And the Phils have an outside chance of being in first place before the month is over. The present third place Phillies have gotten off to a good start this month as they have won 15 games while losing 12, trailing the Florida Marlins, who lead the National League East, and have also won 15 games, by .5 games, and trails the second place New York Mets by .004 percentage points as the New Yorkers have won 14 games.
I’m sure everyone in Phillies land were all hoping that the team would start off the season a lot better than they have during the last few years, but I’m sure that no one would have expected them to win this many games as May rolls around with Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino both being out for a while, Ryan Howard slumping badly, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz and Geoff Jenkins all hitting below their career averages and Brett Myers’ arm not throwing heat. But we can thanks our lucky stars that while all this was happening that Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Jayson Werth and Chris Coste all got hot, while the bullpen is second best in the league right now with a combine ERA of 2.77, and Adam Eaton, although he hasn’t won a game yet, has kept the team in games, sometimes in spite of himself.
It’s a good thing that the bullpen is so good right now, since the starters combine ERA, going into today’s game, is 10th best in the league, at 4.29. Hopefully, the starters will get better as the year continue, since they have mainly avoided a repeat of the opening day fiasco, as the pitching staff overall has only given up more than six runs only three times since that game.
The Phillies’ starter for tonight’s game, Jamie Moyer (1-1, 4.05), is coming off of a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 24, as he went six innings plus two batters, giving up only one earned run on eight hits, in the Phils 3-1 victory over the Brew Crew. His previous start was a lost to the Mets on April 19 as he went six full innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, in the Phils’ 4-2 lost to New York. His opponent, Chris Young (1-2, 3.77), is coming off a lost to the San Francisco Giants, where he pitched seven innings, giving up one earned run on two hits, while losing 1-0. He is trying to snap his own personal two game losing streak.
Correction. The Phils are now in second place as the Pirates have just finished destroying the Mets at Shea Stadium, 13-1, dropping New York to third place at 14-12. If the Phils can defeat the Padres and Florida loses to the Dodgers, the Phils will end April in first. Keep your fingers cross people, especially as the Phils tend to do better in May.
Cole Hamels went seven and 1/3 innings, striking out six while giving up only two earned runs on five hits as he even his record at 3-3, while Greg Maddux is for the third straight time denied his 350th career victory as he goes six and 1/3 innings while giving up three earned runs and eight hits.
After scoring a run in the first to make it 1-0, the Phils score again in the third as Eric Bruntlett hits an RBI single off of Maddux, scoring Jayson Werth to make the score 2-0. The Padres would cut the lead to 2-1 when Scott Hairston hit a solo home run off of Hamels in the top of the fifth inning, his third of the year. The game then settle down into a pitcher duel until the seventh, when the Phils added a run on a sacrifice fly to center by Werth, which scored Carlos Ruiz, making the score 3-1, while Maddux was taken out of the game, replaced by Cla Meredith. Hamels would in turn be taken out in the top of the eighth, replaced by J.C. Romero, as the Padres scored their second run of the evening as Hairston scores on a bases loaded ground out by ex-Phils Tadahito Iguchi. Romero would then be replaced by Tom Gordon who would end the inning by getting Kevin Kouzmanoff to ground out to Chase Utley with the bases loaded. The Phils would then explode for four runs in the bottom of the eighth, making the score 7-2 on a RBI single by Pedro Feliz, knocking in Utley, an RBI double from Ruiz, scoring So Taguchi, who was pinch running for the intentionally walked Pat Burrell, and Feliz, and finally, another RBI double, this time by Greg Dobbs, scoring Ruiz. Two of the run were charged to Glendon Rusch, who have come in to pitch the eighth in place of Meredith, and two to Kevin Cameron, who came in to relieve Rusch. In the ninth, the Padres would get two more runs, on a two-run home run by Hairston, knocking in Adrian Gonzalez, for his fourth homer of the season, hiting it off of Ryan Madson with two outs, before Madson finally ended the game by stricking out Josh Bard.
With the win, Hamels has lowered his ERA to 2.70, as he raised his record to 3-3. Maddux’s record is now 2-2 with a 3.76 ERA as he takes the lost. The Phils, now at 15-12, are still in third place, but are now .5 games behind the Marlins as Florida lost to the Dodgers, 7-6, and .004 percentage points behind the Mets, who defeated the Pirates in 11 innings, 5-4. The next Phils game against the Padres, starting tonight at 7:05 pm, have Jamie Moyer (1-1, 4.05) going against Chris Young (1-2, 3.77) for the Pads.
