July 2008

Charlie Manuel is not a happy camper. What, it took you this long to notice, Charles?

Manuel seethes after Phils’ loss to Marlins

But Charlie Manuel is frustrated with his team’s offense, and he let it be known after the Phillies wasted a golden effort from ace Cole Hamels in losing, 3-2, in 11 innings to the Florida Marlins yesterday.

“We get pitching like that, we’ve got to win,” an exasperated Manuel said after Hamels allowed just four hits, two of which were home runs, over eight innings.

Sitting behind a desk in the visiting manager’s office at Dolphin Stadium, Manuel flicked a few jabs at his team’s offense, then delivered a haymaker.

“Our situational hitting is absolutely terrible,” he said. “Absolutely off the chart, really.”

A double absolute. That’s how bad these last two days in Florida were. The Phils went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine in Saturday’s 9-5 loss. Yesterday, they went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.

“It’s going to be hard for us to win” if situational hitting does not improve, Manuel said. “[On Saturday], we hit all those balls down to third base in one inning – absolutely bad hitting. I’m not trying to hurt anybody’s feelings, but if I do, if I’m talking about you, that’s good. I mean to be talking about you.

“We hit enough. We talk enough [about situational hitting]. We’ve got to get it done. A lot of it is me. It’s up to me to make us try to get it done.

“Accountability is fine, but if you don’t execute, something’s wrong.”

The Phillies are widely hailed as an excellent offensive team; they entered yesterday’s game ranked second in the National League with 490 runs. The Phils have scored 20 runs in a game twice, most recently on June 13 at St. Louis. In the 30 games since then, however, they have scored four or fewer runs 20 times and two or fewer 11 times. They are 12-18 in those 30 games, but have managed to hang on to a share of first place.

“I hear everybody [praise] our lineup, but evidently they don’t really evaluate our lineup right,” he said. “It’s not like I’m throwing anybody under the bus, because I’m not. It’s about our team. I’m included in that.”

In one breath, Manuel said the team had several elite hitters. In another, he indicated that those hitters were underachieving. He also made a point to say that this year’s lineup is different than last year’s.

Last season, the Phillies had Aaron Rowand, who hit .309 with 27 homers and 89 RBIs. He has ostensibly been replaced by Jayson Werth (.268, 12 homers, 36 RBIs) and Geoff Jenkins (.238, 8 homers, 26 RBIs).

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who has struggled to match last year’s MVP season, was unfazed by Manuel’s criticism.

“He’s pretty much right, but we’ll get out of it,” Rollins said. “We don’t get concerned until late. Coaches do that now. We go play.” (H/T Philly.com)

What, Charlie is sick of how his offense is playing? Hey, Charlie, join the club, I’m just surprise it took you this long to explode. Ah for the days of Larry Bowa and his rants. Okay, Charles, now that you’d pinpointed the problem, what are you going to do about it? I’m waiting…..

Long balls, small ball dooms Phillies as they lose to the Marlins in extra-innings, 3-2.

The Phillies would waste a four-hit effort by their ace, Cole Hamels, before Clay Condrey would come in to blow it in the eleventh inning, as the Phillies lose to the Marlins in extra-innings, 3-2. The Phillies would score the game’s first run in the first inning on a RBI single by Ryan Howard, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has gotten on base earlier with an infield single, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. The Phillies would increase their lead to 2-0 in the third when Howard would hit a RBI double, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, all the way from first. The Marlins would cut the lead to 2-1 when Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels would give up a solo home run to Jeremy Hermida on a first pitch fast ball, Hermida’s twelfth home run of the year. That would remain the score for a while, although the Phillies would threathen to score another run late in the top of the seventh. Carlos Ruiz would start the inning off with a walk. After Hamels pops out trying to bunt him over, and Rollins then hit into a force out, third to second, wiping out Ruiz, Victorino would get on base with a double, sending Rollins to third. Utley would then load the bases after he is hit by the pitch. But Howard would end the inning by grounding out, second to first. In the eighth, the Marlins would tie the game as Hamels, who has been keeping the Marlins off-balanced via a nasty curveball, would throw his second bad pitch as he threw an 0-1 fast ball to Cody Ross, his sixteenth home run of the year. Neither team would be able to score in the ninth, sending the game into extra-innings. In the top of the eleventh, the Phillies threathen to score with two men out. After Pedro Feliz got on base on a Hanley Ramirez throwing error, he would go to second on a Ruiz single. The two would then move up a base on Marlins’ reliever Doug Waechter’s wild pitch. But that would be as far as they would get as pinch hitter Chris Coste struck out to end the inning. In the Marlins’ half of the eleventh, Clay Condrey would give up a lead off single to Alfredo Amezaga. He would then walk Ramirez, sending Amezaga to second. Hermida then follows with a bunt attempt to move the runners over, which instead becomes a single because Condrey appeared ready to throw to third, before he finally threw to first, too late to get Ramirez, loading the bases. Jorge Cantu then hits a single which bounces off of the scoreboard in left center field, scoring Amezaga for the winning run, giving the Marlins a 3-2 win.

