Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Post-Game Flyover

This may be the year that the A's make it all the way. They dominated the O's on Sunday, 10-1, led by the youthful pitcher, Sonny Gray. We viewed the game from the outfield skybox and cheered as A's scored effortlessly against their opponents. It was quite a different game from Saturday when new acquisition Jason Hammel was ineffective against the opponents. And different too, from Friday's game, which seemed like a lost evening until Josh Donaldson hit a walk-off.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

A's in the Playoffs!

What an unbelievable season the A's have had! We traded away our best pitchers, our favorite catcher. Lost our remaining veterans to injury and drug bust. Kept having to tap into the minors and picking up players from the scrap heap. Somehow the motley crew coalesced. Somehow they developed confidence. Maybe it was doing the Bernie dance and staying loose. Or maybe the drug testing finally leveled the playing field. Beane was again a genius, getting ahead of the curve.





Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cespedes!

Remembered in time to watch some of the delayed broadcast of the Mariners v Athletics game at the Tokyo Dome. Bartolo Colon gave up a solo homer to Smoaks at the top of the 7th but then cooly got the outs to escape the inning. A's turn. With Kurt Suzuki on base, Cespedes hit his first major league homer and suddenly the A's were ahead. New pitcher for the Mariners, new batter for the A's. Reddick hits a solo homer. I used to watch Colon when he was the Angels' ace and didn't like our chances against him. Age and injuries have pared down his superpowers, but today he is pitching masterfully. It's a bit of an adjustment to cheer for him, as it is reconciling the trades of our best pitchers (Cahill, Gonzalez, Bailey), and the acquisition of 50 -game suspended Manny Ramirez, who I used to boo in many a game. It is impossible to have a hometown hero for a team like the Athletics, which must trade and trade for future prospects. This year in particular felt glum and hopeless with our key players gone. Yet the A's posted a stellar spring training record and...wow Johnny Gomes just hit a homer! Colon exits after 86 pitches in 8 innings. Balfour has the honors in the top of the 9th. 1-2-3 game over!



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Will Darvish Become a Ranger?


While there is nothing but dismal news coming out of the A's club, the Rangers may have a chance to bring Yu Darvish over from the Ham Fighters. If that happens, you can bet that the Coliseum will be filled with adoring Japanese fans whenever Texas comes into town.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jacqueline

My co-blogger Jacqueline Ruyak passed away on October 21 after a brief illness. She and I had been friends for 36 years, but it was only in the last 10 years or so that we discovered our mutual love of baseball. It became a tradition for her to come to the West Coast when her beloved Phillies were playing the Giants. I sometimes went to Philadelphia when my Oakland A's were playing the Phillies. We took road trips together to see spring training games in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues, Arizona Fall Ball and many minor league games. It is hard to believe that we will no longer sit side by side filling out our scorebooks and commenting on the new crop of cute players. We will no longer mail our team badges to each other. I know that Jacqueline had a passion for writing baseball commentary and our blog was the perfect forum for her. I am forever grateful for our baseball friendship. I cannot imagine spring training without her.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Burrell's Last Stand




We learned that Burrell is suffering from degenerative foot disease that is incurable. Bochy put him in the Giants lineup today so the fans can see him one last time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Second to last







Fan cheering Coco Crisp





George Zimmer of Men's Wearhouse giving me the evil eye.

With Moneyball set to open on Friday and the Division-leading Rangers in town, you would expect a lively crowd. But Harden cannot seem to get out of the first inning. Two outs, two strikes, three run homerun, a walk, 38 pitches, and finally a K.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mellow Day at O.co




With A's out of contention, this Businessman's Special had only a smattering of fans. Several Angels fans sporting red are sitting in our section. Still who can complain about this blissful, warm and breezy day?
Harden is pitching quite well and the A's defense is quite sharp, though the players are new and unrecognizable.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

catching up on the disabled list

Jimmy Rollins to the DL. Jose Contreras to season-ending surgery. Raul Ibanez takes a shot to the groin. Ryan Howard is out with bursitis in his heel. Jose Contreras is to have season-ending surgery. And Cole Hamels, in what is reported as a bit of roster maneuvering, is on the DL but will pitch on Monday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

two late duds

Five minutes into Friday night's game in Washington, there was a rain delay of almost two and a half hours. Eventually the game was on and the Phillies took a lead into the ninth, when Ryan Madson came on and blew it in excruciating fashion. It ended with a walk-off grand slam by Ryan Zimmerman. The Nats took it 8-4.

