Posts Tagged ‘philadelphia phillies’
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
The Nationals fell to Dillon Gee and the New York Mets, 2-0 in New York — dropping two of three games in their series against their division rivals. The Nationals, a strong defensive team in 2012, committed three errors.
But the loss is most likely to be remembered for a Jayson Werth at bat in the 8th inning. Werth came to the plate with two on and nobody out, and the Mets pressing for the win. But Werth squandered the scoring opportunity, hitting into a double play on a 3-0 count.
The Nationals might have looked forward to facing Gee in their final New York weekend contest, particularly since the New York righty had been ineffective in the early going. But Gee pitched his best game of the year, giving up just three hits while striking out six in 5.2 innings of work.
“I’m just happy to finally contribute to a win,” a clearly happy Gee said following the game. “That’s the truth — we needed to step it up. It’s been really eating away at me the past few weeks, not going out there and doing my job.”
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann was not as effective as he was during his prior outing, when he pitched a complete game, but he gave his team a chance to win. Zimmermann pitched five complete, giving up just two hits and two runs. The big blow for New York came off the bat of John Buck, who stroked his 7th home run of the year in the second inning.
Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson was clearly irritated by the loss, and particularly by Jayson Werth’s swing on the 3-0 count in the 8th. It was the best chance the Nationals had of putting runs on the board. Johnson refused to comment on Werth’s at bat.
But while Johnson remained silent on the incident, Jayson Werth did not: “Looking back, I was trying to do too much, I was trying to win the game right there,” he said following the loss. “The situation got the best of me. It was probably one of the dumber things I’ve done on the field in a while.”
The Nationals return home today to begin a three game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, and hope to gain retribution for last year’s playoff loss. The Nationals will then face the Cincinnati Reds in a four game contest — a stretch of seven tough games against some of their strongest N.L. competition.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Nationals and Cardinals are evenly matched. Both teams are 10-8 and both teams are having problems with their bullpen. Last night in Philadelphia, St. Louis got six-plus strong innings from starter Jake Westbrook before reliever Mitchell Boggs gave up four runs in the eighth . . .
The Cardinals don’t have the pitching the Nationals do (at least not on paper) but while their starting five is older it is also savvy. The likely end of Chris Carpenter’s career has vaulted Adam Wainwright into the first slot in the St. Louis rotation and he’s a gamer. Just two weeks ago he threw a complete game four hitter in Milwaukee . . .
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Ross Detwiler dominated the Marlins, holding Miami to seven hits in seven complete innings, and the Washington Nationals went on to take the third of three games in their South Florida match-up, 6-1. Detwiler, Washington’s fifth starter, struck out five without walking a single Miami hitter.
“He’s definitely not [a fifth starter],” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said of Detwiler following the victory. “He’s got great stuff and he locates it well. He uses both sides of the plate as good as anybody I’ve seen. He’s still in the learning stages. But he’s awfully good just right where he’s at.”
The Nationals’ victory, which provided a series win, was a relief for a team that has often struggled — and was coming off a three game series sweep at the hands of the Braves in Washington. Last night, in addition to Detwiler’s magic, the offense made a strong showing: catcher Kurt Suzuki notched a triple and home run and Bryce Harper was 4-5.
Bryce Harper’s output remains prodigious (he’s hitting .364 with five home runs) as does, apparently, his desire to play the game. Last night he played with the flu, bent over at the plate and throwing up between innings. “I thought he was going to die every time he went up there and he got a hit,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Nationals, now at 9-6, head north to face the Mets in a series that opens on Friday night. The first game provides a key match-up of contending fireballers: ace Stephen Strasburg vs. up-and-comer Matt Harvey. Harvey has been stunningly good, flirting with a no-hitter in his last outing versus the Twinkies in Minnesota . . .
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
These are the “sinking like a stone” Phillies: aging, slow, confused and hobbled — Philadelphia may be headed to last place in the N.L. East, behind even the Miami Pathetics. Okay, okay, it’s too soon to tell, but if last night’s effort against the Mets is any indication, the Ponies are in trouble. And Roy Halladay is exhibit number one.
Last night in Philly (with some 35,000 looking on), Halladay struggled against a line-up that, just two years ago, he would have easily tamed. He allowed seven runs and six hits in four-plus innings on the way to a 7-2 Philadelphia loss. Halladay’s earned run average after two starts is 14.73 and while he says his problems are mental, his fastball velocity is off — from 94 mph two seasons ago to 90 mph last night. He didn’t scare anybody.
