June 2008

Utley is a lock as the National League’s Representative at Second Base

Utley continues to widen voting lead
Phillies second baseman on pace to start All-Star Game
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA — Chase Utley isn’t just coasting down the home stretch. He’s cruising to an easy win among All-Star Game voters.

Another week of voting has widened Utley’s already sizeable lead on Chicago’s Mark DeRosa — he has more than twice as many votes — and remains the National League’s leading vote-getter. All other second basemen will have to be named by NL manager Clint Hurdle to attend the Midsummer Classic.

With 2,645,027 votes, Utley has more votes than the Astros’ Lance Berkman, the Yankees’ Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, the Red Sox’s David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez and the Braves’ Chipper Jones.

Utley lifted his 23rd home run on Saturday against the Rangers, and has been among the leaders in many offensive categories. He’s had two stretches in which he’s homered in five straight games. The left-handed-hitting slugger started the 2007 All-Star Game, going 0-for-2 in San Francisco at AT&T Park, and played in the 2006 contest, going 1-for-2 in Pittsburgh at PNC Park.

The Phils superstar is in line to make his second straight All-Star start, and this will be Utley’s first career appearance at Yankee Stadium in the final season of the historic ballpark.

Teammate Jimmy Rollins, the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, is fourth among shortstops, behind Florida’s Hanley Ramirez, Houston’s Miguel Tejada and Chicago’s Ryan Theriot.

The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game, being held at Yankee Stadium in its final season, 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.

The Midsummer Classic will be the fourth held at Yankee Stadium and the eighth in New York City. The Yankees previously hosted the All-Star Game in 1939, 1960 and 1977; the Polo Grounds held the game in 1934 and 1942; Ebbets Field was the site in 1949; and Shea Stadium hosted the 1964 tilt.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Starting rosters will be announced during the 2008 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 6. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote at MLB.com.

The voting doesn’t end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP vote at MLB.com.

Ran Howard, who has struggled this season, has remained in fifth place among first basemen, behind Houston’s Lance Berkman, Chicago’s Derrek Lee, St. Louis’ Albert Pujols and Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder.

2008 MLB All-Star Balloting : National League
First Base
RANK PLAYER NAME NL TEAM TOTAL VOTES
1. Berkman, L. Astros 2,132,663
2. Pujols, A. Cardinals 1,408,622
3. Lee, D. Cubs 1,383,909
4. Fielder, P. Brewers 1,166,433
5. Howard, R. Phillies 773,104
Second Base
RANK PLAYER NAME NL TEAM TOTAL VOTES
1. Utley, C. Philles 2,645,027
2. DeRosa, M. Cubs 1,139,698
3. Uggla, D. Marlins 947,245
4. Matsui, K. Astros 931,559
5. Weeks, R. Brewers 817,377
Third base
RANK PLAYER NAME NL TEAM TOTAL VOTES
1. Jones, C. Braves 2,433,753
2. Ramirez, A. Cubs 1,373,565
3. Wright, D. Mets 1,165,590
4. Hall, B. Brewers 752,773
5. Reynolds, M. D-backs 606,487
Shortstop
RANK PLAYER NAME NL TEAM TOTAL VOTES
1. Ramirez, H. Marlins 1,483,875
2. Tejada, M. Astros 1,315,240
3. Theriot, R. Cubs 1,114,336
4. Rollins, J. Phillies 914,962
5. Reyes, J. Mets 902,506
Catcher
RANK PLAYER NAME NL TEAM TOTAL VOTES
1. Soto, G. Cubs 1,827,279
2. McCann, B. Braves 1,149,247
3. Kendall, J. Brewers 1,089,604
4. Molina, Y. Cardinals 1,015,125
5. Molina, B. Giants 775,653
Outfield
RANK PLAYER NAME NL TEAM TOTAL VOTES
1. Soriano, A. Cubs 2,120,635
2. Griffey, K. Reds 1,917,739
3. Fukudome, K. Cubs 1,783,983
4. Braun, R. Brewers 1,751,058
5. Holliday, M. Rockies 1,069,940
6. Lee, C. Astros 1,052,114
7. Ankiel, R. Cardinals 996,673
8. Hart, C. Brewers 986,861
9. Beltran, C. Mets 966,281
10. Burrell, P. Phillies 939,953
11. Ludwick, R. Cardinals 916,150
12 Pence, H. Astros 849,878
13. Cameron, M. Brewers 849,387
14. Upton, J. D-backs 837,799
15. McLouth, N. Pirates 734,385
Results updated: Monday, June 30, 2008

(H/T Phillies.com)

It is almost over and there is no way that Chase isn’t going into the All-Star Game at Yankee  Stadium as the Phillies’ representative. In my opinion, I think Brad Lidge will also be going, while Cole Hamles may have an outside shot of getting there. Sadly, I don’t see anyone else on the team getting there outside of a miracle.

