Cole “Hardluck” Hamels – Slippery Slope

Last night Cole Hamels suffered another devastating loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers increasing his non winning streak to seven games.  This was only one in a string of many losses from Hamels as of late which is very similiar to the issues that the Mets’ ace Johann Santana is facing this season.  You can view his recent loss as a failure of the Phillies bullpen to sustain the lead or as a failure of the offense to put more runs on the board.  If you ask the Phillies’ skipper Charlie Manuel he would say the biggest need right now is to have a break in their offensive woes.  You cannot rely that heavily on just pitching to take you to the post season.  The Phillies started the season with one of the most feared offensive line-ups with very little weaknesses other than the 8th and 9th hole.  They were on a tear last year beating up their opponents with hopes of stacking up the runs to cover over any poor pitching efforts.  This year’s line-up is even more lethal as the early high scoring games of the season proved that theory.  However, the bats have silenced as of late and are still building the momentum.  Greg Dobbs has been quoted as saying ” the team is on the verge of busting out of this offensive slump, it’s just waiting on that one hit”.  Well as a diehard Philadelphia Phillies Phan I am also waiting for that one hit.  Hopefully it shows up before October . . . . . .   Go Phightins !!

I have posted Cole Hamels stats for the last 7 consecutive non winning streak games below:

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Philadelphia Phillies: Dissecting the Dodgers

Last night the Phillies failed to dodge the ball on the first game in a four game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Phightins lost 8-6 in a ball game that was not determined until the last out by Ryan Howard in the top of the 9th inning.  The Phils had two on base with Ryan Howard being the go ahead run at bat.  Howard grounded out into the overshift ending the comeback that the Phillies were waging.  Kyle Kendrick was removed from the game in 3 1/3 innings while accruing 7 earned runs on 9 hits within that time.  Kendrick failed to strikeout any batters, but managed to walk 3 while administering a homerun to the former Indian Casey Blake.  The Phils then replaced Kendrick with the newbie lefthander Les Walrond which pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings with Clay Condrey finishing the game by allowing 1 run over 2 innings.

The Phillies offense started off slow, but was able to accumulate 10 hits over 9 innings.  Chase Utley was in rare form by amassing 3 hits on 5 opportunities.  Jimmy Rollins was able to hit another triple against Lowe which is his 8th of the year.

Tonight Cole “hard luck” Hamels takes the mound with hopes and aspirations that his team with mount another offensive strike.  Cole has recently been diagnosed with the Johann Sanatana disease and is on a day to day regiment of lack of offense.  Hamels (3.35 ERA) is searching for his 10th win this year against LA’s southpaw Clayton Kershaw (3.71 ERA).  On a side note Brad Lidge says he is ready to begin closing again since his recent right shoulder tendinitis left over from the All Star game in which he was repeatedly abused due to the lengthy game and multiple warm-up sessions.

 

Philadelphia AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Rollins, SS 5 1 2 1 0 0 2 .276
Victorino, CF 4 1 2 0 1 1 1 .289
Utley, 2B 5 0 3 2 0 1 2 .290
Howard, 1B 5 0 0 2 0 0 5 .237
Burrell, LF 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 .265
Werth, RF 4 1 1 0 0 3 2 .266
Dobbs, 3B 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 .307
Ruiz, C 3 1 0 0 1 1 1 .217
Kendrick, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .116
  Walrond, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  a-Jenkins, PH 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 .244
  Condrey, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  b-Cervenak, M, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .200
Totals 37 6 10 6 3 8 18  
 
image from phillies.com

Philadelphia Phillies – Fight For Survival

 

    The Philadelphia Phillies square off tomorrow against their biggest division rival the New York Mets.  The Phillies have the newly aquired right hander Joe Blanton (4.96 ERA) taking the mound against the Mets’ ace Johann Santana (3.10 ERA) .  Blanton has yet to give up a run in 15 career innings against the Mets organization.  On Wednesday opening day starter Brett Myers (5.84 ERA) will make his return back to the Phillies after his 4 minor league starts in Lehigh Valley, Reading and Clearwater against John Maine (4.22 ERA).  Myers was sent to down to help regain confidence in his fastball and reacquire his swagger in which he believes he has accomplished.  There is probably no other team that will test Myer’s resolve better than the Mets.  He is already setting the stage telling the reporters that he does not like the Mets so, be prepared for a battle.  Jamie Moyer (3.90 ERA) will finish off the 3 game series at Shea looking for double digits in his win column against Oliver Perez (4.36 ERA) which has had some shaky outings.  The Phillies need to regroup offensively and get back to basics by getting on base and manufacturing runs by moving the  runners into scoring position via sac bunts, flys or stealing bases.  They need to win 2 out of 3 in every series in the 2nd half of the season to be in contention for the post season.  I would not rely of the wild card with as well as the central division is currently playing.  Go Phightins !!

