Monday, August 31, 2009

Phillies successful on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball

All photos c. Rich Baxter 2009

When Jon Miller and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball come to town in Philly, the added national exposure is good for the Phils! The Phillies now have a 3-1 record on Sunday Night Baseball, the ESPN crew scours the stadium for stories and they usually tell you a few of them on the broadcast. Last night's show was no different. They had a cool feature on Ryan Howard and the way he bats, it almost looked like a tutorial. Joe Morgan, searched the Braves batting practice for stories and he was accompanied by his broadcast mates, Jon Miller and even ex-Met GM now broadcaster Steve Phillips.

Last night's win was a team effort, Joe Blanton kept it close and the offense though not very powerful, won the evening with the Ruiz double scoring 2 runs when it was needed most. Ruiz finished the night with 2 doubles and Scott Eyre came in from the bullpen not having pitched since mid-August to slam the door on three batters and setting up the save attempt by the Phillies.

Joe Morgan even remembered the late Harry Kalas with a very touching story of their early days together in Houston when Harry was just getting into broadcasting. Jon Miller and he reminisced about the times Harry would come into the booth and talk with them when they were in town.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Phils have trouble scoring runners on base, lose to Braves... Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN tonight

The Phillies have had a problem scoring runners in scoring position a lot this year. It's the same problem that they had in the World Series last year. If you remember, that's what all the talk was about. Somehow the Phillies found ways to win the World Series last year, but that problem of scoring RISP, or runners in scoring position, still haunts the team. The Phillies do have explosive potential, and they hit a lot of home runs. You can't always live on the home run though as the Phillies found out last night when they lost 9-1 to the Atlanta Braves after the game was called in the 8th inning.

Cliff Lee got his first loss as a Phillie, and he looked human for the first time out there for the Phils. Before this game, Lee looked as if he was invincible and unstoppable. He is still a great pitcher, and he'll shrug this loss off and move on. The question is why can't the Phillies score with any other method than the home run? Has the team become dependent on the home run as an easier means to put runs on the scoreboard?

The Phillies are 6-4 in their last 10 games, they are also 33-30 at home this season. With last night's loss, the Braves moved to 7.0 games behind the Phillies. The magic number is 28 - that is 28 games that either the Phillies win and Atlanta loses and the Phillies will win the division. This number changes and so do the teams involved sometimes, but for now it is 28. Atlanta Braves player Matt Diaz is quoted as saying, "We're going to be hopefully relevant down the stretch and we're going to have some fun games in September."

The Phillies play on Sunday Night Baseball tonight, a national broadcast. The team has played on this national stage a couple times this season and they are 2-1 in those games.

ESPN Sunday night games 2009 with Phillies:

Apr 5 - vs. Atlanta -Phils lose MLB opening night at home -4-1

Jun 7 -vs. Los Angeles -Phils whipped the Dodgers in LA - 7-2

Aug 16 - vs. Atlanta - Phils win rain delayed game - 4-1

(click links to see boxscores of each game)

Hard to believe it but ESPN Sunday Night Baseball is in it's 20th season, hey I remember when it first started and it doesn't seem that long ago!

So for now the Phillies have been in first place for 105 days, they have been as high as 8 games ahead of the nearest team and that happened to be the Braves on Aug. 28.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

The Baseball Gods want Moyer to pitch!

Jamie Moyer working earlier in the season pic R.Baxter

It would appear that the baseball gods are smiling down on Jamie Moyer. Since he was moved to the bullpen, Jamie has been called on to pitch long relief for Pedro Martinez for the second time in a couple weeks. Friday night's game had a rain delay of about an hour and Pedro Martinez was still going to pitch the game for the Phils, but then another 55 minute or so delay brought Jamie into the game.

The Phillies still really haven't seen what they want to see in Pedro Martinez, that is more complete series of consecutive pitched games. Martinez did go 6.0 innings and gave up 6 hits and 4 ER and 5 SO on August 23rd for the Phils against the Mets. He gave up two home runs against his old team but earned the win 9-7. In that game, the Phillies came out and blasted 6 first inning runs. In Pedro's two wins, one came against the Mets, and the other was his first outing in a Phils uniform in Chicago, in that game the Phils won 12-5 and the Phils scored 8 runs in the 4th inning. Pedro's win in Chicago was his first as a Phillie, he went 5.0 innings, giving up 7 H, 3 ER, and had 5 strikeouts.

Twitter messege of the night:
Pedro since joining Phillies: 16 IP, 8ER, 14/3 K/BB, 2 W. Jamie since bullpen demotion: 10.1 IP, 1 ER, 10/0 K/BB, in line for 2 W. by Beerleaguer

Jamie gets his second win in relief, can he make it to 20 this year? Probably not but we'll see. Ryan Howard and Jason Werth carried the Phillies in August 2009 - who was the best? I'll work up the stats in a future post, but for tonight it was Ryan Howard doing it all when no one else seems to be able to muster up the offense.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pittsburgh is a strange baseball city - Hamels gets no run support again

The Phillies won this game tonight in Pittsburgh courtesy of a Ryan Howard extra innings 3 run home run. Cole Hamels again gets the lack of run support from the offense. He pitched a great game through 8 innings, only to have Ryan Madson get a blown save tonight, Madson also oddly ended up with the win.

Stats to note from tonight's game:

RISP - 1-9

Hamels 8.0 innings - 7 hits - 7 SO - 2 BB 4.52 ERA

Utley 2-5 with home run - only run of game until Howard's home run in extra inn.

While watching tonight's game early on with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Phillies, I started to think about the Pirates overall team. How could Pittsburgh continually keep trading their best prospects as they do each year? This year they dealt off their future star Nate McClouth off to Atlanta, the other All Star player on the team was shocked to see this, Freddy Sanchez. Before you could say boo, Sanchez was on his way out of town too and off to San Francisco! How can you even buy a player's jersey in Pittsburgh knowing that the Pirate management treats them like pawns in a chess match? Jack Wilson played for the Pirates at shortstop in early July, he mouthed off about the trades the Pirates have been making and poof he was gone to Seattle by the end of the month.