The Phillies lose their sixth straight series as the bats go back to sleep.

The Phillies have lost their sixth straight series as they waste another good start by Jamie Moyer as they lose to the Rangers, 5-1. The Rangers would take a quick 1-0 lead in the first as Michael Young would hit a RBI ground out, short to first, scoring Ian Kinsler, who has earlier tripled. They would add a second run in the second, as rookie Chris Davis would hit his second career home run, to make it 2-0 Rangers. In the third, the Rangers would increase their lead to 3-0, as Josh Hamilton would single in Young, who has earlier doubled. While Moyer would keep the Rangers off of the scoreboard after that inning, the Rangers’ starter, rookie Eric Hurley, would keep the Phillies’ offense silent, despite some of the batters actually getting some deep counts against him. The Phillies would finally get a run on the board as Ryan Howard would hit a RBI single, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier doubled, to make it 3-1 Rangers. The Rangers would then put the game away in the eight, as Ramon Vazquez would get an RBI single, scoring Marlon Byrd, who has earlier doubled, to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead. The Rangers would score their final run on a ground out by Young, scoring Max Ramirez, who has earlier been hit by the pitch. C.J. Wilson would then come in the ninth for a quick 1-2-3 inning to end the ballgame.

Jamie Moyer would take the lost in spite of keeping the Phillies in the game, as he goes five and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and striking out six batters. His record is now 7-6 with a 4.13 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch two and one third innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits. Eric Hurley would get his first career victory, as he would also go five and two-thirds innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits. His record is now 1-1 with a ERA of 3.57. Jamey Wright, Eddie Guardado and C.J. Wilson would combine for three and one third innings of hitless ball.

The Phillies’ offense, after a short revival, would go back to sleep, in spite of an early attempt to stay patient inside the batter’s box against the rookie Hurley. Gary Matthews, the ex-Phil, and a present-day Phillies’ Announcer, would offer one of the reasons for the batters’ present slump. The players are presently hitting the ball with the end of the bat, instead of the bat’s sweet spot, near the middle, which is leading to weak outs. Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is that it is really starting to get on my nerves that the batters’ are not doing anything to help correct the problem. Sounds to me like Charlie Manuel may need to take these guys behind close doors and read them the riot act to get them thinking about what they are doing wrong. Well, one can only hope, right? *Sigh*

The Phillies (44-39) have finally finished their involvement in interleague play, with a 4-11 record, losing all five series. They will now have the day off, which they will hopefully use to get their heads screwed back on before they begin a three games series with the Braves in Hot-lanta, and then come home for a four games Independence Day weekend series with the Mets.

With the lost, the Phillies’ lead in the East drop down once again to one full game as the Marlins defeat the Diamondbacks. The Mets are now back in third place, trailing the floundering Phillies by three games as they defeat the Yankees. The Braves now trail the Phillies by four games as they lose to the Blue Jays in Toronto. The Phillies will now try to regroup and get back on the winning track.

The Phillies hang on to win as they give Hamels his eighth victory as they defeat the Rangers, 8-6.

The Phillies hang on to give Cole Hamels his eighth win of the season, as the bats decided to wake up to defeat the Rangers, 8-6. It wouldn’t look like the Phillies would actually win the game at first as Michael Young would go deep on Hamels in the first inning, hitting his seventh home run of the year, knocking in Ian Kinsler, who has earlier singled, to give the Rangers a quick 2-0 lead. But then the Phillies would for the next two innings erupt on their former teammate Vicente Padilla for six runs. It would start in the second inning, when, with one out, Ryan Howard would get on base with a walk. Greg Dobbs and Pedro Feliz would then both follow with singles, soon loading the bases. Jayson Werth would then follow them with a two-run RBI single, scoring both Howard and Dobbs and sending Feliz to third, tying the score at two. Then, with Chris Coste batting, Padilla would uncork a wild pitch, scoring Feliz, and giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead. The Phillies would then add on to their lead in the third, when, once again with one out, Chase Utley would hit his National League home run lead tying twenty-third home run of the year, a solo shot, giving the Phillies a 4-2 lead. Two batters later, with Pat Burrell on first base via a walk, Howard would hit his twentieth home run of the year, a two-run shot, scoring Burrell, to make it 6-2 Phillies. The Rangers would try to come back in the fifth, when, with one out, and a runner on first, Jarrod Saltalamacchia would hit a RBI double, scoring Brandon Boggs, who has earlier reached base on a Utley’s throwing error after a force out, moving to second base on the error, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 6-3. One out later Saltalamacchia would score on a RBI single by Kinster, to make it 6-4 Phillies. The Phillies would get a run back in the sixth when Jimmy Rollins would hit a RBI triple, scoring Coste, who has earlier reached base on a single, to give the Phillies a 7-4 lead. Rollins would then be thrown out at the plate, from Josh Hamilton to Kinsler to Saltalamacchia, when he tried to turn his triple into an inside the park home run, thus ending the inning. The Phillies would add one more run in the seventh, when Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Shane Victorino, who has gotten on base with a lead off bunt single, making it an 8-4 Phillies’ lead. The Rangers would cut the Phillies’ lead in the eighth, when with Chad Durbin pitching in relief of Hamels, with two men out and the bases loaded, he would give up an RBI single to Max Ramirez, scoring Josh Hamilton, who has reached base earlier on a single, making it 8-5 Phils. Durbin would then be replaced by J.C. Romero. He would shortly walk Boggs, forcing in Milton Bradley, who has earlier singled, to make it an 8-6 Phillies’ lead. He would then buckle under and strike out Saltalamacchia to end the threat. Then in the ninth, Brad Lidge would come in to pitch, and later, with two men on and one out, he would strike out both Hamilton and Bradley to end the game and record his nineteenth save in nineteen tries.