Philadelphia Phillies – Fireworks At The Bank

   

     Last night the young Phillies phenom J.A. Happ was able to keep the Phightins in the game long enough for their offense to win it.  J.A. Happ pitched against Johann Santana which has lost his past 6 starts with the Mets.  Happ hurled for 4-2/3 innings while allowing 4 walks, 3 hits, 2 runs and striking out 3.  He was pulled in the 5th inning after a poor call was made when Happ had struckout David Wright.  Chad Durbin came in and struckout 6 out of the next 7 that approached the plate.

     The Phillies offense accrued 8 hits over 9 innings with no longballs to manufacture run support.  Some notables were Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth both going 2-4 off of Johann Santana.  In the 9th inning with the score tied 2-2 the Mets brought in Duaner Sanchez that allowed Pedro Feliz to hit a double going into left field.  Next at bat would be Shane Victorino who was hitless all night long against Santana, but was able to connect on a walk-off single hit into right field bringing in Pedro Feliz from 2nd base to score.  This ended the game with a final score of 3-2 with the Phillies once again pushing back on their division rivals to trailing 5.5 games in the N.L. Eastern Division.

     Tonight Jamie Moyer (4.13 ERA) takes the mound in search of his 8th win against John Maine (3.86 ERA).  The ageless Moyer is looking to extend the Phillies winning streak to 5 games.  The Marlins lost again last night against the Colorado Rockies which makes the eastern division look as follows:  Phillies (1st), Marlins (2nd-3.5 GB), Mets (3rd-5.5 GB), Braves (4th-7.0 GB), Nationals (5th-15.5 GB).

 

 
Philadelphia AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Werth, RF 4 1 2 0 0 1 0 .273
Utley, 2B 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 .299
Rollins, SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 .272
Howard, 1B 4 0 2 1 0 1 1 .223
Burrell, LF 4 0 1 1 0 1 1 .278
Feliz, 3B 4 1 1 0 0 0 2 .266
Victorino, CF 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 .265
Coste, C 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .310
Happ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
  Durbin, C, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .167
  a-Bruntlett, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .237
  Madson, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  Lidge, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 34 3 8 3 0 8 8
Image from phillies.com

Philadelphia Phillies – Atlanta Not So Brave

    

     The Philadelphia Phillies brought down the tee-pee in the Atlanta Braves series last night.  The Phillies defeated the Braves in a 4-1 victory while displaying their prowess in their division by sweeping the Braves both times they met this year in Atlanta.  Cole Hamels showed his ace status by pitching 8-2/3 innings while allowing 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and administering 7 strikeouts.  The Phillies offense also showed up for the 3rd consecutive day placing 8 hits on the board with 3 of those hits being homeruns from Chase Utley (24), Ryan Howard (22) and Pedro Feliz (10).  Some other notables are Pat Burrell going 2-4 and Pedro Feliz 3-4 while both of these players are breaking through a hitting slump.  The Phillies are hoping for the reversal of the overall offensive slump that they accrued after sweeping the Braves the 1st time.  Sweeping them the 2nd time around should place them back on track to dominating the N.L. Eastern Division once again.

     Tonight starts the 4 game series with the Phillies hosting the Mets at Citizen Bank Park.  J.A. Happ the rookie sensation will pitch tonight away from his normal home at Coca Cola Park and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  Happ (3.54 ERA) which had started for 1 game last year against the Mets is hoping that his new bag of tricks will help defeat his rival Johann Santana (3.01 ERA) which he faces on the mound tonight.  J.A. Happ has proven himself at the AAA level with 3.54 ERA, 38 BB, 104 strikeouts over 101.2 innings pitched.  You can check out more J.A. Happ stats as well as Kris Benson and Brett Myers here.

 

Philadelphia AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Rollins, SS 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 .276
Victorino, CF 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 .265
Utley, 2B 4 1 1 1 0 1 1 .300
Howard, 1B 4 1 1 1 0 1 1 .219
Burrell, LF 4 1 2 0 0 1 0 .278
  Werth, LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .268
Jenkins, RF 4 0 0 0 0 2 2 .239
Feliz, 3B 4 1 3 2 0 0 0 .267
Ruiz, C 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 .208
Hamels, P 3 0 0 0 0 2 2 .279
  Gordon, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 34 4 8 4 1 8 11
Image from phillies.com