What's more is how long it's been since Pittsburgh has been on the radar for any playoff possibilities. The last time they won the National League East (when they were still in the Phillies division) was in 1992, they also won the division in 1991, and 1990, in those finishes they lost all three years in the NLCS. Fast forward to now, 17 years later and they have been no where in sight as far as a contending team since 1992. Their payroll is one reason why they don't have big name talent on the team. Last season the payroll for the Pirates was around $48.6 million, the Phillies have nearly $85 million plus the Pirates amount from last season as this year's total for the Phillies in salaries. The Pirates have consistantly spent near the bottom of the National League in salaries year after year for the past several years.

It always seems like the Pirates have to wait till 'next year' earlier and earlier in the season. PNC Park looks like a nice field, why can't Pirates management field a good team that contends?

Q. When was the last time the Phillies and the Pirates had a trade with one another?

A. July 20, 2003: Frank Brooks for Mike Williams

Quote worthy from Twitter 8/26/09:

1. The Phillies are the best 8-inning team in the history of baseball. (via @ntarnowski)
2 minutes ago from web

2. kephasdesire Phillies closers are killing me
3 minutes ago from web
3.CozD24 Watching the Phillies in the 9th inning trying to save a game is like watching a train wreck4 minutes ago from Tweetie

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Phillies end up losing - Lidge still very unstable

What else can I say? If you read this blog regularly or within the past two weeks, I've said Brad Lidge should no longer be the closer on the Phillies baseball team, I still think that. He's earned it! He doesn't deserve to be the closer anymore due to horrible perfomances. How much more does a guy have to go out there and give up a game before Charlie Manuel realizes this? I don't think after tonight with the tough loss that the Phillies suffered due to Lidge giving up the game, there shouldn't be too many people who think Lidge should be the closer anymore.

If you've followed Lidge all year, he hasn't been the same pitcher. Yes, he's gotten those familiar strikeouts and here and there put out some fires. However, he's no longer 'the man'. Charlie Manuel has repeatedly said, 'He's my man, he's the closer on this baseball team.' After tonight, that should change. He gave up a walk off home run to the Pirates tonight, who celebrated as if they have won the NLCS or something. Yes, it's a big moment for them beating the reigning World Series champs but it also tells us that Lidge is very unstable and in need of a sabbatical from the closer's role.

Jimmy Rollins had a breakout night with two home runs, he's paced this team to a victory tonight. It should have never been lost. The thoughts turn now to who should be the closer? You've got Madson that should be in the running, and now you have an apparently healthy Brett Myers who seems like he is back up to speed with his fastball and healthy looking. The decision on who will take the reins won't be simple but it is a decision that needs to be done now.

Here's the tale of the tape for tonight's game one with Pittsburgh:

Rollins 2-5 with 2 home runs - .244 BA

Utley 2-4 with a double - .302 BA

Ibanez 0-3 what happened to Ibanez? Is he still hurt? - .284 BA

Team RISP 2-14

and finally the worst stats of the night:

Brad Lidge: 9 blown saves on the year, 0-6 7.33 ERA

This should be the final appearance for Lidge as a closer until he get's 'fixed' if that is possible now.

Phillies lose 6-4 in Pittsburgh in Game #123 on the season and

the first of three games in Pittsburgh, PA. Phillies record: 72-51

1st place 6.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves

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Fightin Phillies fan's magazine July and August still available

Get your edition of Fightin Phillies the fan's magazine! We still have the June and the July/August editions available for you. Just click above to the site where you can order it shipped right from our publisher to your door!

If we can get the first few editions this off the ground there will a lot of exciting things going on with this publication by fans and for fans, it is a totally independent publication. The popularity of the magazine depends on your order though, we'd love to take this publication to the next level, but we need your support.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Phillies take a bite of the big Apple

The Phillies played a hearty series in New York over the weekend and into Monday. They had some interesting things happen. How about a triple play, unassisted to end the game on Sunday? Now if that isn't rare, I don't know what is. Just as you thought there may be a chance for the Mets to win, there was three outs right before our eyes. It all happened so quickly, even Brad Lidge almost broke out into laughter to break the serious mood of two runners threatening to tie or win the game for the Mets being out and the batter all in one swing of a bat and a tag of a base and a runner.

We had errors, we had home runs. We had Phillies fans in the stands in New York, we had a fight or two with fans in the stands in New York. We had the large outfield at Citi Field produce a lot of extra base hits, we had an inside the park home run by the Mets while Shane Victorino shamelessly pointed at the ball lodged in the bottom of the outfield wall. Now this was a series!

The Phillies had a pitcher that used to pitch for New York, now he pitches for the Phillies who got a standing ovation from a lot of the fans in New York. He went out there and pitched a nice game and got the win. We had the new 'ace' of the Phillies go out on the mound today and get his 5th win in as many starts for the Phils, and Ryan Howard hit two home runs in this game. We saw just about everything over this weekend and the 4 game series, and it's hard to believe it, but the Phils will play the Mets again at home at Citizens Bank Park for 4 games over 3 days from Sept. 11-13th to finish out the season series with them. Where did the season go? September? It still feels like July to me.

The Phillies now take this entertaining troupe to the city of Pittsburgh for three games, and finally back to CBP for a while on the weekend and into September with the Giants. This is baseball, the playoffs are coming up and I think the next homestand the fans at Citizens are getting pumped up that they will again see their Phillies in postseason play in 2009.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Phillies win game 2 in NY, here is a fan fight video

The Phillies baseball team won last night in New York on the strength of a home run by Chase Utley who put the Phillies up 2-1. The Phils added two more to make it 4-1 for the final.

