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
During the official introduction of Roy Halladay yesterday, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. explained further why he chose to ship Cliff Lee off to Seattle. He backed off the idea of not being able to sign him past one year and moved on to replenishing the farm system. Amaro admitted this move was a risk, but one he was willing to take in order to keep the franchise winning for years to come, rather than just putting all their eggs into the 2010 basket.
As for the fans, we are all very excited to see Roy Halladay in a Phillies uniform! But many wish the ultimate pitching dream of Halladay & Lee could have been a reality. Here is a synopsis of how it all went down for the Lee fans:
5 Stages of Grief In Losing Cliff Lee:
– Denial: This cannot be happening! Lee was the only pitcher to win a game for us in the World Series!
– Anger: Noooooo! Ruben Amaro Jr., you stink!
– Bargaining: Hey Ruben, how about we keep both Halladay AND Lee? Come on….please? I’ll be your best friend :O)
– Depression: I am going to crawl in a hole; wake me in the Spring.
– Acceptance: Oh, ok. I guess it was a good business decision. I still love you Ruben :O) Thank you for a Happy Halladay!
Mr. Amaro may be the happiest person on the planet right now; he has wanted Halladay for a very long time and finally got his wish. During the press conference, Amaro referred to the acquisition of Halladay as “intoxicating.” Well, that does explain a lot about the trade I suppose. Clearly, he was drunk on Halladay Juice and made some very creative decisions. I’ll give him an A+ on getting Halladay. As for letting Lee go in exchange for the prospects, the jury is out until we see how he handles the hangover. ;o)
Well, it is the Halladay Season, so drink up Mr. Amaro! Just sober up in time for Spring Training.
By the way, the This Year In Baseball awards are in and some Phillies, plus a few of their fans, won awards. Ruben Amaro Jr. was voted Best Executive; J.A. Happ, who should have gotten the Rookie of the Year award will have to settle for the TYIB Best Rookie prize; Jayson Werth won Best Unsung Star; and the father-daughter pair who were shown all over TV after Dad caught a ball and his daughter tossed it back, were named the season’s Best Oddity.
Congrats to all!
Amaro photo by Jenn
The Phillies made it official this afternoon; Cy Young award winning pitcher Roy Halladay is now a Phillie :O) Some say he is the best pitcher in baseball. This is a huge pick up for the Phillies and an exciting day for the fans. Halladay has signed a 3-year extension, keeping him in red pinstripes through 2013 for around 20 million a year after his 1-year Jays contract is fulfilled in 2010.
So the Phillies have swapped one Cy Young winner for another and three prospects for 3 different prospects. The casualties for the Phillies include Cliff Lee, who went to Seattle plus 3 of our top 4 prospects; pitcher Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor and catcher Travis d’Arnaud who all went to the Jays. In return, the Phillies will get 3 prospects from Seattle to restock the farm system; pitchers Phillipe Aumont, J.C. Ramirez and outfielder Tyson Gillies.
The Cliff Lee trade is disappointing, but it makes sense from a business perspective as the Phillies were nearing their payroll limit and they knew for sure that Lee would be only a 1-year pitcher, testing the market after 2010. From a fan perspective, it is sad to see Lee go and one cannot help but wish we could have had both Lee and Halladay even for just the one year.
And to all the yahoo’s out there who want to shout obscenities and declare that Phillies fans do not appreciate Roy Halladay, get over yourselves. It has nothing to do with appreciating Halladay and everything to do with losing Cliff Lee. If the Yankees got Halladay and had to ship off CC Sabathia to do so, tell me Yankee fans would not be shouting from the rooftops? It is the same thing. And yes, Lee and Sabathiha have comparable stats.
We are very, very happy to have Halladay and excited to see him pitch in a Phillies uniform. But it does seem sad to lose other good players in the process, especially Lee and the three prospects. You feel like a kid at Christmas that got exactly what you always wanted, but had to give back all your other presents to do so.
I have personally spoken to Michael Taylor, as an example, and he is not only a great player, but a great person as well. One cannot help but feel disappointed to see these guys leave. And I saw Lee pitch his first game with the Phillies in San Francisco; he pitched a complete game and made it look easy. We are entitled to be upset over losing our best pitcher, as I am sure Jays fans are upset over losing theirs. Are we getting a better pitcher in return? Absolutely. But wouldn’t both be so much nicer?
