Halladay Headed to Disabled List After Marlins Rout Punchless Phillies

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and The Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Roy Halladay has struggled in his last two outings of a sore right shoulder. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Roy Halladay has struggled in his last two outings of a sore right shoulder. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA–If you were wondering if there was something physically wrong with Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay after two disastrous starts in which gave up 17 earned runs in five innings, you absolutely right.

After the Phillies 14-2 loss at Citizen’s Bank Park to the last-place Miami Marlins in which he gave up nine earned runs in less than three innings, Halladay told reporters after the game that he had been experiencing soreness in his right shoulder since an April 19 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“My shoulder was bothering me,” Halladay said. “I woke up and I really didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was regular soreness. It kind progressed over the last two weeks or so. ..I felt good all spring, I felt good all year. It was after that start against Pittsburgh, I had soreness in there and I wasn’t able to get rid of it.”

 Meanwhile, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Halladay will be on the disabled list sometime within the next day or so once the team decides who they’re going to bring up from one of their minor league affiliates. He said Halladay will be examined by doctors in California.

“Clearly, it does seem like he’s not healthy,” Amaro said. “It was pretty apparent with his performance today unfortunately.”

Halladay apparently kept his condition from manager Charlie Manuel and Amaro. Because Halladay is a proven veteran, he felt that he was able to pitch his way through his soreness.

“Listen, he’s a competitor. If he feels he can pitch, he can pitch,” Amaro said. “Clearly, he wasn’t pitching to his custom level and it was apparent today and after his last outing.”

Going back to his last start against the Cleveland Indians, Halladay has given up a grand total of 17 earned runs, 12 hits, seven walks, two hit batsmen and four homeruns.  He hasn’t been able to pitch beyond the fourth inning.

The competitive portion of Sunday’s game ended in the first and third innings.  In the first inning, the Marlins scored five runs on two hits because Halladay had absolutely no command over his pitches. He walked three batters and hit another in the back.

“He couldn’t find his pitches today,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He didn’t have his location and command. It was a combination of things. He kept falling behind and when had to come in and throw the ball in the big part of the plate he got hit.”

 Halladay gave up a two-run double to Miami rightfielder Marcell Ozuna that was almost a home run.

Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria hit a bases loaded triple to put the Phillies in a 5-0 hole after one half of an inning.

But Hechavarria wasn’t done with Halladay. In the third inning, the Miami shortstop hit a grand-slam home run that sent Halladay to the showers.  For the game, Hechavarria had seven runs batted in.  It was 9-0 and the rout was on.

With Halladay definitely out of the starting rotation, the Phillies, starting with their seven-game road trip to San Francisco and Arizona, will be playing a stretch of games against teams with winning records with the exception of the Marlins.

“I think our road trip is big,” Manuel said. “I think we need to win today’s game.  I think we need to win tomorrow’s game. I come here with the mindset that we’re going to win. We definitely need to start winning some games.

Last season, it was late May in which Halladay wound up on the disabled list and the Phillies went from being a game above .500 to being 13 games below .500 prior to the All-Star break. They were in a huge hole from which they never recovered.

In addition to Halladay’s problems on the mound, the Phillies offense in the last two games of the Miami series could only muster just two runs. After being shutout in Saturday night’s loss, the Phillies managed to score two runs (one earned) in the eighth.

“Until we start hitting the ball and start making better contact and doing things right, we’re going to struggle,” Manuel said. “We’ve got to come out and play-get runners on base and hit the ball. With the lineup that we got we better get some extra base hits because we’re not getting a whole lot out of our speed right now.”   

 

Phils Continue Late Season Surge as Kendrick Shuts Down Marlins

Kendrick is 7-2 since the All-Star Break. In seven innings, he allowed just one run on two hits.

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report

If the Phillies somehow get into the postseason and they make into the National League Division Series, the starting rotation will be tough to handle when you consider the Phils have Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

And the way Kyle Kendrick has been pitching for the Phillies, there are not too many teams that want to face him either. Thanks to a career-high eight strikeouts for the 28-year-old righthander, the Phillies continued their late-season surge with a 3-1 victory over the last place Miami Marlins at Citizen’s Bank Park.

The Phillies are currently on a five-game winning streak including nine out of their last 11 games. With 21 games left, the Phillies are 5 ½ games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wildcard spot. The Phillies (70-71) are just one game below .500.

“I think somewhere along the line, you do play good baseball within a season and I think that if you stay with it, you’ll hit some streaks,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “I think baseball is streaks. If you got a streak coming and haven’t one during the season and you’ve got one coming I think sooner or later it can be good. If you hit one late in the season, it can be real rewarding.”