Cole Hamels pitches another no-decision, as he is once again denied his tenth win of the year, although pitching eight solid innings of keeping the Marlins off-balanced, giving up only two earned runs on four hits, while striking out seven. Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin would combine to pitch two scoreless innings, giving up no hits between them. Clay Condrey would take the lost, giving up an earned run on three hits, getting no one out as he faced four batters. His record is now 2-2 with a ERA of 3.73. Josh Johnson would also get a no-decision, as he pitches six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits. Renyel Pinto, Joe Nelson, Kevin Gregg, and Matt Lindstrom would combine for three and a third innings of scoreless ball, giving up no hits. Doug Waechter would get the win, as he gives up no runs on one hit. His record is now 2-2 with a 3.35 ERA.

The Phillies’ offense would once again do them in, letting a starter off the hook in the early innings and then doing nothing for most of the rest of the game. This is really getting to be an annoyance as they are allowing it to occur too often. Cole Hamels unleased a rather nasty curveball that kept the Marlins’ batters off balanced, especially as he was starting off most batters with his junk, and not his fastball, which would end up hurting him as both home runs occurred because the batters were able to guess when he was throwing his fastball. But, if Hamels continues to use the curveball and constantly get it over for strikes, then he will be an even tougher pitcher for opposing hitters to face.

The Phillies will have the day off tomorrow before they start a three game series with the Mets starting on Tuesday. With the lost, the Phillies are once again tied for first place with the Mets as they have defeated the Reds in extra-innings. The Marlins are now trailing the Phillies and the Mets by half a game. The Braves are trailing the Phils and the Mets by six and a half games as they’d lost to the Nationals. The Phillies will now regroup as they play an important series with the Mets in New York, trying to defeat a National League East rival in a series who isn’t the Braves.

Long balls, small ball dooms Phillies as they lose to the Marlins in extra-innings, 3-2.

The Phillies would waste a four-hit effort by their ace, Cole Hamels, before Clay Condrey would come in to blow it in the eleventh inning, as the Phillies lose to the Marlins in extra-innings, 3-2. The Phillies would score the game’s first run in the first inning on a RBI single by Ryan Howard, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has gotten on base earlier with an infield single, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. The Phillies would increase their lead to 2-0 in the third when Howard would hit a RBI double, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, all the way from first. The Marlins would cut the lead to 2-1 when Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels would give up a solo home run to Jeremy Hermida on a first pitch fast ball, Hermida’s twelfth home run of the year. That would remain the score for a while, although the Phillies would threathen to score another run late in the top of the seventh. Carlos Ruiz would start the inning off with a walk. After Hamels pops out trying to bunt him over, and Rollins then hit into a force out, third to second, wiping out Ruiz, Victorino would get on base with a double, sending Rollins to third. Utley would then load the bases after he is hit by the pitch. But Howard would end the inning by grounding out, second to first. In the eighth, the Marlins would tie the game as Hamels, who has been keeping the Marlins off-balanced via a nasty curveball, would throw his second bad pitch as he threw an 0-1 fast ball to Cody Ross, his sixteenth home run of the year. Neither team would be able to score in the ninth, sending the game into extra-innings. In the top of the eleventh, the Phillies threathen to score with two men out. After Pedro Feliz got on base on a Hanley Ramirez throwing error, he would go to second on a Ruiz single. The two would then move up a base on Marlins’ reliever Doug Waechter’s wild pitch. But that would be as far as they would get as pinch hitter Chris Coste struck out to end the inning. In the Marlins’ half of the eleventh, Clay Condrey would give up a lead off single to Alfredo Amezaga. He would then walk Ramirez, sending Amezaga to second. Hermida then follows with a bunt attempt to move the runners over, which instead becomes a single because Condrey appeared ready to throw to third, before he finally threw to first, too late to get Ramirez, loading the bases. Jorge Cantu then hits a single which bounces off of the scoreboard in left center field, scoring Amezaga for the winning run, giving the Marlins a 3-2 win.

