Tagged: Chan Ho Park

NLCS Roster Decisions

Nothing has been made officially yet, but expect a similar roster for the NLCS against the Dodgers as the Phillies had in the NLDS.  It looks likely that Cole Hamels will pitch game one since he is on full rest.  Plus, with the birth of his son and some time home with the wife and child, he should now be ready to focus on baseball.  Hamels has done exceptionally well against the Dodgers.  He threw a shut-out against them this past June and also beat them twice in last year’s NLCS.

Cliff Lee will remain a starter as well with JA Happ, Pedro Martinez and Joe Blanton being juggled around again from the pen to the starters spot.  The bullpen however may see a change with Chan Ho Park returning from injury.  He is travelling to LA with the team, so he may be in position to take a roster spot away from Kyle Kendrick.

The bullpen is still making many people very nervous.  Brad Lidge did save 2 games, but still does not look super sharp.  Ryan Madson, the other potential closer, blew 2 saves in the series in the 8th inning.  And Brett Myers, who has done the job before, played only 2/3 of an inning and walked 2 batters.  This is a huge weak spot, especially when compared to the Dodgers bullpen which is much better.   

As for the bench players, this will probably stay the same; Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs, Ben Francisco and Miguel Cairo.  However, with 8 at-bats between these 4 in the NLDS, there was not a hit among them.  Stairs did walk once in a critical situation, but Cairo and Dobbs both went 0 for 3.  Could this open the door for Eric Bruntlett to step in for Cairo?  Probably not, but the bench players are still a concern.

Then again, when you have the big guns like Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to bail the team out when they run into trouble, you have to like the Phillies chances.   So, here is the schedule:

Gm 1

PHI @ LAD

Thu

Oct. 15

8:07 PM

Gm 2

PHI @ LAD

Fri

Oct. 16

4:07 PM

Gm 3

LAD @ PHI

Sun

Oct. 18

8:07 PM

Gm 4

LAD @ PHI

Mon

Oct. 19

8:07 PM

Gm 5*

LAD @ PHI

Wed

Oct. 21

8:07 PM

Gm 6*

PHI @ LAD

Fri

Oct. 23

8:07 PM

Gm 7*

PHI @ LAD

Sat

Oct. 24

8:07 PM

 

And just for fun, let me introduce to you our newest family member and Phillies fan, Chase Utley Kitten.  He is a Blue Point Ragdoll:Chase kitten.jpg

Yes, I named him Chase Utley….I fully expect him to pick up a ball and glove by 3 years.  At 2 ½ months, we will have to settle for the jersey.

Go Phillies!

Roster Ramblings

The post-season roster has not been set for the Phillies; they have until 10am tomorrow to make the final decision.  The central core is not in question, with 6 current and former All-Stars in starting roles.  roster.gifHowever, the pitching rotation, bullpen and bench players are going to be tough decisions.

 

Manager Charlie Manuel seems to favor Eric Bruntlett on the bench because he runs well and can play almost every position in the field.  However, Bruntlett has not hit well and ended the year with 18 hits in 105 at-bats for a .171 average.  Miguel Cairo has performed much better and can play most of the infield spots; he ended the season batting .267 and went 7 for his last 19 including a triple and a home run in the final game.

 

While Cairo should get the nod over Bruntlett, it may not happen that way.  Bruntlett was with the team last year and Manuel tends to favor guys he is most familiar with.  Both could make the team, but only if they sacrifice a bullpen spot.  Ben Francisco, Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs should all be locks for the roster, despite the facts that Dobbs has been playing hurt and Stairs batted only .194 this year with 5 homers in 103 at-bats.

 

The pitching is even more complicated.  Most likely Cliff Lee will start game 1 as Cole Hamels would only have 3 days rest.  However, Lee has been mostly awful in his last 7 starts, allowing 27 runs in 39 2/3 innings.  That is an ERA of about 6.13.  Not good.  The Phillies hope he will turn things around for his first post-season appearance.

 

Hamels was equally inconsistent, ending the season with a record of 10-11 and a 4.32 ERA.  Pedro Martinez has been dealing with a sore neck, so his ability to pitch deep into a game effectively is in serious question.  Joe Blanton and JA Happ have been the only two good, consistent arms in the rotation all year and now Happ may get bumped to the bullpen due to a lack of lefties.  That would be a real shame though, because Happ has the best record of the starting staff with 12 wins, 4 losses and an ERA of 2.93.  Honestly, I think they need to keep Happ as a starter and take their chances with the lefty situation in the pen.  Happ is more valuable for 6-7 innings than he would be for only a few batters.

