle infielders who can do the job. Or, better yet, we can use the money to sign a guy like Jon Garland. But then, of course, we’d really need a replacement for Guzman, as Garland is a ground ball specialist. To answer your question: putting Guzman at second simply shifts his suspect defense to a different position
Thanks again Mark, now onto Matt Smith of Phillies Phandom
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): With names like Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino, Chan Ho Park, Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, Tyler Walker, and possibly Pedro Feliz ($0.5mil buyout), becoming free agents this year who do you feel will they miss most if they do not resign them for 2010?
Matt S(PP): Well, most of these players are arbitration eligible. Blanton, Victorino, Durbin, Walker and Condrey won’t be free agents until after the 2010 season. In fact, I’m pretty sure Victorino has at least two more seasons until he can become a free agent. That said, I’m positive Victorino will be signed to a long-term deal in the neighborhood of three-four years. I have a feeling Blanton will ask for a lot of money, so he could go to arbitration. I don’t expect Myers back unless the Phillies feel he can compete with Brad Lidge for the closer role. At the same time, I don’t think Myers will turn down starter’s money in free agency, and the Phillies don’t really have a spot for him in the rotation. I think Chan Ho Park will re-sign, unless, of course, he’s hellbent on being a starter again. The Phillies should pick up Feliz’s option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they let him go. And don’t be stunned if Pedro re-signs, too.
Matt R(NLEC): Continuing from the question above, I know the Phillies have bigger fish to fry (literally?) but do you think there are any obvious off-season targets?
Matt S(PP):Not at the moment. I’m sure they’ll look for a left-handed reliever and some bench help. If they part ways with Feliz, they’ll obviously be in the market for a third baseman.
Matt R(NLEC): If you had to choose today, rank what potential National League playoff teams you’d like to see the Phils play and why.
Matt S(PP): Dodgers, Cardinals, Rockies, Giants in order of which team I’d like to see them play in the first round. There is nothing the Dodgers are doing that worries me. I don’t think they have the starting pitching to win a playoff series. The Cardinals have an excellent lineup and an awesome one-two punch at the top of their rotation, but we’ve played them well this year, winning four of five games. The Rockies are hot right now, so they can be a scary opponent. If the Giants somehow get in, I fear facing Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain in the first two games of a five-game series.
Matt R(NLEC): What about the American League? The Phils took two of three from the Yanks early in the year, but this Yankees team is very different now, what about the Angels and Tigers? How well do you see the Phils matching up if they get there?
Matt S(PP):I actually think they match up well with any AL team. It’s so far off the radar, I prefer not to think about any potential World Series match ups right now :-) In the AL, starting pitching isn’t as worrisome as some of those NL teams I mentioned.
Matt R(NLEC): Health check: Bullpen.. . after this weekend, are you more, less, or just about the same confidence in the bullpen?
Matt S(PP):Less. It’s been a struggle. It’s not a good thing having question marks at the back of the bullpen. It’s a different situation from last year, when the team was good to go in the pen. I know the offense has been hit-or-miss the last month or so, but the ninth inning is the biggest concern right now. Nothing will really change from now until October, either.

Please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to this forum topic and post a reply. We need questions for our next Chatter Up! Those games are Nats @ Mets and Phillies @ Braves.  Thanks for everyone’s participation!

NL East Daily Recap from 9-3-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 04-09-2009

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Brad Lidge, Brett Carroll, Brian McCann, Cameron Maybin, Chase Utley, Chipper Jones, Chris Coghlan, Chris Iannetta, Clint Barmes, Colorado Rockies, David Wright, Eugenio Velez, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Ian Stewart, Jason Marquis, Jayson Werth, Jorge Cantu, Josh Thole, Kris Medlan, martin prado, New York Mets, Nick Johnson, Pat Misch, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Howard, San Francisco Giants, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Licecum, Tommy Hanson

Pedro goes to 3-0

Pedro goes to 3-0

Pedro Martinez at his age, did something that most probably did not expect, outduel last year’s Cy Young award winner.  Pedro Martinez(3-0) worked seven innings while allowing only five hits and one run but struck out nine batters.  To be fair, it was against the futile San Francisco lineup, but none the less, Brad Lidge worked the ninth with some trouble again for his 28th save.  Not surprisingly, Ryan Howard ended up driving in the winning run in the sixth with an RBI double scoring Chase Utley to go along with Jayson Werth’s second inning solo shot in a 2-1 victory.  Check out Phillies Phandom for more on the Phils.

