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Tag:Philadelphia Phillies
Posted on: November 3, 2009 2:39 am
 

Phillies expect Victorino to be OK

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Yankees already having lost center fielder Melky Cabrera (hamstring strain) for the duration of the World Series in Game 4, the Phillies came darn close to losing their center fielder for good in Game 5.

Shane Victorino apparently will survive to play another day, but the knuckle on his right index finger was swollen and purple late Monday night.

Still, he was relieved because when he was hit with an A.J. Burnett pitch in the first inning of Philadelphia's 8-6 Game 5 loss, he feared it was broken.

"The trainer looked at it and we were like, 'Oh no'," Victorino said. "When he hit me, I thought, 'Oh my gosh.'"

The Phillies X-rayed it in the second inning and determined that there were no fractures. Victorino determined he was good enough to keep playing, though manager Charlie Manuel replaced him with Ben Francisco in center field in the eighth inning.

Victorino didn't want to leave and, though he was already on the field when Francisco came out, he said it simply was a "mix-up" and he wasn't upset with Manuel for replacing him.

As for the finger, he said it bothered him more gripping the bat than throwing, though he added "it feels fine."

He also was sure Burnett was not intentionally throwing at him. Some questioned whether the Yankees right-hander might be given that Phillies pitchers have hit Alex Rodriguez with pitches three times in this series.

"During his at-bat, when he walked up [to the plate], he asked Carlos [Ruiz, Phillies catcher] how I was doing and said, 'I wasn’t trying to hit him,'" Victorino said. "For him to do that means a lot."

Victorino also said Burnett acknowledged him on the field as if to say, "Sorry."

"He looked over at me when I was at first base and he gave me a nod like, 'My bad'," Victorino said.

The Phillies' biggest worry now, of course, is whether it will worsen overnight. But with Tuesday's travel day, they get a break and Victorino gets an extra 24 hours to heal.

"Probably [Tuesday] his finger is going to be sore," Manuel said. "It's definitely not broken or didn't have a fracture. ... A couple of days it probably is going to be OK."

Posted on: November 2, 2009 11:27 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2009 1:11 am
 

Phillies send World Series back to New York

PHILADELPHIA -- You might say, for A.J. Burnett, Game 5 of the World Series was sort of like being on the business end of a whipped cream pie to the face.

The staple that Burnett started and fans quickly embraced during the summer, Burnett sneaking up from behind and crushing a pie into the face of a heroic teammate during a television interview -- Look! The Yankees like to have fun just like regular human beings! -- seemed so distant.

The Game 2 virtuoso performance, the pinnacle of Burnett's career so far, seemed so yesterday.

Game 5 was quick and ugly for Burnett, down and dirty for the Phillies. They sent this World Series back to New York with an 8-6 thrashing by jumping Burnett early and often.

The $82.5 million pitcher who was so sharp in Game 2 was incredibly not sharp pitching on three days' rest for the first time all season Monday. He was clocked for three runs in his first eight pitches. The Phillies scored six runs before Burnett had obtained one out in the third inning.

At one point with Burnett on the mound, the count stood at six outs and nine Phillies baserunners.

What knocked him so badly off balance?

Don't tell me it was pitching on short rest. While Burnett hadn't done it this year, he had done it three times in his career and was 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA on those occasions.

No, the difference was a complete reversal of the Phillies approach.

Where their strategy at the plate against Burnett in Game 2 was to take pitches, wait for him to start losing control of his curveball and then make their move, their approach in Game 5 essentially was: To hell with that. Arrive at the plate hacking.

Four days earlier, Burnett threw first-pitch strikes to each of the first 11 Phillies to face him in Yankee Stadium. Of those 11, eight Phillies took the first-pitch strike without swinging.

Facing elimination Monday, three of the first four Phillies swung hard at the first pitch they saw from Burnett. And the only reason it wasn't four-for-four is because Shane Victorino took a first-pitch fastball off of his right knuckles.

Jimmy Rollins swung and missed, then took ball one and then fouled off three consecutive pitches before cracking a hard single. The next two pitches were each first pitches: Victorino was drilled and then Chase Utley crushed a three-run homer. Next up, Ryan Howard walked and Burnett was reeling.