All night on the TV broadcast, there were comments on how many Phillies fans made the trip to New York. With that many fans from the opposing team in attendance there is bound to be problems, here's one that the tv cameras caught last night. Phillies fan pours a beer on a NY Mets fan and then all hell breaks loose! Those FightinPhillies fans ..... look at the guy in the Phillies shirt near the end of the video even try to grab a NY cop, that is really crazy. Only in New York I guess.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Live Blogging tonight for Mets vs Phillies at 7 pm

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Pedro's long history continues in New York Sunday

One of the moments in Pedro's career (2003) that he would probably like to forget

The Phillies uniform that Pedro will wear Sunday pitching for the Phillies is only the fifth MLB team jersey that he has worn through out his career in baseball. Pedro's career started in a LA Dodgers uniform way back in 1992. His Dodger career was brief, after the 1993 season the Dodgers traded him to Montreal for Delino DeShields who had completed his 4th season in Montreal and was second in voting for Rookie of the Year in 1990.

Pedro's maturity hit full stride in Montreal and he excelled on the mound year after year for the Canadian franchise that the fan base really never fully grasped onto supporting their team. Pedro's best season with the Expos would be his last with the team, in 1997. In 1997 for the Expos, Pedro finished with a 17-8 record and a devastating 1.90 era, he also won the Cy Young award that year for the first time in his career, he would accomplish this feat 3 teams in total.

After Montreal, Pedro was then traded to Boston, for what would be a five year stay and a $75 million dollar contract. He was traded to the Red Sox for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas in the offseason after the 1997 season. In Boston, Pedro would continue his mastery on the mound with winning two consecutive Cy Young awards in a row in 1999 and 2000. He became a key figure in the rivalry between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees. In his first two years with Boston, Pedro racked up 42 wins combined and in 1999 alone he went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA. In 2000, Pedro finished 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA and that was good enough to win his 3rd Cy Young award. In 2000, the Red Sox finished in their division in second place with a 85-77 record and did not make the playoffs.

In 2001, Pedro only had 18 starts on the season and was injured but he still turned in a 7-3 record with a 2.39 ERA. His rotator cuff injury would force him to miss most of the season in '01 but the next season, Pedro came out firing again with a 20-4 record and an ERA of only 2.26. In 2002, he finished with such a great year but finished second in voting for the Cy Young Award which would have been his 4th Cy Young. Barry Zito eclipsed Pedro this year with a great season for the Oakland A's with a 23-5 and a 2.75 ERA. The voting was close with 114 points for Zito and 96 vote points for Pedro.

In 2003 for the Red Sox, Pedro did well again and the Sox nearly made it into the World Series only to lose 4 games to 3 in Game 7 of the ALCS to the New York Yankees. During the regular season, Pedro had a 14-4 record and finished up with 2.22. The Boston Red Sox rivalry with the Yankees was in full swing then as it is now for the Red Sox, but this year a nasty incident took place in which Pedro and a coach for the Yankees got into a heated discussion which ended with the younger Pedro throwing long time Don Zimmer, a 72 year old Yankee coach, onto the turf like a ragdoll. Below is a Youtube video of the incident set to music. This was a blemish that Pedro never really even got punished for, and in some circles people were amazed there was no penalty for Pedro, even the mayor of New York commented that he should have been charged with assault for the incident.

I think most of us are familiar with Pedro's Mets years, so for now this is where this blog post will end. Pedro's a Phillie now, and for now he's in the starting rotation bringing those pitches some of us older baseball fans remember from his early days in the MLB, no doubt he will probably be booed by the New York Mets fans, but why? I think they should appreciate what he was able to give them while he was there. He signed a $57 million dollar contract for 4 seasons with the Mets and over that time he earned a total of 32 wins, due to injury and a decline in his pitching abillity. I think he still has a couple of years in him for bullpen work if he chooses and stays healthy enough. For the Phillies he has pitched only a combined 8 innings in two starts so far, he has given up 9 hits and 4 runs in those 8 innings and has earned 1 win, which was the first start with the Phillies when the Phils came out and beat up on the Cubs. He has 8 strikeouts and only 1 walk with a 4.50 ERA as he enters the start with his old club on Sunday in NY at Citi Field.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

What happened to the New York Mets?

The New York Mets are a shadow of the team that they were just a few years ago. They've missed the playoffs the last two years after really being favored to make it into the postseason both years. This year, injury to several key players may be the culprit but I think it goes deeper than that. There should have been changes at the GM management level after the disastrous finishes by the Mets in 2007 and 2008 in those years there is no excuse for them not making the playoffs. GM Omar Minaya fired Willie Randolph in June of 2008 and Jerry Manuel who took Randolph's job is actually on the hook for both seasons in which the Mets folded in the stretch.

GM Omar Minaya went out on a spending spree for the Mets and gathered a lot of big name, high paying salaries and has nothing to show for it in the past few years. Rumor has it he may not make it to the end of the season as Mets GM. The same goes for Jerry Manuel who has skippered the Mets through the worst times that they have seen and somehow he remains as the manager. In the five years that Omar Minaya has been GM for the Mets, they finished in first place only once back in 2006 under the management of Willie Randolph and have been no where on the radar since. He's been criticized for a lot of moves including Willie Randolph's firing in 2008, but somehow he still has faith in Manuel who has seen the last two seasons incredibly botched.

Mets owner, Fred Wilpon, would be doing Mets fans a big favor by cleaning house with Omar, and I just read that Bobby Valentine, who has been managing a Japanese team is soon to be available. He may just be the perfect fit with the current Mets core of players next season as either the GM or manager of this team.

The Phillies move into New York for the start of 4 games with the Amazin's, Cole Hamels will get the first start followed by JA Happ, and then Pedro Martinez, and Cliff Lee.

