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September 2011

UPDATE: Phillies-Marlins Game Postponed; DH Set for Sept. 15th

Posted by Kevin Durso

Hurricane Irene has now claimed two games this weekend, and the record rainfall in Philly this month has claimed three games. You might just want to park it in front of the tv starting Monday, because from there, there won't be much time to catch your breath with all this baseball left to be played.

The Phillies and Marlins were going to make an attempt to play this afternoon, but ultimately decided against it shortly after the scheduled time of 1:05. The Phillies announced that the game will be made up as part of a day/night doubleheader on September 15th. The first game is scheduled for 2:35 P.M., with the second game following at 7:35 P.M.

The Phillies may have done this in the best interest of making it to Cincinnati for the start of their four-game series with the Reds on Monday. That starts an insane stretch of games for the Phillies - whose next day off would fall on September 29th, the day after the regular season concludes - who will play 33 games in 31 days. That includes two doubleheaders in a week's time.

For now, we will have to do without baseball for the weekend. But, once baseball is back, it will be nonstop for quite some time.


Buck Slams Oswalt, Phillies Drop Opener

Posted by Kevin Durso

Baseball is where the excitement is in Philly sports. So, when the Phillies get caught up in the weather of the summer, and get a few extra days off here and there, the games that actually get played are expected to be good. This one was everything but that. The Marlins got hit after hit in this one, and with the Phillies having no answer, were able to put this one away in a hurry.

The Marlins took advantage of an early error by the Phils to get on the board first. A throwing error by Wilson Valdez set up first and third with no outs. Logan Morrison followed by grounding into a double play, but a run scored to put the Marlins on the board.

Valdez redeemed himself in the third. He hadn't homered all season, and was starting to become the victim of some jokes from teammates. Joke no more, as Valdez blasted a solo shot to tie the game.

The Marlins got the run right back in the fourth. A leadoff double by Mike Stanton set up an RBI double by Greg Dobbs, giving the Marlins the lead back.

Roy Oswalt wasn't having his best night on the mound, and it was clear, but he was managing to keep the game close. That was until the sixth, when his mediocre stuff tonight finally caught up with him. Three straight singles to open the inning loaded the bases. John Buck followed by breaking the game opened. He lofted a fly ball to right that carried right into the first row of the stands for a grand slam, giving the Marlins a 6-1 lead. Roy Oswalt's night was done after that, as he allowed six runs (five earned), on 12 hits, walking one and striking out two.

The Phillies, as usual, refused to go quietly. With a two-out rally going in the sixth, as Placido Polanco and Chase Utley each picked up hits, Ryan Howard came to the plate, but not before Clay Hensley was removed for lefty Mike Dunn. Howard has hit righties so much better this season, especially for power, so it seemed like a smart move. Until Howard got a hold of Dunn's 1-0 pitch. Howard blasted a three-run shot, pulling the Phils to within two runs. The Phillies would even get the tying run to the plate in the inning, but Carlos Ruiz flied out to end the threat.

David Herndon came on to finish the sixth, and pitch a scoreless seventh. Mike Stutes came on to pitch a scoreless eighth.

The Phillies managed to get the tying run to the plate in the eighth. Polanco reached on an error by Greg Dobbs. From there, Chase Utley popped out weakly to short. Ryan Howard was caught looking. Hunter Pence managed to move Polanco to third with a single, but the Phillies could do nothing with the tying run on base, as John Mayberry Jr. was also called out on strikes to end the inning.

Ryan Madson came on for the ninth, and was able to hold that margin for the Phils. Raul Ibanez allowed the tying run to get to the plate with a single. Michael Martinez doubled to cut the lead to one. But, the Phillies couldn't finish the rally, and they dropped the opener to the Marlins, 6-5.

The Phillies really just had an unlucky game. Another first inning error haunted them, and when the Marlins finally got a huge chance to capitalize on a shaky outing by Roy Oswalt, they did. Give the Phillies some credit. They took yet another game they had no right being in, and made it a game. All that came too little, too late. And with the Marlins' bullpen giving the Phillies chances, they just couldn't get the big hit when they needed it.