Cole Hamels pitches another no-decision, as he is once again denied his tenth win of the year, although pitching eight solid innings of keeping the Marlins off-balanced, giving up only two earned runs on four hits, while striking out seven. Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin would combine to pitch two scoreless innings, giving up no hits between them. Clay Condrey would take the lost, giving up an earned run on three hits, getting no one out as he faced four batters. His record is now 2-2 with a ERA of 3.73. Josh Johnson would also get a no-decision, as he pitches six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits. Renyel Pinto, Joe Nelson, Kevin Gregg, and Matt Lindstrom would combine for three and a third innings of scoreless ball, giving up no hits. Doug Waechter would get the win, as he gives up no runs on one hit. His record is now 2-2 with a 3.35 ERA.

The Phillies’ offense would once again do them in, letting a starter off the hook in the early innings and then doing nothing for most of the rest of the game. This is really getting to be an annoyance as they are allowing it to occur too often. Cole Hamels unleased a rather nasty curveball that kept the Marlins’ batters off balanced, especially as he was starting off most batters with his junk, and not his fastball, which would end up hurting him as both home runs occurred because the batters were able to guess when he was throwing his fastball. But, if Hamels continues to use the curveball and constantly get it over for strikes, then he will be an even tougher pitcher for opposing hitters to face.

The Phillies will have the day off tomorrow before they start a three game series with the Mets starting on Tuesday. With the lost, the Phillies are once again tied for first place with the Mets as they have defeated the Reds in extra-innings. The Marlins are now trailing the Phillies and the Mets by half a game. The Braves are trailing the Phils and the Mets by six and a half games as they’d lost to the Nationals. The Phillies will now regroup as they play an important series with the Mets in New York, trying to defeat a National League East rival in a series who isn’t the Braves.

Kendrick gets hurt by the long ball as the Phillies lose to the Marlins, 9-5.

Kyle Kendrick would be hurt by three long balls, while the Phillies would be unable to tie the game up in the ninth as they lose to the Marlins, 9-5. The Phillies would score the game’s first run in the second inning, while being unable to blow the game open early. The Phillies would start the inning off with Ryan Howard hitting a single to right. Pat Burrell would follow with a double to left, which would put Howard on third, as the Phils would now have runners on second and third with nobody out. The next batter, Jayson Werth, would then follow with a ground ball to third baseman Jorge Cantu, who would throw the ball to the plate, where John Baker would tag out Howard for the first out of the inning, while Burrell would move up to third and Werth would be safe on first on the fielder’s choice ground ball. Pedro Feliz would then hit a second ground ball to Cantu. Unlike the first one, Cantu would bobble the ball when he tried to throw it towards home plate, as the Phillies have already sent Werth on to second on the crack of the bat, preventing at least a force out at second, and forcing Cantu to try to throw to home. Instead, Burrell would score to make it 1-0 Philles as Cantu, after making his first error on the play, because of the bobble, would instead try to throw out Feliz. But, he would instead throw the ball away for his second error on the play, which would send Werth to third and Feliz to second. The next hitter, Chris Coste, would then hit the third straight ball to Cantu, who would send the ball home for the second out of the inning, as Werth is tagged out by Baker, while Feliz would commit a baserunning blunder by staying on second. Kyle Kendrick would then walk to load the bases. Jimmy Rollins would then come up, and hit the fourth grounder of the inning to Cantu, who would throw over to second base to force out Kendrick to end the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Baker would hit a three-run home run off of Kendrick, his second home run of his career, scoring Mike Jacobs, who has earlier been hit by the pitch, and Cody Ross, who has earlier singled, to make it 3-1 Marlins. Later in the inning, with Hanley Ramirez on second, via a fielder’s choice ground out, and a stolen base, would try to score on Cantu’s single. Instead, Burrell would throw a strike to home plate for the final out of the inning, as Ramirez is tagged out by Coste. The Phillies would come back to tie the game in the fourth as Coste would hit a RBI double, scoring Feliz, who has earlier tripled, to make it 3-2 Marlins. One out later, Rollins would hit a RBI double, scoring Coste, and tying the game at three all. The Marlins would retake the lead as Baker hit a RBI single, scoring Ross, who has earlier tripled off of Werth’s glove, to give the Marlins a 4-3 lead. In the fifth, Burrell would tie the ballgame with his twenty-fourth home run of the year, a solo shot off of Marlins’ starter, Scott Olsen. The roof would then cave in on Kendrick in the bottom half of the fifth. Jeremy Hermida would start off the inning by hitting his eleventh home run of the year, to give the Marlins a 5-4 lead. Three batters later, with a runner on first and one out, Dan Uggla would hit his twenty-fourth home run of the year, a two-run shot that would score Josh Willingham, who has earlier singled, to make it 7-4 Marlins. The Marlins would increase their lead in the seventh, when, with the bases loaded, all via walks, and with two outs, Cantu would hit a two-run RBI single, scoring Baker and Ramirez, to give the Marlins a 9-4 lead. In the eighth, Burrell would hit his second solo home run of the game, his twenty-fifth home run of the year, to make it a 9-5 Marlins’ lead. Then in the ninth the Phillies would load the bases with one out, after a walk to Geoff Jenkins and singles by Shane Victorino and Chase Utley. But Marlins’ closer Kevin Gregg would then strike out Howard and get Burrell to ground out, short to second, to end the game.