That being said, Phillies fans are thrilled to finally get the big prize! Happy Halladay’s to everyone in Philly! I cannot wait until Spring Training :O)
Last night, the Phillies took game 1 against the D-Backs in Arizona with Jamie Moyer pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. They were not easy innings; Moyer worked his way in and out of trouble again and again. But Moyer has been doing this a long time and knows how to make adjustments when he needs to.
The offense took a while to wake up after the long haul out to the West Coast, but finally in the 4th, Ryan Howard got things rolling with a 2-run home. Raul Ibanez had 2 hits and 1 RBI in the game as well.
Ryan Madson did allow 2 runs in the 8th, but the Phillies still went on to win 6-2. With the 6 hits and 4 walks allowed by Moyer, the D-Backs left 11 runners on base and committed 2 errors in the field. You have to wonder if ace pitcher Dan Haren was looking on and wondering what it might be like to play in Philadelphia? Haren is one of 3 pitchers that the Phillies are rumored to be interested in adding to the club and he will face Cole Hamels tonight in the 2nd game of the series at 9:40pm.
However, the most likely names on the horizon as the trade deadline approaches are Roy Halladay of the Jays and Cliff Lee of the Indians. The Jays reportedly rejected an offer from the Phillies which included JA Happ, Michael Taylor, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald so, it is looking less and less like a deal for Halladay may be realistic. But, stranger things have happened.
The countdown to July 31st continues! Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn
Tonight the Phillies faced the Reds in game 3 of this 4-game series and drama ensued. Homer Bailey started the game for the Reds and true to his name, gave up a homer to Jayson Werth in the 6th inning, Werth’s 19th of the season. What a horrible name for a pitcher…Homer. Poor guy. But for most of the game, he was very good and kept the Phillies hitters off balance.
The home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa, created a lot of controversy with his rather large strike zone; 20 strikeout’s were recorded in the game and 14 of those batters went down looking. And so the game remained very tight throughout.
VOTE FOR SHANE!
The Phillies entered the 9th inning with a 2-2 tie and needed a hero to nail this one down. With 2 outs and 2 on, The Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, stepped to the plate and solidified his campaign for an All-Star roster spot. Shane singled into centerfield and Pedro Feliz scored to win the game, 3-2!
VOTE FOR SHANE!
Rules of Engagement
One of the more entertaining aspects of tonight’s game, as I mentioned earlier, was watching the Reds hitters argue and scream and cuss at the home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa. To sum it up, basically every pitch was bound to be called a strike. But he called it the same way for both side. Yet, no less than 3 Reds players got right up in his face and yelled about strike calls. It makes you wonder, why were none of these players thrown out of the game? Not that I like watching guys get tossed, but how much grief is any umpire supposed to take? Granted, this was one of the worst umpiring jobs I have seen in a long time, but the Phillies maintained controlled and did not try to rip his head off like the Reds did. In fact, it is a rule that no one is allowed to argue balls and strikes (Official baseball rules section 9.02(a)). After the first or second player, the ump needs to start ejecting guys. Just sayin’…
Rodrigo Lopez did a great job through 5 innings tonight, but was removed from the game early with right shoulder inflammation. That is certainly not good news. However, maybe the push to get a quality starting pitcher like Roy Halladay of the Jays will reach a new level with the possibility of Lopez no longer being available.
The Phillies front office has been insistent that certain minor league prospects are “untouchable” but frankly, that attitude will not get them far when competing with other teams who are more flexible. Understanding the value of prospects in the farm system, teams need also be reminded of the value of winning, and winning right now. With the Phillies core players in place, coming off a World Championship, the window of opportunity to win it again will likely only remain open for a few years. So, if they need to give up 2-3 big prospects to get another ring, it seems like a fair trade off.
If the Phillies can get a #1 starter like Halladay, they would be foolish to let him go to another team. Last year, they did miss out on CC Sabathia and even Manny Ramirez, and yes, they still won it all. But the 2009 team has run into pitching trouble after losing Brett Myers, who was a big part of the World Series win. The bullpen has been overworked and their production is way down from 2008. This is a different team; the Phillies need a big starter if they are to have a shot at repeating.
VOTE as many times as you are able to! Humans and rodents alike have until tomorrow at 4pm to get Shane in!
The clock is ticking! Shane Victorino has a chance to go to the All-Star game in St. Louis but he needs our help! Gizmo the Chinchilla has been typing away all day long, but his little paws are getting tired. Won’t you please help him out? You can
VOTE as many times as you are able to! Humans and rodents alike have until tomorrow at 4pm to get Shane in!
Photo by Jenn
The Phillies wrapped up the series with the Blue Jays today and also ended interleague play for the year…finally! As usual, interleague play was not kind to the Phillies and most are happy it is over.
