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Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Phillies’

Let’s start with the good.  Morales made his 2013 debut, and I have to say that it went decently.  He pitched five solid innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out two.  The runs he allowed were the result of a mistake: a two-run home run hit in the first with two out.  Other than that, he was great.

Even the relief corps pulled it together; none of our five relievers gave up a run.  Breslow pitched the sixth, and he and Mortensen teamed up for the seventh.  Tazawa pitched the eighth, and Bailey pitched the ninth.

Let’s end with the better.  Namely, our offense.  We scored our first run in the first; Ellsbury and Nava hit back-to-back singles, and Ellsbury scored on a groundout by Pedroia.  Then Papi walked, Carp singled in Nava, and one out later, Salty batted in two runs with a double.

We didn’t score again until the sixth.  With one out, Iglesias singled, and Gomes came in to pinch-hit for Morales, whose night was thereby over.  It was a good thing he did, though.  Gomes rocketed the ball out of the park for a two-run homer.  According to the Phillies, Gomes took too long to start his jog around the bases, and the pitcher hit Ellsbury.  Needless to say, both sides were warned.  In the end, it had no affect on us at all.  One inning later, Papi led off with a solo shot of his own, also a rocket in a hurry to get out.

In the end, Ellsbury went three for four and stole a whopping five bases.  Salty and Iglesias both had multi-hit games.

Now comes the best part: the final score.  6-2.

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We lost again.  But we expect good outings from Lackey, so the fact that he pitched really well, fortunately, is not so surprising.  The fact that he didn’t have any run support was not great.  And the relief corps did not pitch well at all.  Basically, what I’m saying is that it’s tough to find an unexpected nice surprise in this one.

Lackey delivered yet another quality start.  Three runs on six hits over the course of six innings while walking three and striking out five.  But when I say quality start, it was barely quality.  His final line says quality, but his actual performance says not-so-much.  All three of those runs came via the long ball, which means that half of his hits were home runs, and he made three huge mistakes.

He had a one-two-three first and gave up a solo shot on his third pitch of the second.  He gave up a single and a walk in the third and two consecutive solo shots in the fourth.  He had a one-two-three fifth and issued two walks in the sixth.

After Lackey gave up those three home runs, we were down by only one run.  Ellsbury tripled on the sixth pitch of the game, and he scored on a sac fly by Pedroia.  And Nava homered on the third pitch of the sixth, launching the ball beyond the right field fence.  It was awesome.  And too little.

Miller came on for the eighth and loaded the bases with one out thanks to a single and two consecutive walks; Uehara finished the inning but gave up a home run to lead off the eighth, which doubled the Phillies’ lead in a game in which runs were already hard to come by.

And then, the ninth inning came along.  With one out, Drew walked.  One out later, Gomes singled.  Drew scored on a double by Ellsbury, and the tying run moved to third; the go-ahead run was standing at second.  There were two out, and we had a chance to win it all back.  It would be epic.  Epic like the walkoff wins we’ve had lately.

But instead, Nava grounded out on the first pitch of his at-bat.  And we lost, 4-3.

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We lost.  It was very disappointing.  We were put in a position to win, and we lost.  But it wasn’t our pitchers’ fault.  If hitters could be given decisions, the lineup would be saddled with the loss, not Dempster.  Last night, Dempster was a winner.

The game was tied before the first inning was over.  Dempster’s seventh pitch of the game was hit for a solo shot.  And Ellsbury led off the bottom of the inning with a single, stole second, and scored on a single by Pedroia.

That was it for us.  For the whole game.  Just the one run.  We had a grand total of three runners in scoring position and made good on only one of those opportunities.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said of the Phillies.  For his part, Dempster more or less cruised for the rest of the game; it was one of the best starts we’ve seen from him to date, and it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t get any run support to speak of.  He shut the Phillies out during the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.  He gave up a single to lead off the seventh; the runner advanced on a sac bunt and scored on another single.  All told, though, he gave up only two runs on six hits while walking three and striking out four over the course of seven innings.  And he threw only ninety-eight pitches.  That, my friends, is what I call a quality start.  I mean, it’s as good as it gets.  That’s how really great pitchers pitch on a good day.  And the fact that we saw an outing like that from Dempster shows that he has it in him.  It’s great to see it come out.  Now, that’s what I call a silver lining.