The Phillies did get some strong offense, and had it not been for the sixth inning, who knows how this game would have turned out. Oswalt's outing was the reason the Phillies didn't win this game, but it also does involve the offense, who spent the first five inning struggling to get anything going. For most of the night, it seemed like one of those frustrating nights for the offense. By the time the game had ended, the Phillies had at least modest enough numbers that it indicates they could have won. But enough of all the possibilities. It is still another loss for the Phillies, who may have to carry that one with them until Monday night. It all depends on how the weather and Irene responds tomorrow.


Saturday Night August 27th Phillies-Marlins Game is Rescheduled to September 15th

Posted by Frank Klose

Hurricane_Irene


Here is the official release from the Phillies:

Friday, August 26, 2011

SATURDAY NIGHT PHILLIES GAME RESCHEDULED

The Phillies 7:05 p.m. game on Saturday, August 27 against the Florida Marlins has been postponed due to the threat of severe weather from Hurricane Irene.  The game will be played on Thursday, September 15, time to be determined.  All tickets for the August 27 game at 7:05 p.m. will be honored for entry into the September 15 game.

            The rescheduled Sunday, August 28 game is scheduled to be played at 1:05 p.m. game on Saturday, August 27. 

“Given the deteriorating forecast for Saturday night’s game, as well as the evening shut down of public transportation and the concern about conditions our fans might face leaving our game late Saturday night,  the decision was made to postpone the 7:05 p.m. game,” said Mike Stiles, Senior Vice President, Administration and Operations.

 

Phillies Try to Beat Storm While Facing Marlins

Posted by Kevin Durso

Philliedelphia/Kevin Durso

What a hectic few days it's been for the Phillies. After managing to play Tuesday night after a minor earthquake, Hurricane Irene has threatened play in their upcoming series with the Marlins. Due to the hurricane, the Phillies moved Sunday afternoon's game to Saturday as part of a doubleheader, and even those two games aren't guarantees for baseball. Still, the Phillies anticipate the storm will cause some problems, and with just three home games left before September, the Phillies are going to try to get them all in.

The Marlins are still at the bottom of the division despite the managerial change and other tweaks to the roster. They also have quite a bit going against them in this series. The Phillies are dealing big names in every game. The Marlins will also be playing in their second doubleheader this week, and have another one on Monday. That's right, Wednesday, Saturday, and Monday are all twin bills for the Fish.

The Marlins have plenty of young stars, and leading the way is Mike Stanton. His power is as good as anyone's in the game, and it shows with his 30 home runs and 77 RBIs. Also leading the charge are Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, and Emilio Bonifacio. Sanchez has a healthy .266 average and has hit 16 home runs and 64 RBIs. Morrison is coming off a trip to the minors, one that caused quite a stir around baseball. After all, this was twitter's favorite son. Morrison hasn't had a terrible season, hitting .249 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs. Bonifacio has one of the best averages on the team, hitting .284 with 3 home runs and 24 RBIs. But, being at the top of the order, he can cause quite a few problems on the bases.

Here are the pitching matchups for this series.

