Tagged: Chad Durbin

Should The Phillies Trade Joe Blanton?

With the Fab Four of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels already locked up in their starting rotation, do the Phillies still need Joe Blanton?  The righty has two years left on his contract which will earn him a total of $17 million dollars.


P7260632 JoeBlanton.jpgIn his two and a half years with the Phillies, Blanton has a combined record of 25-14 with an average 4.36 ERA in 72 starts.  For a fifth starter in the rotation, these are pretty good numbers.

In comparison, Kyle Kendrick has a 25-20 record with a 4.55 ERA in 63 starts since the 2008 season.  The statistics are similar, but it should also be noted that Kendrick spent a good amount of time bouncing back and forth from the majors to the minors in 2009.  And last year, Blanton spent time on the disabled list.

Another alternative for the fifth starter position is rookie Vance Worley.  In two starts with the Phillies in 2010, Worley pitched 13 innings and recorded a 1.38 ERA.  Between AA and AAA last year, Worley recorded a combined 10-7 record with a 3.36 ERA over 27 starts.  But Worley is still a big unknown.  He is young and lacks experience.

With these options, it seems that either Blanton or Kendrick would be the best fit for the role.  If the Phillies are concerned with payroll, trading Blanton may be a good idea as Kendrick is still under team control.

When asked if payroll would move him to trade Blanton, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the media, “I really don’t have to do anything.”  A lower payroll would help if Amaro has other future moves in mind, however, it does not appear to be necessary right now.

If money is not a true motivator at this times, the Phillies may be better served to keep Blanton.  Having both Blanton and Kendrick provides tremendous pitching depth.  In the event that one of the Fab Four gets injured, the decision to then move Kendrick into the rotation to fill the hole should be a no-brainer.

Blanton also has experience in eight different playoff series, including two World Series.  Kendrick pitched less than four innings in the 2007 NLDS and has not seen any playoff action since that time.

And if the Phillies start the year off with Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels and Blanton, then Kendrick can fill a hole in the bullpen as a long reliever.  With Chad Durbin still unsigned, there may be a greater need for a long man.

It appears that keeping Blanton is probably a good idea.  Of course, if another team makes a good offer, the Phillies still have other options for the fifth spot in the rotation.  But until the season actually begins, anything can happen.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

2010 Phillies Photo Tribute

I normally do not have this video done before Christmas, but it is amazing how much extra time that the lack of a World Series provides ;o)  For those who have missed it previous years, at the end of every season, I pick out my favorite Phillies photos from that year and put them into a video slideshow.  These photos were all taken by me and my giant zoom lens, from the stands, at both home and away games throughout the season.

In the 2010 season, I attended 27 games and 7 Phillies-related special events, like the Phestival and the Phillies Cruise.  Yes, it was down year for me due to a lack of funds ;o)   Going through the digital files on my computer, I calculate that I shot more than 18,000 photos at Phillies games this year.  If you add in the special events, the total is over 25,000.  Of those, I picked out and published around 5,000.  The slideshow contains the best of the game shots for a total of 257 photos. 

I am eternally grateful for the invention of the digital camera.  Remember the days when we had to use film?  That was one expensive habit.  Well, here it is…enjoy!

 

 

Thank you for stopping by!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

NLDS Roster Announced


6a00e5513d181b8834013487fe1fcf970c-350wi.pngThe Phillies announced today who will be on the 25-man roster for the NLDS and there are really no surprises.  Those notable players who did not make it include Kyle Kendrick, Danys Baez and David Herndon.  Here is the breakdown:

Pitchers

Roy Halladay

Roy Oswalt

Cole Hamels

Joe Blanton

Brad Lidge

Ryan Madson

Jose Contreras

 J.C. Romero

Chad Durbin

Antonio Bastardo

 

Catchers

Carlos Ruiz

Brian Schneider

 

Infielders                            Outfielders

Ryan Howard

Jayson Werth

Chase Utley

Shane Victorino

Jimmy Rollins

Raul Ibanez

Placido Polanco

Ben Francisco

Wilson Valdez

Ross Gload

Mike Sweeney

Domonic Brown

Greg Dobbs

 

 

Going with 10 pitchers instead of 11 allows the Phillies to add more fire power to the bench.  They expect the 3 starters to go deep into games so extra long men in the pen will likely not be necessary.  Blanton will fill the role if needed.