Cole Hamels would get the win, going seven innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits and striking out eight. His record is now 8-5 with an ERA of 3.38. Chad Durbin would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on four hits. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits, walking a batter and striking out a batter. Brad Lidge would pitch the ninth, recording his nineteenth save, as he gave up no runs on two hits. Vicente Padilla would get the lost while getting hammered by the Phils, pitching six innings as he gives up seven earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 10-4 with an ERA of 4.13. Joaquin Benoit would pitch two innings of relief, giving up an earned run on two hits. Luis Mendoza would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit.

The bats, at least for this game, seems to have woken up, knocking in eight runs, although the batters are still going after early pitches or pitches way out of the strike zone. Utley is once more on a tear since breaking his 0 for several days ago, but is still taking the collar with men in scoring position. Hopefully this will be the precursor of a resurfacing of the Phillies’ dangerous offense.

The Phillies (44-38) will face the Rangers (41-41, 3rd American League West) for the rubber match of their weekend series. The game will be played at Rangers Park in Arlington, and will start at 6:05 pm Eastern (5:05 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be the veteran Jamie Moyer (7-5, 4.09), who is coming off a hard lost against the A’s on June 24, where he would pitch well until the seventh inning, going six and two-third innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 5-2 lost. Career wise, he is 4-5 with a 5.50 ERA in thirteen starts at Rangers Park. Like Cole Hamels on Saturday, he will be trying for his eighth victory of the year while hoping that he can help lead the Phils to their first series victory since their sweep of the Braves at Atlanta. He will be opposed by rookie starter Eric Hurley (0-1, 4.24), who is coming off his first career start at the hand of the Astros on June 24, where he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Rangers’ 4-3 lost. In three career starts, he has a lost and two no-decisions. He will be trying for his first career win while hoping that the Phillies’ bats have not come back from the dead.

The Phillies’ lead are now back to two, four and four games ahead of the Marlins, the Braves and the Mets respectively, who have all lost their games. The Phillies will conclude interleague play tomorrow night, before having an off-day on Monday, before starting a three games series with the Atlanta Braves in Hot-lanta, hoping to face the Braves with a reignited offense.

The Phillies conclude Interleague Play as they conclude their first visit to Arlington, Texas.

The Phillies (43-38) finish their involvement in interleague play by playing the last two games of their first visit with the Rangers (41-40, 3rd American League West), both night games at Rangers Park in Arlington. The first game will start tonight at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Cole Hamels (7-5, 3.27) who will be trying to end the Phillies’ present skid. He is coming off a hard lost to the Angels on June 22, where he pitched seven innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits in the Phillies’ 3-2 lost. He will once again be trying for his eighth win of the year while, as mentioned earlier, trying to end the Phillies’ present slide. His opponent will be ex-Phil Vicente Padilla (10-3, 3.74), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on June 22, where he went seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on five hits, in the Rangers’ 5-3 win. He has won his last three starts, going nineteen combined innings, giving up only eight earned runs on fourteen hits. He will be trying to make it four wins in a row, while hoping that the Phillies’ previous night’s scoring binge will not be the precursor of a resurgence of the Phillies’ offense.

The final game of the series will be played tomorrow night at 6:05 pm Eastern (5:05 pm Central). The Phillies will send to the mound the veteran Jamie Moyer (7-5, 4.09), who has lost his last start against the A’s on June 24, where he would pitch well until the seventh inning, thus going six and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. He will be trying to break a personal two games losing streak and help see about getting the Phils back on the winning track. The Rangers will counter with Eric Hurley (0-1, 4.24), who is coming off a lost to the Astros on June 24, going six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Rangers’ 4-3 lost. In three previous starts, he has taken a lost and two no-decisions. He will be trying for his first career victory, while hoping not to wake up the Phillies’ bat.