Inter-Divisional Rivals Face-Off Questions

 I was approached by Dave Doyle of the metsreport.com with a crossblogging opportunity.  We presented questions to one another about each of our respective teams.  I have posted my questions below along with his answers.  You can view my answers to his questions about the Philadelphia Phillies at metsreport.com.
With the firing of Willie Randolph does there seem to be a change in the Mets club house?  Will the Mets finish the remainder of the 2008  season with Jerry Manuel at the helm?  If not, are they seeking out a new skipper?
  Jerry Manuel has been told by Omar Minaya that he’s the manager for the entire season. No doubt about it. They very well may seek out another manager at the end of the year though. Early rumors are that they’re interested in Yankees third base coach Tony Pena for 2009. There’s also been some radio talk show banter about bringing in Larry Bowa. But if Manuel makes it to the playoffs, he’s pretty much guaranteed to return next year and beyond. There has been a change in the clubhouse. You’ll see a few tangible things this weekend. Randolph ran a really tight ship, and Manuel has relaxed the rules for the players. Now the players can have facial hair. They couldn’t under Randolph. Also, Manuel started a new thing where pitchers that get pulled from the game wait on the mound and hand the ball to the incoming pitcher as a show of support. Manuel doesn’t take the ball from the pitcher. The Mets used to do pre-game stretching within their small groups (relief pitchers, starters, infielders, etc.) and Manuel changed that so everyone stretches together. There are little things like that to promote team unity. Manuel also isn’t averse to calling out veterans in the media that aren’t performing. He’s had plenty of comments about Luis Castillo and his inability to play every day.
 How do the Mets fans feel about Jose Reyes?  He has enormous potential to be an oustanding shortstop and a large contributer to the team, but has his level of maturity affected his game
  Mets fans have had a lot to say about Reyes’ outbursts on the field. Jerry Manuel has made it a point to address those situations immediately with him. Randolph benched Reyes in Houston last season for one of his outbursts and their relationship wasn’t very good after that. Manuel has taken a more big brother/fatherly type of role with Reyes. We’ll see what happens with that. But Mets fans generally haven’t liked what they’ve seen from Reyes when his childish tantrums erupt on the field. Manuel has made it a point to try to get Reyes to keep his head in the game when things go wrong for him but that’s a work in progress. I wrote a post on my blog about this topic. He’s such a talented and dynamic player that these behavioral indiscretions are tolerated much more than if anyone else did it.
 Do the Mets have anyone in mind as the trade deadline approaches?  If so are they seeking pitching or a position player to replace Castillo or Alou?
  You’re right on with that. The Mets have been hurt badly by Moises Alou’s absence this season. He’s an incredible hitter when he’s in the lineup but he’s hurt so often he’s like a ghost for the Mets. The Mets would love to get their hands on a right-handed hitting outfielder that can also play some first base. They talked to the Tigers about Marcus Thames before the season but couldn’t agree on a deal. Mets fans really want Xavier Nady back. He was a fan favorite in his short time here and would be a perfect fit for the Mets this season.  Don’t get me started about Luis Castillo… But we’re stuck with him for the next three and a half years. He’s not going anywhere unfortunately. Damion Easley has played a good second base off the bench though. We’ll be seeing plenty of him in the lineup. Castillo’s contract is consistently discussed by Mets fans as evidence that Omar Minaya hasn’t put together the right players for this team.  Starting pitching could be a need as well. Pedro Martinez has been terrible since he missed two months with a hamstring injury. Oliver Perez has struggled badly for most of the season as well. The Mets have been linked to Freddy Garcia would could be ready to play next month. They’ve already had multiple starts from Nelson Figueroa, Claudio Vargas, and Tony Armas, Jr. Those aren’t pitchers that you want to see on the mound in the second half of the season. I guess they’re still holding out hope that El Duque will be back at some point but I think that’s a long shot.
 Have the players rebounded from last year’s meltdown?  They seem to play as though something is weighing heavily on their mind.  Not sure if it was last year or the departure of Willie Randolph?
  “The Collapse” has absolutely carried over into this season. The daily speculation about Willie Randolph’s job security was a distraction as well. Randolph consistently said that “The Collapse” was behind the team. But Jerry Manuel has said that it’s impacted the team into this season and the only way to get the monkey off their backs is to win. The home fans have boo’d the Mets excessively at times this season, even Johan Santana in his first start. To me, that’s the carry over from last season. Since the debacle occurred at the end of the year, we didn’t get to completely express our displeasure. So it’s being displayed this season. We may be beyond that now. But it was clearly evident for the first two months of the season. Randolph was boo’d mercilessly in his last few weeks as manager. His firing was a major step in the direction of letting go of last season.
 Is there any sadness about the loss of Shea Stadium?  or are the Mets fans just looking forward to the new Citi Field and all of it’s ammenities? 
 That’s a great question. I think most Mets fans, myself included, have some terrific memories of Shea. The ’86 team and for some older fans the ’69 team are the top of the list. Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry electrifying the stadium in the 80’s as well are unforgettable. But let’s face it. Anyone that’s been to Shea knows that it’s the worst stadium in baseball now that RFK is gone. Everyone is curious to see how Citi Field is going to play though. Nobody wants it to play like Citizen’s Bank Park. I’m not sure how Phillies fans feel about that. But Mets ownership has publicly said they want Citi Field to be a pitchers park like Shea is. That was a major factor in their design of the stadium.