Tim Lincecum took a tough loss as he was able to hold down the Phillies offense to just four hits, unfortunately two of those hits scored runs.  Lincecum’s(13-5) final line was four hits, two runs, one walk, eleven k’s and a homer and took a loss.  The Giants only managed a first inning solo shot from Eugenio Velez and he was the only Giants hitter with two hits.

Nolasco evens the series

Nolasco evens the series

The Florida Marlins were looking to get a split out of a tough inter-division series after having a very tough weekend and beginning to the week.  Ricky Nolasco(10-8) rebounded from a bad start to the year to get ten victories as he went six innings allowing three runs on seven hits and seven strikeouts as the Marlins won 8-3.  Five Marlins starters had a single RBI, among them Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin, Nick Johnson, Jorge Cantu and Brett Carroll during the victory.  FishGuts has more on the Marlins chances going forward.

Tommy Hanson labored through five innings for the Braves and pitched well enough to win, but his offense couldn’t support him so he left with a no decision with only two hits and one run allowed, but walking four.  Reliever Kris Medlan(3-5) got the loss and a blown save as he only got one out but gave up three hits a walk and four runs (only two earned) on way to the loss.  Brian McCann put the Braves up early with a solo home run and Martin Prado and Chipper Jones had RBI singles later in the game as well.  The Braves Baseball Blog is where to go for more Braves info.

Wright looks to be ok

Wright looks to be ok

In a day of first for the Mets’ youngsters, David Wright did something hes done before, but it seems like its been forever.  Wright went 3-4 with three RBI and two runs scored and is so far not showing any ill effects of his concussion since being back as the Mets took the finale of the series 8-3 against the Rockies.  Pat Misch(1-1) who was robbed of his first major league win last Friday by Mets relief pitching, didn’t miss this time.  Misch went seven innings and allowed only four hits and two runs for the victory.  Josh Thole, a September call up at Catcher for the Mets also went 2-5 with his first major league single, double, and stolen base, quite a nice debut.  The Real Dirty Mets Blog covers anything left in the Mets season.

Staten Island native Jason Marquis could not complete the sweep for the wildcard leading Rockies.  Marquis(14-10) only lasted five innings but surrendered nine hits and five runs to the Mets, including a four spot in the fifth inning.  Unfortunately his run support was lacking as well until after he left in the seventh inning.  The Rockies got three solo home runs from Chris Iannetta, Ian Stewart and Clint Barmes over the seventh and eighth innings but it was the farthest they would get.

NL East Daily Recap from 9-2-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 03-09-2009

Tagged Under : Aaron Rowand, Adrian Gonzalez, Angel Pagan, Atlanta Braves, Brad Penny, Brian Stokes, Centerfield Gate, Chase Headley, Chipper Jones, Cole Hamels, Colorado Rockies, Dan Uggla, Daniel Murphy, Edward Mujica, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Franklin Morales, Ian Stewart, J.A. Happ, Jason Giambi, Javier Vazquez, Jeff Francouer, Jimmy Rollins, John Lannan, Jorge Cantu, Juan Uribe, Kevin Correia, Leo Nunez, Mike Gonzalez, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Ryan Zimmerman, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Redding, Ubaldo Jimenez, Washington Nationals, Wes Helms, Will Venable, Yorvit Torrealba, Yunel Escobar

So Penny needs the NL

So Penny needs the NL

Brad Penny made his first start since coming back to the National League and it looks like he found his problem, the American League.  Penny(1-0) pitched great while going eight innings and getting five hits and only walking one while striking out two to hold the heavy hitting Phillies scoreless.  He got some offense behind him as well, but not until the fifth inning when Andres Torres had an RBI single.  This was followed by two home runs in the sixth inning, a two run shot by Juan Uribe followed immediately by a solo shot by former Philly Aaron Rowand to seal the 4-0 win.