Shane Victorino made a pinch hitting appearance in the eighth inning, batting for Geoff Jenkins, flying out to Justin Huber, the left fielder, before staying in the ninth to play center field while Werth was moved to right.
And Cole Hamels has just completed a 1-2-3 first inning with one strikeout. In the Phils half of the first, Greg Maddux walks Eric Bruntlett after one out. Bruntlett then stole and would later score on a Ryan Howard’s single, giving the Phils a quick 1-0 lead. The innings ends with the Phils leading San Diego, 1-0.
The third place Phillies (14-12, 1.5 games behind) are back home and begining a six games home stand by starting a three games series with the San Diego Padres (10-16), who are presently tied for last place in the National League West. The game starts at Citizens Bank Park at 7:05 pm Eastern. The starter for the Phils will be Cole Hamel (2-3, 2.75) who is coming off of a bad outing against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 23, where he pitched seven innings and facing two batters in the eighth, as he gave up five earned runs while striking out eleven Brewers in the 5-4 Phillies lost to the Brew Crew. He is presently looking to end a personal two-game losing streak. His opponent for the night will be Greg Maddux (2-1, 3.66), who is for the third time trying to win his 350th career victory. His last game, also pitched on April 23, was a no decision against the San Francisco Giants, where he pitched seven innings, giving up no runs and four hits, in a game that was eventually lost by the Padres in thirteen innings, 3-2. His previous start was a lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks back on April 18th, where he went seven innings, giving up nine earned runs in a 9-0 Arizona victory. So, this is a game between a future hall of famer and a future pitching ace, and both looking for their third win of the season. Which one will prevail tonight?
Also, Shane Victorino will be back in the lineup. Hopefully, Charlie Manuel will be keeping Jayson Werth’s hot bat in the lineup at either left or right field, while the Flying Hawaiian will be getting his batting grove back in center field, after coming off of the disable list.
It may be the hottest question of 2008.
Voting is under way at MLB.com, and gradually at all the ballparks, to once again fulfill your annual civic duty of electing the most deserving Major League Baseball players to starting positions and final roster spots for the All-Star Game — the most traditional and important of any such elite gathering in sports. It is the jewel event created just so fans could see Babe Ruth and his best contemporaries all on the same field at once, and now it is an institution where a great part of the excitement is the very process that gets today’s greats all together.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how people vote myself, just after knowing the American League so well for the last five years,” said Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira, a newcomer on the National League ballot and a lifelong All-Star voter himself. “It’s really neat, because one of the most fun things, as a kid in Baltimore, was going to a game and voting for All-Stars. I’d fill out two or three ballots as a kid during the game. I had my favorite Orioles like Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray. They were automatic. But I voted for other teams’ players based on whoever I thought was having a good season. I’d mix up my picks.
“Now, you look at the way the whole voting process has grown and it is just amazing. It’s great because the All-Star Game is for the fans. It’s an exhibition game, players have fun, and really it is a showcase of the entire game one night.”
Who are you voting for?
Fans can vote for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club Web sites until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 2. There will be constant campaigning between now and then, and voters will be faced with tough decisions every day and night. The task is to put the best people on the field the night of July 15 at Yankee Stadium, which is in its farewell season. Major League Baseball formally opened the balloting with an on-field ceremony there before Tuesday’s Tigers-Yanks game, and now it will be up to you to study the issues and get to know the candidates.
This is serious stuff, obviously a lot more challenging than picking one leader to run things. Here, you are asked to pick from candidates on both tickets, AL and NL, and it will be up to you to decide on nine AL starting position players (including a designated hitter), eight NL starting position players, and the 32nd man on both rosters with the ever-popular, seventh-annual Monster All-Star Final Vote.
No pressure there or anything, folks. If you stockpile the AL team with Manny Ramirez and those reigning world champs from up in Boston, then Yankee Universe is going to post unfriendly blogs about you. If you load it up with A-Rod and other Yankees, then welcome to the pinstripe people party. This is a decision that affects the future, because the NL has not won since 1996, and once again the league that wins the All-Star Game will have home-field advantage in the World Series this October.
Recent history shows that you are going to vote with intensity and intellect. In 2007, spurred by tight races at several positions in each league, a record 11.8 million ballots were cast online during the voting period, including three million ballots over the final 48 hours after the most recent voting updates were announced. There was a general sentiment that fans, by all accounts, “got it right” in electing “deserving” stars. Once again, you will be clicking non-stop around here, and once again you will be using car keys or pencils or any means necessary to furiously punch those little round holes next to first initial/last name on paper ballots as professional sports’ largest All-Star balloting program begins again.
