Monthly Archives: June 2009

Phils face more adversity as Bastardo hits DL

After the Phils infamous, horrid steak of losses through their most recent homestand and on the road at Tampa Bay things seemed on the “up” after manager  Charlie Manuel hosted a closed door meeting which culminated in a 10-0 pounding of the Jays the next day, which was followed up by a 5-4 win by Jamie Moyer Sunday.

But all that seems to have changed recently as the team continues to face something that has haunted them all year: adversity. It was reported Monday that the Phils have lost yet another player to injury. Antonio Bastardo was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder strain. Sergio Escalona has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place.

This injury comes at among the worst of times. The Phils just can’t get anything clicking. We could look at their struggling leadoff man, who’s been benched for four consecutive games now. We could look at the offense, which I call a “ten and one” offense– that is they score ten or they score one. We could look at the fact that J.C. Romero is facing batterie charges, for allegedly chocking a fan in Tampa, from the St. Petersburg Police Department. But, for now, let’s push all that aside and look at some of the major injuries the team is facing:

  1. Brett Myers — Myers is where the injury plague all began. After injuring his hip May 27 and having hip surgery shortly there after, Myers’ absence has taken a toll on the team. The Phils have been forced to fill his void with young talent, mainly Antonio Bastardo. 
  2. Antonio Bastardo — Bastardo, the most recent addition to the DL continues the void in the rotation left my Myers. Either unproven young talent will be called upon to try to fill the spot or General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. will be forced to make a trade quicker than he would have liked.
  3. Raul Ibanez — Ibanez, a cog in the Phillies lineup, hit the DL in mid-June. And that’s when all the troubles began. His absence proved how vital he is to the success of the team. So what if, just what if, our beloved RAAAUUUUUUUUULL comes back as the player he was in Seattle.
  4. Brad Lidge — The formerly “lights out” closer spent most of June on the DL with a strained knee. He returned this week but still appears to be landing funny. While apparently pitching with the injury through the first part of the season, Lidge struggled mightily. He hasn’t appeared to have returned to last year’s form recently either.

 

Luckily for the Phils, the Mets’ struggles have been prevalent as well and the Fightins remain atop the NL East. The bad news is, these adversities have kept the lead from growing into what could have been an unthinkably large one. But, as all teams go through at some point during the season, the Phils can’t seem to get a break.

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I’m back…

Through the last week and a half things have been pretty rough around here and I haven’t been keeping up with the site like I usually do. In these last couple weeks, which turned out to be a complete debacle for the Phillies, guest bloggers have done a remarkable job of filling the space here on Phillie Phanatics. I enjoyed their work and can’t thank them enough for their contributions.

What I could do right now is sum up these last two weeks and all of the on and off the field blunders surrounding the team. But, frankly, that wouldn’t be a whole lot of fun for me or you. Instead, let’s just forget about all that and hope that Charlie’s closed door meeting, J.A. Happ’s shutout today, and the offense’s explosion to trump the Jays 10-0 turned a page.

We’ll see. And you can expect regular updates again from this point forward. Thanks, as always, for reading.

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Fire Charlie Manuel

BY NICK COLANGELO for Phillie Phanatics

Just kidding. So we’ve seen more rainy days in the Delaware Valley over the past two weeks than we have victories. Now we know what it’s like to be a Mariners fan. Murphy’s Law has reared its ugly head, but as luck would have it, the NL East stinks, and The Fightins still amazingly remain atop the division. I heard someone on TV (okay, everyone on TV) say that the Phils are a second half team. I guess they are. I don’t know the stats off hand. I just know from September on they are like a crane kick to the dome – unstoppable.

Huge injuries to go along with an already used and abused bullpen and more strikeouts than Kent Tekulve at speed dating will get you a 1-9 homestand. We need to get healthy bad. Just as badly, we need the starters to find a way to put together an ERA that can at least be better than that of the Nationals, who by the way are the only team Citizens Bank Park has seen a series win over this season. I know that’s asking a lot and all, but things have to balance out at some point, don’t they? Bah. Who cares? I’m movin’ on. Tomorrow is a new day. Last I checked the Rays are still afraid of red, so there’s a sweep on deck. I said it.