Phillies Pheat- (from the Phillies press notes)

Did you know that since 2007, the Phillies have led all major league teams with an 84.8 Stolen base percentage?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Phillies corral Diamondbacks with sweep – postseason plans mailed!


Season ticket holders are getting their postseason packages mailed to them this week. No better a time than this week really, as the Phillies have earned another sweep. The Diamondbacks are the owners of this sweep, and even though the team is made up of a lot of players that may not be household names, they are still a team that the Phillies have to go out there on the field and beat to gain their way into the playoffs and staying on top of the NL East.

The Phillies got win # 69 tonight, and how sweet it is, with the 53rd sellout at home this year, which is a new record. In fact, every game that the Philles sellout towards the end of this season will set the new record for sellouts in a season. Figure the math, there are 81 home games, the Phillies could end up selling out 70 games or so this year. After tonight’s sweep of the Dbacks, the Philles only have 20 remaining home games in the regular season left to play.

It was hot and humid out there at the stadium tonight, there were constant panning of the crowd on tv showing them trying to fan themselves trying to get some air moving. Phillies radio announcer, Larry Anderson, said “I am sticking to myself, it’s so sticky out here”. This heavy air bode well for Phillies bats, as they unleashed their offensive juggernaut after only scoring one run with leaving the bases loaded at one point during the game. The hit parade started with who else but one of the hottest players in the past two weeks, Jason Werth, who hit a two run homer in the 5th inning. Ryan Howard has been heating up as well, he hit a homer which is his 32nd homer on the season with two men on base in the 6th inning.

The 12-3 win tonight brought the Phillies the home sweep, and now they head out onto the road to New York with 4 games against the Mets. This upcoming series with the Mets may have been a decisive series had the Mets been threatening for a playoff spot, but it looks as if the Mets may miss the postseason again. The Phillies still need to keep their focus on winning ballgames though, even in the next series that will be in Pittsburgh.

One thing the series with Arizona has done is limit the need for Brad Lidge to come out and save a game. The Phillies haven’t needed to much from Lidge for the past few games and that’s good, as he has been going through a really tough time for a closer. Lidge’s troubles have been pushed aside by Charlie Manuel but we all know it’s much deeper than that. Lidge has had troubles all year long, and he should be evaluated more objectively on the basis of his performance so far rather than just staying with him for any other reason.

Let’s see how the team does now that they will be on the road. It’s Cole Hamels turn again in the rotation, let’s hope the Phils still have that offense to give Hamels a much needed cushion for his next outing.

Lee's nickname "General" ?

From Cliff's first start as a Phillie in San Fran on flickr

Cliff Lee has been nothing but aces for the Phillies since we got him from the Cleveland Indians last month. I haven't heard too many nicknames being attributed to him so may I suggest "General Lee" .

The way he has just found a home on the mound for the Phillies has been impressive. Cole Hamels would do well to learn a lot from him. Not only has Lee found a home on the mound for the Phillies, he has assumed the title of "Ace" so quickly on this staff.

Lee gains another win and CG

The Phillies pickup of Cliff Lee produced yet another win for the team last night and Lee went to distance to pitch his second CG as a Philadelphia Phillie and this one he only allowed two hits. It was the 4th start on the year for Lee and Phillies fans couldn't be more happy with what he's shown us so far.

The Phillies have now improved their pitching from where it was a couple months ago which was near the bottom in the National League to about the middle of the pack. The average era for pitchers is now 4.21 for the Phillies.

One more game with the Dbacks and it's off on the road again for the Phils, they go to New York for a 4 game series. I actually wanted to go to New York and see a game this weekend vs. the Phils as I've done in the past when the Mets played at Shea. I got on the Mets ticket website and punched in 'best available' to see where the best place to see a game from Citi would cost. How about $450 a ticket? Yes, that's correct it would have been $930.00 for two tickets to see a baseball game. The other prices for other levels were equally priced way above what I would ever spend to see a game. It is really a shame what is going on it New York with ticket prices. I guess they all make a million dollars a year up there to be able to afford those insane prices.

The Phillies then move onto Pittsburgh for three games before returning home for a nice homestand that starts off with the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies have won 9 out of their last 15 games and are really starting to pick up steam. The team to watch out for in the MLB have become the NY Yankees, they have put a 7 game distance between themselves and the Boston Red Sox. The Yanks have 76 wins already and look like the front runner in the AL to go all the way. The Yanks are an incredible 41-18 at home.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moyer rolls along pitches shutout

We all gathered around to watch what to me was Pedro's first 'real' start. He was at home in Philadelphia and facing the Arizona Dbacks. A storm that approached the stadium was described as being 'from the Wizard of Oz' type of storm the way it looked, changed those plans of Pedro's start completely although he did get 3 innings in before the rain storm.

Tweets from the stadium described the storm as fierce from the press booth, there were several twitter messages that told of heavy thunder and lightning right over the stadium. In a surreal atmosphere following the storm it was Jamie Moyer returning to the mound to get a 'long relief' appearance.

Jamie turned in one of the best outtings by a Phillies pitcher so far this season. Jamie pitched 6.0 innings only giving up 2 hits and no runs with 5 strikeouts. Poetic that Jamie had such a great start. He certainly went out there and threw a great game. I would have loved to have seen Jamie start the rest of the season. Maybe he'll still get that chance.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Phils win needed game in Atlanta

Howard may have found his stroke in Atlanta after hitting 2 HR's last night

The Phillies haven't been under too much pressure to 'need' to win a game in a while. They've been coasting along in first place for a long time now, and even in their worst moments during the season, they've always managed to stay atop the NL East. They won 4-1 last night in a rain delayed ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The win put a distance of 4.5 games between the Phils and the Florida Marlins.