All-Star ballots will be available at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 24 home dates for balloting. In-stadium balloting began on April 18 at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, and it begins Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, AT&T Park in San Francisco and Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Balloting will begin at the ballparks of the Red Sox, Marlins, Mets and Rangers on Wednesday. Every Major League club will begin balloting no later than May 9, and the in-stadium balloting period will end for each club by June 29. In-stadium balloting at Rogers Centre in Toronto, sponsored by Rogers Personal TV, is scheduled to run from May 2 through June 24. In addition, 109 Minor League clubs will participate in All-Star Game balloting from May 5 through June 18. It is always an election year in baseball.
Who are you voting for?
Could there be five different Cabreras in the starting AL lineup? It could happen. Miguel has moved from the NL to the AL, representing Detroit at third base on the ballot. Asdrubal Cabrera represents the Indians at second base, and he has some October exposure going for him. Orlando Cabrera is the shortstop of a White Sox team that was leading the AL Central through Monday, and Yankee fans would love to see their own Melky Cabrera in the outfield for a big home game. Orioles righty Daniel Cabrera beat the Yankees on April 18 for his first victory, and if he gets on a roll, then maybe AL manager Terry Francona tabs him for the staff.
Who takes Barry Bonds’ place in the NL outfield now that the longest active streak of ballot appearances is over? Ken Griffey Jr. assumes the title of longest-running ballot fixture, dating back to that baby-faced 19-year-old we remember from the Upper Deck rookie card. Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel is back on the ballot and has been seemingly forever. Craig Biggio is a notable missing name from the ballot, now retired and counting down the mandatory five-year wait for Cooperstown. But honestly, would it even have mattered the way Chase Utley is dominating the sport right now? He could be the Phillies’ third straight NL MVP.
Can Tampa Bay, Baltimore or Florida get some All-Star love to equal their first month so far? Will Cristian Guzman or Ryan Church have a prayer? You are going to have to think about a (Torii) Hunter and a (John) Buck in the AL. Arizona has the best record in baseball at this early juncture, but does the voting public really know these guys yet? Frank Thomas is listed on the ballot as a DH for Toronto, but will the Big Hurt get many write-in votes now that he actually plays for the A’s?
|“It’s really neat, because one of the most fun things, as a kid in Baltimore, was going to a game and voting for All-Stars. I’d fill out two or three ballots as a kid during the game.”|
|– Mark Teixeira|
And what will become of Teixeira, who helped the AL to this ridiculous All-Star streak and now appears for the first time on the NL ballot? His competition is going to include the likes of perennial favorite Albert Pujols of St. Louis, Prince Fielder of Milwaukee, Derrek Lee of the Cubs, Ryan Howard of the Phillies and red-hot Lance Berkman of the Astros. That could be the most competitive position on either side of the ballot. Maybe not. Once those much-anticipated regular weekly updates begin at MLB.com during the months to come, all of your thinking will become the data that drives more and more voting to “get it right.” The first weekly AL update will be on May 27, and the first NL update will be the next day.
Teixeira, interviewed by MLB.com at Shea Stadium over the weekend, certainly would love to be invited back to New York for July 15. The All-Star Game holds a special memory for him — not just because of the voting process, but because of experience.
“I remember that I got to start my very first All-Star Game,” he said, thinking back to Houston and 2005. “I was fortunate to hit a two-run homer that put us up, 7-0. We won, 7-5.”
How can he explain the AL dominance for more than a decade? Throw out that 2002 tie in Milwaukee and it is 10 consecutive AL victories.
“It’s crazy, because there are so many great players in each league,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “In a game like baseball, so much is up in the air. The games have been close.”
Maybe this will be the NL’s year.
Who are you voting for?
The 2008 AL and NL All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 6 on the 2008 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet televised nationally on TBS immediately following the Sunday MLB on TBS Game of the Week. The pitchers and reserves for both squads — 23 for the NL, 22 for the AL — will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers, Francona and NL manager Clint Hurdle of the Rockies. That will be done in conjunction with Major League Baseball.
Immediately following the announcement of the rosters, it gets absolutely nutty. Fans will have the annual thrill ride of selecting the final position player for each league’s 32-man roster at MLB.com. The Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote again will provide fans the opportunity to cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over a four-day period, and that’s when the creative grassroots campaigning kicks in. Last year, all 10 Final Vote nominees were pitchers thanks to managers Tony La Russa and Jim Leyland, and fans chose Chris Young of San Diego and Hideki Okajima of Boston. Fans will be able to cast their Final Vote selections for the fourth year using their mobile phones as well, and both winners this time will be announced after the voting has concluded on Thursday, July 10.
