Tagged: David Herndon

Valdez & Baez Lead Phillies to 19-Inning Victory

As far as headlines go, the one above is not what Phillies fans generally expect to see.  But it was a back-up player and a much maligned bullpen pitcher who saved the day for the Phillies on Wednesday night against the Reds.

It took more than six hours and nine pitchers, but the Phillies finally pulled out a 5-4, 19-inning win.  Both offenses struggled to score runs and for the Phils, this has been problematic all season.

I have two words rattling around my brain in regards to the Phillies offense: frustrating and painful.  This team has been painful to watch most of the season so far.  And they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, which is incredibly frustrating.

For example, Raul Ibanez led off the sixth inning with a triple.  So with NO outs and a man on third, what should happen just doesn’t.  Carlos Ruiz swung at the first pitch and popped out.  John Mayberry Jr. watched a called-strike three go by.  And then Wilson Valdez is walked intentionally to get to the pitcher.  Result: NO run, when all they needed was a sac fly or some form of contact with the ball that did not turn into a pop-up.

And this is exactly the sort of thing that is plaguing the Phillies offense.  They faced a Reds pitcher who was off his game and they did not take advantage.  Instead, they got themselves out by being impatient and swinging at bad pitches.

So just like Tuesday night, with a 3-1 lead, the Phillies watched the Reds come back to tie the game, 3-3 by the seventh inning.  They got hurt, again, by Jay Bruce with two outs and the bases loaded.  He hit a two-run single off Roy Halladay, who had a few issues tonight.  However, the defense behind him did little to help.

But once the game entered the wee hours of the morning, many forgot that Halladay had even started the game.  The bullpen took over for a total of 12 innings.

Danys Baez, who has taken a lot of abuse from Phillies fans for his lack of consistency, was one of the hero’s in this game.  He pitched a career-high five innings and 73 pitches to carry the Phils through the 18th inning.  He allowed only one hit, one walk and zero runs.

Last year, Baez was so bad that many hoped he would be cut.  And this year has been up and down for him.  But rest assured that after an effort like this, Baez is keeping his job.

After Baez exited, the unexpected happened.  Wilson Valdez stepped onto the pitcher’s mound.  And he was tasked with facing the heart of the Reds line-up in Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce, who had absolutely been killing the Phils all series long.

But Valdez gave a valiant performance, even clocking over 90mph on the radar gun.  He got Votto to fly out to deep center, hit Rolen with a pitch and then two more fly-outs to end the inning.  As he exited the field, the crowd went crazy cheering for him.

Valdez is the first player to start in the field and move on to pitching since Babe Ruth.  Seriously.  He is also the first Phillies position player to pitch since Tomas Perez did it in 2002.  The game win went to Valdez and afterwards he told Comcast Sportsnet, “I like to win,” in response to why he agreed to pitch.  He also joked that he could have gone three or four more innings.

Raul Ibanez hit a sac fly to score Jimmy Rollins for the win in the 19th inning.  In a game where an infielder pitched, a catcher (Carlos Ruiz) played third base and the team left 16 men on base, this win has to be a huge boost for the Phillies.

The last game with the Reds comes quick after this one; Thursday afternoon at 1:05pm.  Cliff Lee will pitch.

Injury Updates

Ross Gload is not playing right now due to a slight muscle tear in his hip.  This is same sort of injury that Chase Utley played through in 2008, which eventually required surgery.  Gload is expected to play through it as well.

Jose Contreras should return to the team sometime this week.  Odds are good that David Herndon will be sent down to make room.

Chase Utley got a day off today, except for a pinch-hitting appearance, in what appears to be an effort to err on the side of caution by not pushing him too hard, too soon.  He should play again Thursday.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Worley Whips The Nats

Game two against the Nationals was a very good day for young pitcher Vance Worley.  Filling in for the injured starter, Joe Blanton, Worley made his second start of the year tonight and notched his second win. 

Through six innings, Worley allowed only one run on four hits with one hit batter.  He also smacked a single into left and later scored in the fifth inning.  Worley has been so good, some may be wishing that Blanton really takes his time coming back.