Kyle Kendrick would take the lose as he has a bad outing, as he is only able to go four and a third innings, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 8-4 with a 4.87 ERA. Clay Condrey would pitch an inning and two-thirds in relief, giving up no runs on no hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch an inning, giving up two earned runs on one hit, while walking three. Ryan Madson would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Scott Olsen would get the win, as he pitches five innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on eight hits. His record is now 6-4 with a 3.84 ERA. Matt Lindstrom and Renyel Pinto would both pitch a scoreless inning. Doug Waechter would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Kevin Gregg would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out two.

As the Phillies wait for Joe Blanton’s first start as a Phil, Kyle Kendrick was once again hurt by left-handed hitters, although he would go after right-handed batters in this game, pitching them inside. Kendrick may need to have a long talk with Jamie Moyer to figure out what he will need to do to keep lefties from hurting him in future outings, since, according to a graphic that was shown during the ballgame, over 60 percent of the hits that he has so far given up in his short career has been to left handers. Although one of the two Fox Sports’ announcer would call him a number three pitcher, I see him as a number four pitcher until he can finally solve that problem. As for the Phillies’ starters, I see the team’s ace as Cole Hamels, I expect Blanton to become the number two starter, eating up the innings, Moyer as their number three starter, with Kendrick as number four. As for the number five starter, I’m sure Charlie Manuel and the silent idiots expect it to be Brett Myers once he comes back from the minors. Not me, folks. I’m hoping that management will soon come to their senses and bring back J.A. Happ from Lehigh Valley, so that he can help the team.

The Phillies (53-45) will conclude their three games series with the Marlins (51-46) tomorrow afternoon. The game will be played at Dolphin Stadium and will start at 1:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.15), who is coming off a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on July 13, as he went seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on eleven hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. In two previous meetings this year against the Marlins, he is 0-1, going thirteen and two-thirds innings, as he gives up nine earned runs on eleven hits. Lifetime, he is 2-3 against the fish in six starts, with a 4.78 ERA. He will be trying to get his tenth win of the year while trying to give the Phillies their third straight series win and their first series win of the second half. The Marlins will counter with Josh Johnson (0-0, 5.40), who is pitching in place of the injured Andrew Miller. He has so far pitched in only one game this year, a relief stint against the Dodgers on July 10, where he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Marlins’ 5-4 win. He will be trying for his first victory of the year, and trying to help the Marlins get their first series win of the second half.

With the lost, the Phillies are still leading the Mets by a games as the Mets lost to the Reds. The Marlins now trail the Phillies by a game and a half. The Braves still trail the Phillies by six and a half games, as they also lost their game. The Phillies will be trying for their third straight series win with their ace on the mound, while hoping to get ready for their three games series with the second place Mets. 

Phillies regain first place as Jamie Moyer defeat the Marlins for the tenth time as the Phils win 4-2.

