Archive for the ‘ Philadelphia Phillies ’ Category

Coming Home- Phillies Win Game 5

After Game One of the series, San Francisco Chronicle’s Ray Ratto stated that the Giants had a 33% chance of a split in Philadelphia, and a 0% chance of a sweep.  With the Phillies winning Game Five, the series shifts back to Philadelphia.  I’m curious to see what Ratto has to say about the Giants odds now. 

As a Phillies fan, all you could ask for is a Game Five win and a chance to win game’s 6 and 7 in your home ballpark.  As a Giants fan, you have to think that you let a chance slip away, but you still only have to win one of the next two games to get to the World Series. 

Game Five was not a well played baseball game.  Both teams made a plethora of mental and defensive mistakes.  Let’s take a look at them.

In the bottom of the 1st, Torres stood at third with one out.  Sanchez was at first.  Halladay got the ground ball he needed from Buster Posey to get out of the inning unscaved.  Instead, Chase Utley didn’t look the ball in his glove and was only able to get the force out at second.  San Francisco took a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the third there were a couple headscratchers.  With no outs, Philadelphia had men on 1st and 2nd.  The Roy Halladay bunt play was simply one of the wackier plays you’ll ever see.  He layed down a bunt that was clearly foul.  The umpire ruled it fair, Posey threw to third, but Pablo Sandoval looked like a panda as he couldn’t touch 3rd for the force out.  Halladay on the other hand never left the box, and he was thrown out at first.  

(Ibanez safe at third on the Halladay bunt play)

Victorino came up next and hit a sharp grounder to Aubrey Huff.  Huff booted it like Martin Brodeur as the ball bounced off his knee and into center.  Two Phillies scored to make it 2-1.  Philadelphia would tack on another to make it 3-1.

Lastly, in the bottom of the fourth, Cody Ross decided to test Jayson Werth’s arm in right by trying to tag from 2nd to 3rd.  The problem was, there were two outs.  Werth threw a pea to Polanco, and Ross was tagged out.    

(Polanco applies the tag to Ross)

The only man who brought the leather tonight was Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins.  He was simply a human vacuum machine, gobbling up any ground ball coming his way.

Once again, the Tim Lincecum vs Roy Halladay showdown didn’t really live up to expectations.  Once again, both pitchers just pitched o.k.  Halladay battled with his command all night.  He walked just 30 batters all year; he walked two tonight.  From a “grinding” standpoint, this was one of the more impressive showings from Halladay.  He clearly did not have his best stuff, but he kept the Phillies in the ball game.

(Halladay grinded through 6 innings)

The Phillies bullpen tonight looked fantastic, especially Madson and Lidge.  Both guys had easy 1-2-3 innings in their one inning appearances.

(Lidge picks up his 1st save of the series)

The first home-run of the NLCS in San Francisco was finally hit.  In the ninth, Werth went the opposite field to make it 4-2.  He’s now tied for 1st all-time in National League postseason home runs with 13. 

Another thing that I have to add.  Mitch Williams came on in the 9th and tried to explain how to save a crucial playoff game.  That’s like Scott Norwood trying to instruct how to make a field goal in the Super Bowl.

Game Six will be on Saturday.  Buckle up!

A Giant Hole- SF Takes a 3-1 Lead in the NLCS

With three games to go in the regular season, the San Francisco Giants held a two game lead in the NL West over the San Diego Padres.  Coincidentally, these two teams would square off in the final three game set of the year.  The Giants held the series at home, needing just one win to clinch the division.  They played out the drama clinching on the last day of the regular season.

This same situation faces San Francisco now in the 2010 NLCS; they hold a 3-1 series lead after the 6-5 win last night.  They need just one win to clinch their first pennant since 2002.

Game 4’s in a best of seven series are always fascinating.  When you get to a Game 4, normally you see the staff’s number four starter.  Obviously, these guys are usually your fourth best pitcher on the staff.  You’re playing with house money if your starter goes five innings allowing two runs or less. 

All facets of both teams were showcased in this particular Game 4; the ENTIRE bullpen, small ball, defense, managerial decisions, clutch hitting and basestealing .  I mean, this game had it all. Well, all besides a home run.