Even then, the fan participation is not over. You can be part of the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet during the big Tuesday night event via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
There is a lot of time between now and then, a lot of research to do on these candidates. There are two Drews, a Hardy boy and a Bard. There is a Hill and Stairs. Surely there must be potential leaders among Kennedy, Wilson, Jackson, Johnson and Chavez. There are two “A. Jones” — one a Dodger and one an Oriole. There is a Durham and a Pierre to see. There is a Bay and an Overbay. There is Lamb and there is Pie, Crisp and Dunn. There is a Prince and fortunately a Butler. For those who love water, there is a Hudson and we found Wells. This will go on for Weeks.
It’s what everyone is talking about.
There is only one question, really.
Who are you voting for? (H/T Phillies.com)
Well, I know who I’m voting for, as I’d voted just a few seconds ago. Anyway, the 79th Annual All Star Game will this year be held for the last time in Yankee Stadium, ‘The House that Ruth Built’, as the Yankees, like the Mets in Shea Stadium, will both be having new homes next season.
The former catcher, who spent 13 of his 14 Major League seasons in Philadelphia and holds the franchise record for games caught, before playing his final season in 2007 with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers, will officially retire as a Phillie on June 1.
The last player to end his career in this manner was Doug Glanville in 2005.
“Philadelphia has always been a second home to me, so I’m really looking forward to this,” said Lieberthal in a statement. “I spent half my life there and still follow the team closely on television.”
That became a running joke with members of the Dodgers last season, who routinely pointed out that Lieberthal had the Phillies game on in the clubhouse, and always followed their exploits.
When the Dodgers came in last season, teammate Randy Wolf, who played with Lieberthal with the Phillies and Dodgers, said, “I follow [the Phillies] at a safe distance. He tailgates.”
Originally selected by the Phillies as the third overall pick in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft behind Chipper Jones (Braves) and Tony Clark (Tigers), Lieberthal caught 1,139 games for Philadelphia, despite seven trips to the disabled list.
In 13 seasons with the Phillies — he debuted on June 20, 1994, fitting, against the Dodgers in Los Angeles — Lieberthal hit .275 with 150 home runs and 609 RBIs in 1,174 games. He batted .234 with one RBI in 38 games.
A two-time All-Star (1999-2000), Lieberthal became the sixth catcher in to hit .300 with 30 home runs in a season, something he did in 1999. He was the first Phillies player to reach those numbers in the same season since Mike Schmidt in 1981. (HT/Phillies.com)
Now this is interesting. Nice move on the part of both the Phils and Mike. I just can’t wait to find out how they’ll do it.
In the final game of their three game set in Pittsburgh, the Phils were defeated by the Pirates, 5-1, ending an otherwise good road trip (5-2) on a low note. The Phillies’ bats were kept quiet by the Bucos’ starter, Paul Maholm, who pitched a complete game while giving up only two hits and one run and being supported very effectively by Pittsburgh’s defense, as he ups his record to 2-2. Meanwhile, Brett Myers, who pitched five innings, gave up four runs, including three on two home runs, a solo shot in the first and a two-run home run in the fifth, to Nate McLouth, his fifth and sixth roundtrippers of the year, and an RBI single in the fourth to Jose Bautista. Reliever Rudy Seanez would give up a fifth run in the Pirates’ sixth during a double play ball that was hit by Luis Rivas. Myers record for the year is now 2-2 with a 5.11 ERA. The Phils lone run would come in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Eric Bruntlett.
With the lost, the Phillies are now 14-12, in a technical tie for second with the Mets, 1.5 games behind the Marlins. The Phils have the day off tomorrow before they start a new home stand, which begins Tuesday night with a three games series against the San Diego Padres (10-16) with Cole Hamels (2-3, 2.75) going for the Phils while the Padres will counter with Greg Maddux (2-1, 3.66).
