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Phillies vs. Rangers: Cliff Lee Masterful in Win Over Texas

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After Roy Halladay notched a win for the Phillies in the first game of the series against the Texas Rangers, the two teams met again on Saturday evening at Citizen’s Bank Park. Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and faced off against the team he helped take to the World Series last season.

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Much like the Phillies, the Rangers have suffered many injuries this season. Reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton, still on the DL, did not play.

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Lee had a masterful performance. He pitched eight innings of shut out baseball, striking out ten Rangers. He also had a single and stole a base. It was the first stolen base by a Phillies pitcher this season.

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Ryan Howard broke out of a long slump at the plate with two hits. Howard connected on a solo HR in the 2nd inning that put the Phillies up 1-0. Although that was all the offense they would need, they added an insurance run in the 6th inning (on an RBI single by John Mayberrry that plated Raul Ibanez), to eventually win 2-0. Domonic Brown saw his first action of the season at the major league level but went 0-4 in his 2011 debut. Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco each added two hits for Philadelphia.

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Ryan Madsen pitched the 9th inning, and although he allowed a few base-runners, none of them were able to score; earning him his ninth save of the season. His ERA now sits at a stingy 0.47.

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All in all the Rangers totaled six hits, three of them by Michael Young, and stranded fourteen runners over nine innings.

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Starting pitcher Colby Lewis took the loss for the Rangers. He allowed both Phillies runs and scattered seven hits over 6.2 innings.

With a series win already locked up, the Phillies will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon as Roy Oswalt takes the mound for the Phillies. Beginning Monday, it’s back to National League action as the Phil’s host the Cincinnati Reds in a three game series.

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Phillies vs. Mets: Halladay Pitches Complete Game to Earn 2-1 Win

On a beautiful day in Philadelphia the Philadelphia Phillies took on the New York Mets in the second game of a three game series. The Phillies won the first game behind two home-runs (including a grand-slam) by Ryan Howard and a nice outing by Vance Worley who got the start in place of Joe Blanton who was unable to pitch due to injury.

The Mets scored the first run of the game on Saturday in the 4th inning (an RBI single by Carlos Beltran) and Roy Halladay found himself in line for the loss as the Phillies trailed 1-0. In Halladay’s last home start he suffered a loss after getting roughed up by the Brewers’ bats. Halladay kept his composure, despite what appeared to be a narrowing strike zone by the home plate umpire late in the game, and the Mets were unable to score again.

John Mayberry, who got the start today in right field, hit a solo home-run in the bottom of the 7th inning to tie the score at 1-1. Later in the same inning, Wilson Valdez scored (sliding into home plate) on a sacrifice fly by Placido Polanco (who set the Phillies club record for hits in the month of April and is now batting a robust .398) and the Phillies took the lead 2-1.

Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Valdez all had one hit on the day and Polanco and Mayberry each added two. After a monster game the night before, Howard went 0-4 on Saturday. Ben Francisco was hit with a pitch & appeared to be in a good deal of pain, but stayed in the game. He was thrown out trying to steal second base later in the game.

Halladay scattered 7 hits on route to the complete game victory, walking one batter, and striking out 8. He now has a record of 4-1 on the season. Jonathan Niese took the loss for the Mets and his record dropped to 1-3.

The two teams finish the three game series tomorrow night at 8pm on the ESPN Sunday Night Game of the Week. Cliff Lee takes the mound for the Phillies as they look to complete the weekend sweep of the Mets.

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Philadelphia Continues Red October, Cincinnati Settles For Reds Octoberror

Phillie Phanatic Has Phaith

After dominating the Cincinnati Reds in a 4-0 win in game one behind Roy Halladay’s no-hitter (only the second in MLB post-season history) the Philadelphia Phillies sent Roy Oswalt to the mound on Friday night to face Bronson Arroyo in game two of the best of five series.

Roy Oswalt
Roy Oswalt Composing Himself

Independent Philly was at Citizen’s Bank Park to catch the action first hand.

While Halladay faced 28 batters without allowing a single hit or run, Oswalt surrendered a lead-off home run to Brandon Phillips quickly erasing any (unreasonable) hopes for a repeat performance of Halladay’s gem.

