Rauuuuuuuuul! Walks It Off

Rauuuuuuuuul! Walks It Off

What a day for Raul Ibanez! All the oft maligned Phillies left fielder did today was hit two home runs, 4 RBIs, and the walkoff winner to complete the sweep of the Pirates.

And Hunter Pence came through to score the game winning run and offered some fantastic quotes to Sarge postgame:

"Good game, let's go eat!"

More on the game below.

Yesterday, the Phils won on a huge day at the plate by Ryan Howard. Today, Raul Ibanez was the hero, homering twice, then collecting his fourth RBI of the day on a walkoff double that scored Hunter Pence.

The win capped a sweep of the Pirates and a 17-8 July for the Phillies. With the Braves losing their 10,000th game ever on Sunday, the Phils will enter August with a six-game lead in the NL East.

"Let's go eat" may not even be the Hunter Pence Quote of the Day. In that post-game chat with Sarge, Pence was undeniably excited to have just taken part in a meaningful baseball moment (probably the first time in a long time, considering the team situation he just came from). Here's Pence on his new digs:

"It's good to be on a scrappy team that can play some ball."

We bet. We know it's good to be a fan of a team that stays scrappy no matter how much success it has. Hunter, Raul and company got a great response from the CBP faithful, who long ago learned not to count this team out when they're down in the later innings.

HOT STATS
Ibanez had a productive month of July, with 24 RBI since the 5th. By Todd Zolecki's math, that's the most any MLB player had over that stretch. His 16 homers in 2011 match his entire 2010 total.

PENCE WATCH
In his two games as a Phillie, Pence hasn't had the best luck. Those who weren't able to see the games but checked out the box scores afterward would miss a few details. Yesterday, Pence was called out in his first at bat, despite having beaten the throw. Here's a good look at that.

Today, Pence's line read 1-4, but he wasn't credited with what probably should have wound up a hit. With Ryan Howard on second, Pence hit a grounder deep to short, possibly hard enough a play that he might've beaten the thrown. But two things happened that made the play result in a fielder's choice. First, Howard ran when he shouldn't have. Second, Howard appeared to beat the throw to third, but was called out because, to be honest, he looked out in real time. Regardless, Pence was on base when Ibanez smacked his second homer of the day.

PITCH-HITTERS
The Phillies have gotten some nice plate appearances from their pitchers in the past two games. On Saturday, Cliff Lee had a pair of hits and a sacrifice. Vance Worley followed that up with a hit and a sac of his own, with the latter moving Michael Martinez into scoring position. Jimmy Rollins came to the plate next and doubled, scoring Mike Mart.

Worley got off to a great start on the mound, including striking out five batters in a row over the first through third innings. He'd end the day with seven K's, but was also charged with four earned runs over six innings.

UP NEXT
The Phils head out to Colorado for a three-game set with the Rockies starting tomorrow.

[watch Ibanez's walkoff winner against the Pirates here]

Previously (July 9th): Rauuuuuuul Walks It Off

US PRESSWIRE photos

Vince Velasquez feels the heat in Phillies' Sunday loss to Pirates

Vince Velasquez feels the heat in Phillies' Sunday loss to Pirates

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH --- Vince Velasquez wasn’t able to stand the heat Sunday afternoon.

The game-time temperature was 89 degrees with humidity to match at PNC Park. The Phillies' right-hander admitted he didn’t handle the weather well.

"You're going to go through various conditions, and it's something that you've got to really take into consideration -- to really lock in, stay hydrated because it can mentally drain you,” Velasquez said. “It kind of took a toll on me but I have to make the best of what I've got.”

Velasquez wound up pitching six innings in the blistering heat but did not factor in the decision as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Phillies 5-4 on pinch-hitter Adam Frazier’s leadoff home run in the seventh inning, his first in the major leagues, off fellow rookie Edubray Ramos (see Instant Replay).

Velasquez had his worst of his five starts since coming off the disabled list June 26, allowing four runs and seven hits while walking four and striking out five. He threw 107 pitches, 64 for strikes.

