Posted tagged ‘Raul Ibanez’

Weekend Home Runs

July 27, 2009
Chase Utley Goes Yard

Chase Utley Goes Yard

After a disappointing start to the Phillies’ series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the “Fightins” came back with two powerful wins, including a 4 homerun outburst in yesterday’s game.  In fact, Jimmy Rollins, void of anything resembling his former self of the last three seasons, went yard in back to back games, with a grand slam just to prove he still has it.  Of course, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez got their turns to hit the long ball. 

Regardless of all the homeruns and power hitting, it is quite satisfying to know that the Phillies can bounce back from a tough loss.  Equally comforting is that the bottom of the pitching rotation got the job done over the last two games.  Even the bullpen has slightly steadied – of course with big leads, it really doesn’t matter. 

The Phillies are still in negotiation with the Blue Jays for the Roy Halladay services.  It appears the Blue Jays are asking for the farm, when the Phillies want to only give up the barn.  Our take here at Philatude is – you have to do whatever it takes to win another World Series.  I’d be satisfied giving up prospects now to win another championship.  If it means overpaying with prospects to get a pure number 1 pitcher, I would do it.  Imagine a rotation of Hamels, Halladay, Moyer, Blanton and a shadow of his former self, Pedro Martinez heading down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs.  I am assuming that JA Happ has to go to the Blue Jays for Halladay.  It would be a tough rotation to get any traction on and put together decent consecutive games.  Simply put – the Phillies should get Halladay to give them the best shot at winning the Series.

Unless a monumental collapse occurs, the Phillies should be in control of their destiny.

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Phillies Winners of 15 of the their last 17

July 24, 2009

The Phillies are in the middle of an amazing string of games.  They are consistently doing the little things to win games, bounce back from loses and not self destruct.  All of these things mentioned were the issues they were having during their losing streak and inconsistent play.

What happened?  How did they turn it around?

I have a few theories: 

1)       The current players picked up their individual games because of all the attention the Phillies’ prospects have received.  You can’t read the Inquirer without someone mentioning Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, Lou Marson or Jason Donald.  Maybe some of the guys thought they could be replaced and starting playing like they can.  I don’t give this theory too much weight because these prospects aren’t ready and the Phillies are in a strong position for the pennant regardless of a few losses.  

2)       The current roster of players was just complacent.  This is the most logical theory.  As discussed numerous times, the players were just going through the motions.  Finally, they woke up and realized that they needed to play hard and play like they did last year to make a serious effort of a repeat.  

3)       The players were tired, injured and needed a break.  Considering the Phillies won the World Series back in November and then reported for Spring Training in March, these guys had little rest to recover from the nagging injuries.  After getting their legs and strength back during the beginning of the season, the Phillies were able to put together the wins.

4)       Raul Ibanez’s return the lineup and clubhouse may have sparked the rest of the team to play better.  Ibanez, not part of the last season’s squad, is playing extremely well and especially chasing that World Series championship.

I don’t know how they did it, but there is nothing better than watching the Phillies win and win consistently playing baseball the right way.

Also, Ryan Howard has his form back: Here’s his 200th:

Keep in mind that no matter how well the Phillies are playing right now, the Braves are playing excellent baseball and are only 6 games out of the division lead.  The Phillies need to continue to play well and take care of winning the important divisional games.

Phillies Head into the All-Star Break Winners in 8 of 9

July 13, 2009
JA HAPP

JA HAPP

Surprisingly, the inconsistent Phillies won 8 of their last 9 and returned to their tough, resilient and determined style of playing ball.  This weekend’s sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates featured strong pitching, both from starters and relievers, a come from behind victory and offensive prowess from all players, including their lower line-up hitters.  

Still impressive is J.A. Happ.  I was concerned he would be inconsistent and timid during some of his starts.  He has been one of the Phillies best pitchers and a guy that should be trusted on the mound.  He pitched a solid game yesterday and got the needed run support from his teammates.  Happ will be a mainstay in the Phillies rotation.

So, now that the All-Star break is here, the Phillies have a chance to reflect on their “up and down” first half of the season.  Granted, they are in first place by 4 games, but imagine if they didn’t have that ridiculous home field slump – they could be up by 10 games in the division and have the best record in baseball.  There is nothing wrong with striving more.  Jimmy Rollins’ play is still concerning.  He has hit better, but still doesn’t have his game back to last season’s form.  I think he is on cruise control and relying too heavily on the fact that he has been a MVP.  He needs to play with the same style and determination that got him to the MVP level.  With a revamped Rollins, a healthy Ibanez and a rested and relaxed team after the All-Star break, the Phillies have the opportunity to repeat as champs.

Of course, if the Phillies sign Pedro Martinez (so the rumor goes), all bets are off.

Phillies v Mets – Game 3

June 13, 2009
Raul Ibanez

Raul Ibanez watches his three-run home run during the tenth inning against the New York Mets, Thursday, June 11, 2009, at Citi Field in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

OK, full disclosure: I am not a huge baseball fan. Football is really my gig. Needless to say though, when I get a call at 5:30PM on a Thursday from a friend who’s come into some Phillies-Mets tickets and wants me to come, there is no way I am going to say no.  While I’ve lived in NY for quite a long time and have gone to my fair share of NY sporting events (not really something I’m proud of), Thursday night was actually my first time going to see a Philly team play at a NY stadium.

Being a visiting team fan is no easy task and it’s definitely not easy at Citi Field—which by the way, is absolutely awesome: clean, comfortable seats, great views, friendly staff, tons of concession stands—there was really nothing to complain about, well except the Mets fans, that is. It’s a good thing my friend and I came right from work—no time to run home to don red T-shirts or Phils hats, so despite our spirited cheering, we blended into the crowd.  Luckily, our seats were in front of a row of Philly fans, so there was lots of high-fiving with strangers all around.

Of course, this opportunity was the ultimate test of my PhilaTude, and in the end, I hope I succeeded in maintaining our values.  While at times our Mets neighbors started to get a bit rowdy and it was, I think,  all in good fun, it definitely dampened the mood for a bit. Well, that was until the amazing Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer in the 10th and sealed a 6-3 on-the-road win for Phillies. The stadium then pretty much emptied of Mets fans, and rows of bright red T-shirts could finally be seen in the stands.  It’s always a great feeling to win, and the Phillies played an awesome game, but the best part was sharing smiles and high-fives with those other die-hard Philly fans. Go Phils!

A 4 Game Sweep of the Nats!

May 18, 2009
Philadelphia Phillies Road Uniform Logo

Philadelphia Phillies Road Uniform Logo

It was great to see the Phillies win these 4 games.  It’s always important to get wins against your own division.  Even though they came back in a few games and put up strong run production, these aren’t the Phillies that made their World Series run.  The starting pitching has been suspect, the offensive leaders of this team look disinterested and the Manager hasn’t shaken things up enough.  Surprisingly, the newest edition, Raul Ibanez, is carrying the offense.  He’s been a consistent and patient hitter.  Is he the only guy on this team looking to win the World Series?  Maybe because he wasn’t on the squad last year, he’s jacked.

Anyway, for those who think these 4 wins over the weekend turn the season around, I will disagree.  These wins were more of a factor of the Nationals being the worst team in baseball with the worst manager in baseball, ever.  The Phillies did nothing more than squeeze out these wins because of their experience and ineptitude of the Nationals.  There is going to be a time when the Phillies lazy, carefree and lethargic play is going to really hurt their chances for making the playoffs.  Of course, a weekend sweep of 4 games, regardless of opponent, could give the team that “wake-up” call to get things going.  For me, I am still concerned.