J.A. Happ looked human on this night, taking an unusual loss in the game.  Happ(10-4) lasted six innings and allowed eight hits and four runs while striking out seven, but all four runs came in his final two innings of work.  Unfortunately the offense was silent behind him and he could not pitch a shutout as Cole Hamels did.  Rollins was the only Philly with more than one hit and only four Phillies in total got base hits in this game, Phillies Phandom has more on how they will try to rebound in the series finale tonight.

Helms gets the Marlins winning again

Helms gets the Marlins winning again

Last night the Marlins had a lead going into the ninth and typically with Leo Nunez on the mound, this is a done deal this year, but not in the current streak they were in.  Leo Nunez(4-4) blew the save as he gave up a solo shot to Yunel Escobar to tie the game at seven and Marlins fans must have been wondering what was happening.  Luckily in the bottom of the ninth, Wes Helms hit a game winning home run and sent all the fans home happy with an 8-7 win.    Dan Uggla is hot lately, as he had two more hits with two RBI on a home run and Jorge Cantu also had two hits and an RBI in the game as well.  The Marlins will look to start a winning streak after this and keep their very slim playoff shot alive, check out FishGuts for more.

Javier Vazquez had one of his worst games of the year on Wednesday night, going barely into the fifth and giving up five runs and seven hits, but getting a no decision.  The Braves actually fought back with the big blows being a bases clearing double in the seventh by Chipper Jones and the already mentioned Escobar shot to tie it in the top of the ninth.  Unfortunately the relief pitching was shaky and Mike Gonzalez(3-4) only got one out before giving up the home run to Helms and taking a tough loss.  The Braves Baseball Blog is the place to go for Braves news.

David dreams of an offseason

David dreams of an offseason

With a tie game in the eighth inning last night, the Colorado Rockies sent former Yankee Jason Giambi to the plate as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded.  He delivered, he had a two RBI single which proved to be the winning runs in the game, even after Yorvit Torrealba singled home Ian Stewart with an insurance run, while winning by a score of 5-2.  Ubaldo Jimenez(13-10) pitched a solid game going eight innings and allowing just two runs on five hits and a walk, while Franklin Morales got his 1st save of the year in for the injured Houston Street.

The New York Mets got another well pitched game from Tim Redding in this one.  Redding went 6.2 innings allowing only seven hits and two runs while throwing 114 pitches but left with a no decision.  Brian Stokes(1-4) continues to struggle as came in and was charged with three hits and three runs and THREE walks in just one third of an inning of work.  The Mets runs were supplied by a sac fly by Daniel Murphy scoring Angel Pagan and Jeff Francouer’s 12th homer of the year, a solo shot.  The Real Dirty Mets Blog covers all the Mets struggles.

The Pads sweep

The Pads sweep

The Padres continued to impress with their young, mainly unknown team yesterday as they beat down the Nationals in a 7-0 victory to get the series sweep.  The Padres had no runs until the fifth when they put up a five spot started by Adrian Gonzalez’ two RBI double and was added to by another two RBI double by Chase Headley and finally a Will Venable rbi single to capp that scoring.  Kevin Correia(10-10) went 7.2 innings and allowed only three hits and two walks and Edward Mujica worked the final 1.1 innings allowing only one additional hit as the Padres cruised in this one.

Even John Lannan can’t do it right now for the suddenly very cold Nats.  Lannan(8-10) went five innings allowing six hits and five runs and walking three in one of his worst starts of the year and second straight.  Nats hitting was atrocious as Ryan Zimmerman was the only player with two hits and only three total players had a hit in this one, and obviously nobody had an RBI or a run scored.  Centerfield Gate covers more on whats going on with the Nats.