In the opener, Roy Oswalt (6-7, 3.51 ERA) goes against Clay Hensley (1-5, 5.47 ERA). Oswalt allowed eight hits in eight shutout innings against the Nationals his last time out. He has won his last two starts, his first two wins since June 12th. He faced the Marlins on April 15th, and took a no-decision, allowing two runs over six innings. The Phillies lost that game, 4-3. In 15 career starts against the Marlins, Oswalt is 6-4 with a 3.72 ERA. Hensley allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings to the Padres in his last start. He faced the Phillies as part of that April 15th loss, pitching 2/3 of an inning. In 17 career games, three of them starts, Hansley is 1-1 with a 2.94 ERA.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56 ERA) takes on Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 4.01 ERA). Halladay was pulled from his last start after five innings due to a rain delay, allowing two runs. He took a no-decision in the Phillies' 5-4 loss. Halladay has faced the Marlins twice this season. Halladay took the loss in a game on May 10th, allowing two runs in eight innings in the Phillies' 2-1 loss to the Marlins. On June 15th, as part of another doubleheader, Halladay took a no-decision, allowing four runs over seven innings. The Phillies won that game, 5-4. In nine career starts, Halladay is 4-3 with a 2.47 ERA against the Marlins. Sanchez took a no-decision in his last start, allowing three runs over five inning against the Padres. Sanchez has faced the Phillies three times this season. He took a no-decision, allowing two runs over six innings, in a 3-2 Phillies' win on April 17th. He took a no-decision on June 15th in the second game of a doubleheader, allowing two runs over seven innings of a Phillies' 5-4 win. On July 6th, he allowed five runs in four innings, taking a no-decision in a 7-6 Phillies' loss. In 14 career starts against the Phillies, Sanchez is 3-7 with a 5.67 ERA.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Cliff Lee (14-7, 2.71) gets the start for the Phillies. The Marlins have yet to announce their starter for the nightcap of the twin bill. Lee allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings in a win over the Mets his last start. Lee has faced the Marlins twice this season. He allowed three runs in six innings on May 11th, taking a no-decision in a 5-3 Phillies' win. On June 16th, he pitched a three-hit shutout, as the Phillies won 3-0. In four career starts, Lee is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA.

Prediction:
August 26 - Phillies 7, Marlins 2
August 27 (Game 1) - Phillies 4, Marlins 2
August 27 (Game 2) - Phillies 5, Marlins 1

It is still to be determined just how much of this series really gets played, but if it does, the Phillies have the clear edge. The Marlins are a team that continue to struggle this season, losing seven of their last eight games and just 5-17 this month, and with the Phillies dealing three of their best, it would take a lot for the Marlins to take any of these games. I'm sure they are just thrilled at facing Halladay and Lee on the same day.

In the opener, Roy Oswalt won't have to repeat his performance against the Nationals, and with Clay Hensley on the mound, the Phillies should roll. The Phillies generally have a way of hitting the Marlins' pitchers, especially if they find a way to avoid the toughest the Marlins have. The Marlins' rotation is very depleted, especially with Josh Johnson shelved for the season. The Phillies get to face more pitchers like this with those kinds of injuries.

The doubleheader could very well go the Phillies way as well. First off, they have their top two pitchers going, but with so much familiarity against the Marlins pitching, and the rough schedule the Marlins have had to endure, it could be a long weekend if you're a Marlins' pitcher. The offense, which hasn't been much better, has also been part of a few blowout losses this month, so if the Phillies could jump on a few early chances, a couple of games this series could be laughers.

The Phillies hit the road after this series for seven games. They face the Cincinnati Reds for four games after this series, then head to Florida to face the Marlins again next weekend.


Jim Thome Jim Thome Jim Thome Jim Thome Jim Thome #Phillies #Indians #Twins

Posted by Frank Klose

Jim_Thome-Indians
Courtesy bigleadsports.com

So, the Cleveland Indians have been awarded the waiver claim on Jim Thome.   It would be a great story, going back to where he started in Cleveland, no?

Well, not so fast.

Thome can reject the deal, and he may just opt to stay where he is.  Or the Twins could decide Thome deserves a chance to be a champion and simply let him go.

Thome reportedly prefers the Phillies, and to get him to the Phillies is not something people are happy about.

Talk of "circumventing" the waiver process and angering teams seems to out there as well, according to Rosenthal:

Thome, who holds a full no-trade clause, and can reject any deal. He prefers the Phillies to the Indians, one source said, but it’s doubtful he could circumvent the waiver process to land with Philadelphia.

Thome could decleare free agency if he is placed on trade waivers and a team he does not like claims him.    This is not circumventing anything; these are the rules.  If anything, Jim Thome's 20 seasons dedicated to the game of baseball have earned him the opportunity to do so.