The Phillies are leading the Marlins by a full game as they start their game tonight with the Diamondbacks. The Mets are presently still three games behind the Phillies as they trail the Yankees in their game at Shea Stadium. The Braves are now trailing the Phillies by three and a half game as they have just lost their game with the Blue Jays. The Phillies will be trying to end their most recent slid and hopefully start a winning streak behind the pitching of both Hamels and Moyer.

The Phillies fall to the Rangers, 8-7, as Myers self-destruct after being given a four run lead.

The Phillies have now lost two games in a row as Brett Myers pitches himself out of the starting rotation after being unable to get anyone out in the bottom of the third inning as the Phillies lose to the lowly Rangers, 8-7. The Rangers would take the lead in the first as Ian Kinsler hits a solo home run off of Myers’ second pitch, his thirteenth home run of the season, to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Myers would seem to have settle down after that, while the Phillies were able to score some runs off of Rangers’ starter, Kason Gabber, in the top of the third. The inning would begin with Gabber being unable to find the strike zone, as he walks Eric Bruntlett. Jayson Werth would then get on base via a fielding error by Gabber, which would send Bruntlett to second base. Chase Utley would then get the second walk of the inning, loading the bases. Jimmy Rollins then follows with a ground out, shortstop to first, which would score Bruntlett, tying the ballgame at one apiece, while moving both Werth and Utley up a base. Pat Burrell is then intentionally walked by Gabber to reload the bases for him to face Ryan Howard. Howard would go down swinging for out number two. Pedro Feliz would then pick him out by hitting a grand slammer off of Gabber, his ninth home run of the year, scoring Werth, Utley and Burrell, while giving the Phillies what should have been a lights out 5-1 lead. The Phillies’ inning would then end with Shane Victorino grounding out. After being given such a big lead, most pitchers would then buckle down and go after the hitters. But that did not happen with Brett “I don’t like leads” Myers, as he would proceed to have a melt down on the mound in the bottom half of the third. Kinsler would greet him with a double, soon to be followed by an infield single for Michael Young. Josh Hamilton would then get an infield single off of Myers’ glove, loading the bases, with nobody out. Myers would then proceed to walk Milton Bradley, scoring Kinsler, and cutting the Phils’ lead down to 5-2. A second straight walk to David Murphy, which would score Hamilton with the Rangers’ third run of the night, would be enough for Charlie Manuel to watch as he comes out to replace a struggling Myers with Clay Condrey, and leave the bases loaded, as the Phillies now lead 5-3. Condrey would get Marlon Byrd to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to get two quick outs, while Hamilton scores on the play, to cut the lead down to 5-4 Phillies, with a runner on third, giving the Phils a chance to get out of the inning with the lead. But it was not to be, as Condrey would give up a two-run home run to rookie Chris Davis, the first home run of his career, to give the lead back to the Rangers, 6-5. The inning would finally end with Jarrod Saltalamacchia lining out to left. In the fourth, the Phillies would tie the game, as Chris Coste hits a lead off home run, his seventh of the year. The Rangers would retake the lead in the fifth, when, with one out, Bradley would hit a home run off of the foul pole for his sixteenth home run of the year. At this point, both teams’ bullpens would keep the game close until the bottom of the eighth, when, with Rudy Seanez pitching in relief of J.C. Romero, he would give up a RBI sacrifice fly to Hamilton, scoring Kinsler, who has earlier walked, and has moved to third on Young’s double, giving the Rangers an 8-6 lead. That would be the different, as, with the Rangers’ closer C.J. Wilson pitching in the ninth, he would give up a solo home run to Werth, leading off the inning, to make it an 8-7 Rangers’ lead. After getting the next two Phils’ batters out, Wilson would give up a double to Burrell and then a single to Howard, which moved pinch runner Geoff Jenkins to third, who was held there by the third base coach, instead of taking a chance of sending him home, since the ball has rolled off of shortstop Young’s glove, to tie the game. Instead, Wilson would finally end the game by getting Greg Dobbs to ground out, recording his seventeenth save of the year.