On Saturday, Friday's starter Roy Oswalt (scratched after the rain delay) finally started. He was fab for eight shut-out innings. Michael Stutes came in and finished off the 5-0 shut-out. Wilson Valdez was the offensive spark.

What to say about Sunday? Lots, really, but I'll leave it at another rain delay, two blown saves, and a 4-3 loss in ten. Michael Schwimer made his big league debut and but for one fatal pitch was outstanding.

Friday, August 19, 2011

one got away

So here came the Diamondbacks, the real surprise team in the National League. On Tuesday night, the Phillies took a 2-1 lead into the ninth behind Roy Halladay, who appeared to be on cruise control. But two singles and a Lyle Overbay double later, the D'backs had a 3-2 lead and had stolen game one. Cue the second-guessing, which was out of control the next day. Overbay, a former teammate of Doc's, drove in all three of the Arizona runs.

On Tuesday, Cliff Lee was out to avenge his April loss in the desert. The hometown offense took advantage of miscues and romped to a 9-2 win. Lee became the sixth NL pitcher with 13 runs. Three of the six are Phillies.

Last night pitted Vance Worley against 15-game winner Ian Kennedy. The Phillies struck first for three runa, supplied in part by a Mayberry two-run homer. Worley looked to be back to his usual self, but then the rains came for a two-hour+ delay. David Herndon picked up where Worley left off and got the win. 4-1, Phillies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

thome hits his 600th

Cheers for Jim Thome, who last night hit his 599th and 600th home runs. It is a marvelous feat by a great guy. All the best to one of the best!

Thome got his start with the Cleveland Indians, where his hitting coach was Charlie Manuel. Asked after hitting his historic home run who had influenced his career the most, he replied without hesitation, "Charlie Manuel." Thome was later rejoined with Manuel when he signed with the Phillies. He hit his 400th home run at the new park in Philadelphia, where he was a tremendously popular player. He was traded, however, to the White Sox to make room for the emerging Ryan Howard. By then, Thome was about ready to make the shift to DH.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

a washed-out split

Rain erased today's rubber match with the Nationals. The Nats won Friday night 3-1. Cole Hamels had 'shoulder stiffness' and Livan Hernandez flummoxed the Phillie offense in a yawner. The Phillies won Saturday 11-3 behind a solid outing by Roy Oswalt. The Nats played sloppy, sloppy ball and the Phillies capitalized at every turn.

Placido Polanco is still missing time with his now balky hip. The guy is falling apart, which is sad.

Dan Uggla had his improbable hitting streak halted today at 33.

Lots of rain is falling here in the Northeast, this time bringing blessedly cool weather with it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

summer mantra

Another super image from Cyrilla Mozenter, who took the photo last week at the Sussex County Fair in northern New Jersey.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

what a road trip

The Phillies finished off what is usually a grueling West Coast road trip with a sweep of the Dodgers. That made it a fabulous 9-1 trip. Way to go!

Before the series in Los Angeles started on Monday, Dodger manager Don Mattingly was quoted as saying, "We get Halladay, then we get Lee, then we get the ace," an amusing nod to the season that rookie Vance Worley is having. So what happened in the series?

Monday night it felt like tattered pitching night. Halladay went 6.1 innings, giving up just one run but scattering nine hits. The Phillies, mirabile dictu, actually got to Hiroki Kuroda in a regular season game, touching him for four runs. Victorino had two doubles and a homer, earning him some more West Coast boos. The final score: 5-3, Phillies. Halladay got his 15th.

Tuesday was again a dominant night for Cliff Lee, who pitched eight scoreless innings of shutout ball. Madson gave up a run in the ninth in the 2-1 Phillie victory.

Wednesday afternoon was not kind to the 'ace', who fell behind 5-0 in the first, then gave up another run before being lifted in the fifth. Down six on get-away day, the Phillies nonetheless battled back, with the help of a Hunter Pence two-run homer that got them going. In the sixth, Utley tied it 7-7 with a two-run single, then Howard untied it with a two-run homer. Ibanez made a fabulous, game-saving catch in the ninth and the Phillies finished off the Dodgers 9-8. Wow.