Further, why would the Twins want to aid their division-rival Indians into making the playoffs?

Would Cleveland be a good match anyway?  Indians fan @unknowndrummer would be very upset at the reaquisition of Thome:

UnknownDrmmer_Thome
That's pretty harsh.

Thome has been booed every time back to Cleveland since signing with the Phillies.  Maybe he just won't want to go.

h/t to @hiphop_JORGE for introducing us to Unknown Drummer


Hurricane Irene Knocks Out Phillies Game on Sunday, August 28 Against Marlins

Posted by Frank Klose

  Hurricane_Irene
Weather.com (The Weather Channel) calls the threat "extreme" for Philadelphia.

With Hurricane Irene, on the way, the Phillies have announced that they will not attempt to play on Sunday, August 28th, but try a day-night double header on Saturday, August 27th, according to NBC 10's John Clark.

Kate Bilo of CBS 3 reports that the track of Hurricane Irene has shifted west, which is not good news for the Delaware Valley.   Govenor Christie has declared a State of Emergency for the State of New Jersey.

Phillies gameday employee and loyal Philliedelphia reader @ellejay8 reports that as a Phillies employee, she has not received word of any changes:

Laura_Tracz


Phillies' Bullpen Drained in 7-4 Loss to Mets

Posted by Danielle Wilson

The Mets were due to win a game, that much I know. They've lost 17 of their last 22 games, and lost the first two games of this series to the Phils, losing the series.

Kyle Kendrick imploded in the first inning, to say the least. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Lucas Duda grounded into a fielder's choice scoring Angel Pagan. Nick Evans launched a three-run home run in the same inning, giving the Mets a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, Shane Victorino scored Michael Martinez and Carlos Ruiz on a single, putting the Phils on the board. Utley singled to score Victorino in the same inning. 4-3 Mets.

David Wright homered in the third, extending his team's lead to two runs. In the fourth, Pagan scored on a sacrifice fly by Wright, 6-3 Mets. Nick Evans doubled to score Jason Bay in the fifth inning, 7-3.

Kyle Kendrick pitched a tough four innings this afternoon allowing six runs (two earned) on seven hits, walking one and striking out one. Michael Schwimer walked two and allowed a run on one hit in the fifth inning.

Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless sixth, striking out two. Young, filthy Antonio Bastardo walked two and struck out two in the seventh inning. It was an exhausting day for the Phillies' bullpen.

Hunter Pence reached on an infield single in the seventh inning scoring Chase Utley from third, 7-4 game.

Ryan Madson kept the game at 7-4, striking out one in the ninth inning, but the Phillies could not come back in the bottom half, losing to the Mets.

Off day tomorrow, the Marlins will travel to Philly to face Roy Oswalt with Clay Hensley on the mound for Florida.


Then and Now: Patrick Sharp

[caption id="attachment_4179" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Thanks to Forsythe and the Flyers"][/caption]

The 2010 Stanley Cup Finals is something a Flyers' fan never wants to think about. Adding on to the agony of coming so close to the Cup and the constant replaying of Patrick Kane's weak goal line shot was the fact multiple former Flyers hurt them in the Finals. Ben Eager had the game-winning goal in Game 2, Kane, who never played for the Flyers but was selected first by the Chicago Blackhawks despite the Flyers having the worst record in the league, had eight points in the series (including three in Game 6), and Patrick Sharp had six points.

Sharp was picked by the Flyers in the third round back in the 2001 NHL Draft going 95th overall, one pick behind Evgeny Artyukhin. Playing one more year at the University of Vermont, Sharp joined the Flyers' organization in 2002 playing the majority of his games with the Phantoms. Sharp went pointless in three games with the Flyers during the 2002-2003 season making his debut on October 10th against the Edmonton Oilers. With the Phantoms, Sharp scored 14 goals and had 19 assists.