As for Ruiz and Romero, manager Charlie Manuel says both players are fine and ready to play after suffering minor injuries on Sunday.

If you are going to the game tomorrow, here is the information about pre-game festivities and other highlights:

2:00 p.m. – Phillies Postseason Party begins on Citizens Bank Way. Features music by Mr. Greengenes; Highlights include an inflatable obstacle course for children, face painters, an extreme rock wall climb and a Velcro race.

2:35 p.m.
Ashburn Alley opens.

3:05 p.m.
All gates open. Rally towels for all fans, compliments of StubHub.

3:30 p.m. – Phillies Postseason Rally on Citizens Bank Way! Special guests include former Phillies Scott Eyre and Greg “The Bull” Luzinski, Comcast SportsNet analyst Ricky Bottalico, the Phillie Phanatic and Phillies Ballgirls. Music provided by Mr. Greengenes; Scott Palmer, Phillies Director of Public Affairs, will emcee.

4:40 p.m. – On-field pre-game ceremony begins.

4:44 p.m. – Introduction of Cincinnati Reds.

4:48 p.m. – Introduction of Philadelphia Phillies.

4:54 p.m.  – National Anthem: Sung by country singer Catherine Raney, niece of Tim McGraw, who will be representing the Tug McGraw Foundation.

4:56 p.m.  – Color Guard introduced.

4:58 p.m. – Ceremonial First Pitch: Phillies alumnus Scott Eyre.

5:07 p.m.  – Play ball! Phillies vs. Reds game begins.

5th Inning – “Lady PhaPha” makes her postseason debut.

7th Inning – God Bless America: Sung by national recording artist Lauren Hart, a Philadelphia native whose songs have been heard on television series and soap operas.

See you there!

Phillies Smack Braves Around Some More

After sweeping the Braves in 3-games just over a week ago, the Phillies added insult to injury tonight by smacking the Braves around some more.  The Braves and Padres are battling for the NL Wild Card spot and the Padres were trailing by 2 games before the game today.  If the Phillies win one or both of the final 2 regular season games against the Braves, it will have major implications in the Wild Card race.


Atlanta voodoo cr - Copy.jpgJust because they have won the NL East does not mean the Phils will let up on the Braves.  Because several players are competing for either a spot on the postseason roster or possibly a spot with the team next year.  Kyle Kendrick is one of those players.  After a very inconsistent season, Kendrick needed to have a good outing tonight.  He did a pretty good job, allowing 2 runs over 5 innings, although he walked 3 batters, including the opposing pitcher.

The Phillies scored 5 runs in the 6th with a Jimmy Rollins grand slam and Domonic Brown walked to force a run in.  The big lead took Kendrick out of the game and gave a few more pitchers an opportunity to show off their skills…or lack thereof.  Four pitchers, Antonio Bastardo, JC Romero, Chad Durbin and Jose Contreras, all pitched well. 

Mike Zagurski, on the other hand, probably ended his career prospects tonight after giving up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the 9th.  The 11-2 lead he started with was cut down to 11-5.  Zagurski pitched well in AAA but in his 7 appearances with the big club this year, he has allowed 8 runs in 6 2/3 innings for a 10.80 ERA.  David Herndon had to come in to get the final out…after walking one batter, just so Zagurski did not feel too bad ;o)

Tomorrow will be no easier for the Braves.  Rookie Vance Worley will get the start and he will be anxious to prove he can pitch in the big leagues.  His future with the club can be given a huge boost with a solid performance tomorrow.  Game time is 4:10pm.

By the way, the Phillies starting pitchers 70-50 record is the best for the team since 1980…the same year they won their first World Series Championship.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

A Let Down Loss After 11 Straight Wins

Needing only two wins and/or Braves losses to clinch the NL East, the Phillies came out a bit sluggish in tonight’s game against the Mets.  Ryan Howard smashed a 2-run homer in the 1st after a Chase Utley single, but after that, not much happened for the offense.