However, if things say..,don’t turn around as quickly as we all expect them to, and we can’t bury this crap division we’re limping to the lead of, I have a few ideas/suggestions for ole Ruben and the gang.

In no particular order, here is a Top Ten list of things that I think will help the WFC’s get back to the championship stance we all have grown to love –

  • Act like the exact change toll booth on the AC Expressway when it comes to any pending moves. NO PENNIES. No Brad Penny. No Penny Marshall. No Penny Lane. No JC Penney. No thank you.
  • Until further notice, the at-bat music of Jimmy Rollins will now be Disco Duck by Rick Dees. In case you don’t already know.
  • Before every start, Jamie Moyer must drink a potion of Viagara, Epsom salts and Sweet Vermouth. Trust me, I know Charlie Hough.
  • Build a foul pole to the moon.
  • Make Eric Bruntlett wear the hat with the ear flaps no matter how hot he says he is.
  • Get Ryan Howard off of the Subway diet and resume the diet from his MVP year of 2006 – Crab Fries and Bud Light.
  • Speaking of diets, somebody get Victorino some spam musubi asap.
  • Speaking of Victorino, take away all of his Ed Hardy and Affliction t-shirts until he is hitting over .300. Actually, that rule will be enforced team wide effective immediately.
  • Chan Ho Park has to shave his head and wear it as a rally beard.
  • Carlos Ruiz must now give pitch signals with his glove hand.

And remember, if all else fails, start singing High Hopes, crane kick something and take a picture and thank your lucky stars you weren’t born a Mets fan. *

To read more of former Courier Post sports contributor Nick Colangelo’s work, visit his blog Crane Kick Chronicles.

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Howard out with Flu; Stairs batting cleanup

According to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, Ryan Howard is out of tonight’s lineup with the flu. He reportedly had a 104-degree fever last night. This forced Manuel to do some major shuffling to create today’s lineup:

lineup

The Phils' lineup as seen on the clubhouse lineup board (Photo: John R. Finger)

Yes, that’s right, Matt Stairs is hitting cleanup today. It came as such a shock that the Canadian slugger asked for the above picture. It seems that the strange lineup is not a result of the Phils’ recent poor play, rather the result of a badly hurt team. Paul Bako will start behind the plate today.

–News desk

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McGuire: Should fans be concerned?

BY KEVIN McGUIRE for Phillie Phanatics

When is it time to be concerned?

While the Phillies have been floundering this week against interleague competition,  the rest of the NL East has been finding new ways to lose, which means that the Phillies have somehow held on to a two-game lead in the division.

Remarkably the lead is still at three games despite Raul Ibanez heading to the DL. Injuries to Brad Lidge and Scott Eyre, in addition to Brett Myers, have lead to some scrambling in the bullpen.  Meanwhile, the offense has had some games where they tally a bunch of strike outs and have made some judgment errors, as well as throwing errors, all too often lately.

I am not hear to say that I am forming a line to jump off the Walt Whitman, but I am saying that the team, and the fans, would not be wrong to have a bit of an issue with the way things are going.  I understand that injuries are tough to overcome and with the pitching staff as watered down as it is right now I am anxious for a return to stability.

Many fans are using the rapidly going stale comments like “We’re the defending world champs, so well be ok,” and “We’re still in first place and the Mets will choke away.”  If we look at this realistically though there are three reasons to be optimistic about the Phillies.

1.  If Brad Lidge returns from the DL healthy and more on par with his 2008 self, the rest of the back end of the bullpen will improve.
2.  If Scott Eyre returns and is fine that will bolster the middle relief.
3.  Ruben Amaro is not a dummy.  He was convinced that Raul Ibanez would be a better fit for this team than Pat Burrell, right?  Of course he is looking out for a pitcher to acquire for the starting rotation, so we just need to be patient and deal with the rumor mill until the right acquisition can be made.  Trust Amaro.