However, there were a few highlights, including JA Happ’s first career complete game shut-out yesterday. Happ allowed only 5 hits in the game and gave the bullpen a much needed rest. The Phillies offense found their bats after a spanking from manager Charlie Manuel in a closed door meeting, and the team racked up ten runs in the game for Happ. The very Happ-Y pitcher is now 5-0 on the season with a 3.00 ERA.
Today, the Phillies sent Jamie Moyer to the mound and he allowed 4 runs in 5 innings, including 3 home runs. After the 5th, Manuel decided to take advantage of his rested pen and sent Chan Ho Park in who pitched 2 scoreless, hitless innings. It is nice to see Park finally settling into his role and feeling good after getting hit with a batted ball two days ago.
With the Phillies up 5-4 in the 8th, Ryan Madson was set up to have an easy inning; he got the first out, Scott Rolen hit a single, but then a routine double play ball to Eric Bruntlett turned into a disaster. Bruntlett, filling in for Jimmy Rollins the last 3 days, dropped the ball leaving 2 runners on with only 1 out. Poor Madson was sweating by the time he got to the 3rd out, but he got there and Pedro Feliz snagged a pop-up to end the threat.
Brad Lidge came in to get the save and, as usual, it was an adventure. A bunt single, then a walk and hearts were racing again. But Lidge got a pop-out, another out on a run down and finally capped it off with Bruntlett snagging a grounder and tossing to Ryan Howard for the final out. Whew! Finally…a series win. Time to exhale…
Iron Pigs (AAA)
Yesterday, I attended an Iron Pigs game and saw Drew Carpenter pitch. Carpenter has been a highly touted player in the minors and he did pitch a shut-out through 8 innings. However, his fastball tops out at around 80mph (or at least it did last night). Solid pitcher, but I am not sure the Phillies need another Jamie Moyer in the rotation. Carlos Carassco and Kyle Drabek (AA) may still be possibilities to fill the hole left by Brett Myers. Going outside the organization to get an experienced arm would be much better, but there are still very few pitchers available. We shall see…
Mike Cervenak (photo) is doing very well after suffering a broken wrist last month; he was 2 for 5 in the game and is batting .313. Mike Spidale (OF) led the pack with 3 hits and is batting .353; and Lou Marson (C) has been doing better of late – he had 2 hits and 2 RBI last night.
Here is a PHOTO ALBUM from the Iron Pigs game, including shots from the fireworks show afterwards and even a 3-D fireworks shot! I held the camera up to the 3-D glasses and it actually worked…check it out!
The Phillies have the day off tomorrow to travel to Atlanta for a 3 game series before returning home on July 3rd to face the Mets. Joe Blanton will pitch on Tuesday; game time is 7:00pm.
Photos by Jenn
The Phillies season is slowly, but surely, circling the drain. With 11 losses in 13 games, injuries piling up and even the steady Cole Hamels beginning to lose his cool, this season is quickly working its way into the crapper.
Hamels had a very bad 5th inning against the Jays, but the umpire did him no favors with the inconsistent strike zone. Still, after giving up 3 runs in the 5th and 1 prior to that in the 4th, Hamels was at the end of his rope. Charlie Manuel pulled him from the game and as he walked off the mound, he gave an earful to the home plate ump who tossed him from the game. It was the 1st player ejection for the Phillies of the season, although technically, he was out of the game already.
But the frustration from Hamels was just a microcosm of how the past several weeks have panned out for this team. Bad breaks, bad hitting and even worse mental mistakes have led the Phillies down a dark and treacherous path. Fans everywhere are waiting for a tornado to tear down the stadium; that is simply how bad it has been.
The Phillies offense did not record a hit until the 7th inning when Chase Utley singled. Right before that, they saw yet another pitcher run out of the game early with an injury. Chan Ho Park appeared to get hit by a batted ball in the knee and went down screaming in pain. It was not pretty:
With Clay Condrey and Scott Eyre still on the DL; Brett Myers lost for the season and Brad Lidge just returning, Park going down is a serious kick in the gut. Not to mention, still no Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins continues sit on the bench for a “mental” break.
Well, speaking of Lidge, Manuel decided to get him some work today, despite being down 0-4. Lidge, in the non-save situation, did not fare well. He gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in only 1/3 of an inning. Welcome back, Brad?? Ugh. Just one more bummer in an already disastrous situation.
And the road to hell continues in Canada again tomorrow. JA Happ will take the mound at 1:07pm and pray for a miracle…
TV photos by Jenn