Jamie Moyer defeats the Marlins for the tenth time in his career as the Phillies regain first place as they beat the Marlins, 4-2. The Phillies would score their first run in the second inning as Ryan Howard takes Ricky Nolasco deep as he would hit his major league leading twenty-ninth home run of the year, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, the Phillies would take a 2-0 lead, as Geoff Jenkins would hit a RBI single, knocking in Pat Burrell, who has earlier doubled. In the third, Chase Utley would get a RBI single, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier doubled, to make it 3-0 Phillies. In the fourth inning, Jenkins would make it 4-0 Phillies as he would hit a solo home run, his eighth home run of the year. The Marlins would try to come back in their half of the fourth. The inning would start with Moyer walking Hanley Ramirez. Jeremy Hermida would follow with a single, thanks to some miscommunication among the outfielders, which would end up sending Ramirez to third base. Jorge Cantu would then hit a RBI single, to make it a 4-1 Phillies’ lead, scoring Ramirez, and sending Hermida to second. Mike Jacobs would then follow with a single to right that would leave the bases loaded. Moyer would then buckle under and get Dan Uggla to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, that while scoring Ramirez to make it a 4-2 ballgame, and send Cantu to third, would break the back of the Marlins’ rally, as it would be the first two outs of the inning. Moyer would then get Josh Willingham to pop out to Howard to end the inning. That would end up being the game’s final score as Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge would combine to one hit the Marlins for the last three innings, with Lidge recording his twenty-first save of the year in twenty-one tries.

Jamie Moyer would get the win, going six inning, giving up only two earned runs on four hits. His record is now 9-6 with a 3.90 ERA. Chad Durbin (1.2), J.C.Romero (0.1) and Brad Lidge (1) would combine to keep the Marlins scoreless for the last three innings, while giving up only one hit between them, while Lidge would get his twenty-first save of the year. Ricky Nolasco would get the lost, as the Phillies would finally be able to score some runs off of him. He would go seven innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 10-5 with a 3.78 ERA. Renyel Pinto would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Doug Waechter would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Joe Nelson would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

The Phillies would start the second half on a winning note, although the offense would only get eight hits, but five of them would be for extra-bases (3 (2B), 2 (HR)). Ryan Howard would hit his ninth home run in his last thirteen games, as his adds to his lead in both home runs and RBIs (85). During the game, Charlie Manuel would get ejected for the second time this season because of his questioning the umpire’s call that Shane Victorino, as he attempted to bunt himself on, has offered at the pitch that hit him. The Phillies have in the meantime confirmed that the Blanton trade will send Adam Eaton to the bullpen, while Joe Blanton will be starting against the Mets this coming Tuesday.

The Phillies (53-44) will continue their three games weekend series with the Marlins (50-46) tomorrow with an afternoon game. The game will be played at Dolphin Stadium at 3:55 pm. The Phillies will start Kyle Kendrick (8-3, 4.47), who is coming off his second straight no-decision, this one against the Diamondback on July 11, as he goes six and one third innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 6-5 win. Lifetime against the Marlins he is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts. He will be trying for his ninth win of the year, while trying to increase the Phillies present winning streak to three games. He will be opposed by Scott Olsen (5-4, 3.77), who is coming off a victory over the Padres on July 9, where he went eight innings, giving up only one earned run on four hits, in the Marlins’ 5-2 win. He will be trying to get the Marlins back into the thick of the pennant race.

The Phillies’ win put them back into sole possession of first place, a full game ahead of the Mets, as the Mets lost their game to the Reds. The Marlins are now two and a half games behind the Phils in third place. The fourth place Braves are still six and a half games behind as they won their game. The Phillies will try to win their third straight series, while trying to increase their lead in the East. 

Phillies start off the second half of the season visiting the Marlins in Miami, trying to get their groove back.

The Phillies (52-44) will start the second half of the season with a three games weekend visit with the Marlins (50-45) in Miami. The first game of their three games series will be played at Dolphin Stadium and will start tonight at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound the veteran Jamie Moyer (8-6, 3.95), who is coming off a recent victory against the Cardinals on July 10, where he went seven innings, giving up only one earned run on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 4-1 win. He has already faced the Marlins twice so far this year, winning both starts. In those two games, he has gone a combine total of fifteen innings, giving up just five earned runs on nine hits. He will be going for his ninth win of the season, while trying to start off the Phillies’ second half with a win. He will be opposed by Ricky Nolasco (10-4, 3.70), who is coming off fifth straight wins, although his last start was a no-decision against the Dodgers on July 12, where he went six innings, giving up just two earned runs on five hits, in the Marlins’ 5-3 win. In those five wins, he would go a combine total of thirty-seven and two-thirds innings, giving up only six earned runs on twenty-four hits. He has already faced the Phillies twice this year, winning both starts, going twelve and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on eight hits. He will be going for his eleventh victory of the season, while also trying to set the tone for the Marlins’ second half, especially after Andrew Miller has just been put on the disabled list.