 

That brings us to the pen, which is basically a mess.  Every regular bullpen pitcher has suffered at least one injury this year, except Ryan Madson.  Right now, JC Romero, Jamie Moyer and Chan Ho Park are still hurt and will not play in the NLDS; Moyer is done for the year.  That leaves Scott Eyre as the only experienced lefty, and he is pitching through a sore elbow.  Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, Brad Lidge and Madson are on the roster for sure.  That leaves Tyler Walker, Kyle Kendrick, Brett Myers and the 2 rookies, Sergio Escalona and Antonio Bastardo to fill the remaining spots.

 

Escalona and Bastardo are both lefties but lack experience and have exhibited a lack of pitching control at times as well.  It would be tough to add one of them to the roster, even though lefties are needed.  Kendrick spent most of the year in the minors, but pitched fairly well for the big club in September until his last outing where he gave up 3 runs.  And Myers has suffered two injuries which kept him out almost the whole year and he still does not look quite right.  That leaves Tyler Walker whose 3.06 ERA is 3rd best in the pen, behind Eyre and Condrey.

 

But with all the injuries, the Phillies options are limited.  My best guess is this: Madson, Lidge, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin, Walker and Myers with Pedro Martinez added to the list instead of Happ.  That makes 12 pitchers total, including the 4 starters: Happ, Lee, Hamels and Blanton.  Although, if one lefty in the pen looks problematic, they may keep Bastardo instead of Walker.  Of course, I may be totally off.  We shall see.

Injuries Causing Concern

The Phillies lost against the Astros last night by a score of 3-5 behind the obviously tired arm of Cliff Lee. 
P8195298 Lee.jpg
Lee has pitched a career high 231 2/3 innings this year and is showing signs of fatigue.  Yesterday, he allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings and was all over the strike zone, seemingly unable to command his fastball.  In fact, Lee has allowed 27 runs in his last 7 games after allowing only 3 runs in his first 5 games with the Phillies.  This is not good news for the guy who is likely to be our #1 pitcher in the playoffs. 

While Lee seems to be healthy though, other are not.  JC Romero experienced soreness in his previously injured forearm after only 1 game back.  Romero will seek a second opinion this week, but it does not look good for our #1 lefty in the pen.

Jamie Moyer, who has been wonderful in middle/long relief since being sent to the pen, is out for the year and will have surgery on 2 groin and 1 one abdomen muscles that he tore in the game on 9/29.  Moyer will be sorely missed in October.

Another long reliever who did a great job in the pen is Chan Ho Park.  Park is also out with an injury.  He attempted to pitch in an Instructional League game in Clearwater a few days back and felt a pull in the injured hamstring which means, his recovery time is still uncertain.

Add to that, Scott Eyre is pitching through a bone chip in his elbow.  He was effective in the clinching game on Wednesday, but how long can he go with that sort of pain?  That leaves the pen with only 1 lefty who is healthy and that is the rookie, Sergio Escalona. 

That means it is more and more likely that JA Happ will be moved to the bullpen for the post-season to add a lefty arm.  And that is really unfortunate, especially since he and Joe Blanton are the only 2 starters who have been consistent all year.  In fact, they are the only 2 starters who have recorded wins since 9/21/09 – the last 11 games.

Brett Myers is back, but he is rusty and will need some work to be ready for the post-season.  The Phillies need to get their pitching staff back on track and healthy if they are to go far in the playoffs.  We will see how it plays out over the last 3 regular season games; the Marlins are up…game time tonight is 7:05pm.

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Bullpen Blows 4 Run Lead


Thumbnail image for 0912 Moyer.jpgThis game got off to an ominous start when Jamie Moyer allowed 4 runs before he even recorded an out in the 1st inning.  Things were not looking good.  But the Phillies offense battled back and by the 6th inning, they had an 8-4 lead over the Mets.  Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz and Raul Ibanez all homered to give the team a lift.

And yet, despite 12 hits, including the 3 homers, 3 doubles and a triple (Rollins), the bullpen blew the game for the Phillies.  Even Moyer battled back after a terrible start and wound up with 5 runs allowed over 7 innings.  It appeared as if the planets would align and the Phillies would overcome the bad start.  But when Ryan Howard struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th, fans began to wonder if that would come back to haunt them.