In his first four outings after begin activated, he was 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA to raise his record to 8-2.

“Just looking at his body language, he showed that he was struggling to find the strike zone,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He didn't have his best location. He did a good job; he just made a couple bad pitches when they scored the two runs. Obviously, he wasn't at his best, but he kept us in the game.”

While that kind of outing can breed confidence in a 24-year-old pitcher, Velasquez took no consolation in it. He was bothered about not being able to hold a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving up a tying two-run home run to Matt Joyce.

“I knew it was my last inning when I went out there and I have to be able to close it out there,” Velasquez said. “I’m disappointed in that. I need to be better in that situation.”

Joyce’s blast came on pitch after Starling Marte doubled on an 0-2 pitch. That, too, annoyed Velasquez.

“That's just a matter of finishing at-bats,” Velasquez said. “You've got to lock in on 0-2 counts when you're ahead. You've got to finish the at-bat. Knowing that that was my last inning, that's where you have to bear down and give it all you've got.”

Ramos then gave up the game-winning homer to Frazier an inning later, the first long ball given up by the 23-year-old right-hander in 14 career outings. The Phillies wound up losing two of three games in the series and are 3-7 since the All-Star break to drop to 10 games under .500 at 45-55 through 100 games.

“It’s a game we should have won but I put us in position to lose it,” Velasquez said.

Dallas Cowboys bus involved in fatal crash in Arizona

Dallas Cowboys bus involved in fatal crash in Arizona

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Four people were killed Sunday when bus carrying Dallas Cowboys staffers but no players collided with a van on a northwestern Arizona highway.

The fatalities were passengers in the van, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said. But the bus occupants emerged uninjured.

"All on the bus came through OK with some bumps and bruises," Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple (DAHL'-rimp-ul) said in an email.

Dalrymple said the bus was only carrying members of the franchise's staff but would not say how many. There were no players on board.

The two vehicles collided in the afternoon on U.S. 93, about 30 miles north of the city of Kingman, according to DPS.

The crash shut down at least one lane of the highway that serves as the main route between Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The bus was on its way to a Dallas Cowboys fan event in Las Vegas. Charles Cooper, manager of GameWorks entertainment center in Vegas, said the session with 50 to 75 fans was scheduled for 3 p.m. PDT. People were already waiting when the president of a Las Vegas Cowboys fan club called to relay news of the accident. The event was subsequently canceled. Cooper says the team mascot was supposed to appear.

After the Las Vegas stop, the bus was scheduled to go on to Oxnard, California for the team's training camp. Members of the organization typically take a bus two weeks before the camp starts and make stops along the way.

Report: Phillies preparing for possible Jeremy Hellickson trade to Marlins

Report: Phillies preparing for possible Jeremy Hellickson trade to Marlins

Jeremy Hellickson may be staying in the NL East past the trade deadline. 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Phillies are scouting the Marlins' minor league teams in advance of a possible Hellickson deal. 

This comes on the heels of a report from a radio host in Miami that Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen may need Tommy John surgery. Chen left with an elbow sprain during Wednesday's loss to the Phillies and was placed on the disabled list. Ironically, Chen was starting against Hellickson, who will face Jarred Cosart in place of Chen on Monday.

Hellickson's value rebounded significantly this season after struggling in Arizona and Tampa Bay the last few seasons. After dealing with a shoulder injury, Hellickson pitched to ERAs above 4.50 in each season from 2013-15, leading to the Diamondbacks trading him to the Phillies for limited value. 

However, in 20 starts, Hellickson, who will be a free agent after the year, has anchored the Phillies' rotation, bringing a 3.84 ERA over 119 ⅔ innings into Monday's scheduled start. He also has a nearly career-best strikeout rate and has regained his signature command that made him a strong performer with the Rays.

The Phillies are aided this trade deadline by a lack of starting pitching options available on the market. With many teams in contention looking for an additional starter, Hellickson is an attractive piece who could help a team in a pennant race.