Manuel said the Phillies are starting to get some of the breaks that they weren’t getting earlier in the season to win those close games.

“We’ve definitely proved over the years that we can play in close games,” Manuel said. “If we play clean games, we usually keep our cool, especially our veteran players to put us in good position. That’s what I see happening.”

For the first five innings, Kendrick flirted with a no-hitter until Marlins catcher Rob Brantly singled to left center to open the sixth inning. When the count was 2-2, Kendrick appeared had to have the out, but it was called a ball.

Kendrick (9-10) would ultimately leave the game after seven innings and allowed just two hits, three walks and one run. He threw 95 pitches and was in command of his pitches throughout his time in the game. His improved changeupkept the Miami hitters

off-balance.

“Tonight (the changeup) was pretty good,” Kendrick said. “(catcher Erik) Kratz called a good game and was able to keep them off balance. I used (changeup) effectively as an out pitch. It was a good night for us. I was able to stay aggressive.”

After struggling during the first part of the season, Kendrick is now 7-2 since the All-Star and has won five out of his last six games for the Phillies. Since Aug. 8, Kendrick is 5-1 with a 1.49 earned average. He said getting the opportunity to be in the starting rotation since the trade of Joe Blanton has made him a better pitcher.

“It definitely helps that you get into a routine, you know what you’re doing every day that you come to the ballpark,” Kendrick said. “It was my spot to take control of it and go out there. Let them see that I’m strong there and let them make the decision.”

Meanwhile, Antonio Bastardo, who got the save,  Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus allowed just two hits in the final two innings of the game.

The Phillies offense didn’t score runs in bunches, but it was just enough to back up Kendrick’s solid pitching performance. Domonic Brown hit a two-run homer to right the Phillies half of the fifth and Michael Martinez scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a double to center and going to third on a fielder’s choice

“I just got a pitch up to drive and that was it,” Brown said of his two-run homer. “I’m just learning how to hit a little bit, just getting more comfortable. The more comfortable I get, the more power numbers you guys will start seeing. Other than that, I’m just going out there and playing baseball and that’s it.”

 

Phils Come Up Small in the Late Innings, Hamels Gives up Two Home Runs to Hanley Ramirez

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Sunday Sun

Despite eight strikeouts Hamels could not stop Miami’s Hanley Ramirez who hit two home runs off him.

Cole Hamels was looking to become baseball’s only nine-game winner and for the first three innings when the Phillies took a 3-0 lead, it seemed like he was on his way to accomplishling that feat.

But Handley Ramirez of the Miami Marlins hit two homeruns off Cole Hamels (8-2) and the Phillies failed to take advantage of opportunities to get back in the game in the late innings and wound up on the short end of a 5-4 loss on a Saturday afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Hamels did manage to come up with eight strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings, but just could not stop Ramirez, who started the Marlins comeback with a solo shot to center that had to be reviewed the umpires because a fan reached over and caught the ball. The umpires upheld the homerun call. Hamels also gave up an RBI double Justin Ruggiano that scored first baseman Logan Morrison, who singled after Ramirez’s home run.

“I thought it was a homerun right off the bat,” Hamels said of Ramirez’s first home run. “If it wasn’t going to be a homerun, I was going to be more lucky than anything because I threw the pitch, he guessed right, he hit it and he hit it hard. When that happens, he definitely deserved the homerun. You have to comeback and get the next guy, but I wasn’t able to do that.

The Marlins third baseman put his team up for good with a two-run homer to left off Hamels to give the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that Hamels seemed to lose his command in his final two inninngs on the mound.

“He was kind of off there for the final two innings,” Manuel said. “I felt like he got kind of out of whack.”

The Phillies got on the board by scoring runs in each of the first three innings. In the first Carlos Ruiz drove Juan Pierre on a RBI ground out to Morrison at first base. Jimmy Rollins got an RBI-single that scored Placido Polanco. Hunter Pence opened the third inning with a solo homer to right. But that would be all the Phillies would score until the eighth inning.

Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco (6-3)got the win and a had a solid outing against the Phillies and allowed eight hits while striking out five.

The eighth inning looked promising enough for the Phillies. Rollins tripled to right. Pierre would walk and take second on a stolen. A sacrifice fly by Pence drove home Rollins and moved Pierre to third. With three chances to bring home the tying run, the Phillies came up short. First, Victorino walked, but Ruiz struck out swinging on a bad pitch that was way outside the strike zone and first baseman Ty Wigginton also struck out swinging.