And while Kyle Kendrick did a good job through 6 scoreless innings, he was left in the game too long.  The hits started coming for the Mets as Kendrick got tired in the 7th.  A mix-up between Utley and Wilson Valdez on a possible double play cost them an out.  Then an error by Howard at first loaded the bases with one out.  The next batter singled home a run and Kendrick was finally pulled.

Chad Durbin was put in with the bases still loaded in relief of Kendrick.  As soon as I saw who was coming in, I knew exactly what would happen next…some sort of bases clearing hit. 
Thumbnail image for P8248770 Durbin.jpg
How did I know this?  The same way the Phillies coaching staff should have known this; Durbin does it all the time with inherited runners.  Take a look at the stats for Durbin coming into tonight’s game:

Situation

ERA

Bases empty

2.20

Runners on base

5.15

RISP

7.17

RISP w/2 outs

13.50

 

Notice a trend here?  The tighter the situation, the more runs Durbin allows.  And I knew that before looking up the stats.  Dear Phillies, please STOP putting Durbin in with runners on base!  I still love ya, Chad, but clearly, this is not your forte.

So 3 earned runs plus one unearned were charged to Kendrick and Durbin picked up one earned for himself.  The offense did not bother to pick up their teammates today and they lost by a score of 5-2. 

A win would have ensured a playoff spot.  Of course, they can still take care of that tomorrow.  What will not be as easy now is clinching the division at home.  Tomorrow is the last home game for the Phillies and they will need a win plus a Braves loss to clinch.  It could happen.  But it is a lot less likely now that they lost tonight.

I will be at the game tomorrow with all my fingers and toes crossed for an NL East celebration.  Either way, I will be back with photos.  Game time is 1:35pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Hamels Pitches Phillies To A Close Win

How do the Phillies score 11 runs on a Monday and then look like they have never lifted a bat on a Tuesday?  The short answer is, that’s baseball.  However, the Phillies hitters have gone through very odd stretches of offensive offense this year.  For example, when they go 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position like tonight, it is a real head scratcher.

More difficult to bear than the lack of production was watching Cole Hamels pitch another gem while wondering why this team cannot squeeze out some runs for him.  Hamels was not incredibly sharp tonight, but he was still very effective.  In 6 2/3 innings, Hamels allowed only one run while striking out 13 Marlins batters.

P6216377 Hamels2.jpg

The two runs managed by the offense came from a Placido Polanco double in the first and a Jayson Werth ground out in the 5th that scored Shane Victorino.  Overall, the Phillies had only 5 hits, left 12 men on base and grounded into double plays twice.  Wilson Valdez hit in double play #19 on the year which, for under 300 at-bats, has to be some sort of record.  Of course, Valdez has done an admirable job filling in for Jimmy Rollins this year and had one of the 5 hits tonight.

So with the offense stuttering, the Phillies bullpen would have to hold down a very slim 2-1 lead.  Chad Durbin closed out the 7th and Ryan Madson handled the 8th, despite putting 2 runners on base.  But all the bullpen drama this year is taking its toll on my health.  Let me paint a picture for you with a quick quiz:

“Watching the Phillies bullpen pitch in a close, 1-run game makes me want to…”

A – Vomit

B – Consult a psychiatrist to determine why the bullpen is making me insane.

C – Crawl in a dark hole and bang my head against the wall until I pass out.

D – All of the above

If you guessed D, you are either a genius or a Phillies fan….or, perhaps both. ;o)

On that note, we move on to the 9th inning; it was Brad Lidge time.  After swallowing a bottle of Tums and debating how many glasses of wine would make this inning easier for me to get through, I finally glued myself to the couch and prepared for the inevitable roller coaster ride.

And yet, the ride was more of a carousel than a roller coaster.  Lidge plowed through the Fish, earning the save and give the Phillies the 2-1 win.  Also, the Braves lost tonight which means the Phils are 2 games ahead of the Braves!

Roy Halladay will go for the sweep tomorrow night…game time is 7:10pm!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Phillies Win Despite Sloppy Seconds

The Phillies had a single make-up game against the Rockies today in Colorado before heading home.  The first 6 innings of the game were a disaster with careless plays and missed scoring opportunities.  Until the 7th inning, you had to think there was no way the Phils were going to win this game.  But this is baseball…never say never.

