Tagged: Carlos Carrasco

Happ-Y Days Ahead?

In yesterday’s game against the Tigers, JA Happ tried to back up my claim that he would be the winner of the 5th spot in the rotation.  Happ pitched 3 scoreless innings, striking out 7 batters with a mean fastball.  He allowed only 2 hits.  Things are looking Happ-Y for JA who is battling Kyle Kendrick, Chan Ho Park and Carlos Carrasco for the starters spot this year.  But, it is still early…

Also feeling the love is John Mayberry Jr., who has been keeping pace with Ryan Howard this spring.  Both Mayberry and Howard hit 3-run homers in the game, propelling the Phillies to an 8-2 win over the Tigers.  Mayberry continues to impress and, as a right-hander with power, he may be the leading candidate for a bench spot to even out the heavy left-handed line-up.

Jayson Werth saw his first official action of spring and went 1 for 2 with a walk.  Think Werth read my call for action yesterday?  Here’s hoping!  Geoff Jenkins, also aware of his own precarious situation, collected an RBI in the game on a sacrifice. 

Phillies in the WBC

Team USA won their World Baseball Classic opener yesterday against Team Canada, 6-5.  Shane Victorino P3035753.JPGgot the start in center and went 2 for 4 at the plate.  Jimmy Rollins came in as relief for Derek Jeter at short and hit 1 for 2 in the game.  The big blasts for Team USA came from Kevin Youkilis, Adam Dunn and Brian McCann, who each hit home runs in the game.  For Team Canada, Matt Stairs started in right field and went hitless in 3 at bats with 2 strikeouts.

Team Panama lost to Team Puerto Rico, 7-0 yesterday; Carlos Ruiz started at catcher, going 1 for 2 with a walk, but was pulled from the game early due to a neck strain after a collision.  Reports so far are that it is not serious, but no word yet on whether Ruiz will play in today’s game against the Dominican Republic. 

 

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The Battle Continues…

Chan Ho Park had a shot at impressing the Phillies yesterday against the Blue Jays; the prize he was aiming for is the 5th starters spot in the Phillies rotation.  Park did well and surrendered only 1 run on 3 hits in 4 innings of work.  He seems very determined to win the job.  JA Happ will pitch today at some point in the game against the Tigers, and later in the week, we should see some more action from Kyle Kendrick and Carlos Carrasco.  It is still early and the job is up for grabs, but I will state again for the record, I think Happ will win it in the end.  Kendrick has not looked good so far and is too emotional; Carrasco too young; and Park, too useful in the bullpen, rather than starting.  However, I have been wrong before :O)

Speaking of battles, it is interesting that while Jayson Werth is getting off to a slow start, Geoff Jenkins seems to be picking up the pace.  Before spring training began, it was basically a no-brainer that Werth would be the official starter in right; however, if he doesn’t catch up soon, there may be some controversy again.  Sure, they can platoon, but I think it is about time Werth just stood up and claimed the spot.  But yesterday, Jenkins had a 2-run double and a sac fly for an RBI, giving him 3 RBI on the day.  Werth, who had his first live game action this spring in the “B” game against the Jays, went 1 for 4, with a single.  Werth has complained of a sore right shoulder, but now says he is nearly back to normal.

Brett Myers had a rough outing in the “B” game; he gave up 5 runs in only 3 innings with 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 homers allowed.  Then again, Myers says he is using this time in spring training to work on his much under-developed change-up.  So, this will continue to be a work in progress.

Well, I am home now and have put together an album of some of my Spring Training shots.  Some, you may have seen, others I did not post.  So HERE IT IS!  Enjoy!

 

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Phillies Power Past The Jays

The Phillies powered past the Blue Jays in Dunedin today by a score of 12-7.  Ryan Howard provided some pop with a 2 run homer in the 6th inning and rookie Jeremy Slayden added a home run of his own while going 2 for 5 with 2 RBI.  Raul Ibanez and Eric Bruntlett also collected 2 RBI a piece.  Photos:  Charlie Manuel slaps hands with the fans; Bruntlett makes a running grab;  Ibanez gets a hit:

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The Pitching Duel

Carlos Carrasco and JA Happ continued the battle for the 5th starter position today; advantage: Happ.  Happ went 3 innings with 3 hits and 2 runs surrendered.  Carrasco, on the other hand, struggled in the 5th inning, ultimately giving up 5 runs on 3 hits, 2 of which were homers.  Only 3 of the runs were earned due to an error on a dropped fly ball by Bruntlett.  Overall, Happ had better control and poise on the mound, where Carrasco’s inexperience showed a bit.  Still, Happ needs to work on keeping the ball down.  Also pitching today, former Cincinnati Red, Gary Majewski who made it through 2 scoreless innings.