Brett Myers gets a no-decision as he self-destructs on the mound after pitching only two innings plus five batters, giving up five earned runs on five hits and walking two batters, which would end up being costly. This performance would appear to have finally taken Myers out of the starting rotation as Manuel has finally lost his patience with him. The questions now are, what are the Phillies going to do with Myers and how will this affect both the rotation and the bullpen? Clay Condrey would take the lost as he pitches two and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits. His record is now 1-1 with a ERA of 4.36. Ryan Madson would go an inning and a third, giving up only one hit. J.C. Romero woud follow him with a scoreless, hitting inning. Rudy Seanez would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Kason Gabbard would also pitch a no-decision, as he pitches only three and a third inning, giving up six runs, only one of which would be earned, on only four hits. Josh Rupe would get the win as he goes two and a third innings, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA. Frank Francisco would pitch a scoreless, hitless inning and a third. Eddie Guardado would pitch a hittless, scoreless inning as well. C.J. Wilson would pitch the ninth, giving up a run on three hits, recording his seventeenth save of the year.

The Phillies’ offense, inspite of actually scoring some runs, is still mired in its collective slump, as almost all of their runs would come in via the long ball, as the batters are still swinging at the pitcher’s junk, thus getting themselves out. To this problem is now added the confusion that will be caused by Myers’ final meltdown on the mound in the third inning after being given a four run lead thanks to Feliz’s earlier grand slam. No one at this point knows what is going on inside Myers’ head, as Manuel will now have to decide who to use in place of Myers for his upcoming start against the Braves in Atlanta next week, as well as for him to determine what to do now with both the rotation and the bullpen in general since it is obvious that unless the Phillies can bring up someone from within their farm system, the replacement starter will have to come from the bullpen (probably Chad Durbin), and no one knows if Myers will be working from within the bullpen, and how that will affect the rest of the National League leading bullpen. Thank you Brett Myers for creating this situation. I hope that you are proud of yourself.

The final interleague series between the Phillies (43-38) and the Rangers (41-40, 3rd American League West) will continue in Arlington, at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The game will begin at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies will be sending to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (7-5, 3.27) to end their present slide. He is coming off a recent lost against the Angels on June 22, as he would pitch seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’  3-2 lost. He will be trying once again for his eighth victory while trying to avoid getting hit in this hitters’ friendly park. He will be counter by former-Phil Vicente Padilla (10-3, 3.74), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on June 22, as he pitched seven innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Rangers’ 5-3 win. This will be his first start against his former team. He will be trying to defeat his former ballclub, while hoping that last night’s game was not a possible precurser to a Phillies’ batting resurgence.

With the lost, the Phillies’ lead drop to a game over the Marlins as the fish defeated the Diamondbacks. The Braves are now trailing the Phillies by three game, back in a tie for third place, as they defeated the Blue Jays. The Mets are also three games behind the Phillies, as they spilt their doubleheader with the Yankees, dropping the night cap at Shea Stadium. The Phillies will once again try to break out of their collective team hitting slump and try to put some distance between them and the rest of the East before their day off on Monday.

And here’s Charlie Manuel’s official denial on the Phillies stealing signs.

Manuel denies stealing signs
Manager denies report of cheating vs. Boston
By Ken Mandel MLB.com

OAKLAND — Manager Charlie Manuel needed almost no time to respond to a report in the Boston Globe in which an unnamed Major-League official suspected the Phillies of stealing signs.

Manuel simply pointed to the scoreboard.

“We getting our butts kicked, and we’re stealing signs?” Manuel said, referring to the Phillies losing two of three games to the Red Sox last week. “We didn’t. Maybe they were the ones who were stealing signs.”

The Globe story said that the Red Sox haven’t filed a complaint with the league, and general manager Theo Epstein declined to comment.

This is the second time the Phillies have been embroiled in a sign-stealing controversy. After Philadelphia swept a series from the Mets in late August last season, New York levied an accusation. Bob Watson, MLB vice president of on-field operations, investigated and found nothing.

“They can check us out any time they want,” Manuel said after the Mets’ accusation. “When stuff comes up like that, it’s no big deal. They can sit up there during the game with the [television] camera crew, for all I care.”

His stance hasn’t changed, though he’d consider anything that would help his team win.

“First of all, we didn’t steal signs, but we would if we could,” Manuel said, with a laugh. “We’d definitely consider it.” (H/T Phillies.com)

Now then, can this non-starter of a controversy please go quietly into that good night? I for one hope so. I mean, we don’t want to give a certain fossil senator from my home state any more useless work now do we?

The Phils go to Arlington, Texas to meet the Rangers, hoping to finally end their batting woes.