For the second time this season, the Phillies have won three games in a row and have won six of their last seven as they defeated the Pirates in Pittsburgh, 8-4. The Phils opened the game by scoring five runs in the first inning, with two of those run coming in on a two-run homer by Ryan Howard, who is now back in the line-up, his fifth homer of the season, with two more runs coming in via Pirates fielding errors, while a single from Eric Bruntlett knocked in the fifth. They increased their lead to 6-0 when Geoff Jenkins knocked in Chase Utley with a single. Two more runs would later cross the plate in the sixth as Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz knocked in runs with back to back doubles. By then, the score was 6-2, as the eventual winning pitcher, Kyle Kendrick, have given up an RBI single to Nate McLouth and an RBI double to Freddy Sanchez in the Pirates’ third. He would later give up two more runs, one on an RBI ground out by Brian Bixler in the seventh and the last one as a solo home run to McLouth in the Pirates’ eighth, his fourth of the year. After he gave up a follow up single to Sanchez, Kendrick was replaced by Rudy Seanez who ended the inning with no further damage. Ryan Madson would then come in and pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, ending the game.
The victory raises Kendrick’s record to 2-2 with a 5.13 ERA as he pitched seven innings plus two hitters, giving up four runs, three of which were earned. The losing pitcher is Mike Morris whose record is now 0-4, while his record against the Phillies is now 5-4. He gave up six runs in 1 and 2/3 innings with his ERA rising to 9.67
The Phils, whose record is now 14-11, are still in second place, now only a 0.5 games behind the Marlins, as the fish lost to the Brew Crew. A win by them and a lost by Florida tomorrow afternoon would put the Phils in first place with a 0.5 games lead over the fish. Now wouldn’t that be nice?
Anyway, the Phillies starter for tomorrow afternoon’s game (1:35 PM eastern) will be Brett Myers (2.1, 4.78 ERA), who will try to end the team’s very successful road trip with a victory while Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm (1-2, 4.22 ERA) will be on the mound trying to keep the Bucos from being swept by the Fightin’s.
In less than an hour, the Phils will face the Pirates for the second game of a three game set and for the next to last game of a so far successful seven games in three cities road trip. The game starts at about 7:05 pm eastern time at PNC Park. The Phils starter will be second year pitcher Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick is presently 1-2 with a 5.59 ERA. His last game, which occurred this past Monday night against the National League Champions Colorado Rockies, saw him get rock for five earned runs in five innings of work. Luckily for Kyle, the Phils came from behind to win, giving him a no decision. Kyle should hopefully regain the form which he showed in his third game against the Houston Astros on the 16th, where he went seven full innings and gave up only two earned runs in a losing cause. The Bucos will counter with Matt Morris who is 0-3 with an ERA of 9.15, but has been a pain in the neck to the Phils with a lifetime win-lost record of 5-3 and an ERA of 3.57. The Phils hitters should take advantage of his present pitching woes and high ERA, especially if they can stay patient in the batter’s box while facing him.
Hopefully the Phillies will win tonight’s game, increasing their present winning streak to three games and giving them a road trip record of 5-1 and an overall record of 14-11, while winning two of the series on their road trip and splitting the third.
is going to pitch himself into a victory?
After jumping to a 2-0 lead, the Phils offense would double it to 4-0 in the third inning with a home run by Jayson Werth, his 5th of the season, and Chris Coste’s third RBI of the game with a single knocking in Pat Burrell who had earlier double. Two more runs would be added in the fourth with a double by Brad Harmon knocking in Eric Bruntlett and later scoring on a single by Werth for his second RBI of the night.
But then, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Eaton loses it. After one out, he gives up a home run to Jason Bay, his fifth of the year, shortly followed by back to back doubles to Ryan Doumit and Xavier Nady, which cut the lead to 6-2. Later, with two outs, Doug Mientkiewicz doubles in Nady, cutting the lead further to 6-3. After a passed ball got Mientkiewicz to third, that was it for Eaton as Charlie Manuel gave him the hook, replacing him with Chad Durbin who finally ended the inning. Durbin would then have problems of his own in the 5th as he gives up a two run single to Nady, which cut the lead even further to 6-5. But, he would then keep things quiet in the 6th. He would then be followed by Tom Gordon and J.C. Romero, who would each pitch a scoreless inning. Brad Lidge would then come in the ninth and record his sixth save as the game ends up as a 6-5 Phillies victory. The game winner would be Gordon, improving his record to 2-2 while Zach Duke, the Pirates’ starter, would end up the loser, dropping his record to 0-2.
Shakes head. Man, what is it with Eaton? The offensive finally gives him a big lead and boom, he gives half of it back. Come on man, get it together. You want to contribute to the Phils season, right? Well, get you head on straight and stop giving up runs at the wrong time.
Anyway, the Phils are now 13-11, with a two game winning streak and having a 4-1 record during the present road trip. Also, they’d moved up to second place in the National League East, 1.5 games behind the Marlins. Hopefully the fish are hearing the ominous footsteps behind them.