As for the Dodgers, tattered just about sums them up this rocky season.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

three of four by the bay

Four in San Francisco, a place where the Phillies rarely fare well, had all the makings of a disaster. On Thursday, though, it was all Cliff Lee, who dominated in a complete game shut-out. Hunter Pence and John Mayberry, Jr. went back-to-back, then Pence singled in another run in the 3-0 victory.

If I had to predict a brawl between the Giants and the Phillies, I would have put Jonathan Sanchez and Chase Utley at the middle of it. Sanchez, after all, has plunked Utley four times in the past three years. But it was reliever Ramon Ramirez who drilled Shane Victorino. A scrum ensued, but like most baseball dust-ups it was more beanbag than beanball. (Both are intensely distasteful to me.) Giant catcher Eli Whiteside looked like a demented bunny in it all. He should also consider getting some of the shoe polish Brian Wilson uses on his beard to do something about his hair. Rookie Vance Worley was solid in a 9-2 Phillie win.

Saturday afternoon it was role reversal in a match-up from the previous week between Cain and Hamels. This time the Phillies got the two early runs and made them stand up. Hamels, like Lee on Thursday, was dazzling. His complete game shut-out was ruined by a Pablo Sandoval solo homer in the ninth. Hamels went the distance in a 2-1 win, the same score that Cain had won by a week earlier.

Roy Oswalt made his return from the DL on Sunday afternoon, went seven, and gave up single runs in three consecutive innings. The Phillies scored early on Tim Lincecum, but once he was given a lead, it was pretty much over.

Carlos Beltran had two cents to say about the brawl. Beltran always has two cents to say about something.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One Sided Rivalry




In an in-stadium trivia game a fan was asked to name the top three rivals of the Giants. after naming the Dodgers and Padres, the fan was stumped. Well the #1 rival is in town and so far they are whipping our bearded fellas.
The G-men are in a slump offensively and the pitching looks awfully tired.
The Phillies are showing what a fabulous team they have assembled this year. Among the standouts: Pence with his aggressive hitting, Worley and Hamels with masterful pitching and lanky Mayberry with great at-bats.
The only excitement the Giants mustered last night was a brawl. Today after giving it up in the first, Cain has settled down but the offensive is vacationing in Siberia.

umemura mariko


Umemura Mariko is the daughter of old friends in Kyoto, who used to run a sweet restaurant in my old neighborhood there. (The fried oysters were awesome.) Mariko was born shortly after I moved into the neighborhood. As a child, she was always drawing, often in the (to me lamentable) manga vein that is so popular, but she always showed real streaks of imagination. She is now a painter. This enchanting fan, which arrived in yesterday's mail, is printed with two of her paintings. Mariko has, by the bye, already won one of Japan's more prestigious art awards.

Friday, August 5, 2011

more numbers

Last week Ryan Howard got his 1,000th hit. Wednesday night's save for Brad Lidge was his 100th as a Phillie. If only he had been healthy for more of his contract.

Last night Jim Thome hit his 598th home run, doing it all with class. How about some love for the big guy?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

make it six

The Phillies finished off a sweep of the Rockies yesterday afternoon, a good way to go into San Francisco for a four-game set. On Monday, Cole Hamels looked again to be a hard-luck loser, going seven innings and giving up two runs. Michael Stutes came on in the eighth and gave up a solo home run to put the Rockies up 3-1. Down to their last out in the ninth, however, the Phillies rallied. Pinch-hitter JohnMayberry, Jr. hit a two-run homer to tie it, then in the tenth Shane Victorino hit a solo shot to give them a 4-3 lead. That was the final, wildly improbable, score.

Tuesday figured to be a slugfest with Kyle Kendrick against Aaron Cook. But Kendrick, in what may have been his last start, surprised us all with eight innings of shut-out ball. Ryan Howard hit two homers and the Phillies won 5-0. But all credit goes to Kendrick, who was simply dominant at Coors Field.

Wednesday afternoon was the more typical Coors Field kind of game, with no lead feeling safe--and a lot of dumb plays being made. The Phillies scored first, then fell behind. They again went ahead but had to keep adding on to hold the Rockies at bay in an 8-6 win. Ryan Howard had a double error but also drove in four, on a double and a homer.

Denver native Roy Halladay, not sharp, went seven innings. Bastardo pitched the eighth and gave up a run. Then, big surprise, in came Brad Lidge, another Denver native, for his first close of the year. He was lights out, making for a sweet ending to the series.