The Phillies (43-37) continue their nine games, three cities, road trip, with a weekend interleague play series against the Texas Rangers (40-40, 3rd American League West) in Arlington, Texas. The first game of the series will be played at Rangers Park in Arlington, and will begin at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter for tonight’s game will be Brett Myers (3-9, 5.51), who has just come off a lost against the Angels on June 21, where he would pitch six innings, giving up four earned on six hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 lost. Myers has, along with several bad starts, been hurt mainly by the long balls this year, of which he has so far given up twenty-three. He has lost three of his last four starts, while the fourth one was also lost by the Phillies, in which he has been tagged for eight four-baggers in the last three. If he is going to win another game, he is going to have to not just throw more non-fastballs, he’ll need to stop throwing pitches into the opposing batters’ hit zone to avoid giving up any more gopher balls. He will be trying to get his fourth win of the year, while hoping that it won’t end up being another fiasco. The Rangers will oppose him with Kason Gabbard (2-3, 4.96), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on June 21, where he would pitch five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Rangers’ 13-3 rout. He will be trying to even his record as he face the Phillies for the first time in his career.

The Phillies’ offense, which has now lost five straight series will now be facing an American League team that can not be considered an elite ball club. The players should thus take this opportunity to try and be more patient at the plate, while staying aggressive on the base paths once they get on, to help shake things up. The players need to stop being a ballclub that’ll swing at anything that is thrown at them, as well as stop swinging at the first balls that are thrown at them during their individual at bats (That especially means you, Jimmy.). And they’ll need to be especially patient when they have men in scoring position. It would help the club if they can get up to batter’s box with a runner on either second or third and not end up either popping up or striking out. They’d been doing too much of that lately, and quite frankly, it needs to stop before it can get any worst. They should thanks their lucky stars that the rest of the division is at the moment playing just as lousy as they are, but they will need to get their present problems sorted out before they begin their three games series in Atlanta next Tuesday, as I am sure that the Braves will be wanting to get even with the Phils for that earlier sweep at their home ball park.

Speaking of the National League East, the Phillies presently have a two games lead over the Marlins, who will be facing the Diamondbacks for a three games set in Miami. The Mets trail them by three and a half games, as they take the subway for a four games series with the Yankees, including a day/night doubleheader today that will be played at both stadiums, the first of which has the Mets trailing the Bronx Bombers. The Braves trail the Phillies by four games, as they go to Toronto, Canada, to start a three games series with the Blue Jays. The Phillies hope that they can put some distance between themselves and the rest of the East before they once again play against fellow National League teams.

Edit: The Mets are now trailing the Phillies by three games as they defeat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium for the first half of a double header.

The Phillies stealing signs? What was that guy smoking?

I have now read about this for the second straight day. Come on, this has got to be somebody’s idea of a sick joke!!!!

The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that one major-league official thought the Phillies were taking Boston’s signs last week at Citizens Bank Park, although no official complaint had been filed. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein had no comment.

The MLB offices had heard nothing about this matter as late as yesterday afternoon, so the report seemed to surprise them as much as Manuel.

“Taking signs?” said Manuel, whose team lost two of three to the Red Sox. “Hell, no. Are you [kidding] me? Maybe they’re the ones stealing the . . . signs. We’re getting our *** kicked and we’re stealing signs? We’re not stealing any signs. I wish we could. We would if we could. But we don’t.” (H/T The Phillies Zone)

Seriously people, the mighty Red Sox comes to Citizens Bank Park, whomp on our Phillies to win two of the three game played, and a Boston sports writer accuse our boys of stealing their signs? Come on, what kind of twisted Alice in Wonderland/Cloud Cuckoo Land world is this guy living in? Manuel has no idea what this guy is talking about, the Red Sox’s front office has made no comment, and the MLB offices has no idea what is going on. My opinion? I think this guy is full of it, is obviously trying to create a controversy that isn’t there and thought that by claiming that he got his information from someone within the MLB that he might be able to get away with it by hiding under their authority. Wouldn’t it have been nice for him if the MLB would just cooperate, hmmm? Moron, thy name is the Boston Globe. Aren’t you people just happy that your boys have come to our park and stump on our team? Well, aren’t you? Sheesh.

The Phillies are three hit by A’s pitching as they lose, 5-0.

