The Phillies looked like a shell of a team last night against the Miami Marlins, who are possibly the worst team in all of baseball. Leave it to the Phillies to make them look like All-Stars. Ugh.
When Domonic Brown smacked a home run in the second innings, it looked like the Phils might have carried over some momentum from Sunday’s dramatic walk-off win. But that was the end of the momentum and the beginning of Spit-Gate.
Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia entered Monday’s game with a dismal 5.00 ERA and a 2-6 record. After the Brown homer, Sanabia apparently thought some cheating was in order. He was caught on camera spitting on the ball and did not make any attempt to hide it.
First of all, this is just gross. It is also against MLB rules. But did it really affect the Phillies hitters? Probably not too much…they have basically sucked all season long. However, it did add insult to injury in this very unsettling loss.
Even Cole Hamels could not hide his emotions as he slammed his glove around on the Phillies bench after his outing. And after the game, he did not speak to reporters. I believe Hamels is feeling the same frustration we all are; specifically, WHY can’t this team score runs?! Poor Hamels is now 1-7 on the season. Last year, he had 6 losses for the entire season…already this year, not even half way through the season, he has that total beat.
Two runs allowed in 6 innings should get you a win…unless you are on the Phillies, apparently. Making matters worse, this team is now riddled with injuries. Carlos Ruiz came back after his suspension to play only 16 games before being put on the DL with a strained hamstring. Mike Adams is on the DL with a bad back. John Lannan is still on the DL with no expected return date being reported. And now Ryan Howard has sat out 2 games in a row with a sore knee and possible a torn meniscus.
And at least half of the bullpen may as well be injured; they might actually pitch better. Because our healthy pen cannot stop runs from scoring. Phillippe Aumont gave up 2 more runs last night and has a 4.15 ERA, plus many inherited runners have scored on him. Pretty much everyone in the pen is guilty of that too. And check out some of the other ERA’s: Chad Durbin, 8.10; Jeremy Horst, 5.09; BJ Rosenberg, 20.25 (1 game). Yikes!
As all the crap keeps piling up on this team, it is going to be harder and harder for them to dig their way out of the heap. And I do not want to hear anyone else talk about how it is still early in the season. As far as I am concerned, it is never too early to play winning baseball. And thus far, this team has not shown they can do that.
Game time tonight is 7:10pm; Tyler Cloyd will pitch.
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Photo via NBC Sports
In the last few Spring Training games, the Phillies have gotten a good look at many new and returning pitchers.
Cole Hamels gave up a home run on only his 2nd pitch of spring against the Blue Jays, but recovered well and overall, had an good outing. Hamels allowed two hits and a walk in two innings plus the home run. He has added a cutter and a curveball to his repertoire of pitches which seems to be giving him a little more confidence in his ability to get outs.
Jamie Moyer also pitched in a “B” game that same day and does not look like a man who had 3 surgeries in the off-season. He pitched 3 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits and striking out 3 batters. Clearly, Moyer is not ready to concede the 5th starters spot to one of the younger pitchers. And with the $8 million dollars the Phillies owe him this year whether he performs or not, that is a good thing.
Three other pitchers who did not make such a great impression on Friday were J.C. Ramirez, picked up in the Cliff Lee trade; Ryan Vogelsong, a Philly-area native who recently spent time playing in Japan; and Bill White, who was picked up off waivers from the Rangers. Ramirez allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 1 1/3 innings. Both Vogelsong and White gave up 4 runs each in an inning or less. It is still early in Spring, but the results do not bode well for these pitchers.
Joe Blanton also had a rough outing today against the Pirates; 5 hits and 3 runs in 2 innings plus a number of extra base hits were the highlights. However, the relievers did very well, including Danys Baez, BJ Rosenberg and Mike Zagurski; they each pitched 2 scoreless innings in the game.
As for the hitters, prospect Tyson Gillies, also from the Cliff Lee trade, hit a solo homer in the sixth inning against the Jays and was 2 for 2 overall with 2 RBI in the game, making a great first impression. Gillies also has tremendous speed and a great arm from centerfield. The Phillies top prospect Domonic Brown went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and threw a runner out at the plate from right field. Brown appears to be on track to take over for Jayson Werth should he depart in 2011 once becoming a free agent.
Ryan Howard remains hitless so far this Spring, but more concerning is the absence of Shane Victorino. Benched with a sore shoulder since the start of the month, Victorino did not travel to the Pirates game with the team today. While this may simply be the Phillies being extra cautious with their star centerfielder, it is concerning. Victorino has had a number of nagging injuries over the last few years that seemed fairly minor, but still kept him out of the line-up for extended periods of time. All the Phillies can do is hope this does not become one of those situations.
And just for fun, has anyone seen the new Cliff Lee Topps Opening Day trading card? Generally, when a player is traded, Topps will take one of their old trading cards and paint the new uniform in the photo over the old uniform. In Cliff Lee’s transition from the Phillies to the Mariners, see if you can spot the error from Topps’ editing job:
Leave your guess in the comment section; the first person to get it right is the winner and be mentioned in my next blog.
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Photo by Jenn