What do you think?  What are your reasons for optimism, keeping in mind that I don’t want to win just the NL East; at this point it’s all about the World Series.  So don’t give me the usual “the Mets are no good.”  Unlike many fans I don’t set my eyes on the Mets anymore.  My eyes are set on the trophy. *

To read more of Kevin McGuire’s work visit his Phillies blog Macho Row.

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Gallner: What went wrong against Toronto?

BY MAX GALLNER for Phillie Phanatics

Game 1: TORONTO 8, Philadelphia 3 in 10 inn.

WHAT WENT WRONG:

  • Despite another Cole Hamels quality start, he still made his fair share of mistakes. He labored through his 6 innings, throwing 110 pitches, over 18 pitches per inning. That was thanks, in part, to tying a season-high two walks, his 5th two-walk game this season. Actually, that’s a sign of his usual effectiveness, but against a poor offense like Toronto’s, two is a lot.
  • They allowed a rookie, Ricky Romero, to dominate them for 7 innings. He struck out 9 (yes… 9!), and allowed just 6 hits and 3 runs. With a rookie like that, and an offense as potent as ours, we need to get to him way more.
  • Blue Jays’ 4-6 hitters (Rolen, Lind, Rios): 6-12, 5 R, 3 RBI, 6 BB. Which of those stats stick out to you? Good, six walks between three hitters, two for each. In fact…
  • The six Phillies pitchers, five if you don’t count Tyler Walker, walked a combined 10 guys. Let me go a little more into this:

Hamels, as I said, walked two.  Chad Durbin walked one, but that was his only base runner, and he struck out two.
J.C. Romero forced himself into a major jam, walking the bases loaded, but managed to work out of it.
Ryan Madson was the one that really hurt as he followed in Brad Lidge’s footsteps of blowing saves. His final line was 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 B, and 2 K. Definitely not what you want from your replacement closer.
Well, if Madson hurt, then I think it’s fair to say that Condrey killed each and every one of us as we watched that game. He managed to only get one out, he gave up 3 hits, FIVE RUNS and walked another two. Just awful when an extra innings game isn’t even a save situation anymore.

Game 2: TORONTO 7, Philadelphia 1

WHAT WENT WRONG:

  • In a word, everything.
  • Jaime Moyer, after a few starts that made you think that he was getting good again, proved it all wrong. He went 6 innings, gave up 10 hits, 6 runs, and walked 2. In what can be compared to not having to go to work after a death in the family, he tied a season-high with 6 strikeouts.
  • Another rookie shut down a potentially potent offense. Scott Richmond pitched 8 innings of one-run ball, giving up just 5 hits and walking one, his only mistake being a 4th inning solo soht by Jayson Werth, who often is good for a 1-for-4 day with a solo homer and two strikeouts. He also struck us out a whopping 11 times. We essentially made him look like Roy Halladay, who was supposed to pitch this game, but went on the DL from an injury experienced in Friday’s game against the Marlins. The lowly Marlins swept them, and we get swept by them. I don’t know how else to say that life sucks as a Phillies fan, but if you can think of one, please post it in the comments.
  • We were down by three runs before we even picked up a bat, similar to last Saturday night’s game against the Red Sox, where we had a 5-run deficit after the first half-inning thanks to El Bastardo. Except on Saturday, had the bullpen not given up any runs the rest of the night, we would have won. On Wednesday, we were within 3 runs again after the 4th, but gave up 3 more in the 7th. We attempted a 9th inning, bases-loaded rally, but that fell flat on its face.