It was the most consecutive batters to reach base safely at the start of a World Series game since Game 2 in 2002 when the Angels' David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, Tim Salmon and Garret Anderson collected four consecutive hits.

Then, this was choice: Second time around the order, the Phillies backed off. Utley and Ryan Howard drew walks, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez followed with base hits and bing, bam, boom, three more runs crossed the plate.

It was the smartest game the Phillies have played so far. It almost made up for them leaving third base uncovered while Johnny Damon ran wild in the ninth inning of Game 4.

While Burnett wound up throwing first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 hitters he faced in Game 2, he lasted just 15 hitters Monday before Joe Girardi had to open the doors to a Yankees bullpen that has the tendency to take on water quickly (see Coke, Phil, who threw as many home run balls in the seventh inning as the number of outs he obtained: Two).

For Burnett, it was the shortest outing in the World Series by a starter since Roger Clemens, then of Houston, worked just two innings against the White Sox in Game 1 in 2005.

Posted on: November 2, 2009 4:25 pm
 

World Series: Special deliveries from Arkansas

PHILADELPHIA -- Rather than calling out "Play Ball" to start Game 5 of the World Series tonight, plate umpire Dana DeMuth may want to give one of those "Woo pig sooey!" calls they do so well at University of Arkansas football games.

Tonight's starting pitchers?

Philadelphia's Cliff Lee is from Benton, Ark.

The Yankees' A.J. Burnett is from North Little Rock, Ark.

What's next, President Bill Clinton throwing out the ceremonial first pitch?

"It's interesting," says Burnett, who also shares an agent (Darek Braunecker) with Lee. "They've got two country boys from Arkansas going out. ... We talked [Saturday]. First thing out of his mouth was, 'Look at that Budweiser sign in right, that's what I'm going to be aiming for.'"

Burnett might smile a bit if he thinks of that when Lee settles into the batter's box tonight to face his buddy, but he vows he won't be trumped.

His response when Lee threatened to take Burnett deep?

"Go ahead, because I can hit, too. I was in the National League for six years."

Braunecker negotiated a five-year, $82.5 million contract for Burnett with the Yankees last winter. Lee is signed through 2010, and if he continues dominating as he has over the past two years, Braunecker stands a good chance to top Burnett's contract with Lee.

"I didn't really know him growing up," Lee said of Burnett. "He was a little ahead of me, but I knew who he was, obviously. There's not a lot of guys from Arkansas getting drafted, much less making it to the big leagues.

"For us, we've met each other over the years and became friends and stuff, but it's not very often two guys from the state of Arkansas make it to the big leagues, much less square off against each other in the World Series."

 

Posted on: November 1, 2009 5:32 pm
 

Philadelphia: Sports Central, USA


PHILADELPHIA -- If you're a Philadelphia sports fan, this weekend is heaven. If you're a sports fan in Philadelphia, ditto.

And if you love rock and roll -- specifically for now, Pearl Jam -- then you're beside yourself with glee.

The only issue is traffic during what surely is a historic weekend at the city's Sports Complex -- a cluster of stadiums and arenas at the intersection of Broad St. and Pattison Ave., between downtown and the airport off of I-95. Over the four-day period between Friday and Monday, the area is bringing in a few hundred thousand fans.

The Phillies are hosting World Series games Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings in Citizens Bank Park.

The NFL's Eagles hosted the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, located across Pattison Ave. from the baseball park.

The NHL's Flyers host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday at 5 p.m. at the Wachovia Center, located next to Lincoln Financial Field.

Meantime, Pearl Jam is closing the old Spectrum, which was the home to all of those great Dr. J, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones 76ers' teams, with four concerts. The last two were Friday and Saturday nights.

"This is a heck of a place to be right now," Phillies closer Brad Lidge says.

All three World Series games are sold out, of course, as were the Eagles game on Sunday and the Pearl Jam concerts.

The Phillies' Raul Ibanez was among those in attendance at Friday's show. A friend of the Seattle-based band from his days playing for the Mariners, Ibanez received a shout out from the stage as Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder led the crowd in a "Raul!" cheer. (Pearl Jam owns Seattle Mariners season tickets in Safeco Field).