Breslow pitched the eighth, Tazawa pitched the ninth, and Dempster took a very undeserved loss with a final score of 3-1.

USA Today Sports Staff/Bob DeChiara

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This one was not dramatic.  It wasn’t a nailbiter.  At no point was it the least bit suspenseful.  No, we just had to deal with the fact that we were on top from the very beginning.  Somehow, it wasn’t that hard to adapt to that kind of situation.  Somehow, when we’re busy cleaning up like that, it just feels natural.

Aceves started this one, and I have to say that he did an absolutely spectacular job.  Just going in there and randomly starting a game when you’re not doing it on a regular basis is no easy task, but Aceves made it look like just that.  He pitched six innings of one-run ball, giving up seven hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.  Even that one run was the result of just one isolated mistake; Aceves missed his spot with a fastball thrown with one out in the third, and it was hit for a solo shot.  Other than that, his start was as solid as solid gets.

So was Mortensen’s seventh.  The same can not be said of the eighth.  Mortensen gave up a double to start the frame.  Then there was a fielder’s choice, and then he was replaced by Miller.  Miller gave up the second home run of the night for the Phillies; this one, though, was a two-run home run that came on a slider that missed.

Fortunately, it didn’t matter.  We were way beyond the point where another two runs would have counted for anything.  The Phillies scored three runs all game, and all three came via the home run.  Well.  We scored three runs in the first inning alone, and all three came via the home run.

First, Ellsbury singled.  Then Nava grounded out, moving to Ellsbury to second.  He took third on a wild pitch, and then on a 2-1 count, Pedroia got a bad cutter and made the Phillies pay.  He rocketed the ball right around the Pesky Pole.  And we all know how small of a guy Pedroia is and, therefore, how awesome it is to see him just unleash on a ball.  And it’s not like the ball took its time leaving the ballpark, either.  It was awesome.

Papi struck out.  And then Napoli went yard on his first pitch of the game, which was also a bad cutter.  This one went beyond the fence in right center.  And we all know the kind of power that Napoli possesses, so he just made it look so easy and so effortless, like it was the most natural thing in the world that he would be doing at that moment.

Then Drew walked, and Carp flied out.  End inning one.

We had two runners in scoring position in the second but didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.  Not that it mattered in the end.  We were back at it in the third anyway, doubling our run total.  Papi doubled and scored on a double by Napoli, who scored on a single by Drew.  Carp struck out, Salty singled, Iglesias popped out, and Ellsbury doubled in Drew.  Unfortunately, Salty was thrown out at home, but again, it’s not like it mattered in the end.

We went down in order in the fourth and resumed in the fifth.  Napoli struck out swinging to lead it off, and then Drew singled, Carp doubled, and Salty hit a bases-clearing single with a little help from a fielding error.

We took a break in the sixth and seventh and padded our lead even more in the eighth.  We had the bases loaded with two out, thanks to a single and two walks, and the pitcher to whom the Phillies had turned that inning walked in a run.  All Drew had to do was stand there, wait, and accept what was given to him.  Fantastic.

Bottom of the ninth? With a score of 9-3? I don’t think so.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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The good signs continue.  We’re battling some soreness and whatnot, but the performance is good.  Victorino’s got some extra-base hits, and the pitchers continue to make a strong showing.  Drew left camp to see a concussion specialist; he resumed baseball activities, but the timetable for his full return is unclear.  Papi made his return to the batting cages.  Congratulations to the Dominican Republic; Team DR won the World Baseball Classic.  And last but most certainly not least, we and the Yanks have decided to dedicate Opening Day by honoring the community and memory of Newtown, Connecticut.  It’s going to be a beautiful ceremony, and the two teams are really doing the right thing.