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More Highlights

Ibanez and Howard celebrate after Howard’s 2-run shot; Miguel Cairo makes an amazing play on a short grounder; Ibanez demonstrates his lack of grace while sliding into home:

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Wildlife Meets Baseball:

Left:  This sunbather clearly did not get the memo about the 55 degree temperatures in Western Florida today.  Bottom Left:  This behind belongs to a man who proposed to his girlfriend during the game.  He did not own a pair of non-holey jeans for this special occasion?  Right:  Baseball lights put to good use: Birds make a home in Dunedin Stadium.030209c.jpg

And that brings us to the Photo of the Day:  I did mention the Phillies won by a score of 12-7, right?  The Blue Jays staff, apparently, thought wishing makes it so; check out the run total column.  Is that 2 runs for the Phils, or possibly 12?  Hmmmmm…

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The Phillies are OFF tomorrow!  Next game, Wednesday, 1:05pm against Team Canada at Bright House field.  Cole Hamels is scheduled to start.  See you there!

 

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As The Weather Turns

The Phillies took on the Atlanta Braves today in Orlando and won, 7-3.  As for me, I was taking the day off from baseball and the crappy weather today…not to mention skipping the 2 hour drive to Orlando.  Instead of sitting in the rain, I decided to go scuba diving with sharks and other critters at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.  In the video, you will see a lady behind me with a big stick shooing the sharks away as they got too close.  The other guy is the dive master – his job was to rescue me should something try to make dinner out of me :O)  Happy to say, I still have all my fingers and toes.  There were reef sharks, white tips, sand sharks, nurse sharks and others…check it out:

So while I was off tempting fate, the Phillies were braving the nasty weather.  It was cold, windy and rainy today, yet the Fightin’s prevailed.  Marcus Giles stole the show with 2 hits, 2 steals and 1 RBI; Eric Bruntlett collected 2 hits as well and swiped one bag. 

The real fun though was the battle for the 5th starter position which continued today when Chan Ho Park took the mound for 3 innings.  Park gave up 4 hits and a solo homer, leaving with a 3.0 ERA and he got the win.  Tomorrow both JA Happ and Carlos Carrasco will get their next turn at making a good impression. 

A few injuries on the home front:  Jayson Werth has not played yet in Spring Training due to what he says was a slow start after a less than productive off-season.  Is that a nice way of saying he sat on his butt and ate Ben & Jerry’s for 3 months?  Hmmm…  Werth is scheduled to start tomorrow; we will see how it goes.  I’ll be on the lookout for love handles :O)  Brad Lidge and Chad Durbin are also in a holding pattern; Lidge has a sore shoulder and Durbin has a sore right hamstring.  I am guessing this is baseball related, not ice cream related.  Then again, fill up that spoon and lift…it can be quite tasking.

See you in Dunedin tomorrow; game time 1:05pm vs. the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

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Phillies Win World Series Reunion

Well, don’t get too excited…it is only Spring Training.  But the Phillies did finally get over the Grapefruit League hump and won their first game today against World Series opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 12-5.  Ryan Howard also got over his homer hump and slammed his first of 2009 in the 1st inning.  John Mayberry followed with one of his own and 2 batters later, 12-year MLB veteran Miguel Cairo joined the home run parade.  After a 5 run first inning, the Phils looked pretty relaxed.

The rookies tried to make good impressions; Mayberry and Jason Donald both played the entire game with Mayberry going 2 for 5 with 2 RBI, including the home run.  Donald went 1 for 4 with 1 RBI and made a spectacular over-the-wall grab on a foul ball.  He fell clear into the stands, disappearing from view, and still caught the ball.  Here is a photo of Donald being helped up by the fans; also shown:  Cairo sliding into home; Jimmy Rollins tags out a runner attempting to steal; rookie Ozzie Chavez gets a hit:

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Kyle Kendrick pitched the first 2 2/3 innings, allowing 4 hits, including 1 home run.  He pitched fairly well, but did pale in comparison to what we have seen from JA Happ and Carlos Carrasco thus far.  And so that battle continues…  Former Mariner Jake Woods continues to struggle, giving up 2 runs in his one inning of work; rookie Drew Naylor had a one run 2 1/3 innings; Mike Koplove looked great again, pitching a scoreless inning; and our only lefty in the pen so far, Scott Eyre, gave up one run in what looked like a bit of a shaky inning for him.  Eyre, having personal and financial issues right now, really needs to keep his head on straight.  It was reported earlier this week that, due to a bank fraud issue, his assets have been frozen and he is unable to pay bills.  It appears to have affected many people invested in this particular bank and may take a while before the issue is resolved, so let’s hope he can handle the stress.  The advance the Phillies gave him on his salary should help.  Read the article HERE.

The other story of the day was the return of Pat Burrell.  Burrell got a very warm reception from the Phillies fans, who cheered him when he came up to bat, and even before the game during batting practice.  It seems like we are not the only ones who are missing Pat; Greg Dobbs and Ryan Howard had a nice reunion with him before the game:

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Burrell later told beat writer Todd Zolecki, “The response I got was very special,” Burrell said. “It’s something I won’t forget.”  And some thing we all won’t forget?  The Burrell Butt; oh, how we’ll miss it!

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Phillies take on the Braves tomorrow at 1:05pm.