Lately, the Florida Marlins have been a resurging ballclub. They've been hanging around within arm's reach of the Phillies for the past couple of weeks, and shown they have some staying power to possibly be there into late September.

There will certainly be chances for Florida Marlins, as the Phillies close out the regular season with those very Marlins for the last three games of the year. Even if the Phillies finish up 3 games ahead of the Marlins by that end of the regular season, it could be the Marlins last chance to make up any mistakes they may make as we head towards the middle of September next month. The Phillies must work to increase their lead over the Marlins now to put them out of reach.

The other team that is showing signs of life against the Phils postseason in the division is the Atlanta Braves. Will they have enough gas down the stretch? Will they get the lucky bounces along the next month and a half to bring them close to the Phils. One great thing is the Braves play the Marlins about 9 more times this season and that's a good thing for the Phillies.

Ryan Howard won a game yesterday for the Phillies. He should start doing that more often. His $15 million dollar salary has been a very quiet investment so far for the team. He has a lot of strikeouts and again has made a lot of blunders at first for the Phils this year. Howard is way off his mark of homeruns to make it near 50 this year, unless he has more multiple home run games like last night. He seemed like he was getting more base hits early in the season but lately have turned to striking out a lot.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Phillies take national stage on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball tonight at 8:00pm

The Phillies finish out their road trip tonight down in Atlanta for an 8 pm game on ESPN. The Phils send JA Happ (8-2) to the mound, and he is opposed by Javier Vasquez (10-7) for the Braves.

A lot of work goes into bringing the ESPN show to the screen on Sunday nights, here is a couple of cool behind the scenes videos that show you all about the make up of a Sunday night game.

How have the Phillies done all year when on the Sunday 8pm ESPN game? They led off the season against the Braves on April 5th this year on ESPN Sunday night baseball, and they lost 4-1. In that game, Brett Myers got the loss, he pitched 6.0 innings and gave up 8 hits and 4 ER. The next time the Phillies appeared on ESPN Sunday Night baseball in 2009 was June 7, against the LA Dodgers. Antonio Bastardo got the win for the Phillies in that one when the Phils beat up on the Dodgers 7-2. Randy Wolf got the loss for the Dodgers in this game. That was the last time the Phillies played on ESPN Sunday night baseball this season until tonight. However, the rest of the season finds the Phillies playing on August 30th on Sunday night baseball again vs. the Braves, and on Sunday Sept 13 vs. the New York Mets but something tells me that may not be the matchup the ESPN folks were hoping for.

ESPN Sunday night games 2009 with Phillies:

Apr 5 vs. Atlanta Phils lose MLB opening night 4-1

Jun 7 vs. Los Angeles Phils whip Dodgers 7-2

Side notes: Brett Myers got a black and blue eye, he's told us a couple stories already. Could it have been a fight or something? Only Myers knows for sure. If he gets back to the bigs, he'll have to be finalized to be on the roster by Aug 31 for the postseason roster list. Will he be able to make it back?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Manuel deserves blame in Lidge’s demise


Reporters should get the answers from Manuel no matter how much he tries to dodge them on why he is staying with Lidge now

The hand writing has been on the wall for some time now. Game after game, Brad Lidge has struggled mightily, and each time he hasn’t been dealt with properly. Lidge needed time off the stage of the main closer for the Phillies for one reason, he’s not the same pitcher from last year and his control and command of pitches have left him.

Charlie Manuel knows this has been happening, and between him and Rich Dubee, nothing has been done to fix it. They just keep throwing him out there, and hanging him out on a line to face another blown save. After last night’s near loss, it was plain to see that Lidge needs to ease back out of the closer’s role and Madson should be your closer now.

Too often, Manuel doesn’t respond properly to things like this, and even issuing walks to batters who destroy the Phillies at the plate. If nothing else, today’s game proves what a lot of people have known for some time now. Lidge is not capable of being your closer right now. He may in the future, but for now he isn’t.

The Phillies also failed to score base runners again, and the item of note is that they can’t score runners period. They are consistently leaving guys in scoring position and not coming through even on sacrifice flies, because they are trying to get hits and it’s not working. Sacrifice your hit to move the runner, I don’t think they are trying hard enough to do that or Manuel may not be telling them to do it.

Phillies lose a tough one to Atlanta today:

4-3 in the bottom of the 9th

Lidge blows his 8th game of the year and gets the loss

Lidge gets two errors on same play, fielding and throw in bottom of the 9th

This blog first said Lidge shouldn't be the closer earlier this week, now it is plain for everyone to see, it's true. Brad Lidge needs to heal and fix things inside his head before he self destructs completely. He's too good a competitor to have that happen too, I am surprised the pitching coach and manager haven't realized this.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Phillies hold on to win 4th straight

This was a tough game. Both starters did their best to keep their team into tonight's game with the Phillies and the Braves. In the end, it was what has been carrying the Phillies, the home run. The Phils didn't do much tonight when on the base pads, but Chase Utley and Ryan Howard went yard and earned the Phillies a much needed win to keep the Braves safely behind them for now.

Brad Lidge added a scare again, in the bottom of the 9th inning. He gave up a sharp hit single to center and later walked one batter. Lidge pitched to his last batter of the game and got him to fly out in very deep left field to end the game. Lidge looked tired to me out on the mound. Maybe it was the lights, but he looked as though he had bags under his eyes. This could have easily ended in very bad fashion for Lidge if he doesn't get that last out. He did though and this one is in the record books as a win.

This makes 4 in a row for the Phils as they next play on Fox Saturday baseball at 4pm.


Phils 0-4 RISP

Howard hit HR # 28
Utley hit HR # 24
Madson earns the win
Joe Blanton goes 7 IP and gives up 1 ER - no decision

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Phils froth at Cubbie sweep

Terrible moment for Shane, Phillies froth at Cubbie sweep

We've seen some ups and downs from the Phillies again in the past 10-12 days, the up again, down again, pendulum swung again in the Phils favor and they swept the Cubs at Wrigley for the first time since the mid 1980's. Hard to believe the Phillies haven't swept the Cubs in almost 25 years at Chicago. Have the Cubbies been that good?