NL East Daily Recap from 9-1-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 02-09-2009

Tagged Under : Andres Torres, Angel Pagan, Anibal Sanchez, Atlanta Braves, Carlos Gonzalez, Centerfield Gate, Chipper Jones, Chris Coghlan, Clayton Richard, Cole Hamels, Colorado Rockies, Corey Sullivan, Dan Uggla, Drew Macias, Fernando Tatis, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Garrett Anderson, Heath Bell, Jason Giambi, JD Martin, Jeff Francouer, Jonathan Sanchez, Jorge Cantu, Jorge De La Rosa, Josh Bard, Kevin Kouzmanoff, martin prado, matt diaz, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Oscar Salazar, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Rafael Soriano, Rich Aurilia, Ryan Garko, Ryan Howard, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Shane Victorino, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Hudson, Toss Helton, Washington Nationals, Will Venable

Hamels with a classic gem

Hamels with a classic gem

Cole Hamels pitched his second straight great game, the only difference was this time, he didn’t let the bullpen ruin it for him.  Hamels(8-8) went the distance in a 1-0 win versus the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night while only allowing three baserunners on two hits and one walk and using 118 pitches.  The Phillies have been waiting and hoping for Hamels to find his good stuff, and if he has now, it could not have come at a better time with the playoffs around the corner.  Ryan Howard was the only Philly player with two hits as he went 2-4 and contributed the only RBI on a double in the fourth inning, scoring Shane Victorino for the only run of the game.  Check out Phillies Phandom for more on Cole and this game.

The San Francisco Giants did what they did best, but also did exactly what they do worst.  Jonathan Sanchez(6-11) was a tough luck loser going six innings and allowing only three hits and three walks while striking out eight and only allowing Howard’s RBI double.  The Giants bats though only managed three baserunners with Ryan Garko and pinch hitter Rich Aurilia with a single in the ninth before pinch runner Andres Torres was thrown out trying to steal second.  The loss put the Giants down one game in the wildcard to the Rockies who won last night.

He's back!

He's back!

Tim Hudson came back last night to the Braves after missing over a year with Tommy John surgery and I don’t think any Braves fans are complaining with his performance.  Hudson(1-0) worked into the sixth, getting one out in the inning and allowed six hits and three walks while allowing two runs and striking out five and only using 82 pitches.  The Braves bats got on the board early as Chipper Jones scored Matt Diaz on a double play ground out in the first.  In the third, when the Braves were now down 2-1, Tim Hudson himself scored on a balk after he walked earlier in the inning and Brian McCann later doubled in Martin Prado to give the Braves the lead for good.  The final insurance run that was necessary was scored by Chipper Jones on a Garrett Anderson RBI infield single in the eighth.  The Braves bullpen was solid until the ninth when Rafael Soriano got his 21st save but not without allowing a solo homer to Dan Uggla to pull the Marlins within one and allowing the tying run on base but held on for the 4-3 win.  The Braves Baseball Blog will have more on the Braves win and Hudson’s return.

The Marlins are basically in free fall at this point and they have now lost two in a row to the Braves after a tough weekend against the Padres.  Last night Chris Coghlan continued his hot hitting, going 3-4 with a run scored and Jorge Cantu also contributed three hits and a couple RBI.  Anibal Sanchez(2-6) didn’t pitch terribly, but still took the loss in going five innings allowing five hits and three runs along with two walks and four k’s and a balk to score a run.  FishGuts discusses the Marlins latest struggles.

Rockies break their slide

Rockies break their slide

The Rockies came into this series at home against the Mets having lost their wild card lead and were tied with the Giants for that spot.  Luckily for them, the Mets are the Mets.   Jorge De La Rosa(13-9) survived a tough first inning in which he gave up two runs and threw 28 pitches and rebounded to go six innings allowing only four hits, two runs (1 earned) and three walks while striking out six.  The Rockies offense feasted on bad Met pitching as they scored their first on a bases loaded walk and then had a two run homer by Carlos Gonzalez in the second, a three run homer in the fourth by Todd Helton.  Another interesting note is that Jason Giambi, the former Yankee walked in the seventh as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded to get an RBI in his first at bat for the Rockies who now have a one game lead in the wildcard race.

The New York Mets really wish it was October 4th right now, its just terrible.  Mike Pelfrey(9-10) fell below .500 on the year as he only lasted four innings and allowed six hits, seven runs (only six earned), walked five and gave up two huge home runs and his ERA is now above 5 for the season.  Jeff Francouer did get the Mets on the board with a sac fly in the first inning and Fernando Tatis added an RBI single later in the inning.  The Mets got nothing else until the seventh against the Rockies relief pitching when Angel Pagan hit a triple scoring Corey Sullivan.  The Real Dirty Mets Blog will cover this Mets loss and all the Mets losses for you.