But Halladay isn’t the only problem. A passel of aging veterans (Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre) and developing or back-of-the-rotation arms (Vance Worley, Joe Blanton) are gone, but the team hasn’t gotten any younger. Philadelphia G.M. Ruben Amaro replaced the aging Polanco with the aging Michael Young and failed to cut any overhead (Halladay will cost $20 million this year, Cliff Lee will cost $25 million) — with the payroll at $159 million plus.
If there’s a bright spot here it’s that Amaro has shorn up the outfield with the addition of Ben Revere, a defensive speedster that is the first piece in where the Phillies need to go. The problem is that Amaro gave up fan favorite Worley (who was 11-3 just two years ago) and a young prospect, Trevor May, to get him. That’s not good: the farm system is embarrassingly light on talent: their top prospect, pitcher Jesse Biddle, is no closer than AA Reading.
What the Phillies are banking on (so to speak) is that Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels (signed to a long term contract last year) will return to their 2011 form and that the geriatric infield quartet of Young, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will hit well enough to carry Philly into the post-season.
It could happen, we suppose, but the possibility is slowly closing. Just take a look at last night. While Halladay labored, Mets’ newbie Matt Harvey hardly broke a sweat. Harvey struck out nine hitters in just seven innings (Ryan Howard, twice), leaving the fleet footed Revere stranded three times.
After the game, “Baseball Tonight” analyst Curt Shilling said that Halladay needs to re-learn how to pitch now that his fastball is no longer what it was. That seems right: everyone on the Madoffs (hardly a ball crushing team) was catching up to Halladay last night, including nine hole hitter Harvey. The big blast came in the second, with journeyman catcher John Buck homering on a Halladay “fastball” that was up, out — and slow.
Philly commenter Joe Santoliquito has this right — comparing Halladay to an aging fighter. “He’s groping,” Santoliquito wrote this morning. “Like an aged world champion fighter who can’t accept reality. They can’t get out of the way of a punch anymore. Their feet don’t move when their mind wants it.” So Halladay is reeling — but then, so is the entire Philly line-up.
From "My Mets Journal"
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
There are people who throw salt over their shoulder, who won’t walk under a ladder, who dodge sidewalk cracks as they head to their office — and then there are the rest of us: who audibly groan when we see own hometown boys featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It’s the kiss of death.
Honest To God: the S.I. “Kiss Of Death” syndrome is not just some kind of black cat superstition. Just ask Cubs’ fans. Back in 2004, S.I. featured fireballer Kerry Wood on its cover under the headline “Do You Believe?” In fact, the answer to that question for “long suffering Cubs fans” (note: the words “Cubs fans” must always be preceded by the words — “long suffering”) was an emphatic “no.” They knew better, especially with Dusty “arm killer” Baker in charge. The 2004 Champs were the Boston Red Sox, who swept the series from the stinking Cardinals. The Cubs finished sixteen back.
Which is not to say that this year’s S.I prediction, authored by Tom Verducci (who says our guys look a lot like Davey Johnson’s ’86 Mets), is wrong. The CFG crew (and, as a reminder, here we are), thinks this is the best team the Nationals have ever fielded (well, that was easy) and arguably the best in baseball. But predicting a World Series match-up against the Rays (S.I.’s pick in the well-named Junior Circuit) is a bit of a stretch. The playoffs are now a second season, in which anything can happen — as any old Nationals’ fan can now tell you.
Is the Sports Illustrated jinx real? The first baseball player to appear on an S.I. cover — this was back in 1954 — was Eddie Matthews who, after his appearance, broke his hand. Pete Rose appeared on the cover in the same week, in 1978, that his 44 game hitting streak ended. “Indian Uprising,” back in 1987 featured the powerhouse Cleveland Indians: who finished in last place, with the worst record in baseball. And in May of last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers (then in first place) appeared on the cover with the headline “Fun and Games In L.A.” — and promptly tanked.
