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Astros and Replacement Umps Have Phillies Looking Like Chumps

Replacement Umpire Scott Barry Busts A Move

After losing to former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers on Monday night, The Phillies lost again on Tuesday night in a (less than sweet) sixteen inning game against the Astros which saw Ryan Howard get tossed in the 14th inning by replacement umpire Scott Barry (the normal umpires are on vacation). Howard (who went 0-7 with five K’s) got angry at a bad call by Barry on a check-swing and Barry who felt he had been shown up by the former MVP and World Champion, was eager to toss him. With no position players left the Phillies were forced to move left fielder Raul Ibanez to first base and use pitcher Roy Oswalt in left field. Ibanez would later drop a ball at first allowing an extra run to score and Oswalt would make the final out of the game when the Astros walked Chase Utley to bring him to the plate.

The Worst Umpires in Baseball
Astros
J.A. Happ

On Wednesday night Independent Philly was at Citizen’s Bank Park to see if the Phillies could bounce back after two straight losses to the Astros. Roy Halladay took the mound for the Phillies to face off against J.A. Happ (whom the Phillies sent to the Astros in the Roy Oswalt trade).  When the umpires were announced, Scott Barry was greeted with loud “boo”s as only Philadelphians can deliver.

Phillies Pitcher Roy Halladay
Astro (and Former Phillie) J.A.Happ
Astro's Pitcher J.A. Happ

Halladay surrendered home-runs to both Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn but the Phillies kept battling and tied the game at two. The Astros then scored a third run but it looked like the Phillies again had a good chance to tie the game with runners on the corners and Jimmy Rollins at the plate.  Rollins never got the chance to try to tie the game. Ben Francisco, who was on third base, was picked off by Houston’s catcher for the third out of the inning in yet another blunder on the base-path by the Phillies (Monday night, Jayson Werth was picked off second base after ball four of an intentional walk when he became distracted by Astros pitcher Brett Myers sticking his tongue out and Tuesday night, Jimmy Rollins was thrown out at third base as he and Placido Polanco attempted a double steal).  

Michael Bourn At Bat
Hunter Pence At Bat
Carlos Lee At Bat

It was not clear in the stadium if Francisco was actually out at third and after the call by Scott Barry the night before and a questionable call on Monday night by the umpires (when Michael Bourn clearly ran out of the base-path on his way to first but was called safe) the Phillies faithful again filled the stadium with loud disdain for the umps.

Jimmy Rollins Brings Placido Polanco His Glove
Attitude Much?

The Phillies went on to drop a third straight game to the Astros. The Phillies could have made up valuable ground of the Braves who have lost three in a row to the Rockies. The good news is, they did not lose any ground and remain 2.5 games back in the division. The Cardinals and Giants also lost on Wednesday leaving the Phillies tied with San Francisco for the Wild Card lead (one game in front of St. Louis).

Jimmy Rollins At Bat
Shane Victorino At Bat
Phillie Phantic

The Phillies wrapped up the four game series with the Astros today in a day game at Citizen’s Bank Park. Kyle Kendrick was on the mound for the Phillies and gave up a run in each of the first four innings. Again in a base-running blunder, Jayson Werth was thrown out at home-plate for the third out of the inning after the Phillies had runners on second and third and no outs. Scott Barry served as today’s first-base umpire. The Phillies next head out west for a six game road trip against the NL West leading Padres followed by the Dodgers. They now trail the Braves (who were off today) by three games and train the Giants by half a game in the Wild Card.

Before today’s game, the Phillies honored Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz for Halladay’s perfect game against the Marlins earlier this season.

Our photographer put together a Facebook group to protest the use of Scott Barry as an umpire so please sign up: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/group.php?gid=151048864922209&ref=ts

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Around Town

Phillies Phever Strikes: Fightins Are Burning Up

Jimmy Rollins

Fresh off their win yesterday over the Giants (behind another strong outing from Roy Oswalt) the Phillies looked to expand their small lead in the NL Wildcard by taking game two of their series against San Francisco.