091209.jpgLet the haunting begin…the bad start came full circle and turned into a bad ending as well.  Brett Myers and Chan Ho Park combined in the 8th inning to give the Mets 3 more runs, making the score 9-8.  With a precarious 1 run lead, Ryan Madson took the mound in the 9th and gave up a two run homer to David Wright with 2 outs in the inning, his second homer plus 6 RBI’s on the night.  Madson, in for the struggling Brad Lidge, has now blown his 6th save of the season.  Madson and Lidge together have 16 blow saves on the year.

It is official – this team has NO closer.  If the Phillies cannot close out games, they have no shot at success in the post-season, if they even get that far.  Unless a miracle occurs and Lidge can figure out what is ailing him, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, we are so totally screwed.  I had a few other choice words in mind to express that feeling, but I will refrain for now.  Feel free to add your own “color” to that sentence.


gloves 091209.jpgFrustration
is another good word – frustration, disappointment and downright exasperation.  So, just to make myself feel better, here is a small piece of comic relief.  At batting practice today, I watched a Mets player using what appears to be a child’s glove to shag balls.  It is tiny and quite colorful.  Check out the comparison between a real glove and the baby-glove:

I have had my fun for the day then :O)  The Phillies have a double-header tomorrow night with Kyle Kendrick pitching the 1:05pm game and Pedro Martinez at 8:05pm.  I will be at the night game praying for a win!  For now, here is the Photo Album from today’s game.

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Shameful Sweep In Texas

The Phillies were swept out of Houston yesterday in a horrible 4-game series.  In fact, this team is playing so badly, I am running out of adjectives to describe it. 
bunny.jpg
Let us consult the Thesaurus: BAD – awful, terrible, dreadful, appalling, ghastly (a personal favorite), dire, unpleasant (does not really scratch the surface, but we’ll use it), evil (now we are getting somewhere!), wicked, corrupt, depraved, reprehensible, cruel (are you feelin’ me?), shameful….

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  And “shameful” is a good one to end on.  Jamie Moyer pitched a great game in the absence of JA Happ who is out with an oblique strain, but should be back very soon.  Moyer went 6 innings and allowed only 2 runs.  But the offense was (insert favorite Thesaurus term here)…again…and even the bullpen joined in the debauchery (yes, I looked that one up too…thank me later).  Chan Ho Park, who has been the most consistent in the pen gave up two runs in the 7th inning; one of those, he actually walked in with the bases loaded.  It was an abysmal performance when this team really, really, needed a lift.

The Phillies could not muster any runs after that and went down with a 3-4 loss, their 4th loss in a row all at the hands of a mediocre team.  Any bright spot here?  Well, I guess we have all had our grammar lesson for the day, but that is really the only bright spot I can see.

Today, Pedro Martinez is schedule to pitch in DC against the Nats.  You will never guess what is in the forecast?  RAIN – lots of it.  Could this be his 3rd rain shortened start in his very brief Phillies career?  Let us hope not – this team needs a win and I need to sit through a game without having to BOO or get soaked!  If the game actually happens and I can keep the camera dry, I will be back with photos.  Wish me luck!

Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

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

Under The Big Top

 

After the oddities involved in yesterday’s Phillies-Mets match-up, including a game-ending unassisted triple play, the circus act continued into the beginning of today’s game.  Yesterday, the Phillies hit two 3-run homers in the first inning; today, they only managed one 3-run homer in the first inning, but still an amazing feat.  Ryan Howard provided the power after Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch and Chase Utley walked.  Victorino also stole second and then wound up on third base after a throwing error that same inning, leaving the Mets looking like a pack of clowns.

But the spectacle got even weirder in the bottom half of the 1st; Chase Utley must have taken up juggling in his spare time, because that is exactly what he did with a routine pop-up from the first hitter for the Mets, Angel Pagan.  Utley dropped the ball as Pagan sped around the bases and then proceeded to join the Mets clown troop by throwing the ball away into left field.  The double error allowed Pagan to round the bases and score.  Pagan is the same Met who wound up with an inside-the-park homer in the 1st inning of yesterday’s game after Victorino became confused over the Citi Field ground rules and did not field a ball that got stuck under the outfield wall padding.

Next, Jayson Werth put on his clown suit as he over ran a ball to right field, stumbled around trying to catch it on a hop and looked absolutely ridiculous doing it.  Gary Sheffield wound up with a triple and eventually scored.  And this was only the 1st inning.