[caption id="attachment_4180" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Thanks to Life.com"][/caption]

The following season Sharp would see more time in the NHL than the AHL. Playing in 18 less games with the Phantoms, Sharp had 15 goals, one more than the prior season. He'd have five less assists for a total of 29 points. Despite playing in 41 games with the Flyers during the 2003-2004 season, Sharp only averaged 9:56 of ice time per game. Limited to such little time on the ice, Sharp only had five goals and two assists. He'd join the Flyers for the playoffs scoring a goal in the Flyers' Game 5 loss to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. The goal was Sharp's only point in 12 games during the postseason (go to 1:27).


Thanks to jerms819

Staying in Philadelphia during the lockout, Sharp played the entire 2004-2005 season with the Phantoms. Posting his highest point total for any of his seasons in Philadelphia, Sharp had 23 goals and 29 assists in 75 games before the Phantoms headed for the AHL playoffs. Taking part in every game of the Calder Cup run, Sharp had eight goals and 13 assists as the Phantoms won the AHL Championship for the second time in franchise history.

[caption id="attachment_4181" align="aligncenter" width="234" caption="Thanks to Life.com"][/caption]

After enjoying his first championship as a pro, Sharp experienced his only trade to date during the next season. In early December, after posting eight points in 22 games, Sharp was shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks along with right winger Eric Meloche in exchange for Matt Ellison and Chicago's 3rd round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft. The Flyers later traded this pick to Montreal for a third and fourth round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft. With these picks the Flyers drafted Jonathan Matsumoto and Jakub Kovar respectively while the Canadiens drafted Ryan White.

[caption id="attachment_4182" align="aligncenter" width="280" caption="Thanks to nhlpa.com"][/caption]

Finishing out the 2005-2006 season with the Hawks, Sharp took part in 50 games scoring nine goals and posting 14 assists as Chicago finished fourteenth in the Western Conference. Following the season, Sharp signed a two-year contract with the Hawks.

Sharp played in eight more games the following season with the Hawks as he scored 20 goals and posted 15 assists. As Sharp's performance improved, the Hawks seemed to fade. Chicago finished 13th in the conference with 71 points, 15 more than the Flyers' 56 points, allowing them to obtain Patrick Kane with the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft.

The 2007-2008 season was more of the same for Sharp and the Blackhawks. Sharp played 80 games for the second straight season and reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career as he had 36. With the addition of 26 assists, Sharp had 62 points for the Blackhawks as they finished just three points out of the playoffs. This was the Hawks' fifth straight season missing the playoffs and their ninth time in ten seasons.

Sharp only played in 61 regular season games during the 2008-2009 season. Missing 16 games due to a sprained left knee in February, Sharp only had 44 points scoring 26 goals and posting 18 assists. Although Sharp had a season not quite up to his expectations, the Hawks ended the season fourth in the Western Conference and earned a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

The Hawks had an impressive run as they reached the Conference Finals for the first time since 1995. Sharp helped the Hawks by scoring seven goals during their 17 game run tying him with Jonathan Toews for second on the team. Against the Calgary Flames during the Western Conference Quarterfinals Sharp had three goals and three assists in six games including the game-winner in Game 5. As Chicago beat the Vancouver Canucks in six games during the Conference Semifinals, Sharp had two goals, both of which came in Game 2, and an assist. In their final series against the Detroit Red Wings, Sharp had two goals and the game-winner in Game 3.

Gaining experience in the postseason, Sharp and his teammates were poised to make another deep Cup run in the 2010 playoffs. During the regular season, Sharp played every game scoring 25 goals, four of which were game-winners. He'd also set his career high in assists with 41 and points with 66. Sharp's performance helped the Hawks grab the Central Division title as well as second place in the Western Conference standings heading into the 2010 playoffs.

Sharp took part in all 22 of the Blackhawks' postseason games in 2010 as they went on to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1961. Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien shared the team lead in goals during the 2010 postseason with 11. In their 6-game series victory against the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, Sharp had three goals and four assists including a two-goal game with the game-winner in Game 4 and a three-point game in Game 6. As the Hawks beat the Canucks in the Western Conference Semifinals for the second straight year, Sharp had two goals and five assists highlighted by a four-point game in Game 4. In Chicago's sweep of the San Jose Sharks in the Conference Finals, Sharp had two goals.