So, while the S.I. jinx is simply a superstition, it’s hard to argue with history. Then too, the reason there’s a 162 game season is not simply to test of team’s excellence, but it’s luck. It’s ability to overcome fate, and injuries and those odd little bounces that rob a sure winner of a Series championship. And there’s that other thing: the Nationals might well be “the best team in baseball,” at least on paper, but the coming season won’t be played on paper. It’ll be played against the likes of the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. Among others.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Ah, we’re back — and this time for good. The snow has melted, we can feel Spring in the air, and the Nationals are just days from their opener. It’s the season of predictions: with everyone assessing starting rotations and winter trades.
So too, usually, we make our predictions at this time of the off-season. But this year, we’re going to do something different — we’re going to pick the counterfactuals: those teams expected to do well who, in our estimation, are overrated. Here we go:
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
No one, but no one, would have thought this back in 2005 — when the Nationals arrived in Washington, D.C.. And only a handful (and maybe not even that) would have thought this at the beginning of this year.
But today the Washington Nationals closed out the 2012 campaign with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies to seal the best record in the major leagues. It’s now official: the Nationals are the best team in baseball. This was their 98th victory.
The Nationals are not only the best team in baseball, they’re the team to beat in the playoffs. Today showed why. The Phillies (who used to be called the reigning N.L. East Champs, until the Nats snatched the title away) were tamed handily by Edwin Jackson, who threw 6.2 convincing innings, giving up a single run with six strikeouts.
The Nationals played their subs, or at least many of them, but it didn’t matter. The D.C. Nine boasted home runs from Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Michael Morse, while Washington stroked eleven hits. Even Jonathan Papelbon, hoping to end his season on a high note, was victimized for two runs in the Nationals’ 8th.
Relievers Christian Garcia, Sean Burnett and Michael Gonzalez finished off what Jackson started, blanking Phillie in just over two innings of work: they made it look easy. This was a historic season for the Nationals: they not only locked up the top seed in the post-season, their 98 wins were 18 more than last year — nearly unheard of in baseball.
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
The Wisdom Of Section 1-2-9: There never was, or probably ever will be, such a night of scoreboard watching. “The Pirates are into the 9th, it’s the top of the 9th,” a regular in Row AA announced and the word spread through the section as others in the crowd looked out at the scoreboard . . .
“Do you suppose it’s Joel Hanrahan? Wouldn’t that be something?” a regular asked, and there were low titters and some shaking heads. People were checking their cellphones and apps. “I have no idea who’s coming up for the Braves.” Another added: “Just like Freddie Freeman or someone to put one out and tie it. You just watch, you just watch . . .”
There was a vain hope that somehow the Nationals might come out in the bottom of their own 9th inning and put three on the board against the Phillies, thereby sweeping into the playoffs without the help of the Stargells, but as one of the regulars (who’d been to every home game), in the section put it: “I don’t give a damn how we get in . . .”
In truth, by the bottom of the 9th, we didn’t care that the Phillies were leading the Nationals 2-0. We were in Pittsburgh, with the Pirates. We knew, we just knew, that they’d have to win. The Nationals were playing flat, and that’s just the way it was. So as Kyle Kendrick acted like he was Juan Marichal, we watched the scoreboard . . .
You know: we all thought that somehow we’d see the moment, the actual instance when the game in Pittsburgh went final — when the scoreboard changed over from two outs to show a final “F,” and the Nationals would cinch. But that’s not how it happened. Instead, we were between innings, and a low roar started, in the lower boxes . . .
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Straining for the National League East flag with the season winding down, the Washington Nationals needed a win in Philadelphia, and they got one on Wednesday night, downing the Phillies 8-4, behind the arm of John Lannan and the hitting of Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth.
Spot starter Lannan, who spent most of the year in Syracuse, picked up his fourth win against no losses, throwing a solid 5.1 innings of five hit baseball while striking out three. Bryce Harper added his 20th home run, while Jayson Werth silenced the booing Philadelphia crowd in the 9th inning by plating two RBIs in a two hit night.
The victory, with Atlanta winning yet again in Miami, put the Nationals magic number to clinch the N.L. East at four games. The Nationals jumped out to an early lead, putting five runs on the board in the first two innings against Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick, with home runs from Harper, as well as Ian Desmond (his 25th) and Kurt Suzuki (his 6th).
“Any time you can come in here and get a win, it’s very satisfying,” said Lannan after the victory. Lannan has not normally fared well against the Phillies, going 3-12 against them in his career. Wednesday was certainly different — as he set down Philadelphia with seeming ease into the 6th.