By the way, have you all seen the new Vance Worley fan club?  They call themselves “Worley’s Warriors.” So is it just me, or do they look less like warriors and more like a Mariachi Band? 

 

Anyway, the offense did their job tonight as well.  Raul Ibanez put the final touches on a newly busted slump, going 3 for 4 with a solo homer.  While his batting average will take some time to recover, currently at .194, the hitting funk is officially over.

Jimmy Rollins had a nice day as well, relishing his return to the lead-off spot with two hits, an RBI and a walk.  Also with two hits, Brian Schneider continues to fill in for the ailing Carlos Ruiz.  And Shane Victorino collected two RBI.

The best part of the offense tonight was watching the Phillies go around the diamond one base at a time in the sixth inning to score four runs.  The small ball is back and the Phillies are scoring again.

Another return tonight was that of J.C. Romero, fresh off a rehab assignment.  Romero pitched a clean seventh inning and appears to be in very good shape.  Upon being added to the roster, pitcher David Herndon, who has been struggling, was optioned to AAA.

The Phillies went on to win by a score of 7-4 after Danys Baez allowed a 3-run homer in the 9th.  Ugh.

FYI – Our old buddy Jayson Werth has had only one hit in the series so far. 

The final game of the series is Thursday night at 7:05pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch.

Side note: Matt Stairs, now with the Nationals, got his 100th career pinch hit tonight.  Congrats, Matt!

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

 

Go Phillies!

Phillies Bats Eaten Up By Wolf

In a week full of opposites, Roy Halladay had a bad game against the Brewers.  The night before Joe Blanton had a good game and in both games, the offense did not show up.  The Phillies are currently in some sort of cruel and unusual time warp where nothing is as it should be.


Wolf bat.jpgAdding to the horror was Brewer’s pitcher and former Phillie, Randy Wolf, who literally chewed up and spit out Phillies batters.  Wolf allowed only two hits over six innings.

To their credit, the Brewers defense stole a few hits from the Phillies with running grabs in the outfield.  Those balls looked like they were far out of reach, but the Brewers ran them down.

The Phillies did not look like themselves at all.  Carlos Ruiz threw away a ground ball that should have been an out; Ryan Howard missed a grounder at first; and then the bullpen handed the Brewers a bunch of runs in a game that was already out of control.

As Halladay was pulled in a 4-0 game, David Herndon threw two pitches and gave up a 3-run homer.  Mike Zagurski, recalled from AAA to take JC Romero’s spot on the roster, also did some damage.  He walked the first batter he saw and then allowed a 2-run single.  Both run were charged to Herndon and all that happened with two outs in the inning.  The score was 9-0 after that seventh inning.

As a side note, Zagurski has been recalled from AAA a number of times over the years in both 2007 and 2010, after multiple injuries and surgeries.  His lifetime ERA in the Bigs through 2010 is 6.99.  In other words, he does well in the minors and implodes in the majors.  It has happened every time and Tuesday night was no different.  Although, the runs he allowed will not be charged to him, he still failed to hold the score down and give the Phils a chance to come back.

The Phillies offense is now officially a major problem.  They went through these super-slumps all last year, which eventually resulted in the firing of hitting coach Milt Thompson.  Like a bad case of deja vu, here we go again.

In fact, the Phillies lead hitter with runners in scoring position is currently Wilson Valdez.  Not Ryan Howard, not Jimmy Rollins or even Raul IbanezWilson Valdez, going into today’s game was batting .556 with RISP.  Howard is at .286, Rollins is .188…you get the picture.  No offense to Valdez who is a very solid player, but if he is the team leader in hits with RISP, there is a serious problem.

The Phillies have one shot left at a win over the Brew Crew tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm.  Cliff Lee will pitch and hopefully, the offense will show up for him.

The Final Decisions Before Opening Day

After a few additions and subtractions, the Phillies Opening Day roster is set.