Bell with another save

Bell with another save

The San Diego Padres are actually a “hot” team right now, just at the wrong time of the year.  The Padres got single runs in the second, fifth, seventh and eighth on their way to a 4-1 victory against the Nationals.  Will Venable had an RBI single to start the game, Kouzmanoff added a sac fly, Oscar Salazar had a solo home run and finally Drew Macias had the final nail with a single in the eigth scoring a run.  Clayton Richard(4-1) went 6.2 innings and allowedonly a single run and four hits and walking two to get the victory for the Nats and Heath Bell worked a perfect ninth with two k’s for his 33rd save of the season.

The Nationals bats have absolutely gone silent, which is a far cry from a few weeks ago.  The Nats only got four hits as a team last night, luckily one of them a home run.  Josh Bard hit his fourth homer of the year in the seventh inning chasing Clayton Richard and making the only blemish for Pads pitching.  J.D. Martin(3-4) pitched a good game going six innings with five hits, three runs but only two earned and three walks while striking out five and allowing a home run in the game.  Centerfield Gate covers more of the Nats struggles lately.

N.L. East Daily Recap From 8-30-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrnorthjersey on 31-08-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Angel Pagan, Atlanta Braves, Brad Lidge, Braves Baseball Blog, Brian Stokes, Busch Stadium, Carlos Ruiz, Carlos Zambrano, Centerfield Gate blog, Chipper Jones, Chris Coghlan, Citizens Bank Park, Cleon Jones. Chicago Cubs, Fish Guts blog, Florida Marlins, Frankie Rodriguez, Fredi Gonzalez, Garrett Mock, Jair Jurrjens, Joe Blanton, Lou Gehrig, Nelson Figueroa, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Sean West, St. Louis Cardinals, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tom Seaver, Washington Nationals

Forty years ago – in August of 1969 – the New York “Miracle” Mets were on their way to one of the greatest runs in modern Major League Baseball history (and a world championship), and all because of the great play of pitchers like Tom Seaver and hitters like Cleon Jones. The Chicago Cubs helped: engineering one of the all-time memorable collapses of the twentieth century. That’s a fading memory now, but at least some of that era was on display at Wrigley Field on Sunday, as Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa hurled like the Seaver of old against the Mets’ traditional N.L. rivals – the North Siders of Chicago – striking out ten Cubbies and leading New York’s entry in the senior circuit to a decisive 4-1 victory.

Figueroa pitched seven complete innings and struck out ten, one of his best outings of the year, and one of the best outings by a Mets starting pitcher in the last month. Relievers Brian Stokes and Frankie Rodriguez pitched the game’s last two innings nearly effortlessly, adding a nearly flawless coda to the victory. To add to the win, the team hit well: every Mets starter had a hit, led by Angel Pagan, who had three, victimizing Chicago ace Carlos Zambrano, who suffered through his second shaky outing. The victory salvaged an otherwise depressing Mets visit to Chicago, where the New Yorkers had been defeated in two of three previous outings. The Mets are in the air to face the Rockies, before returning home to once again face the Cubs. You can read all about it, and you oughta, at The Real Dirty Mets Blog, where there’s a wrap up of the game – and all the news about the New York Mets.

* * *

There’s nothing boring about pitcher’s duels – as the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals proved today, in a knock-down-drag-out of curve ball finessers at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. This was supposed to be no contest: with a kid with no experience, Garrett Mock, going up against a wizened ace, Adam Wainwright. But Mock and Wainwright dueled for six nail biting innings, matching nearly pitch-for-pitch in a equalizer that left both teams with nearly the same number of hits and runs. But when the game was ended, Mock ended up on the short end of the scoreboard, a 2-1 loser.

The difference in the game was a high fastball to Albert Pujols on a 3-2 count that the closest player to Lou Gehrig in the modern era put up the middle for a single in the sixth inning that broke a one-to-one tie – the difference, as it turned out, in the game. It was clear from the way that the pitch was thrown that Mock hoped that Pujols would either lay off the pitch (and walk) or swing and miss (and take his place on the bench). But you don’t throw a 3-2 fastball to Albert Pujols on a hope: another lesson for Washington’s young pitching staff. The St. Louis and Washington hitters
attempted to change the outcome in the last innings (both Mock and Wainwright left after six) but in vain – and the game ended as Mock and Wainwright had left it. And so Washington was swept in three games in St. Louis, but with this slight caveat: in this last game at least, the Nats showed that one of their young pitchers can go toe-to-toe with the best and play the game the way it ought to be played. To read about the game and get all the latest news on the Nationals, be sure to check in on Centerfield Gate blog.