Sharp and his teammates were now four wins away from the Stanley Cup. All that stood in front of them was Sharp's former team, the Philadelphia Flyers. Showing how thankful he was that the Flyers helped him reach the NHL, Sharp scored four goals against his former team adding on two assists. Sharp's performance helped Chicago end their 49-year Cup drought.

[caption id="attachment_4183" align="aligncenter" width="185" caption="Thanks to brycehubner.com"][/caption]

"It means everything," Sharp told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's unbelievable just to see everybody on the ice, to see our families who supported us all year long. I dreamed about holding (the Stanley Cup) my whole life - what a feeling."

Sharp followed up his Cup-winning experience in 2010 with a great personal season of his own. Setting a career high in points, Sharp had 34 goals and 37 assists this past season for 71 points. His effort earned him a spot at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. Playing for Team Staal, Sharp had a goal and two assists which allowed him to be the game's MVP.

[caption id="attachment_4184" align="aligncenter" width="298" caption="Thanks to SI.com"][/caption]

Limping their way into the postseason, the Hawks were handed the eight seed in the Western Conference thanks to a lackluster effort from the Dallas Stars on the final day of the regular season. Not taking advantage of the situation, the Hawks found themselves in an 0-3 hole to the Vancouver Canucks heading into Game 4. Fighting valiantly to force a Game 7, the Hawks came one goal away from pulling off the hardest comeback in all of sports falling to the Canucks in overtime. Sharp had three goals and two assists in the series along with the Hawks' best scoring chance in overtime of Game 7.


Thanks to canucksTV1

Patrick Sharp's career is likely far from over. Turning 30 in December, Sharp still has several more seasons to capture another Stanley Cup in Chicago. His fame and glory may come in Chicago, but Sharp broke into the league with Philadelphia, a fact he is quick to remember.

"They were a first-place team, pushing for a championship, and it was tough to break into that lineup," Sharp told NHL.com. "I was thankful for the Flyers trading me to a great place that gave me a chance to play."


Vance Worley Fans Career High Nine Batters in 9-4 Win over LOLMets

Posted by Danielle Wilson

Worley
Worley strikes out Scott Hairston in the seventh inning for the final out

Vance Worley has easily become the fourth ace, now fifth ace with Roy Oswalt back, and is doing so with incredible pitching and an awesome mohawk.

 Shane Victorino scored the first run of the game with a solo shot to left field in the third inning, it was his fourteenth of the year.

Next, it was John Mayberry, Jr's turn to go yard with a three-run homer to left, giving the Phils a 4-0 lead in the same inning.

In the fourth inning, Placido Polanco singled to score Vance Worley, and that's when Niese was taken out of the game.

The bottom of the fifth was simply a nightmare for the LOLMets, seeing that the bases were loaded with nobody out to start a rally. First, Wilson Valdez popped up a sacrifice fly, one run scored. Next, Vance Worley singled to score Ben Francisco. Finally, Shane Victorino tripled to score Francisco and Worley. It was Shane's fourteenth triple of the season which is a career high. 9-0 Phillies.

In the top of the seventh, Justin Turner grounded out to score Nick Evans, and the LOLMets had finally gotten on the board for the first time in the series.

Vance Worley pitched a beautiful game, tossing seven innings tonight. His line: Five hits, one earned run, one walk, nine strikeouts. Those nine K were a career high for him.

Michael Stutes came in for the eighth and allowed a two-run home run to Lucas Duda, making it a 9-3 game. He remained in the game for the ninth allowing a lead off triple, followed by a groundout which scored Nick Evans. After giving up a double, Ryan Madson began warming up in the 'pen but was not needed as Michael Stutes retired the side, helping with the 9-4 win.

Phillies will go for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon with Kyle Kendrick on the mound against Mike Pelfrey.