As the Phillies get ready to start the second half, they have the knowledge that, like it or not, they are a rather good second half team. They also know that, with the Blanton trade, they now have an overabundance of starters, although not all of them are presently good (Adam Eaton and Brett Myers). The team hopes that either a returning Myers or the newcomer Blanton will become their number two starter, to help balance their ace Cole Hamels, while Jamie Moyer and a continuing to improve and impress Kyle Kendrick will become their no. 3 and 4 pitchers, respectively. And it is rather encouraging to learn that J.A. Happ, in his first start after being sent back to Lehigh Valley, has made a very strong statement to bring him back to the Majors, as he shut down the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in seven innings of scoreless baseball. At this point, the odd men out appear to be Eaton and Myers, with Eaton being the most in danger of saying good bye to Phillies’ pinstripes at the moment. Myers would be next, especially as long as he continues to be a headcase if he doesn’t show any improvement after coming back from the Iron Pigs and Reading. But with all that said and done, the Phillies still need to find a new reliever, preferably a leftie, to help the bullpen pick up the slack while Tom Gordon is still out and to help take some of the pressure off him when he returns. Lastly, hopefully the All-Star break will have done most of the players some good, especially Jimmy Rollins, who the Phillies need to get on base to help jump start the offense. (Jay-Ro, a word of advice, please lay off the first few pitches that are thrown at you, unless you are very, very sure that you can hit it away from a fielder. That’s all I’m asking. Be more selective at the plate. Oh, and Ryan Howard, will you please stop swinging at pitches that you can’t reach. Please???? The sooner you do, the sooner the pitchers will stop throwing their junk at you.)

The Phillies will begin their second half now tied for first place with the Mets, who will be continuing a four games series with the Reds in Cincinnati. The third place Marlins are trailing both teams by a game and a half as they prepare to host the visiting Phillies. The fourth place Braves trails the two division leaders by six and a half game as they prepare to host the Nationals for three games. The Phillies hope to perform better against Eastern Division rivals that are not the Braves, while trying to get back sole control of first place against the presently streaking Mets and the pesky fish.

Phillies gets Joe Blanton from the A’s for three minor league prospects.

Phillies land workhorse Blanton
Trade sends three prospects to A’s for durable righty

Probably won’t be saying much this week.

It is time for the 79th Annual Meeting between the best players from both the National and the American Leagues, and during this four days break between halves I’ll probably won’t be doing too much posting at the site, other than a possible report on the All-Star Game itself, unless some breaking news comes off of either Phillies.com or MLB.com that pertains to our favorite team, so, I’m planning on taking a short vacation from blogging. So, after the All-Star Game post, I’ll see you guys on Friday, hopefully well refreshed and ready to have an ulcer if this team blows it in the second half. I kid I kid, ’cause I having the ulcer right now. Kidding, kidding. In the meantime, just followed the blogs of those whom I have established links to since I’d started blogging back in April.

Anyway, see you guys Friday.

Pat Burrell’s three-run shot in the eight help keep the Phillies in first place as they defeat the D-backs, 6-3.