The ninth inning also looked liked the Phillies were, at the very least, going to push across the game-tying run. Polanco open the inning with a single to right-center. He was replaced by pinch runner Mike Fontenot and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by second baseman Freddy Galvis, who should have been safe at first because it appeared that Morrison missed the tag.

However, the umpire ruled that Galvis ran outside the baseline. The television replay did not indicate that Galvis ran out of the base line. Manuel said he asked first base umpire Doug Edding to get help from the home plate umpire.

“I didn’t think (Galvis) was out of the base line and I asked for help, (Edding) said he made the call and he said he wasn’t going to ask for it,” Manuel said. “I don’t think Freddy went out of the baseline. He was in the three-foot line and he went to his right a little bit and he established a baseline.”

But the way things turned out, it would not have mattered because Brian Schneider, pinch-hitting for pitcher Raul Valdes, popped out to second and Rollins ended the game by flying out to short.

“We were sitting right there and we could have definitely won the game,” Manuel said. “It’s a matter of getting the big hit at the right time. Today, it didn’t happen.”

Phillies Still Searching for Answers on Offense in Loss to Miami

By Chris Murray

For the CM Report and the Sunday Sun

Cole Hamels struggled in the Phillies opener giving up four runs on eight hits while getting no run support.

With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley on the shelf with injuries, the Phillies (1-3) are still in search of offense and can’t seem to find it anywhere four games into the season.

The Phillies 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Miami Marlins in front of a sell-out crowd at Citizen’s Bank Park in the home opener is yet another example of what happens when one of their best starting pitchers has a bad day and the offense is not clicking.

“We’re four games in and the bottomline is we haven’t been hitting the ball hard enough to score runs,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said in his postgame press conference. “In the last four days, we’ve been putting the ball in play, but not too hard. We definitely have to move the ball a little better than that.”

The Marlins roughed up Phils starting pitcher Cole Hamels for four runs (three earned) on eight hits in during his five and two-thirds of inning of work. Oddly enough, he struck out nine with no walks, but Miami got just enough runs off Hamels to put the Phillies in a deep hole early.

“I thought I made some really great pitches at times,” Hamels said. “I felt like all four pitches were working. I had two or three that I didn’t really throw effectively and gave up a homer.”

Marlins second baseman Omar Infante led the charge with a pair of home runs and two runs batted in by first baseman Gaby Sanchez. Miami also got run-scoring single from Hanley Ramirez and a solo homerun from Austin Kearns off closer Jonathan Papelbon.

As good as Hamels and the rest of the pitching staff are, Manuel said if the Phillies don’t start hitting on a consistent basis, it’s going to eventually take its toll on the team.

“If we don’t score runs, it’s definitely going to add pressure to our pitching,” Manuel said. “But we have a lot of good veteran pitchers, but at the same time, it could take its wear and tear on them if we don’t score runs. We gotta find away to better and we’re going to work at it.”

Meanwhile, the Phillies offense was shut down by the pitching of  Miami’s Anibal Sanchez, who allowed just two runs on six hits in six and one-third of an inning—three of those hits came when the Phillies scored two runs off him in the seventh. Up until that point, he had allowed just three hits and did not allow a lead-off batter to reach base until that inning.

The Phils got their only runs of the game  on  a two-run double by rookie second baseman Freddy Galvis that scored Shane Victorino, who led off the seventh  inning with a single and Carlos Ruiz, who reached on a fielder’s choice. It was Galvis’s first major-league hit after going hitless in his first 12 at bats.

But despite of the slow start offensively, the Phillies aren’t stressing  about their offensive struggles just first four games of the season.  Even without, Howard and Utley in their lineup, Victorino said the offense is capable producing enough runs to win games even in come-from-behind situations like they have in previous years.

“Just because we haven’t done it in four games, don’t worry about it,” Victorino said. “Absolutely, we’re a good enough team that we can come back. I don’t see why we can’t.  It’s just that we haven’t done it  and so of course that question is going to be asked. Yes, we’re a good enough team that we can come back.”

For all the talk about the Phillies offense without Howard and Utley, the team has always found a way to win games when they’ve had players on the disabled list. Manuel said his team will figure it out at some point during the season.

“We’ve got guys that’s supposed to be able to hit,” Manuel said. “When you take those guys (Howard and Utley) out of the lineup it has an effect on you, but at the same time, we’ve always been able to work through that and that’s what we’ve gotta do.”