We lost to the Pirates on Monday, 4-3.  Buchholz ruled the day; in five innings, he made one mistake in the form of a solo shot while walking two and striking out four.  Carpenter took the blown save and the loss; he gave up two runs.  Nava went two for three, and Victorino tripled.  On Tuesday, we lost to Baltimore, 8-7.  Dempster went five innings, giving up three runs on six hits.  Tazawa turned in a scoreless inning, and Bard gave up three runs on two hits.  Middlebrooks went two for three with a double, and Victorino doubled as well.  Unfortunately the Yanks shut us out on Wednesday; better in Spring Training than in the regular season.  Doubront pitched four and one-third innings and gave up four runs on seven hits.  Bailey finished the rest of the inning.  Hanrahan and Mortensen each pitched a scoreless frame.  We beat the Phillies yesterday, 6-1.  Lackey looked pretty sharp; he tossed five innings and gave up only one run on four hits while walking none and striking out one.  Bailey pitched a scoreless frame and picked up the win.  Pedroia went two for two with a double; Middlebrooks doubled, and Victorino tripled.

In other news, the B’s lost to the Jets and beat the Sens.

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Honestly, it doesn’t get much more infuriating than that.  I’m just going to jump right in because it’s really tough to deal with it all.

Cook pitched decently.  He only lasted five innings, and he gave up three runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out two.  He went one-two-three in the first and second, and gave up a double in the third.  He gave up a solo shot to lead off the fourth followed by a single and then a two-run home run.  Following  two quick outs, he gave up a single, and then a fielding error put another runner on, but the inning ended there.  He allowed a single in the fifth and a double to lead off the sixth, at which point he was replaced by Hill, who was replaced by Aceves after three batters.

Meanwhile, we reduced our deficit from three runs to two; in the bottom of the fourth, Pedroia doubled with one out and scored on a single by Loney.

Aceves came out for the seventh and gave up a single followed by a two-run home run of his own, which made the score 5-1.  Two outs later, he gave up a double and was replaced by Carpenter, who ended the inning.  In the bottom of the seventh, we made another dent in the score.  Ross began the inning by striking out, but then Salty and Nava hit back-to-back doubles.  The Yanks sent out their third pitcher of the inning, and then Salty scored on a groundout by Gomez and Nava scored on a double by Aviles.  5-3.

Carpenter handled the eighth without incident baseball-wise but with incident drama-wise; when Bobby V. came out to the mound and Aceves saw Carpenter coming in, he walked to the other side of the mound to avoid Bobby V. when he left the field.  In terms of the bottom of the inning, we failed to score.  But it was not without further drama.

Ross ended the inning on a called strike; the at-bat featured seven pitches, all but one of them sliders, and the count had been full.  Ross and everyone else who had a pair of decently functioning eyes could see that that last supposed strike was actually a ball because it was low, and he let home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez know it immediately. So Marquez rejected him; it was only the second rejection in Ross’s career.  Several minutes later, Bobby V., who had separated Ross and Marquez, went back out there to have a talk with him that obviously got heated pretty quickly and was ejected for the sixth time this year, which sets the record for the most single-season ejections by any manager we’ve ever had in our long, illustrious history.  And at some point even third base coach Jerry Royster was ejected for some reason, so bench coach Tim Bogar was managing and coaching third at the same time at the end of it all.  The whole situation was just absurd and could have been neatly avoided had Marquez just done his job and saw reality.

Anyway, Miller and Padilla teamed up to shut out the Yanks in the top of the ninth, and the stage was set for another possible walkoff.  Salty’s leadoff at-bat was exactly the kind of at-bat you hope for most in those situations.  The count was full and he got an eighty-three mile-per-hour slide as his sixth pitch.  He’s a big guy, and he unleashed his formidable power on it and sent it out of the park to right field for a solo shot that only he could have powered out of the park.  We were now one run away with nobody out, and between Salty having made it look so easy and our last-minute heroics of the previous night, we were daring to believe that we could potentially pull it off again.

But we didn’t.  Nava flied out, Gomez grounded out, and Aviles reached on a fielding error.  Ellsbury could have put the whole thing away right then and there.  But he grounded out instead.

So we lost, 5-4.  But no one can say we didn’t put up a fight.  Because we did, both literally and figuratively.  We manufactured our own runs and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps in the face of a deficit and dared to call a ball, a ball.  We just kept going at it all night long, but we came up just short in the end.  It’s just so infuriating.  I mean, I have to think that we’ve lost this way to plenty of other teams this year since clearly we’re in the business of losing every way to every other team this year, but to do it against the Yankees is particularly brutal.  We were almost there; we just needed one more run to tie it, and we could take care of them in extras.  And we couldn’t get it done.  It’s the story of our 2012 baseball lives.