The picture above is an awesome shot, what a miracle that Shane didn't get hurt in that foolish act. If they catch this guy, he shouldn't be allowed into any MLB games for a long, long time. This is a crime. This almost looks like a scene of a movie to me on the photo. What a great win today in Chicago, it's onto Atlanta for a weekend series now!

Some totals for the 3 game sweep of the Cubs:

22 total runs scored by the Phils over the series with Cubs

Cliff Lee gets 3rd win of Phillies career Thursday

8 runs in 4th inning on Wednesday helps power 12-5 win

Phils scored 4 runs total to win in extra innings Tuesday night

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moyer doesn't get too much sympathy from Philly sports talk radio - tonight would have been Moyer's 11th win

Lidge should be the focus, but the Phillies have more pitchers now than common sense

Jamie Moyer was mad. He has every right to be mad. If you listened to the local sports radio shows in the Philadelphia area though, he didn't get too much support from too many people. Comments ranged from, 'spoiled' to 'he stinks' to 'he already makes a lot of money, what's he crying about.' So much for loyal fan support. Moyer was shelved to make room for Pedro Martinez, and of course the Phillies came out and brought the offense out tonight and blew out the Cubs early. Did Pedro earn the win tonight?

The fact of the matter is that Jamie has been one of the most consistent pitchers that the Phillies have had in the past two seasons. May I remind you that last year Moyer was 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA? He led the team in wins last year. Moyer's ERA this year has been high as has just about every other starter on the team. What is that 5.47 ERA mean that Jamie Moyer holds right now? Well lets look at the stats: Moyer gave up 148 hits in 123 innings pitched. Let's look at Cole Hamels, he has given up 144 hits in 128 innings pitched, his ERA is 4.77. The totals for Earned Runs given up to date by Jamie is 75 and Cole Hamels total to date is 68. So Jamie may have given up a few more runs overall so far but is that really all that bad? I don't think so. If you say Jamie is having a bad year, the same should be said about Hamels. What do you say to a person that say pitching wins don't matter? So people actually believe that, I don't know why. Between Cole and Moyer, they have 17 total wins. Jamie has 10 wins and Hamels 7. If the same people say that pitching wins don't matter, I wonder if they feel if losses matter.... hmmm.

We'll examine more stats to make you think twice about Jamies year so far for pitching, he has 9 losses, but his ERA has been screwed up by giving up 7 earned runs in a couple starts this year, but he hasn't been as bad as some people believe.

No one except for local sports talker Howard Eskin, from WIP Radio, voiced major concerns about the other pitching areas in which the Phillies need help in. Brad Lidge should be concern number one.

Tonight's line on Martinez:
IP - 5.0 / Hits- 7 / Earned Runs- 3 / ERA 5.40
Should you be happy about this start?

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Lidge should no longer be Phillies closer

Lidge has earned the right to be removed as Phillies closer
pic. R.Baxter 2009

When I saw how good Ryan Madson pitch last night in the 8th inning, he reminded me of how Brad Lidge used to go out there and mow batters down. I emphasis the words, 'used to' in the last sentence. I knew at the bottom of the 9th we would be seeing Brad Lidge and the prospect didn't make me all that happy. Lidge has been flat out terrible this year. He hasn't stopped too many teams in his role as closer, and he looks like a totally different pitcher out there on the mound for the Phillies this year.

It all happens so fast, Lidge works quick and there's usually no one that goes out and quiets him down like the pitching coach, or Charlie Manuel, when he starts to get in trouble. He's walked batters, he's gotten hit this year, and he's become so unstable he has really earned not to be the Phillies closer anymore until an answer can be found. What that answer is, will be the job of the Phillies coaches and brain trusts to figure out. Nothing has been said yet about this, and the silence about it is truly amazing. Here you have a pitcher that can no longer close a game properly, and that's the bottom line.

So many other times this year, Lidge has accomplished the save during a game the hard way where it could have gone either way. Runners have been in scoring position and the tying runs have been just a base or two away from even more blown saves for Lidge, it just so happens the baseball gods didn't see fit to have those games blow up for Lidge in those circumstances.

The Phillies ended up winning this game last night, Lidge could have easily got the loss hadn't the Phils pulled this game out. Something has to be done about this, just as in Houston before Lidge came to Philadelphia, the fans and press there knew it was time to go for him. In Houston, it was the same thing, he couldn't get the save and he continually got in trouble losing games for a Houston team that wasn't even on the radar to go that far into the playoffs. This is the time the Phillies either have to fix this or consider the same fate as Lidge went through when he was an Astro, a trade to another team. Lidge had a season last year that will never be duplicated, we'll remember it for years to come. This year we may remember quite the opposite way Lidge went out on the mound to save a game, and that's the tough part.

Lidge's stats through last night:

Salary - $12 million this season

W - 0 L - 4

7 blown saves

ERA 7.29

Appeared in 46 games - 21 saves

25 walks issued - 44 strikeouts

42 innings total pitched so far this year

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Phillies Talk - The Podcast "Moyer banished to the pen"

Hear the latest podcast from Phillies Talk, the independent show that talks about the happenings with the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. This week, the Jamie Moyer move to the bullpen, why this, why now?

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Moyer banished to the bullpen, Amaro opts to go with untested "Pedro"

Moyer to pen, for untested Pedro Martinez

I am writing this blog post and filing it under the 'strange' moves that the Phillies have made recently. Jamie Moyer is the odd man out in the rush to put Pedro Martinez on the mound in a Phillies uniform. Yes, he's been criticized like every other Phillies pitcher this year, but I think Jamie deserved better than this back door move by the Phillies top brass.