Game 3: TORONTO 8, Philadelphia 7

WHAT WENT WRONG:

  • Joe Blanton, in typical Joe Blanton fashion, was again ineffective, after tricking us into believing he could be effective for at least a month or so. We also could have used some innings-eating by him. Negative on both counts. 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. Is it just me or did we really underestimate this Toronto offense?
  • Getting caught stealing. He started a 1st-inning rally, with the first two hitter getting on base. But Rollins was out by a mile, on a terrific blind play by Rolen, I’ll grant him that. But still, caught stealing, rally averted. In the 8th, Victorino singled Rollins home to the game at 7, and predictably, was caught to end the game. Rally averted. Again.
  • Condrey was also predictably bad again to give them a 7-5 lead. Except this time, he didn’t even get a single out. A goose egg 0.0 IP. He also got a lot of help from his friends. Pedro Feliz! Usually sure-handed “Pete Happy” arguably cost us another game with a poorly-timed error! La Navidad infeliz, Pedro. La Navidad infeliz. But back to Condrey, no matter how much you get from friends, 3 hits, a walk, and 2 runs is never good.
  • To harp on a tired, old complaint Rod-freakin’-Barajas screwed us again, with a pinch-hit homer in the top of the 9th off unusually ineffective Ryan Madson. No, Rod. Never again. We won’t get screwed again. No, no. [Cue David Caruso] “It looks like Rod… is a giant d-bag.” Yeaahhhhh!
  • Raul Ibanez is on the DL. That never helps. Especially a week after saying he’s never used steroids.
  • Brain farts. New outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. made one to let on a Rolen single-turned-double. The entire defense made one on a Marco Scutaro walk. And I already mentioned Feliz’s botched double play.
  • Ryan Howard: 1-5, 3 K. The Strikeout King reigns supreme!

For more of Max Gallner’s work, visit his blog, Usually Useless or check out his national posts at In Game Now.

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Gallner: The 5 stages of home sweeps by crappy Canadian teams

BY MAX GALLNER for Phillie Phanatics

This post can help you get past the pain and grief we suffered this week against the Blue Jays.

1. BARGAINING
This stage actually occurs after anger, with denial coming first. In fact, it occurs before the game even ends. When Barajas hit that homer in the top of the 9th and you realized that they blew another game they should’ve won, is when it started for you. You attempt to make a deal with a higher power to get the Phillies to win. You may say, “I’ll buy the full season ticket package next year if they could just win this game,” or “I’ll go to every home game the rest of the season,” or “I’ll do that weird thing where I buy a Phillies urn or casket for myself!”

2. DENIAL
This is the stage where you say, “What?!?!? No! This can’t be happening to us! We’re WFC! Who are they? Toronto Blue Jays? What have they done since 1993? NOTHING!!!” You may have turned on your TV last night expecting a game, even though they played yesterday afternoon. You may have been set up to live-Tweet the game, as well, but when you went to Phillies.com and saw that the day game ended in an 8-7 victory for the bad guys, you immediately thought that it must have been some mistake.

3. ANGER
During this stage, you might say, “Why us?!?! Like I said last stage, ‘We’re WFC!’ They’re nobodies! Halladay didn’t even pitch against us!” That’s often followed by you breaking your 2008 Philadelphia Phillies Word Champion Mug or throwing your signed Cole Hamels 2008 World Series ball against the wall in disgust. You may feel like you want to kill Rod Barajas or Scott Rolen for killing the team both when they played for us and when they play against us. This is the stage I will be in for most of the day as your guest blogger.

4. DEPRESSION
Today, you’ll probably be back and forth between anger and depression. During the stage of depression, you feel like the Phillies have no chance to win the division and will be on a downhill slide for the rest of the season, even getting so low that they lose 2 of 3 to the Nationals. In severe cases, depending on how die-hard you are, thoughts of suicide may arise. You probably don’t want to go to work, because you think everyone will mock you about the series, whether or not they actually will.

5. ACCEPTANCE
The final stage, in which you come to terms with the fact they were swept. You accept that they can’t play at home or during interleague play. Simply, they suck right now. Like Amaro said when he was in the booth yesterday, “They’re a good team playing bad baseball.” You just hope that this poor play won’t continue against the Orioles, the Nationals of the American League, when they come to town tonight. *

For more of  Max Gallner’s work, visit his blog, Usualy Useless or check out his national posts at In Game Now.

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