Pat Burrell’s three-run home run will help keep the Phillies in first place in the East before the All-Star break as the Phillies defeat the Diamondbacks, 6-3. The D-backs would score the game’s first run in the top of the second as Cole Hamels would throw a fastball on a 1-2 pitch that Chad Tracy would hit out of the park for a solo home run, his fifth home run of the season, to give the D-backs a 1-0 lead. The D-backs would increase their lead in the fourth as Hamels would give up a two out RBI single to Robby Hammock, scoring Chris Young, who has gotten on base earlier with a bunt single, and has gone to second on a Chris Burke infield single, to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead. Normally, that would be the ballgame, as the D-backs’ starter, Brendon Webb was getting the Phillies’ batters out with a nasty changeup, which he was throwing in conjunction with his curveball. But, it wouldn’t be so today, as the Phillies would refuse to go down easily. In the fifth, the Phillies would cut the D-backs lead to 2-1, as with one out, Hamels would hit a RBI double, which would score Pedro Feliz, who has earlier singled, all the way from first base as the ball went into the gap in left center field. Hamels would then keep the score at 2-1 as he stopped two attempts by the D-backs to break the game open. In the sixth, after Mark Reynolds would get on base with the only walk that Hamels would give up and then goes to second on Tracy’s single, Hamels would end the threat by first striking out Young and Burke, and then getting Hammock to fly out to right. Then in the seventh, Webb would lead off the inning with a single, and then move to second on Stephen Drew’s single. But, the Phillies would get the first out as Conor Jackson pushes a hard bunt down the third base line that would be picked up by Feliz, who would then touch third base, getting Webb out, but is unable to double up Jackson, while Drew goes to second on the play. The next batter, Orlando Hudson, would then get a single deep to right, which would hit the wall in front of Geoff Jenkins. This would turn out to be good luck for the Phillies, as the D-backs’ third base coach, unable to tell whether Jenkins has caught the ball or not, would stop Drew at third base, which in turn would force Jackson to stop at second, as Chase Utley would relay Jenkins’ throw to catcher Chris Coste. As soon as he has caught it, Coste would see Hudson, who has thought that he was going to get a double on his hit, trapped near second base, since Johnson was still standing on the bag. After looking over at Drew, he threw the ball to Ryan Howard. Howard, while also keeping an eye on Drew, to make sure thst he wouldn’t score during the rundown, forced Hudson back towards second. When Hudson tried to run out of the basepath to keep from being tagged by Howard, he was automatically called out by the umpire, for the second out of the inning, with men on second and third. Hamels would then end the threat by striking out Reynolds for his eighth strike out of the game. In the Phillies’ half of the seventh, with two outs and a man on second, Jimmy Rollins would get a RBI double off of Webb, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who was pinch running for Coste, who has earlier singled, that would tie the game at two all. After Ryan Madson would put down the D-backs in the top of the eighth, the Phillies went to work on the D-backs’ reliever Chad Qualls. Utley would start the inning off with a single to center, then would go to second on Howard’s single to left. With two men on, Qualls would throw a 2-2 slider to Pat Burrell which Burrell would hit to left, into the flower garden, for a three-run homer, for his twenty-third home run of the season, to give the Phillies a 5-2 lead. Two batters later, with one out, Feliz would hit a solo home run, his twelfth home run of the year, to give the Phillies a 6-2 lead. In the ninth inning, with Brad Lidge pitching, Hudson would hit a RBI single, scoring Emilio Bonifacio, who has earlier singled, to make it 6-3 Phillies. But that would be it as Lidge would end the game by striking out Reynolda.

Cole Hamels would get a no-decision, pitching seven innings, as he gives up only two earned runs on eleven scattered hits, while striking out eight D-backs. Ryan Madson would get the win, as he pitched a shut out inning while giving up one hit. His record is now 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch the ninth, giving up an earned run on two hits. Brandon Webb would also get a no-decision as he goes seven innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits while he struck out six. Chad Qualls would take the lost as he goes only a third of an inning, giving up four earned runs on four hits. His record is now 2-7 with a ERA of 3.89. Connor Robertson would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits.

With the win, the Phillies will stay in first place in the National League East, no matter what either the Marlins or the Mets will do tonight. The Phillies’ players will now spend the next four days, except for Chase Utley and Brad Lidge who will both be in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night for the All-Star Game, trying to relax and get refresh, before they play their first series of the second half against the Marlins in Miami on July 18.

The Phillies (52-44), with the win, remain in first place as the 30 major league teams head into the All-Star break. They presently lead the Mets by a game as the Mets prepare to play the Rockies later tonight. The Phillies now lead the Marlins by a game and a half as they lost to the Dodgers. The Braves remain six and a half games behind the Phillies after their win against the Padres today. 

Edit: The Phils’ lead over the Mets stay at half as the Mets’ defeated the Rockies with ease. (I need to start drinking more caffeine if I want to avoid making such factual errors late at night.)

R.J. Swindle optioned back to Lehigh Valley, Joe Bisenius recalled before All-Star break.

Phillies recall Bisenius, option Swindle
Right-hander back in the Majors for first time this season
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.