I Wish Harry Were Here

From that point on, things just got plain old weird.

Chase Utley, usually a stellar fielder, committed two errors.

Chase Utley Recording an Out
Ryan Howard at Bat

The Phillies stranded several runners and Oswalt allowed a single run (not all earned) in four of the first five innings giving the Reds a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.

Jayson Werth at Bat
Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard Preparing to Bat

 That’s when the winds of change blew through Citizen’s Bank Park. Over the next four innings the Phillies scored seven runs without an extra-base hit (they are yet to hit a home run this post-season). Thanks to four errors by Reds position players, and three hit batters by Reds pitchers, the Phillies were gifted several of these unearned runs.

Scott Rolen at Bat (Yes, He Got the "Boooos")
Citizen's Bank Park Way

At one point Chase Utley appeared to be hit by a 101 MPH pitch (he later said he wasn’t sure if it hit him). He then appeared  out at second on a fielder’s choice but was called safe. Jimmy Rollins next hit a pitch that Jay Bruce lost in the lights and Utley looked like he missed third base on his way home. His run (which tied the game at 4-4) still counted.

Ryan Madsen and Carlos Ruiz on the Mound

The Phillies bullpen came in and shut down the Reds. J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Madsen combined for three innings of work, allowing only one hit.

Brad Lidge came in to pitch the top of the ninth and preserved the 7-4 lead to record his first save of the 2010 playoffs. Contreras, who pitched a one-two-three seventh inning, got the win.

Lights Out up in Lights

The series now heads to Cincinnati where the Reds haven’t hosted a playoff game in fifteen years. Cole Hamels will take the mound for the Phillies on Sunday night. He will be opposed by Reds starter Johnny Cueto. If the Reds manage to win game three, game four would be played on Monday.

Ring My Bell
Phillies Savoring the Win

To see our expanded photo gallery from Game 2, please click on the link below:

http://www.independentphilly.com/photo-gallery/nlds-game-2-phillies-vs-reds

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Philadelphia Phillies Playoff Predictions 2010 Edition (Update: Halladay Throws Game 1 No-Hitter)

2010: One of The Phillies League Best 95 Wins
Roy Halladay Delivers the First Official Pitch of 2010 Season

The Philadelphia Phillies finished the 2010 Major League season with a 97-65 record, the best in all of baseball. After winning the World Series over the Rays in 2008 and losing last year’s World Series to the Yankees, the Phillies seem poised to make another run into late October/early November.

Phillies Win Fourth Straight NL East Title

Up first for the Fightins is the Cincinnati Reds who made the playoffs for the first time since 1995 after winning the NL Central with 91 wins.

Ryan Howard

The Phillies closed out August and September in post season form going 41-18 in late summer. There are also many additions to this 2010 Phillies that make them more dangerous than the 2009 or 2008 clubs.

Cliff Lee in 2009 NLDS

The first, and most obvious, is the starting pitching. Gone is Cliff Lee, the best pitcher the Phillies had last post-season. Instead the Phillies will turn to Roy Halladay (who will take the mound in game 1). Halladay is the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award. In 2010 he became the first Phillies pitcher since Steve Carlton to record 20+ wins (finishing with 21). He finished the season as the team leader in wins, ERA, and strikeouts.

 

Phillies Ace: Roy Halladay

Roy Oswalt has been nothing short of spectacular since joining the Phillies. In his 12 starts since he joined the team Oswalt has a 7-1 record with a 1.74 ERA. His only loss came in his first game with Philadelphia just one day after being traded from Houston.

Finally, but no less important, is 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamel’s return to dominant form. Hamels posted a career best 3.06 ERA this season while also setting a career best in strikeouts with 211.

Cole Hamels Returned to Form in 2010

With three legitimate number one pitchers, and no need to use a fourth starter in the NLDS, the Phillies are in very good shape.

Then there is the return of Brad Lidge to the Lights Out closer the Phillies can rely on in the 9th inning. Lidge finished the season with 27 saves in 32 chances and down the stretch he really looked like the guy that helped the Phillies win it all in 2008 (instead of the guy that made Phillies fans all hold their breath with nervousness last year).