 

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World Series Hangover

The Phillies lost their Spring Training home opener today to the Blue Jays, 6-2.  This makes 2 straight losses to open the pre-season; World Series hangover perhaps?  The big boys like Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez went 0-3, each leaving 2 men on base, and the only two runs scored were knocked in by Jimmy Rollins and Greg Dobbs who each went 1-3.  Carlos Carrasco and JA Happ began the pitching duel today, battling it out for the 5th starter position.  Both pitched two scoreless innings with only Happ giving up a hit; although Carrasco was helped out by John Mayberry in right field who used his 6’5″ frame to scale the wall and snag what was surely a home run shot.  Here is Mayberry making the catch along with another shot of him getting hit by a pitch; below that, you will see Jeremy Slayden playing a ball off the centerfield wall.

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In other great pitching news, Gary Majewski, previously of the Reds, pitched two scoreless innings as well.  But much like yesterday’s game, two other pitchers gave the game away for the Phillies; Justin Lehr gave up 2 back to back home runs in his one inning of work and Blaine Neal gave up 4 runs in only 2/3 of an inning.

More encouraging was the play of rookie Mayberry and Jason Ellison, a 6-year veteran previously with the Rangers.  Ellison got a hit in the 3rd inning and proceeded to steal second base:

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Also on the ball today was 3rd baseman Mike Cervenak, who helped save a hit by making a great play on a ball that took a nasty short hop.  Cervenak also drew a walk in his only at-bat.  Here he is making the catch and also trying to break up a double play that Jeremy Slayden hit into:

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Although the Phillies have dropped the first two games, keep in mind that at this point in Spring Training, less emphasis is placed on winning games and more on examining rookies and deciding who will make the final roster.  So, not to worry Phillies fans! 

In other news for the worriers, you will be happy to know that prior to the game, Chase Utley took batting practice on the field.  He took some light swings and looked like he was not too far from seeing game action.  Also before the game, Army air paratroopers parachuted into the stadium, one of them carrying the World Series flag which was then hung in the stadium.  And that is our Picture of the Day:
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Starting Rotation Battle

As Spring Training draws closer, a new Phillies drama is about to
Happ.jpgunfold.  The battle for the 5th spot in the starting rotation.  Let’s meet the contestants:

JA Happ, 26, lefty – This rookie got a taste of the Bigs in 2008, appearing in 8 games and sporting an impressive 3.69 ERA with a 1-0 record.  He also received the benefit of counseling from veteran Jamie Moyer, giving Happ a better idea of how to survive in the Majors.


Kendrick.jpgKyle Kendrick, 24, righty
– After an outstanding rookie season with the Phillies in 2007, this youngster lost his starting spot in 2008 to the above mentioned JA Happ.  His sinker was sunk by late August and memories his 11-9 record and dreadful 5.49 ERA will not help Kendrick in his quest this year to get back on track.

Chan Ho Park, 35, righty – 15 year veteran and newcomer to the Phillies with a fresh $2.5 million dollar one-year deal, Park has chosen to battle for the 5th spot.  He expressed his dedication to winning the job by deciding to pass on the World Baseball Classic this year.  Lifetime ERA is 4.34 with a record of 117-92.

Carlos Carrasco, 21, righty – Oh, to be so young!  And Carrasco’s age is exactly why he is the most unlikely candidate to win this competition.  As the Phillies top pitching prospect, I am betting they will likely leave him in the oven to season a bit longer before trying him out in the Big Show.

So who is missing from this picture?  Adam Eaton.  Yes, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has listed his candidates for this competition and strategically left out Eaton’s name each time.  Despite his huge contract with $8.5 million dollars owed to him, the money issue is now heavily outweighed by the awful performances and, I am betting, his lack of interest in getting back to form.  Look for Eaton to get the boot early; either to another team or he’ll be sent home to veg-out on his couch.

My prediction:  Happ will win the spot.  He is a steady force on the mound with good control and an unwavering personality; Happ works well under pressure.  Kendrick, clearly, does not.  2007 was not hard to handle for Kendrick as the expectations were very low.  It became a whole new ballgame when the pressure was on in 2008.  Carrasco is too young, although he may surprise people, and Park is aging.  Not everyone grows younger with age, like Jamie Moyer.

If all else fails and a decision becomes difficult, the Phillies could put these guys through another sort of testing to decide:


Rubik_cube.pngThe Rubik Cube: the ultimate problem solving nightmare.  Make them all try to solve it.  Whoever breaks down and cries first gets the bat boy job.

– Rock, paper, scissors:  It’s all about strategy.  And you have to know your opponent.  They can even change it up to make it baseball oriented; how about Bat, ball, Ryan Howard’s glove?  Bat beats ball, ball beats Ryan Howard’s glove, and Howard’s glove beats nothing.  If these guys can’t figure out how to win at this game, they do not deserve to be in the Majors. :O)

– Duck, Duck, Goose:  Change it to Phillies, Phillies, Nationals – the Nats are always chasing other teams anyway.  Whoever loses gets traded to the last place Nationals and in exchange, 
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they send us Scott Olsen, gagged, bound and dart-board ready. :O)

Twister: but only if I am allowed to participate :O)

Best of luck boys!

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