* * *

The long difficult slide that the Florida Marlins have had against the otherwise hapless San Diego Padres is finally over – and not a moment too soon. The Marlins broke their losing streak on Saturday with an impressive outing from one of their big, young pitchers. Sean West, one of the big arms of their future, showed that he can step into the big leagues, with an impressive six inning seven hit showing against the Padres in Miami, giving the Marlins a victory and putting them back in the win column. The Marlins bats showed up, after being nearly silent the last two games, putting six
well-earned runs on the board with well-timed fourth inning hit from rookie Chris Coghlan – his 46th of August (a Marlins’ record). But the story today was West. “It’s huge just to know I can contribute like I am right now,” said West, who’s only 23 said. “I’m just trying to get six-plus innings in every time I go out.” This was West’s fifteenth start.

The Marlins had only six hits in the game, but they made them count in the 6-4 victory. Marlins manager, Fredi Gonzalez, thinking of the schedule ahead and the games remaining before the end of the season, was relieved: “I don’t
know if it’s desperation, but we’ve got to win ballgames,” he said. “When we pitch well, we’re a good club. When that doesn’t happen, we don’t look very good. But that’s not only us, that’s the other 29 Major League teams. When
you don’t pitch, it doesn’t look so good.” On Monday, the Marlins face the real test: three games versus division rival Atlanta at home. They then face-off against the Washington Nationals in Washington before heading back home to face the Mets. Then it’s back home to once again face the Nats. That’s twelve games in a row against the N.L. East. It won’t be long now and the Marlins will know whether they’ll be playing in the post season or practicing their putting in Broward County. For all the news about the Marlins, and Sunday’s game, be sure to go to our friends over at Fish Guts blog.

* * *

The Atlanta Braves went into Philadelphia with high hopes, and they battled and battled and battled – but when it was all over, the Phillies increased their lead in the N.L. East, and the Braves faded. Nor did the Braves creep any closer to the top of the wild card standings. The Braves are now 8.5 games back in the N.L. East with just over one month left in the season. Time is short and getting shorter. For the Phillies, the news couldn’t be better: they took the last game of their match-up against the Braves at sold-out Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night 3-2. But it was oh-so-close. Up until the seventh inning, Jair Jurrjens was in command of the game, throwing his fastball by a tough Phillies line-up. But a throwing error by third baseman Chipper Jones proved costly, leading to two Phillies runs – and the game. The error put runners at second and third and one batter later, Phillies’ hitter Carlos Ruiz put a ball into the left field corner, scoring two: “One thing about playing against the Phillies is that you can’t make mistakes,” Jones said. “If you make mistakes against them, they’re going to take advantage of it, which is what good teams do. We ended up making a couple of mistakes tonight and it ended up burning us.”

If Atlanta rued the error, Philadelphia credited themselves with clutch hitting – and staying in the game. Joe Blanton, often overlooked as one of the Phillies most dependable arms, pitched seven innings of three hit ball and the Phillies bullpen shit down the Braves lumber when it counted. Brad Lidge looked particularly effective – coming up with his 27th save. Atlanta now heads to Florida where they must win, while Philadelphia has a day off on Monday, before welcoming the San Francisco Giants. Oddly, the Phillies can help the Braves a lot by winning against Frisco, but the Braves can only help themselves in Miami. All of this will be the subject of great interest to our N.L. East Chatter blogs. You can read about the Phillies road trip at Phillies Phandom and be sure to keep up with the Braves at Braves Baseball Blog.

Chatter Up! Mets @ Marlins 8-25-09 through 8-27-09 Edition!