I know from a Philadelphia perspective the two main things people will be talking about is why Halladay didn’t start, or why Oswalt pitched the 9th.  I don’t want to go in depth on that, because Philadelphia had chances to win this ballgame and couldn’t come through.

That eighth inning just jumps out right away.  Howard leads off with a double, then Werth brings him home with a double.  With a man on 2nd and less than two outs, Werth did not score.  Jimmy Rollins couldn’t get him over to third, and both Francisco and Ruiz struck out.

This Philadelphia offense scores in bunches, it’s their motto.  Just look at the top of the fifth, they put up four.  Yes, Jimmy Rollins should’ve gotten Werth to third, but this is something the Phillies have always struggled in.  Their offense doesn’t manufacture as many runs as they should.

There were so many great baseball plays made tonight.  The Rowand assist from center to Posey was huge.  That was a rope from Rowand, and Posey made a fantastic play.  Posey in one motion took Rowand’s throw on a short hop and tagged Ruiz.

(Posey applies the tag on Ruiz)

Ruiz showcased his arm in the bottom of the eighth with a dart to second to nab the attempted base-stealer Torres.

As for the bullpens, the Giants bullpen pitched much better.  The starting pitchers, Blanton (Phi) and Bumgarner (SF), both went 4 2/3 innings.  Blanton left with a 4-3 lead.  In the final four innings (6-9), the Giants outscored Philly 3-1. 

(Blanton goes 4 2/3)

The only San Francisco reliever that looked shaky last night was Casilla.  He relieved Bumgarner in the fifth.  He got hurt with that hanging slider to Polanco.  Polanco laced it into the left field gap for a double that scored two.

Chad Durbin struggled for the Phillies in the bottom of the sixth.  He had trouble with his  control, walking two.  Sandoval got the big hit in the inning, doubling to put the Giants back on top 5-4. 

As I referenced earlier, Sergio Romo came on for the Giants in the eighth and came up huge.  He threw six consecutive, tight, spinning sliders to Francisco and Ruiz to strike them out.

Brian Wilson made short work of the Phillies in the ninth.  

In the bottom of the ninth, the Giants established their small ball superiority over Philadelphia with Uribe’s game winning sac-fly in the ninth.

(Huff scores the game winning run)

As a fan, I don’t really know what to make of this series.  The Giants have won the two, one-run contests in Game One and now Four.  The Phillies won Game Two decisively, while San Francisco did the same in Game Three. 

The one positive that I did see from this game was that the Phillies bats swung the stick better.  Can they continue their success tomorrow against Lincecum?      

Just to throw in something, the Giants and Phillies played six times during the regular season. (of course three games in each city) On the final game of the three game regular season series in San Francisco, the Phillies faced Tim Lincecum in the third game.  This was the game which Lincecum threw eight dominant innings.  Brian Wilson then went on and blew the save.  The Phillies picked up the win after losing the previous two to San Francisco in that series.  As for the three game set in Philly, the home team (this time Philadelphia) decimated the Giants the first two games.  San Francisco would go on to win the third game of the set.  

All in all, you can’t discount the Phillies.  They’re the Phightin Phils for a reason.  As for this series, I’m not sure what to think.  If the Phillies can get the game tomorrow, the series shifts back to Philadelphia. 

 It’s really an interesting dynamic to have the 2-3-2 series that MLB has.  The NHL and NBA have 2-2-1-1-1 series besides the NBA Finals, which is a 2-3-2.  Philadelphia capitalized in the middle three home games, sweeping on both instances, to capture the 2008 World Series and the 2009 NLCS.  San Francsico now has a chance to dispatch Philadelphia  by sweeping the middle, three game home set.

Brown Dazzles in Debut

You know, I wanted to be clever with my title and entitle my 1st entry What Can Brown Do For You.  Well, I visited mlb.com, and it was already taken.  I guess my creativity skills are lacking.  I’ll tell you whose skills aren’t lacking, meet Domonic Brown.  Brown is the most coveted Phillies prospect since Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.  Hamels debuted in 2006, Howard in 2004 and Utley in 2003. 