#

Pitchers

#

Infielders

55

Danys Baez

6

Ryan Howard

58

Antonio Bastardo

19

Michael Martinez

56

Joe Blanton

60

Pete Orr

52

Jose Contreras

27

Placido Polanco

34

Roy Halladay

11

Jimmy Rollins

35

Cole Hamels

21

Wilson Valdez

57

David Herndon

#

Outfielders

38

Kyle Kendrick

10

Ben Francisco

33

Cliff Lee

7

Ross Gload

46

Ryan Madson

29

Raul Ibanez

44

Roy Oswalt

15

John Mayberry

16

J.C. Romero

8

Shane Victorino

#

Catchers

#

Catchers

51

Carlos Ruiz

23

Brian Schneider

 

Most notable, Luis Castillo was released yesterday.  After showing up two days late for a very short try-out, the odds of him making the team seemed slim.  And although he did get on base quite a bit, the players already in camp were just as good and much better defensively.

So Wilson Valdez will start at second base in place of Chase Utley with Michael Martinez (photo), who also made the roster, helping out.  Pete Orr, who smashed a triple and showed off his speed on the base path yesterday, also made the roster.  Delwyn Young was sent to the minors.

As for the bullpen, the injury to Brad Lidge’s shoulder left a spot open which will be filled by David Herndon who beat out Michael Stutes for the last roster spot.  Jose Contreras will close for Lidge, who may be out until May or June.

Yesterday’s final exhibition game was a tad sleepy, but having players wandering around the ballpark was neat.  Here is hoping the Phillies make this a new, year-round tradition for the On-Deck series in the future.

Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the 3/30/11 On-Deck game with the Pirates.

Sizing Up The Phillies Potential 2011 Roster


2011 Roster.jpgAs spring training winds down with under two weeks to go, the Phillies 2011 roster is starting to come into focus.  Here is a look at 24 of the 25 available roster spots as they may unfold:

The list right now has 12 pitchers, although the Phillies could add David Herndon and go with 13.  Kyle Kendrick has not had a good spring, but the Phils are paying him too much to send him back to AAA.  It could happen, as Herndon has been pretty good, but it is unlikely.

What is more probable is that the Phillies will choose to carry an extra infielder or utility player because of the Chase Utley situation.  Odds are very good that Utley will start the season on the disabled list with Wilson Valdez filling in at second base.  However, this still leaves an extra roster spot open.

The list above includes Michael Martinez, who has played well enough to earn a spot and he plays multiple positions.  Plus, Martinez is a Rule 5 player.  If the Phillies do not put him on the roster, they have to offer him back to the Nationals.  With the way Martinez has played, the Nationals would probably take him back.


720320.jpgAlso on the list is John Mayberry Jr. (left) who is batting .319 with five home runs so far this spring.  He is also very versatile and can play first base, as well as the outfield.

That leaves one bench spot for either Pete Orr, Josh Barfield or Delwyn Young.  Barfield has been very good at the plate, hitting .355 with three doubles and a triple.  He is also speedy, which is a plus.

But Barfield’s main weakness appears to be defense.  While he has not committed any “official” errors, Barfield has fumbled the ball more than once.  In Saturday’s match-up with the Orioles, Barfield dropped an easy double play ball, did not get any outs and left Cole Hamels hanging.  Hamels was having a rough day to begin with, so this did not help.

As for Orr, he is experienced and can play second, third and a little outfield.  Orr is batting .343 with three doubles and three triples this spring.  Orr also strikes out less than Barfield and Young, but his fielding is average.

That leaves Young, who is intriguing because he can play almost anywhere.  However, his fielding is not very good.  A lifetime .258 hitter, Young is batting .298 with one home run, seven RBI and two doubles this spring.  He is probably the least likely to make the team.

However, there are still nine games left in Florida and two exhibition games in Philadelphia before the season begins.  Each player still has time to make a big push towards earning a roster spot.

___________________________________________________________

By the way, I have started a new Twitter page dedicated to Chase Utley’s Knee.  Follow the misadventures of baseball’s most infamous body part, Chase Utley’s Knee.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media 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!