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 25-08-2009

Tagged Under : Angel Pagan, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Brian Stokes, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chone Figgins, Chris Carpenter, Chris Coghlan, Citi Field, Cora Sullivan, Dontrelle Willis, Emilio Bonifacio, Fernando Nieve, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Fred Wilpon, Gaby Sanchez, Jeremy Reed, Jon Niese, Josh Johnson, Luis Castillo, New york Giants, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Nick Johnson, Omar Minaya, Ricky Nolasco, San Francisco Giants, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Lincecum, wildcard

Braves Logo chatterup Marlins Logo
Welcome to NLEC’s Chatter Up! This edition will be the first between the New York Mets and TRS of The Real Dirty Mets Blog matching up against The Marlins and Wally Londo of FishGuts.  Enjoy everyone.
Matt S(PP): While 2009 has been a total disaster in so many ways, Luis Castillo has been very solid. Has he rid himself of last year’s disappointment? How do Mets fans view Castillo’s very good 2009 season and should he be the team’s second baseman for next year?
TRS(TRDMB): Castillo has been very solid. With the casual fan I think he has redemed himself quite nicely. However, there are still a few that are still very adimant about the contract and just don’t like Castillo’s brand of baseball. He could have a OBP of over .400 and it would not be enough. I think Castillo WILL be the 2nd baseman for next year but my hope is they also consider bringing in a guy like Figgins who can play OF and IF.
Mark P(CFG): I keep reading that Citi Field has not panned out for Mets fans this year in a way that the franchise had hoped — so what’s wrong? Is that the way you see it? This was supposed to be a “no brainer” ball park. What happened? Or do you view it as an unquestioned success?
TRS(TRDMB): I can not answer this question as I have not been. Matt Rose maybe you would be better to answer this one. I also assume that if the season had been better the ball park would not be an issue.
Matt R(NLEC): I will say that I do love the stadium and while it does not have the mystique of Shea Stadium for a Mets fan, it still is a success in my mind. The gripe most fans have is that it is/was too oriented towards the Giants and Dodgers of old, and while I agree, the Mets are starting to make it more like home, I think once the Mets say they are “done”, then we can really begin to judge, for now though, it feels like home.
Mark P(CFG): Red Sox fans keep saying that the beantowners have just gotten too old. The same seems to apply to the Mets: is that your view? How do you get younger: who goes and who stays.
TRS(TRDMB): Looking up and down our roster we are actually younger than most teams in our league. We don’t have a lot of age on the roster that is locked down after this year. In fact of the players coming back, I can’t think of any right now that are old. Age has never seemed to be a problem for the Yankee’s so I don’t see an issue with the Mets or the RSox Age.
Mr North Jersey(NLEC): Many Mets fans were annoyed to hear Fred Wilpon quoted as saying that Minaya will be back in 2010 to which Minaya then expanded upon to say if he’s back so is Manuel. If true and you must put up with one more year of Minaya/Manuel do you feel he will be aggressive to try and win back the fanbase or passive this off-season?
TRS(TRDMB): That’s a great question. I think the Wilpons will be desperate to put a competitive team on the field and Omar will know his job is really on the line this time. There really are no excuses left and to me we are one more try away from rebuilding.
Matt R(NLEC): What players that have needed to play in the injury prone season have actually shown an ability for next year? Do you think these players have solidified their standings for 2010?
TRS(TRDMB): It’s hard to say because really who have we seen because of injury on a consistant basis? Most have been scrubs or broken old guys. One would assume that Pagan will be here. One of Reed or Sullivan will be here. I expect Cora to be brought back on a lesser contract. Nieve and Niese should factor into the 5th spot competition. I think Stokes has really locked down his spot as a potential 7th inning guy for next year.
Thanks Eric, great debut! Now, moving on to FishGuts and we welcome back Wally
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Does Emilio Bonifacio fit into the long term plans of the marlins?
Wally(FG): It certainly seems so. With how he has been treated by management and also how management has treated his potential competitors (moving Coghlan to Left Field and moving Gaby Sanchez to Left Bench), it seems obvious he is the team’s long term choice at 2nd base. He’s certainly showed flashes of being a great defensive player, and moving back to his natural position, and one that is less stressful on his arm, should prove to be a good move. But if his bat doesn’t come around, I’ll never be a fan.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Can you give the mets any tips on playing spoiler?
Wally(FG): Ha!

Our lips are sealed. Sorry, buddy.