Lidge skipped the Friday night concert (the off night between Game 2 in New York and Game 3 in Philadelphia) but sure hated to.

"I wasn't able to go because I've got family in town," he said. "I wish I was there. They're one of my favorite bands.

"This is a great spot to be right now. Where else would you rather be?"

As for the sporting events, so far the results have been mixed. The Phillies were beaten by the Yankees in Game 3 on Saturday 8-5, blowing a 3-0 lead in the process.

The Eagles, though, crushed the Giants 40-17 on Sunday as a lead-in to Game 4 of the World Series.

Likes: The Daily Beast checking in with baseball's all-time all-star team of wives and girlfriends, playing off of the current Yankees' pairings of Alex Rodriguez and actress Kate Hudson and Derek Jeter and actress Minka Kelly. Check the Beast out here, it's a highly entertaining list. ... A couple of soul-cleansing runs through the streets of Philadelphia the past couple of days, down Ben Franklin Parkway, past the Philadelphia Art Museum and along the river down Kelly Dr. Great fall colors on the trees right now. ... The Philly Cheesesteak (with Whiz) sandwich for lunch today at the Reading Terminal marketplace. Great stuff. ... The Glee cast did a fine national anthem before Game 3. I'm still not much for the television show, but they were good. And they got one of the better receptions from the crowd that you'll see for a national anthem singer. ... Nice work by my Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons in winning their opening high school football playoff game Friday night, a 42-22 romp over Harper Woods. Well, eventually it was a romp, after SMCC allowed a 28-0 lead to become a 28-22 nailbiter by early in the fourth quarter. Next up: A victory Friday over Blissfield. ... Loved the extra hour's sleep Saturday night, hate the early darkness all winter.

Dislikes:
Starbucks should have an express line. Those of us who want a simple cup of coffee are stuck behind 12 people ordering overly dramatic drinks and wait far too long.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now we went walking in the rain
"Talking about the pain from the world we hid
"Now there ain't nobody nowhere nohow
"Gonna ever understand me the way you did
"Maybe you'll be out there on that road somewhere
"In some bus or train, traveling along
"In some motel room, there'll be a radio playing
"And you'll hear me sing this song
"Well if you do you'll know I'm thinking of you
"And all the miles in between
"And I'm just calling one last time
"Not to change your mind
"But just to say I miss you baby
"Good luck, goodbye"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Bobby Jean

Posted on: October 30, 2009 2:39 am
 

In land of missed opportunities, Werth's hurt

NEW YORK -- The Phillies talked a lot about missed opportunities after their 3-1 loss in Game 2 of the World Series. One important pivotal point for them came when Jayson Werth was picked off of first base by Yankees catcher Jose Molina following a leadoff single in the fourth inning.

The Phillies led 1-0 at the time and had a chance to extend it even further. But with nobody out and Raul Ibanez at the plate ... what, exactly, happened?

Werth had begun to steal, but had changed his mind and stopped when he saw A.J. Burnett's pitch to Ibanez in the dirt.

"Usually in that situation, when you start to steal and don't you go back to the bag early," Werth said.

When he spied the ball in the dirt, he didn't go back to the bag quite so early.

"And by the time I saw the ball, it was on its way to first base," Werth said. "It was unorthodox. I was in No Man's Land. He made a really good play. Unfortunately, it happens.

"I don't know how much different I'd do if the play happened again. It was just a good play by [Molina]."

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins saw the same thing almost happen to him an inning earlier when he was on second base, that's what he told Werth following Werth's disastrous pick-off at first.

"I told him Molina came up and did the same thing to me," Rollins said. "He pump faked, and if someone had been at second base, he may have gotten me.

"You see the ball in the dirt, and you automatically take an extra half step. And when he came up and pump-faked, I was like, Whoa."

From that point on, Rollins was extra wary. Molina was behind the plate instead of Jorge Posada because Molina has become A.J. Burnett's personal catcher.

"He's so good back there," Rollins said of Molina. "He's so quick getting the ball from the glove to the hand, even on a ball in the dirt.

"The only way you can go is if the ball gets behind him and he turns his back."

Ibanez struck out two pitches after Werth was nailed, and Matt Stairs followed with a fly to left to end the inning.