Just hours after shutting down the A’s, the Phillies’ offense is in turn shut down by the combine pitching of A’s starter Rich Harden and reliever Alan Embree, who together would give up only three hits and a walk, while striking out eleven, as they are shutout, 5-0. The A’s would take the lead in the first inning as Adam Eaton would give up a RBI double to Ryan Sweeney, scoring Mark Ellis, who has earlier walked, making it 1-0 A’s. A batter later, Sweeney would score on a RBI single to Jack Cust, just beating Carlos Ruiz’s tag, after having slid past home plate, giving the A’s a 2-0 lead. Sweeney would be taken out of the game because of a possible injury caused by the slide. The game would then becomes a pitchers’ duel between Eaton and Harden for the next six innings, as Eaton would give up only one more run, on Carlos Gonzalez’s second home run of the season, a solo shot in the sixth, which would make it 3-0 A’s, while Harden would flirt with a no-hitter until the fifth, when Shane Victorino would get a two-out single and would later get a second single off of Harden in the eighth, but the Phils would otherwise be unable to get anything started against him. The A’s would then put it away in the eighth as they score two runs off of Phils’ reliever Tom Gordon. The first run would come in on a RBI double by Jack Hannahan, knocking in Eric Chavez, who has earlier walked, to make it 4-0 A’s. The final run would come in on a RBI single by Gonzalez, who would score Hannahan, as Victornio would commit a fielding error as he tries to bare hand the ball so that he could make a throw to the plate to try and nail Hannahan. But Victorino would then redeem himself as he throws out Gonzalez as he tries to move up to second on the error, tagged out by Chase Utley. The Phillies would attempt to score in the ninth, as, with two outs, Pat Burrell would get to third base with a triple. But it would be all for naught as Ryan Howard would then ground out to first for the game’s final out.

Adam Eaton took the lost in spite of performing a quality start, going seven innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits. His record is now 2-6 with a 4.86 ERA. Tom Gordon would pitch an inning of relief, giving up two runs on two hits. Rich Harden would get the win as he shut down the Phillies for eight innings, giving up only two hits while striking out eleven. His record is now 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA. Alan Embree would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up just one hit.

The Phillies’ offense went right back to where they’d left off on Tuesday night, not doing anything right, only this time being worst as they didn’t really give themselves any time to wear down the A’s starter, as they constantly went after either his first, second or third offering. This seriously has got to stop, because it’s making the batters look stupid and it is allowing the opposing team’s pitchers to throw them whatever junk they want to, just as long at they know that the Phillies’ batters will swing at it. Come on guys, start practicing patience while standing inside the batter’s box again. SERIOUSLY!!!!

The Phillies (43-37) will now go to Arlington Texas, for a three games weekend series with the Texas Rangers (40-39, 3rd American League West). The first game of the three games set will be played in Rangers Park in Arlington, with a start time of 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (3-9, 5.51), who is coming off a recent lost to the Angels on June 21, as he is once again hurt by the long ball as he would go seven and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 lost. Myers will be trying to see if he can pitch another good game while not giving up any more gopher balls, while hoping that the offense’s bats will finaly wake up in the Texas heat. His opponent will be Kason Gabbard (2-3, 4.96), who is coming off his second win of the year against the Nationals on Jnne 21, as he goes five and one third innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Rangers’ 13-3 win. He will be trying to even his record, while hoping that the Phillies’ bats will continue to stay cold.

The first place Phillies are still leading the East by two games, as the Marlins were swept by the Rays, losing 6-1. Their leads over the Mets and the Braves are now three and a half and four games respectively thanks to their lost to the A’s. As they go to Texas to face the Rangers, the Marlins will begin a three games series with the Diamondbacks in Miami, while the Mets will face the New York Yankees, at Yankee Stadium for one game and Shea Stadium for three, for a four games series, including a day/night doubleheader at both stadiums tomorrow night, and the Braves will be meeting the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, Canada for a three games series. The Phillies will be hoping that they can bounce back and take out their present frustrations on the Rangers, before they take the day off on Monday, and then start a three games set with the Braves in Hot-lanta.

Kendrick throws eight shutout innings as the Phils finally end long losing streak.

Behind the four hit, shutout pitching of Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies are able to finally end their longest losing streak of the season at six games as they defeat the A’s, 4-0. The Phillies would score their first run in the top of first, when, with two men on base, and one out, Pat Burrell would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Jayson Werth, who first got on base with a walk, moved to second on Chase Utley’s bloop single and then was part of a double steal which got him to third, to give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would increase their lead in the fourth when Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI triple off of both the left field wall and the back of A’s left fielder Jack Cust, which would score Burrell, who has earlier singled, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Feliz would then score on a sacrifice fly by Chris Coste, making it 3-0 Phillies. The Phillies would score their final run in the sixth, when with two outs and a runner on first, Coste would hit a RBI single on a ball that was misplayed by A’s center fielder Carlos Gonzalez, allowing Shane Victorino, who has gotten on base earlier with a single, to score, giving the Phillies a 4-0 lead. That would turn out to be more than enough runs for Kyle Kendrick to work with, as he would go eight innings, giving up only four scattered hits to the A’s, and only getting into trouble in the eighth inning, after the Phillies have earlier blown a bases loaded, no body out, situation that could’ve blown the game wide open, in their half of the inning. After giving up a single to Kurt Suzuki and then getting Gonzalez to fly out to center, Kendrick would give up a single to Daric Barton, putting runners on first and second with one out. After a conference with Charlie Manuel, Kendrick would stay in the game, and unlike Moyer on Tuesday night, Kendrick would get out of the jam by striking out Mark Ellis on a called third strike and then getting Ryan Sweeney to ground out pitcher to first. J.C. Romero would then come in the ninth to redeem himself as he would quickly dispose of the A’s to end the ballgame.