On a more cheerful note, we have next year’s schedule, so assuming that we’re optimistic, it’s a reminder of something to look forward to.  The season starts for us on April 1 in the Bronx; we follow Opening Day with a day off and then conclude the three-game series.  We then head off to Toronto for three games, and then we head home for our home opener against Baltimore, which is followed by another day off.  We then finish our series with Baltimore and play the Rays before spending three games in Cleveland and going back home to face the Royals, A’s, and newly-AL Astros.  Then we have a day off and we go back to Toronto and then to Arlington, our first full series of May.  The Twins and Jays comprise another homestand, followed by a day off and another road trip against the Rays, Twins, and Other Sox.  Then back home we’ve got the Tribe and the Phillies, followed by a series at Philadelphia and then the Bronx, followed by a day off.  That takes us to June, our first full series of which is at home against the Rangers and then the Angels.  Then we head off to Toronto and Baltimore before another day off and coming home to face the Rays.  Then we head off to Detriot before another day off and another homestand featuring the Rockies, the Jays, a day off, and the Padres in July.  Then it’s off to the West Coast for the Angels, Mariners, and A’s before the All-Star break.  When play resumes, we host the Yanks and Rays before a trip to Baltimore and a day off.  The west then comes to us as we host the Mariners and D-Backs at home, which brings us to August.  We then travel to Houston and Kansas City before taking a day off and traveling to Toronto.  We host the Yanks at home after that, followed by a trip to San Francisco, a day off, a trip to Los Angeles for the Blue Sox, another day off, and then a homestand featuring the Orioles, Other Sox, and Tigers, which brings us to September.  We go to the Bronx after that, take a day off, go to Tampa Bay, and return home for the Yanks, a day off, the Orioles, the Jays, and another day off.  Then we go to Colorado for two games, take a day off, and go to Baltimore for the last series of the season.  So we’ve got at least three days off every month except one: May, our most packed month, when we only have one day off.  But it’s a good schedule.  It’s interesting that Interleague is sort of spread out this year instead of being clustered in June.  It’s often a tough schedule, and we have to play some worthy opponents, but if all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to hold our own next year.

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This one was pretty straightforward.  We won.  And this time we get to thank everybody.

We thank Beckett, whose solid start kept us very, very much in the game at all times.  He went seven and two-thirds innings and gave up only one run on seven hits.  He walked two and struck out five and threw an appropriate 103 pitches, seventy-two of which were strikes.  He went one-two-three in the first, second, fifth, and sixth.  He allowed a single in the fourth and seventh and pitched out of a runners-at-the-corners situation in the third.  He gave up his only run in the eighth; he began the inning by inducing a flyout and then gave up a double, a single, and finally a successful sac fly.

We also thank the bullpen; after he walked Shane Victorino on five pitches, Padilla took the ball, walked a batter, and then ended the inning.  Aceves had a one-two-three ninth.

And last but most certainly not least, we thank the offense.  Aviles hit his second game-leadoff homer in as many days for the second time in club history on the third pitch of the game and sent it to the seats in left field.  It was a cutter, and timing was everything for that swing.  He was patient, he stayed back, and then he unleashed.  That’s the difference between a home run and an easy out in that situation.  Aviles also singled one in in the second.  And then, with one out and runners on second and third in the third, Salty went yard on the third pitch of his at-bat, a changeup.  He put it in the standing room in center field.  His power is really something.  He’s a big guy, and he just reached all the way out with his bat and lofted it out of the park.

And that was all we needed to win.  Just some solid contributions from our starter, our bullpen, and our hitters.  We won by a final score of 5-1.  Aviles and Gonzalez each had two hits, and Beckett even had a hit to his name! It was one of the longest singles I’ve ever seen; it literally was right off the wall.  But it could have been out, and that would have really been something.  Furthermore, we have won eight of our last ten games.  That wasn’t so hard, was it?

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