The Yankees would tie the game on Mark Teixeira's homer in the bottom of the fourth and take the lead for good two innings later.

"It happens, you know?" Rollins said of Werth's misplay. "Like I told him, it's the World Series. You're going to make some great plays sometimes. That was a great play."

***

The Phillies played Game 2 a man short: It wasn't well publicized, but they sent pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs back to Philadelphia early because he had a stomach virus.

"Rather than infecting the whole clubhouse, we sent him home," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Amaro said that as far as he knows, no other Phillies have caught Dobbs' bug.

Posted on: October 28, 2009 11:30 pm
 

Phillies, Lee mow down Yanks in Game 1

NEW YORK -- First World Series dance for the new joint in the Bronx, the House That Jeter Built, or Steinbrenner Built, or whatever the construction company was, and a guy from Philadelphia played the part of Babe Ruth.

With Chase Utley jacking two bases-empty home runs against CC Sabathia on a rain soaked evening that fell just a wee bit short of YES Network specs, the Yankees produced a 6-1 clunker that surely made the deserted old stadium across 161st St. shudder on its deathbed.

A Yankees team that scored more runs than any team in the majors this year failed to land a single significant blow against Philadelphia ace Cliff Lee until the game was well out of hand.

He whiffed 10, including seven in the first four innings. Throwing a cut fastball that bore in hard on right-handed hitters all evening, Lee fanned Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez twice each in each man's first two plate appearances.

Lee was a one-man highlight show, catching Robinson Cano's bouncer up the middle behind his back on his follow-through to lead off the eighth. After throwing Cano out at first, Lee grinned.

A-Rod went 0-for-4 with three whiffs, and didn't get the ball out of the infield in his other at-bat against Lee (a ground ball to third). Were all those postseason accolades premature? Will our man A-Rod rise back up again and make Rudy Giuliani and Kate Hudson proud?

He'd better. Because the Yankees now are caught up in a Cliff-hanger like they haven't seen in quite some time in 2009. They assumed first place in the AL East for good by July. They cruised through September after beginning the month with a 6 1/2-game lead in the East.

They swept Minnesota in the Division Series and swiped a 2-0 lead against the Angels in the AL Championship Series.

But one game into the World Series, against the defending world champions and a club Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins declared would beat them in five games, the Yankees officially now are knee-deep in their sternest test yet.

It's only one game, and the Yankees are deep and expensive, so it's not anywhere near catastrophic yet.

But given their surprisingly thin rotation and inordinate dependence on CC Sabathia, the situation is serious. In what likely will remain a three-man rotation, any time Sabathia doesn't win, it dangerously shifts the pressure elsewhere.

A.J. Burnett, you're up next against the fabled, often fabulous Pedro Martinez.

Whaddaya got?

 

 

Posted on: October 27, 2009 9:32 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2009 9:35 pm
 

Phillies add Brett Myers to World Series roster

NEW YORK -- Looking for any edge in what figures to be a classic and closely contested World Series, the Phillies on Tuesday made one roster change, activating pitcher Brett Myers and dropping infielder Miguel Cairo.

Myers, a hard-throwing righty, made one appearance against Colorado in the NL Division Series, but the Phillies did not include him on their NL Championship Series roster against the Dodgers. During his stint against the Rockies, two-third of an inning, he walked two batters.

"We felt like we needed another pitcher because the moves that we've been making in situations, we ran through five pitchers in one inning against the Dodgers," manager Charlie Manuel said. "And I feel like if those things happen again, we always need pitching."

Not to mention the fact that the Yankees scored the most runs in the majors this year.

"I feel like with Myers' stuff and the fact that he's in better shape and he's well and ready to pitch," Manuel said. "I feel like his talent actually belongs on our staff."

Myers went 4-3 with a 4.84 ERA for the Phillies during an injury-plagued season. He worked in only 18 games, starting 10. He began the season in the rotation but suffered a torn labrum in his hip and had surgery on June 4. He worked out of the bullpen when he returned in September.