Oh yes, the circus has indeed come to town.  But Sheffield, despite his triple, was next in line to receive his badge of silliness as in the 2nd inning, he too dropped a routine pop-up which came off the bat of Phillies catcher, Paul Bako

Lee Circus2.jpg
I suppose he did not Utley to feel alone in his humiliation.  Hey thanks, Gary!

But after the 2nd inning, things began to calm down and Cliff Lee was amazing, yet again.  Ignoring the shoddy defense at the start of the game, he buckled down and pitch 7 solid innings, allowing 6 hits and NO earned runs.  Both Mets runs were unearned due to the Utley errors.  Lee is now 5-0 as a Phillie and has yet to even walk a batter!  Lee is the anti-clown; just amazing.

Howard hit another homer (say that 5 times fast) in the 3rd inning and the 2-run shot plus the 3-run shot earlier was all the offense Lee needed to notch the win.  But just for fun, Raul Ibanez knocked in one more in the 9th inning on a double to left that scored Utley.

Chan Ho Park and Brad Lidge took the 8th and 9th inning respectively and shut down the Mets.  Lidge looked good which is excellent news, especially considering he went into a non-save situation and still got the job done cleanly.

Player of the Week

Jayson Werth has been on fire!  Whatever has been lit under his backside recently has earned him Player of the Week honors for the National League.  Werth led the majors with 5 home runs and 29 total bases plus he hit .440 for the week.  Today, he did not have a hit in the game, but did walk three times.  Congrats to Jayson!

Unlikely Hero

Eric “I am only hitting .158” Bruntlett has been asked to send his jersey to the Hall of Fame.  Yesterday, Bruntlett turned an unassisted, game-ending triple play after a horrible start to the inning where he committed 1 official error and bobbled another ball that was eventually scored a hit.  But redemption is sweet as Bruntlett not only saved the game, but he made history in the process.

This will actually be the 2nd item for Bruntlett in the Hall; last year, he donated his “Elmer Fudd” cold-weather, ear-flap cap from the World Series.

Next Up

The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh to begin a 3-game series with the Pirates tomorrow.  Joe Blanton will take the mound for the Phillies; game time is 7:05pm.

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Pedro Wins, Offense Explodes & Beer Is Wasted

While many of us are more offended by the waste of a good beer than anything Pedro Martinez might have done last night against the Cubs, the main story was still pitching.  P8094647.jpgMartinez put forth the effort that many expected; he had 4 very strong innings in his Phillies debut and began to tire in the 5th inning.  But even though he loaded the bases with no outs, Martinez did manage to work out of the jam with only 2 runs scoring. 

Overall, Martinez’s fastball velocity was very good, ranging from 88-93mph and he had good movement on the ball.  With a variety of pitches working as well, it looks like Pedro is here to stay.  The more he pitches, the stronger his arm will get and that means he may be able to go further into games, which is the ultimate goal.  The final line was 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 5 strikeout’s and 1 walk, which was in the 5th and to the opposing pitcher.  And the final score was 12-5 after Chad Durbin gave up a few runs in the 9th.

The offense did their best to impress Mr. Martinez with their bats.  After a LONG hitting drought, the bats finally exploded last night to the tune of 12 runs on 14 hits including home runs by Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Rauuuuuuul Ibanez!  Every staring position player had at least one hit in the game, with Chase Utley leading the pack with 3 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.  Rollins & Ibanez each picked up 3 RBI on their homers. 

The other star of the game was Chan Ho Park; coming in to relieve Martinez, Park pitched a mini-no hitter of 3 innings in length :O)  As bad as Park was at the beginning of the season as a starter, he has been the polar opposite in the bullpen.   Kudos to Park for continuing to thrive in his bullpen role!

And then the moment you have all been waiting for – the beer.  It always makes me laugh when people criticize Phillies fans and then I see something like this; check out the VIDEO.

Yes, a retarded Cubs fans threw a full beer in the face of Shane Victorino right as he was catching a fly ball in deep centerfield.  To the idiot’s credit, he had perfect aim and timing.  But what an awful, unsportsmanlike and just plain stupid thing to do; I think the man should be thrown in jail, tied to a chair and forced to watch Cirque de Soleil videos all night long while also having buckets of ice water thrown down his pants by a large, hairy man named Gus.  Cubs – feel free to use that idea.  You have my full permission.

Phillies will go for the sweep of the Cubs this afternoon at 2:20pm – hopefully, beer free.

Photo by Jenn

 

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