The rumor was rampant for weeks, who's going to the pen to make room for Pedro? First of all why do we have to make room for Pedro Martinez? You have a guy that pitched his heart out in Jamie Moyer last year and this year, and you hire some washed up ex-Met and Boston Red Sox pitcher, and all of a sudden he becomes more important than Jamie Moyer? I think that sucks.

The last time I checked, Jamie Moyer was the Phillies ace in wins, and on Sunday he did give up 11 hits but he only gave up 2 ER's. It was the Phillies woeful offense, and stupidity on the field that lost the game for the Phils on this day. Moyer has 10 wins for the Phillies, the most of any pitcher on the staff. The Phillies didn't just win those games for Jamie, they were actually earned by Jamie. Maybe he could file an 'age discrimination' suit against Manuel and Amaro.

These are the types of moves that can really make the fans mad. You have a total great guy in Jamie Moyer, a real seasoned veteran and you move him on. You're not supposed to do that to a veteran like Moyer. If anyone deserved a bump, it may have been Cole Hamels. Hamels has been inconsistant reguarly and couldn't have been banished to either the pen or a stint in the minors as Brett Myers did a few years ago. Another reason you don't bump Moyer is salary, he's earning more than $8 million dollars this season. That's like taking a CEO of a company and telling him, "I want you to sweep up the office and empty the trash as you new company duties, but were still paying you the same high wage".

We'll see if this move pans out, I don't think it will. The Phillies fans who filled Citizen's Bank Park wouldn't have liked this move, and I'm sure it was done just because the team headed out of town for now, but they'll be back and Pedro will pitch at Philly eventually. Will he help this team? Maybe if the offense wakes up it will help this team.

Here are a couple stats to ponder in this move. So far at the start of today there are 34 pitchers in the MLB with wins of 10 or more this season. Not one of them was moved to the bullpen or would even be considered to be moved to the bullpen for doing 'well'. Moyer has less walks so far than SF Giants, Tim Lincecum. To be fair Lincecum has pitched a few more innings than Moyer, but I am trying to bring up a point that Moyer isn't all that bad for a 46 year old pitcher, and only 34 pitchers have won 10 or more games so far, and Jamie is one of them.

All 34 pitchers with 10 or more wins or more this season as of today....