So everyone knows his Major League debut by now.  In his 1st Major League at-bat, he slugged a double off the top of the wall for his 1st RBI.  In the 6th inning Brown showcased his speed by easily scoring on a Carlos Ruiz double from 1st.  He finished the game 2-3 with 2 RBI’s and 2 R’s.     

For my 1st blog entry for this site, I wanted to enshrine you with a little story about my 1st encounter with the promising prospect.

I reside in Yardley, Pa.  I am 10 minutes away from Waterfront Park where the Trenton Thunder play (Double-A affiliate of the Yankees)  Whenever the Reading Phillies come to town, my brother and I are there.  The scheduling has to accommodate us.  The games must occur during summer time as we both attended college. (I was at Temple, my brother Alex at Penn State)  We took a glance at the schedule, and we circled August 11-13.  There’s 2 players we wanted to see, Kyle Drabek and Domonic Brown.  Unfortunately, Drabek wasn’t scheduled to start during the series.  Our focus turned to Domonic Brown.     

(Waterfront Park)

So we went to the August 12th confrontation between Reading and Trenton.  There wasn’t any reasoning behind the date, but we did receive an Austin Jackson holographic picture. Vance Worley started for Reading.  Worley recently just got called up to the Phillies for a cup of coffee.  We sat down in our seats, about 5 rows up from the 3rd baseline.  Thanks for the seats Jim ;). 

Alex will always remember this game because he caught a foul ball.  Early on in the game a towering pop-up came our way.  We were like, holy goodness this ball is coming our way.  Alex, like a shark jumped into the aisle to retrieve his prize.  The scene reminded me of the childhood game 5,000.  This is a game where you have a quarterback throwing to a crowd of about 5-10 people.  The quarterback would shout numbers and whoever caught the ball would receive that amount.  The 1st player to accumulate 5,000 points or more would win.  In this instance, the Trenton batter called the number 5,000.  Alex, in the crowd of about 6, used his frame to box out and snatch the ball after it bounced once off the coping.  His foul ball catch was the worst thing that could’ve happened to me.  I wanted to concentrate on the game and Brown, but after he caught that ball he suddenly jumped into an annoying bragging mode.  His catch came in the 3rd inning, so for 6 innings I had to listen to his nonsense.  I really wanted to put a muzzle on his face.

Anyway, let’s get back to Brown.  The 1st thing everyone comments about Brown is his batting stance and frame.  He holds his hands so far above his head.  I always say, he’s young, let him do his thing.  That’s something a batting coach can work with him as he gets older.  Just like an ugly basketball shot like Peja Stojakovic’s, as long as it works don’t fix it.  As for his build, he’s 6′5 200 lbs.  He definetely needs to add a bit of muscle, but he generates so much torque with his hips he can knock it out of the park.

(Domonic Brown)

After the Trenton game, I came away so impressed with Domonic.  I remember telling my brother that he was a future MVP in the Bigs.  He batted 3rd that night.  Even a year later, I remember this game so vividly. 

1st At-Bat

Top of the 1st, 2 outs, Bases Empty-  They say Brown is a five-tool player.  He showcases a few of those tools in his 1st plate appearance.   He turns on a fastball and laces a pee in the gap for a double.  The other tool scouts rave about Brown is his base-running.  Let me tell you first hand, this guy can gallop.  He’s not slow.  He possesses such long strides that he literally glides on the dirt.  I swear, Domonic Brown can walk on water.

2nd At-Bat

Top of the 3rd, 1 out, Men 1st and 2nd- Brown showcases his contact here.  He takes a pitch the opposite way and lines it in front of the left-fielder.  The base-runner from 2nd scores. 

3rd At-Bat

Top of the 5th, 1 out, Man on 1st-  Brown grounds into a force out, but he avoids the double-play.  He then shows a little more speed by stealing 2nd base. 

4th At-Bat

Top of the 8th, 0 outs, Bases Empty- Leading off, Brown lines out to right.  He makes good contact, but the ball hung in the air and into the glove of the right-fielder for the out.

Dominic Brown finished the game 2-4 with an RBI and a SB.  He was by far the best player on the field that night.  The Phillies lost the game 3-2, but I didn’t care.  Alex got his foul ball, and I got my 1st blog entry.  Last night’s MLB debut was 11 months in the making for me, and Brown did not dissapoint.