Likes:
Much of the western part of the country might not care, but this Yankees-Phillies World Series comes with terrific passion in the host cities. ... Yankees owner George Steinbrenner scheduled to attend Game 1. ... Jorge Posada on Jimmy Rollins' prediction that the Phillies will win in five games: "He's been Nostradamus, that's what I've heard." ... Great tabloid headlines today. New York Post: Gotham Trembles: The Frillies are coming to town! Complete with a weird cover photo mash-up of Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino from the waist up, with a woman's lower half, wearing a skirt. And the Daily News writes: Pity Silly-delphia for thinking they can beat N.Y. ... Il Vagabondo on East 62nd in New York.

Dislikes: The Yankees can't actually allow Chad Gaudin anywhere near a World Series start, can they? ... Game 1 on Oct. 28. What a joke. ... The hoopla surrounding Michael Jackson's This Is It. I really hope it is.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Born into Nixon, I was raised in hell
"A welfare child where the teamsters dwelled
"The last one born and the first one to run
"My town was blind from the refinery sun
"My generation is zero
"I never made it as a working class hero"

-- Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown

 

Posted on: October 16, 2009 11:09 pm
 

Utley suddenly air-mailing more than Fed Ex

LOS ANGELES -- As the Phillies headed back to Philadelphia following a tough 2-1 loss here in Game 2, they dragged a very troubling question with them:

What in the world is going on with second baseman Chase Utley?

He air-mailed a relay throw past Ryan Howard in Game 2 Friday on what would have been an important eighth-inning double play.

And a night earlier, he heaved another relay throw over Howard's head and into the Phillies' dugout that helped keep alive the Dodgers' three-run fifth inning.

"Utley is probably one of the most fundamentally sound players I've ever seen," Dodgers' pinch-hitter Jim Thome, a former teammate of Utley's, said following Game 2. "Him and Omar Vizquel, and you can't forget about Roberto Alomar. He's in there too. Utley is a very sound player."

Which is what make his two spectacularly off-target throws so inexplicable.

"He's a great player, obviously," Phillies reliever Ryan Madson said. "That's the human nature part of it."

Utley now has two errors in two NLCS games after committing only 12 over 156 regular season games this year.

In Game 1, Utley threw away a relay after taking a quick flip from shortstop Jimmy Rollins. He appeared to lose the handle on the ball as he threw. Rollins, after watching the replay following the game, said he didn't think Rafael Furcal was close enough to the bag to where his slide would have bothered Utley.

In Game 2, third baseman Pedro Feliz started what looked like it was going to be a quick 5-4-3 twin killing, with Utley receiving the throw from Feliz but heaving it to the Phils' dugout instead. That time, it appeared as if Ronnie Belliard's slide might have had something to do with Utley's too-quick release.

"Chase is better than that," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Those mistakes that you make like that, that happens sometimes. ... I know it plays a part in a game, and so does he.

"But at the same time, I've got a lot of faith in him. If there's one guy in the world that will work on it and correct it, it's Chase Utley."

Dodgers manager Joe Torre, too, thought Belliard's slide may have had something to do with Utley's Game 2 error.

"Errors are part of the game, and strikeouts and all that stuff," Torre said. "I mean, I'd certainly like to have his problems. He's pretty damned special."

Likes: Pedro Martinez and Vicente Padilla were such a pleasure to watch Friday afternoon. Martinez, especially, simply because he's such a different pitcher now. Where he once threw pure gas in the mid-to-upper 90s, he was lucky if his fastball touched 90 all afternoon. He mixed in mid-to-upper 80s fastballs, 87 m.p.h. changeups and some slow curves. "I'm tricking 'em," was how Martinez described his success. ... Can't blame Phillies coach Davey Lopes for declining to participate in the ceremonial first pitch ceremony before Game 1 when the Dodgers dragged out their famous infield from the 1970s -- Steve Garvey, Bill Russell and Ron Cey. Lopes was invited but, ever competitive, wasn't having any of it. Good call, Davey. ... Excellent work by the Falcons of Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High in shutting out Jefferson 21-0 on Friday night to clinch another Huron League football championship. Catholic Central, hats off to thee, to your colors. ... ah, who am I fooling. I can't sing.

Dislikes: Poor Chase Utley.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Is there nothing that I can say
"To make you change your mind
"I watch the world go round and round
"And see mine turning upside down"

-- Genesis, Throwing It All Away

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com