1 Tim Lincecum 198 12 2009 25 SFG NL 23 23 4 2 0 3 .800 0 163.2 129 47 40 42 2.20 196 6 658 602 27 1 1 3 6 5 5 15 3 0 0 7 .214 .267 .292 .559 0 2484 1617 2 Justin Verlander 186 12 2009 26 DET AL 24 24 3 1 0 6 .667 0 159.1 143 68 61 46 3.45 132 14 657 598 35 2 4 3 6 3 7 4 8 2 4 5 .239 .295 .375 .670 0 2619 1753
Javier Vazquez 171 10 2009 32 ATL NL 23 23 1 0 0 7 .588 0 155.1 129 53 50 32 2.90 144 13 618 573 23 5 0 2 9 2 7 6 4 0 0 4 .225 .268 .351 .619 0 2394 1597
Zack Greinke 167 11 2009 25 KCR AL 23 23 5 2 0 7 .611 0 159.1 150 51 43 33 2.43 180 7 646 600 35 4 0 3 7 3 15 4 6 1 0 5 .250 .291 .357 .648 0 2446 1547
Yovani Gallardo 158 10 2009 23 MIL NL 23 23 1 0 0 9 .526 0 147.1 118 59 58 70 3.54 119 17 622 544 32 2 3 4 4 0 8 13 2 0 0 6 .217 .311 .377 .688 0 2474 1484
Danny Haren 153 11 2009 28 ARI NL 23 23 3 1 0 7 .611 0 161 120 49 46 23 2.57 176 17 625 594 28 2 1 3 3 2 9 12 1 0 0 4 .202 .235 .342 .577 0 2399 1587
Felix Hernandez 148 12 2009 23 SEA AL 23 23 1 1 0 4 .750 0 158.1 139 58 50 49 2.84 152 12 657 593 19 1 0 6 3 6 14 12 6 1 1 13 .234 .297 .331 .628 0 2440 1556
Adam Wainwright 146 13 2009 27 STL NL 24 24 1 0 0 7 .650 0 165 157 55 50 53 2.73 153 13 696 630 23 1 1 2 7 4 14 8 4 1 0 7 .249 .308 .351 .659 0 2565 1640
Chad Billingsley 143 11 2009 24 LAD NL 24 24 0 0 0 6 .647 0 149.2 125 67 62 66 3.73 112 10 621 532 25 2 7 6 8 9 13 5 7 1 0 11 .235 .321 .346 .667 0 2479 1529
Josh Beckett 139 13 2009 29 BOS AL 22 22 3 2 0 4 .765 0 150 129 59 52 41 3.12 151 10 610 558 27 2 1 4 3 4 13 12 2 0 1 0 .231 .287 .341 .628 0 2350 1531
Johan Santana 138 13 2009 30 NYM NL 23 23 0 0 0 8 .619 0 153 138 60 51 45 3.00 141 18 642 586 31 1 3 2 6 2 6 1 2 2 0 1 .235 .291 .384 .675 0 2388 1639
Roy Halladay 138 12 2009 32 TOR AL 22 22 5 1 0 5 .706 0 165 158 55 50 21 2.73 160 14 657 626 29 0 0 3 1 6 16 14 3 0 0 2 .252 .277 .366 .643 0 2302 1595
Jered Weaver 137 12 2009 26 LAA AL 23 23 3 1 0 3 .800 0 149.2 130 65 62 47 3.73 122 20 620 558 32 2 1 3 4 8 2 13 5 2 0 2 .233 .292 .405 .697 0 2351 1506
Wandy Rodriguez 131 11 2009 30 HOU NL 23 23 1 1 0 6 .647 0 143.2 127 47 40 46 2.51 167 15 586 530 27 1 5 4 4 2 20 1 1 0 1 2 .240 .304 .379 .683 0 2349 1501
Josh Johnson 129 11 2009 25 FLA NL 23 23 2 0 0 2 .846 0 154 132 52 50 37 2.92 143 9 624 571 15 4 5 5 9 2 11 10 5 0 0 9 .231 .283 .319 .602 0 2350 1532
Matt Cain 124 12 2009 24 SFG NL 23 23 4 0 0 4 .750 0 155 125 44 42 56 2.44 177 16 624 555 21 4 4 1 8 4 11 8 6 0 0 8 .225 .295 .364 .659 0 2359 1543
A.J. Burnett 123 10 2009 32 NYY AL 22 22 0 0 0 5 .667 0 139.2 120 61 57 71 3.67 121 15 600 513 20 2 0 9 2 4 14 17 9 1 0 14 .234 .335 .368 .703 0 2341 1394
C.C. Sabathia 123 12 2009 28 NYY AL 24 24 2 1 0 7 .632 0 162.2 145 72 68 45 3.76 118 14 664 603 32 5 4 7 4 5 17 9 6 2 0 5 .240 .298 .380 .678 0 2543 1633
Carl Pavano 93 10 2009 33 TOT AL 22 22 1 1 0 8 .556 0 132.2 155 80 75 23 5.09 89 19 561 526 27 4 0 5 1 6 15 20 6 0 0 4 .295 .327 .470 .797 0 2022 1352
Ricky Romero 90 10 2009 24 TOR AL 18 18 0 0 0 5 .667 0 115.2 114 47 47 44 3.66 119 13 481 430 26 1 0 4 2 1 18 3 5 3 1 4 .265 .338 .421 .759 0 1823 1111
Chris Carpenter 87 11 2009 34 STL NL 18 18 2 0 0 3 .786 0 123.2 101 32 31 19 2.26 185 7 478 447 18 4 0 5 5 2 14 1 3 0 0 1 .226 .264 .331 .595 0 1667 1114
Bronson Arroyo 82 10 2009 32 CIN NL 23 23 2 1 0 11 .476 0 144.2 159 88 81 52 5.04 88 25 635 564 30 2 6 7 8 4 14 10 5 0 0 1 .282 .348 .475 .823 0 2343 1444
Mark Buehrle 81 11 2009 30 CHW AL 23 23 1 1 0 6 .647 0 152.2 150 70 66 30 3.89 120 20 617 569 27 4 1 5 8 5 20 1 1 2 1 2 .264 .304 .431 .735 0 2283 1472
Jeff Niemann 77 10 2009 26 TBR AL 21 20 2 2 1 5 .667 0 120.2 116 54 50 40 3.73 122 12 507 455 23 1 0 6 2 4 11 17 4 0 0 5 .255 .321 .389 .710 0 1893 1196
Kevin Slowey 75 10 2009 25 MIN AL 16 16 0 0 0 3 .769 0 90.2 113 50 49 15 4.86 85 15 394 366 24 1 1 5 3 5 6 10 3 0 0 3 .309 .340 .503 .843 0 1425 979
OPS+ Pit Str
Derek Lowe 74 11 2009 36 ATL NL 24 24 0 0 0 7 .611 0 143 155 70 66 45 4.15 101 8 618 555 34 4 5 3 9 6 16 9 2 1 1 3 .279 .333 .398 .731 0 2341 1457
Aaron Cook 73 10 2009 30 COL NL 23 23 1 1 0 4 .714 0 139.2 156 64 61 41 3.93 115 16 596 546 28 5 2 1 3 5 18 4 4 3 0 1 .286 .334 .443 .777 0 2126 1320
Braden Looper 73 10 2009 34 MIL NL 23 23 0 0 0 5 .667 0 132 142 77 71 46 4.84 87 27 578 521 24 4 2 3 4 4 13 4 3 2 0 5 .273 .333 .489 .822 0 2222 1375
Jason Marquis 72 12 2009 30 COL NL 22 22 2 1 0 8 .600 0 150.1 145 67 61 48 3.65 124 11 629 571 28 4 3 3 3 4 17 11 3 0 1 4 .254 .313 .375 .688 0 2170 1358
Jamie Moyer 69 10 2009 46 PHI NL 22 22 0 0 0 9 .526 0 123.1 148 77 75 38 5.47 79 22 550 493 24 2 1 8 7 4 7 13 4 3 1 0 .300 .357 .491 .848 0 2106 1330
Joel Pineiro 67 10 2009 30 STL NL 22 22 3 2 0 9 .526 0 148.1 151 63 53 15 3.22 130 4 593 560 42 2 0 5 9 4 21 0 2 0 0 2 .270 .293 .373 .666 0 2032 1357
Scott Feldman 65 11 2009 26 TEX AL 23 20 0 0 0 4 .733 0 125.2 115 57 56 41 4.01 112 14 513 467 21 0 0 4 0 1 16 12 5 0 2 5 .246 .312 .381 .693 0 2090 1257
Tim Wakefield 61 11 2009 42 BOS AL 17 17 2 0 0 3 .786 0 108.2 113 52 52 37 4.31 110 8 474 425 30 0 0 9 2 1 11 14 2 0 0 3 .266 .337 .393 .730 0 1654 1050
Rick Porcello 56 10 2009 20 DET AL 20 20 0 0 0 7 .588 0 111 118 58 53 38 4.30 106 17 471 431 16 1 0 1 1 0 19 7 2 0 1 3 .274 .334 .434 .768 0 1760 1088

List compiled 10 aug 2009 via

and the wonderful Player Index function they offer there, the list is sorted by all 10 or more game winners and then in order by strikeouts

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