Giants Pitcher Matt Cain
Giants Pitcher Matt Cain 2

The Giants had pitcher Matt Kane (9-9) on the mound and Joe Blanton got the nod for the Phils. Although he has been terrible in the first inning (and after the fifth or sixth inning) the Phillies had won Blanton’s last six home starts coming into tonight’s game.

Andres Torres Leading Off
Andres Torres Lead Off HR

The game started off like any other Blanton outing as he surrendered a lead off home-run to Andres Torres. Blanton then allowed the Giants rookie sensation, catcher Buster Posey, to reach base. The score remained 1-0 Giants until the bottom of the third inning when Chase Utley drove in Jimmy Rollins, tying the game at one.

Giants Catcher Buster Posey
Buster Posey on the Base Path

In the fourth inning the Phillies opened up the flood gates, scoring four runs (including three on a Jimmy Rollins home-run).

Jimmy Rollins at Bat
Jayson Werth at Bat
Jayson Werth at Bat 2

Blanton pitched four straight scoreless innings leading into the sixth where he surrendered a solo home-run to former Phillie Pat “The Bat” Burrell. It was Burrell’s second home-run in as many nights. The Phillies bullpen took over and Chad Durbin, Ryan Madsen, and Jose Contreras combined to pitch two & two-thirds innings of no-hit baseball.

Pat Burrell at Bat
Pat Burrell Foul Ball

The Fightins added two more runs in the seventh and another in the eighth (on a towering pinch-hit home-run by Domonic Brown) to take a commanding 8-2 lead. They would win by the same score.

Domonic Brown
Chase Utley at Bat

On the night the Phillies hit two doubles, three triples, two home-runs, and four singles.

Chase Utley

They now have a two game lead over the Giants in the wildcard and go for the sweep tomorrow night when Cole Hamels takes the mound for the Philadelphia. The Washington Nationals are next up for the Phils as they come to Citizen’s Bank Park on Friday for a three game series (Roy Halladay pitches Friday night).

Raul Ibanez at Bat

The Braves again won in the 9th inning today to maintain a two game lead over the Phillies in the NL East. Atlanta also made a move today trading for the Cubs first-baseman Derrick Lee. They plan to use Lee at first and move Troy Glaus to third-base.

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Sports

Phillies: Pitching, Prospects, Pennants, and Post-Season Phireworks

Phillies ace Roy Halladay

A little more than a week ago the Phillies were returning from a road-trip in which the team won just two games while dropping six. A lot can change in a week.

Ryan Howard

The Fightins returned home to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park and now are in the midst of a season long seven game win streak. They have cut the Braves seven game lead in the NL East down to just three and a half games. They have also pulled within a game and a half of the San Francisco Giants for the NL wild-card lead.

Raul Ibanez

Ryan Howard, who is having an MVP type season (batting over .300, over 20 HR’s, and leading the NL in RBI) has been carrying the team offensively for some time now but the bats of Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth have really come to life as of recently too.

Jimmy Rollins

On Tuesday night the Phillies had to place center fielder Shane Victorino on the DL and they were forced to move Werth to center field and bring up their number one prospect, Domonic Brown, from AAA to play right field.

Jimmy Rollins & Greg Dobbs

In Brown’s first major league game (last night) he recorded two hits, scored two runs, and drove in two more as the Phillies and ace Roy Halladay beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-1.

Wilson Valdez

The Phillies who are playing without all-star second baseman Chase Utley (who will also miss all of August) have also been playing the past few games without shortstop Jimmy Rollins who is day-to-day with a hand injury.  They also lost pitcher Jamie Moyer for what looks like the rest of the 2010 season. This has meant players like Wilson Valdez, Cody Ransom, and Greg Dobbs are seeing extended playing time at third base, second base, and shortstop.

Cody Ransom

Last season at the trade deadline, the Phillies pulled off a blockbuster deal to land Cliff Lee from the Cleveland Indians. Lee was by far their best pitcher down the stretch and into the post season (winning both of his World Series starts). In the off season the Phillies traded for Roy Halladay and sent Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners for a less than exciting group of prospects. Many fans were upset that the Phillies did not keep Lee (who was under contract for the 2010 season) and pair him with Halladay at the top of the rotation.