Here is a quick recap of the sloppy seconds that dominated the game through 6 innings:

– The 2nd place Phillies made their 2nd trip this year to Colorado today.

P8249209R.jpg– In the 2nd inning, a sloppy error by the 2nd baseman, Chase Utley, led to 2 unearned runs and 2 earned runs.

– The 2nd run of the game for the Phillies was scored on a sloppy slide from pitcher Joe Blanton.

– After 1 run scored in the 5th inning, Jimmy Rollins had the bases loaded with 1 out.  He grounded into a sloppy and hugely disappointing double play to end the inning without scoring a 2nd run.

– Catcher Brian Schneider had a runner easily picked off at 2nd base in the 6th inning but Rollins dropped the ball.

The 6th inning got worse as the first base umpire called a runner safe that was out.  Then a ball hit up the middle for what should have been an easy double play was deflected off the glove of pitcher Antonio Bastardo.  Instead of getting out of the inning, another run scored.

Earlier in the 6th, Mike Sweeney was hit in the hand while checking his swing and let out a painful scream.  The bases were loaded so a run scored, but Sweeney looked hurt.  Everyone is hoping he will be alright.  Feel free to join my Facebook group, I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney, and show your support :O)

But down 7-3 going into the 7th, someone flipped a light switch on.  The Phillies managed to climb back into the game with a double by Placido Polanco, an Utley single and a 2-run homer from Ryan Howard.  Not to be outdone, Jayson Werth followed with a solo homer to tie the game at 7-7.  A single by Ben Francisco then gave the Phillies the 8-7 lead.

Thumbnail image for P8198694 Utley.jpg
But the Phillies were not done yet in the 7th.  With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Utley made up for his 2nd inning error with a GRAND SLAM!  Wow.  Phillies led at that point, 12-7 after scoring 9 runs in the 7th.

While a 5-run lead is nice, the Rockies were not done yet either…they scored 3 runs off Chad Durbin in the bottom of the 7th.  So entering the 9th with a score of 12-10, Brad Lidge came in for the save attempt.  And here comes the “sloppy” again…the first batter hit an easy ground ball to first but Howard dropped it!  That dropped ball turned into an unearned run, cutting the lead to one run.

Lidge gave up a single next and one out later, walked Todd Helton.  Phillies fans started getting nauseous.  But Lidge worked out of the mess; he struck out Clint Barmes and the next batter hit a ball to Polanco at third.  Polly made a tough play and stepped on third for the force out to end the game.  And……exhale…..whew!  This was a huge win for the Phils!

Since the bullpen was pretty much used up tonight, I hope the Phillies are prepared to bring up a few pitchers from the minors before tomorrow’s game against the Brewers.  The only September call-up so far has been catcher Paul Hoover.  Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

#1 Phillies Fan

Autotrader.com is running a contest to find the #1 Phillies Fan.  I am constantly teased about being an obsessive Phillies fan and all my friends complain they never see me during baseball season.  So, I decided to enter the contest.  If you agree that I am a huge Phan, please feel free to VOTE for me :O)  Your support is appreciated!

Nyjer Morgan: Poster Child For Anger Management

Nyjer Morgan of the Washington Nationals has issues.  On August 21st, Morgan was accused of purposely throwing a ball at a fan in Philadelphia after being heckled.  The fan was hit in the head and did not see the throw coming.  MLB suspended Morgan for 7 games, which he is currently appealing.

As if that were not bad enough, on Wednesday night, Morgan charged the mound with his fist in the air after a pitch from the Marlins Chris Volstad sailed behind him.  Morgan swung and the benches cleared.  Worse than that, Morgan showboated after the brawl ended as he walked off the field, proud of his bad behavior.  Check out the video:

http://www.viddler.com/simple_on_site/7c70cdee

Morgan’s behavior this year has been reprehensible.  Even his own manager has benched him for prior bad behavior.  He does not deserve to wear a major league uniform; here’s hoping MLB takes appropriate action.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*