 

Lidge is a Big Piece of the 2010 Phillies Playoff Puzzle

The pitching alone would give Phillies fans more than enough to be hopeful about this post-season, but wait, there’s more.

 

Placido Polanco

The Phillies added third baseman Placido Polanco before the start of the 2010 season and Polanco ended the regular season as the club leader in batting average (.298) and had a .988 fielding average committing just five errors.

 

Wilson Valdez

Last season the Phillies didn’t have a bench that was up to the task. In 2010 they head into the post-season with a much improved bench that boasts new faces like Ross Gload, Mike Sweeney, Domonic Brown, Wilson Valdez, and Brian Schneider. The only hold-over from last year appears to be Ben Francisco who ended the final few games of the season as hot as anyone on the team.

 

Raul Ibanez at Bat Against the Reds

 

Phillies Catcher Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz

Underneath all of the new editions and reasons for Phillies fans to get excited this post-season, is the best top to bottom line-up in baseball: Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, and Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz, batting out of the eight hole, never ceases to amaze in October.

Ryan Howard: Big Man, Big Swing

 

 

Phillies 2nd Baseman Chase Utley

What does Cincinnati bring to the table?

 

The Big Red Machine: Joey Votto

The Reds were the only team in the National League to score more runs than the Phillies this season. First baseman Joey Votto is the front-runner to win the league’s 2010 MVP award (finishing with 37 home runs, 113 RBI, and a .324 batting average). They also have ex-Phillie Scott Rolen at third base who, along with outfielder Jay Bruce, chipped in another 45 long balls for the Reds (Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs contributed another 40 home runs).

 

Likely 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto at Bat

 

Brandon Phillips Batting Against the Phillies

The big question for the Reds is their pitching.

 

Cincinnati Long Ball

Bronson Arroyo led the team in wins with 17, Johnny Cueto was first in both ERA (3.64) and strikeouts (138), and game one starter Edinson Volquez finished the season on a high note (31 K’s, 8 BB, and 17 hits in over 27 innings of work).

 

The Reds Led the NL in Runs Scored in 2010

In the end, with their dangerous line-up and above average pitching, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Reds win a game in this short series but the Phillies are the more talented team and know what it takes to win in the post-season. The Phillies went 5-2 against the Reds in the regular season. Our prediction is Phillies win in 4.

 

Ryan Howard at Bat vs. The Reds

Make sure to check back as Independent Philly will be at Citizen’s Bank Park to capture the action this week and will also be making in-depth predictions for each round of the post-season as the Phillies attempt to capture their second World Series title in three years.

**UPDATE: Placido Polanco was forced to sit out game one with a back injury and Wilson Valdez got the start at 3rd base. In his first post-season appearance ever, Roy Halladay threw only the second no-hitter (first since the 1950’s) in MLB playoff history. The Phillies won the game 4-0 over the Reds**

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Phillies Back in Phirst Place

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Independent Philly was at Citizen’s Bank Park on Tuesday Night as the Phillies took on the Florida Marlins. The Fightins trailed the Atlanta Braves by just half a game at the start of the game and had a chance (with a win and a Braves loss) to take over first place in the NL East for the first time since May 30th. They also had the opportunity to become the first team in the National League to reach 80 wins.

With Joe Blanton on the mound for Philadelphia, the Phils bats came alive against Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad to the tune of five runs in the first five innings.

The Braves tied the game in the 8th inning scoring three runs off of the Phillies bullpen (J.C. Romero & Ryan Madsen). In the bottom of the 8th, Shane Victorino got on base, stole second, and was driven home by Placido Polanco.

Madsen returned to pitch in the ninth inning and the Phillies won the game 8-7. With the Braves losing 5-0 to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies now own a half a game lead over the Braves in the NL East and the best record in the National League.

Polanco and Raul Ibanez led the way with three hits each (Ibanez also led the team in RBI with three). Jimmy Rollins added two hits and two RBI and Shane Victorino had two hits including a homerun. Ryan Howard and Ibanez also homered for the Phillies.

The Phillies finish their series with the Marlins tomorrow as they send Cole Hamels to the mound. They are off on Thursday before starting a series with the Mets at Citi Field this Friday.  

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