Kyle Kendrick would get the win, as he pitches a brilliant game, going eight innings for the first time in his career, giving up no runs on four hits, striking out four and walking only one A. His record is now 7-3 with a 4.59 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits. Greg Smith would get the lost as he is only able to go five and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 4-6 with an ERA of 3.69. Chad Gaudin would go one and a third shut out innings, giving up two hits. Santiago Casilla would go an inning, giving up no runs on two hits. Andrew Brown would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits.

Speaking of Kendrick’s performance, Phillies Phollowers has noted in her post yesterday that Kyle Kendrick has been seen working on his pitches with the 45-years old veteran Jamie Moyer, who yesterday had the A’s stymied for most of the game until he finally ran out of gas in the seventh. Could it be possible that the old vet has given Kendrick some pitching tips and that Kendrick actually listened to him? If that does turn out to be the case, maybe Kendrick should start listening to him more. Heck, maybe Moyer should start talking to Myers? It certainly couldn’t hurt at this point.

The Phils’ offense was finally able to score more than two runs in a game for the first time since June 18. But they still blew several scoring opportunities when they could have scored even more runs, the biggest one coming in the eighth inning. With Casilla pitching in relief, Feliz would greet him with a single, his second hit of the night. Victorino would then get on base via a fielding error by shortstop Bobby Crosby, who threw away the ball as he attempted to force out Feliz, who would end up on third, giving the Phillies runners on the corners with nobody out. Victornio, with Coste batting, would then steal second, his nineteenth of the season, to give the Phillies two runners in scoring position. Coste then hits a grounder to the pitcher Casilla. After looking over to third and seeing that Feliz wasn’t going anywhere, Casilla would turn around to get ready to throw to first, only to see that Coste was already there, loading the bases. But, the Phillies would soon run themselves out of a possible big inning, as Eric Bruntlett would hit a grounder to the shortstop Crosby. This time, Crosby would be able to throw Feliz out at home, with Suzuki touching home plate, as Feliz did not immediately move towards home upon contact, while the others would move up a base, leaving the bases still loaded. The next batter, Werth, would then strike out swinging. Utley would then step up to the plate, the bases still loaded and two outs, already having a four hits night, breaking out of his personal slump with two singles, a double and a triple. But, he is still in a slump with runners in scoring position, as, on a 2-1 count, he lines out to Crosby, leaving the bases loaded. The Phillies’ offense still seem to have a problem bringing in men in scoring position, although some aggressive base running in the first would get their first run home as Werth would score on Burrell’s short sac fly, as his running for home would force center fielder Gonzalez to make an offline throw to home plate, thus allowing Werth to score. In the third, with two outs and with Utley on second via a double, his second hit of the night, Utley would be sent home on Jimmy Rollins’ single to right. A strike to home plate by Sweeney would keep Utley from scoring what would have been the Phillies’ second run as he is tagged out by Suzuki. The Phillies are being a bit more aggressive in the field, but the batters still need to discipline themselves if they are either going to get runners home with less than two outs, or with two men out, if they are going to stay in front in the East.

The final game of this three games interleague play series will be an afternoon game at McAfee Coliseum. The game will start at 3:35 pm Eastern (12:35 pm Pacific). The Phillies (45-36) will send to the mound Adam Eaton (2-5, 4.94), who is coming off an awful start against the Angels on June 20, where he would only go five innings, getting roughed up for six runs on twelve hits in the Phillies’ 7-1 lost. Before that, he have had five straight quality starts, although going 2-2 with a no-decision, which was won by the Phillies, during that stretch. Lifetime against the A’s he is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA. He will be trying to get his third victory while trying to continue the recent strings of good starts by the Phillies’ starters. The Athletics (42-35, 2nd American League West) will counter with Rich Harden (4-0, 2.44), who is coming off a no-decision against Florida on June 20, where he would go five and two-thirds innings, giving up an earned run on five hits, in the A’s 7-6 win. He has won his previous start against the Giants on June 14, going six scoreless innings, while giving up only one hit, in the A’s 4-0 win. He will be trying to get his fifth win, while hoping that he can keep the Phillies from regaining their potentcy.

The win puts the Phillies’ lead back to two games as the Marlins had earlier been crushed by the Rays, and keep their leads over the Mets and the Braves at four and four and half games respectively, as both teams have won their games. The Phillies will be trying to make it two wins in a row, as the offense tries to see if they can finally start driving in men in scoring position, before they head on to Texas to meet the Rangers for a weekend series.

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