Cliff Lee pitching for Phillies in 2009 NLDS

Today the Phillies pulled off another blockbuster and landed another big time pitcher at the trade deadline. Reports from ESPN say that the Houston Astros are sending ace Roy Oswalt to the Phillies for pitcher JA Happ and two unnamed Phillies prospects. Oswalt is owed five million dollars this year, sixteen million next year, and has a club option for sixteen million for 2012. The Astros will reportedly pick up almost half of his salary for this season and next.

Phillie Phanatic

Will Oswalt be enough to send the Phillies back to the World Series? With Utley due back in September it just might be. The question on my mind is, why did the Phillies send Lee to Seattle in the first place? At the end of the day they are giving up more for Oswalt than they received for Lee. Lee was recently traded from the Mariners to the NL West leading Texas Rangers to help them make a post-season run.

Phillies Phireworks

One thing is for certain; the Phillies are a second half club. Seven games into the current win streak they seem poised to make another pennant (or at least wild-card) run and with Halladay, Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, they would be quite a force to be reckoned with in the post-season.

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Sports

Phillies First Road and Home Games Both Filled With Phireworks

Roy Halladay's first official pitch as a Phillie

 Independent Philly was in the house on Monday, April 5th as President Obama threw out the first pitch at the Phillies opening game (in Washington vs. the Nationals) and Roy “Doc” Halladay was on the mound for the Phillies in his first official game in a Philadelphia uniform. 

President Obama throws out the first pitch

The Fightins fell behind 1-0 before taking the lead 2-1 (on Ryan Howard’s first homerun of the season) and they never looked back eventually winning 11-1. 

Ryan Howard drives in Chase Utley on his first homerun of 2010

 Despite Obama and Halladay both taking the mound, the day really belonged to third baseman Placido Polanco (not pictured) who was making his first start in his second stint with the Phillies. 

Polanco went three for five with 6 RBI (including a grand-slam). 

Shane Victorino

 The popular Phillies chant “Everybody Hits!” rang true during this game as every Phillies’ starter (including Halladay) got at least one hit. 

Rauuuuuul

 Phillies’ fans took over the Nationals stadium and could be heard chanting “sucks” after each member of the Nationals team was announced before the game as well as cheering during every big play by the defending National League Champions. 

Jason Werth

 Granted the Nationals aren’t the on the same level as the Phillies but if the opening game (the first opener the Phillies have won in the past five years) is any indication, there could be another parade down Broad Street come October/November. 

President Obama and National's star Ryan Zimmerman
Phillies celebrate after starting the season 1-0

A week later, on Monday, April 12th (after a 5-1 start) Independent Philly was at the game in south Philadelphia as the Phillies officially opened Citizen’s Bank Park and raised their 2009 NL Championship banner. 

 

Phillies on the Red Carpet
Phillies 2009 NL Championship Banner

The opening ceremony featured a red carpet introduction of the Phillies (as they entered through center field) and several displays by the U.S. military including Navy Seals parachutting into the stadium (one with a Phillies banner attached to him). 

Navy Seals Arrive in Style

The Phillies (without Jimmy Rollins who was a late scratch with a calf strain that could have him out for up to a month) fell behind 4-0 as Cole Hamels struggled early but as is the case with this team, battled back, scoring seven runs in two innings. 

Cole Hamels delivers a pitch
Phillies 3rd Baseman Placido Polanco

The Phillies are now 6-1 (their best start since starting 8-1 in 1993 when they lost in the World Series to the Blue Jays). 

Phillies Catcher Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz
Meeting on 3rd

The game was the 43rd straight sell out for the Phillies at home (dating back to last season) and the remaining 80 games at CBP this season are all but sold out as well. 

Phillies Right Fielder Jayson Werth

It just goes to show that if you build it in Philadelphia (a contender, not a new stadium) the fans will come. 

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