DirtySanchez(TRDMB): How confident are the Marlins to leapfrog atl/sf/col in the WC?
Wally(FG): I’m sure the team is brimming with confidence; No use taking the field if you don’t think you are going to win it all until you are absolutely mathematically eliminated.
Now, as a fan, I’m not confident at all. I always thought we had a chance, and at times a damn good one, but I never thought we were the favorites. If Nick Johnson can get back healthy and Anibal Sanchez shows what he did against the Braves, this team can still make it interesting.
Mark P(CFG): Ricky Nolasco went down to the minors earlier this year, but now finally seems to have hit his stride. He has mastered his fastball. Is he here to stay?
Wally(FG): I’m one of Nolasco’s biggest boosters on the various Marlins sites I go on. When he’s on, there’s no pitcher in baseball I prefer watching. And he has been on more often than not since he got called back up. I think he’s here to stay, and I think he’s here to stay as a very good number 2 starter. The only question is whether the team will pay him in arbitration, and he is where that dreadful start has a silver lining: it should knock his numbers down enough to make his salary palatable to the team.
Mark P(CFG): What do you think the prospects are for Josh Johnson winning the Cy Young? What does he need to do the rest of the way?
Wally(FG): There’s not a whole lot he can do. I really think Tim Lincecum deserves to win it. Chris Carpenter is having a hell of a year, but as I’m still bitter about his win in 05 over Dontrelle, I’m boycotting him. The simple fact is The Freak has thrown more innings than anyone in the NL and only one other pitcher has thrown higher quality innings.
I don’t think anyone in the NL is going to sniff a Cy Young for the next 5 years but Lincecum, barring injury.
JJ would have to go on a historic type of run to get to the 220 IP, 200 K, 2.6 ERA type of numbers that would really put him in the discussion, but I don’t think it’s a discussion. He’s having a great season, but so are a lot of people.

There goes another segment of Chatter Up! please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about this or a future segment to this forum topic and post a reply.

NL East Daily Recap from 8-17-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 18-08-2009

Tagged Under : Aaron Rowand, Adam LaRoche, Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cory Sullivan, Garrett Anderson, Gary Sheffield, Joe Martinez, Livan Hernandez, Mark Reynolds, Max Scherzer, Miguel Montero, New York Mets, Randy Winn, San Francisco Giants, Stephen Drew, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tommy Hanson

I love the odd faces pitchers make

I love the odd faces pitchers make

Tommy Hanson continues to impress for the Braves, as the Bravos rolled to victory in a makeup game versus the Diamondbacks yesterday, 9-4.  Hanson(8-2) went six strong innings and allowed only six hits and two runs in earning his eighth win of the season.  Hanson also helped himself with a run scoring fielders choice groundout and LaRoche added a two run homer late in joining Garrett Anderson in Braves who hit balls out.  The Braves Baseball Blog is your place to go for more Braves info.

Max Scherzer struggled today, but also was not helped by his defense in this game.  Scherzer(7-7) went five innings and was charged with nine runs, but only THREE of them were earned as the Diamondbacks made two errors behind him.    Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew added home runs for the Diamondbacks and Miguel Montero had an RBI single as well, but the errors allowed the game to get out of hand.

how much longer in the rotation?

how much longer in the rotation?

The San Francisco Giants, a typically low scoring, good pitching team, got a gift wrapped game from the Mets last night.  The Giants scored in six of nine innings and put up crooked numbers within two of them to win by a score of 10-1.  Aaron Rowand hitting out of the seven hole was 4-5 with two runs scored and two RBI and even added a home run in the fourth.  Randy Winn was also 3-5 with two runs scored batting in front of Winn in the blowout.  Rookie Joe Martinez(3-1) went five innings and only allowed a third inning run and walked two.

Livan Hernandez was awful again for the Mets in receiving his eighth loss and costing the Mets a chance to win this series.  Hernandez(7-8) went 5.1 innings and allowed 11 hits and six runs, including a home run while actually only throwing 76 pitches on the day.  Gary Sheffield knocked in Cory Sullivan in the second inning to score the Mets only run.  The Real Dirty Mets Blog has more on the Mets and be sure to check NLEC out for the Chatter Up! Between the Braves and the Mets later.